Many liberal and some mainline Christian leaders believe that Jesus died during the crucifixion, did not resurrect himself, and was not bodily resurrected by God. At his death, his mind ceased to function and his body started the decomposition process. Returning to life a day and a half later would have been quite impossible. The story of having been wrapped in linen and anointed with myrrh seems to have been copied from the story of the death of Osiris -- the Egyptian God of the earth, vegetation and grain. The legend that he visited the underworld between his death and resurrection was simply copied from common. One example again was Osiris. "" 1
also believe that Paul regarded the resurrection to be an act of God in whichJesus was a passive recipient of God's power. Paul did not mention the empty tomb, the visit by a woman or women, thestone, the angel/angels/man/men at the tomb, and reunion of Jesus with his followers in his resuscitated body. Rather, he believed thatJesus was taken up into heaven in a spirit body. It was only later, from about 70 to 110 CE when the four canonic Gospels were written, that the Christians believed that Jesus rose from the grave in his original body, and by his own power.
It is unfortunate that the Christian Scriptures are arranged in the order Matthew toRevelation. Some publisher would do a great service to humanity by publishing a NewTestament in which the books are re-arranged in chronological order by the date in whichthey were written: i.e. I Thessalonians would be the first book. It would be followed byother epistles and gospels, perhaps in the order: Revelation, John, Jude, II Peter, Mark, Matthew, Luke, Acts, Hebrews,. Lastwould be group of Pastoral Epistles attributed to Paul but which were written decadesafter his death in the 2nd century . There is much debate among theologians about the absolute dates of eachof these books. There is greater agreement of the probable sequence in which they werewritten. A New Testament in chronological order would help the reader understand thedevelopment through time of various Christian beliefs, including that of the resurrection.
One interpretation of the resurrection story concludes that the earliest followers ofJesus knew nothing about the resurrection. Paul believed that Jesus had a passive role inhis resurrection. He was raised by God into heaven, housed in a spirit body. His physicalbody rotted. The story of the tomb, its stone, the angels, men and women at the tomb, ofJesus meeting, talking and eating with his followers, etc. is a myth, a legend created byvarious Christian movements many decades after Jesus' execution. That saga became capturedin the four canonical gospels at different stages in its development.