Jesus had a twin brother! Sort of like the movie, The Illusionist?

Cover of "The Illusionist [Blu-ray]"
Cover of The Illusionist [Blu-ray]

Continuing the dialog I shared in the last post.  Someone told me that the Bible was just a story written by one person.  That it was all made up, like Harry Potter, but people came to believe it, because it gave them hope, etc.

After being confronted with some reasons for why we can trust the Bible not to be made up with some good reasons to believe that Jesus actually was raised from the dead, he quickly proposed, “Jesus probably had a twin brother that no one knew about.  That’s why people saw him back from the dead.”

I was stunned.  I had read about this argument before, but I had never actually met someone who thought that this was more likely than the resurrection and Jesus’ divinity, and he was ready to argue it.

He proposed that it was a trick, like magic, just as in the movie, The Illusionist.  I haven’t seen this movie, but I knew that it starred Jessica Beil and Edward Norton Jr.  He told me that it also starred the X-Men guy who played Wolverine.  So likely Hugh Jackman is in the movie too.  He told me that the movie was about a magician who had a twin brother that knew about and so they could do magic tricks easily and fool people.  He said one of them would cut off a finger and the other one would then the would switch places and the other one would appear and have the finger and everyone would be amazed!

Like I said, I haven’t seen the movie, The Illusionist.  After posting this blog, I received some comments saying that the movie he was referring to was actually, The Prestige.  That actually makes me feel a little better.  I’d hate to think that Edward Norton was in a movie that seemed so illogical, but who knows, the guy didn’t even have the right movie title to begin with, so maybe he had the story all wrong too.

The Prestige (film)
The Prestige (film)

Here are some rebuttals (mostly questions that he don’t have any likely explanation or answer) that I gave to him in reply to this twin theory:

  • Why did no one else know about Jesus’ twin brother?  His mother Mary would have known if he had a twin brother.  She was alive and present at the crucifixion according to one of the Gospels.
  • The Bible says that shepherds were there the night of Jesus’ birth.  Where would Mary and Joseph have stashed the other baby, and why would they abandon him?  Who would have raised him?  And if they were separated at birth so no one knew he had a twin, how would Jesus have discovered that he had an identical twin?  Plus the shepherds who visited Jesus at his birth, weren’t any ordinary shepherds.  They were the shepherds who kept watch over the Passover Lambs, in a specific field.  Anyone could have found them or people who knew those shepherds by going to that field and asking questions about his birth to see if he had a twin.
  • Why would Jesus decide to die a horrible, agonizing, public death in order for his twin brother to trick his best friends into risking and losing their lives to share such a devious and deadly trick as faking a resurrection?  Would you die like that for a trick that you wouldn’t even know for certain would work or have any lasting impact?
  • What would be the gain in doing this?
  • How do you explain his other miraculous feats recorded in the Gospels?  They wouldn’t have needed a twin brother to accomplish them.
  • The disciples spoke with him, ate with him, and touched him.  They would have been able to tell that it was a fake, since they had spent about three years in close communication with him, sharing their entire lives together.  The twin wouldn’t have had the same memories of everything they had shared together, so there is no way he could have convincingly reminisced with the disciples.
  • Thomas is recorded as having touched the scars on his hands, feet, and side.  How would those have been faked in the first century?
  • Do you really think that Jesus having a twin is a more likely explanation than a divine resurrection?

The Bible is Just a Story! Like Harry Potter is Just a Story!

Yesterday, I set-up an evangelism table at Saddleback Community College.  I had a Contradict poster taped to the table with print-outs of the Contradict page of explanation with me to hand out to people who seemed interested in the sign on the table.

A long conversation was sparked with a student who recognized that the religions contradicted each other and that they can’t all be true.  When I began to share about why I believe Jesus is God and the Savior of mankind, he objected, saying that the Bible is just a story.  He argued that the Bible was written by a person a long time ago, and it’s just a story, similar to how J.K. Rowling writes stories.  People eventually believed the Bible to be a true story, and he had no problem if people wanted to believe it was true, becuase the stories that form religions help keep society in order, by giving people a purpose and direction life, something to live for.

I noticed in his explanation that he referenced again, and again, that it was just “a person” who wrote the Bible. I corrected him on that point, that the New Testament was not written by “a person” but at least 8, likely 9, different authors.

I then told him that those 8-9 people suffered and were persecuted for their writings.  Some argue that we only know by tradition that the apostles died, not good hard historical evidence, and this is likely true, that it’s only in tradition that they died as martyrs.  But we do know for certain that they were persecuted, jailed, robbed, and many were executed for the Christian faith from the NT writings themselves, as well as from the writings of early Church fathers, and from historians of the 1st-3rd centuries outside of the Christian circle.

But he made no argument against my claim that the Bible had multiple authors, or against my claim that they were persecuted for their message.  He still wanted to argue that it was a story, so I drew a parallel to his Harry Potter comparison.

Author J.K. Rowling reads from Harry Potter an...
Author J.K. Rowling reads from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone at the Easter Egg Roll at White House. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I said, we know that J.K. Rowling wrote the Potter books.  We also have her own words explaining how she created the characters and conducted research into the practices of magic and the occult to write her books.  We records of interviews with her, and we have critics who have read and critiqued her work, both in praise and against it.  I told him that we have similar works with the BIble.  The Talmud mentions Jesus and claims that he performed his work through the Devil.  Other authors outside of the Christian refer to Jesus as a historical person who was crucified by Pontius Pilate.

What we find is that the apostles did not recant their beliefs when confronted to say that their story was fiction.  If J.K. Rowling claimed her Potter universe was real, and there was a gun put to her head, and she was told that she had to admit that her work was fiction or a bullet would be put into her head, would she maintain that Potter and his friends and his school actually exists?  He said no, of course not, at which point I told him that the disciples didn’t reject their “story.”
He responded that they could have been crazy.  I quickly refuted that argument, at which point he jumped to explain that Jesus probably had a twin brother!  Really?  I had heard that this was a natural argument to explain the resurrection, but I had never met someone who actually argued that it’s most likely that Jesus had a twin brother, than a bodily resurrection occurring.

I’ll share more about the Twin discussion in a post to come very soon.