National Catholic Resiter
It seems to be one of the favorite pastimes of extreme biblical skeptics to peruse the Gospel accounts of the resurrection of Jesus and events surrounding it, in order to “identify” and challenge Christians with various alleged “contradictions.”
Recently I came across one such effort, which claimed many “contradictions.” I believe none at all were adequately substantiated, once the claims were properly scrutinized. Almost all of them failed even elementary tests of standard logic. If I may indulge your patience a bit, I’d like to briefly examine the weakness of these arguments in this article and my next one.
1. How many women visited the Tomb? An actual logical contradiction requires exclusionary clauses such as “only x, y, and z were there and no one else” or “only three people witnessed incident a.” None of the Gospel texts do that here; hence, no demonstrable contradiction exists (see Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:1; Luke 24:1-10; John 20:1). Some atheists will nonetheless go on to argue that it is still a “contradiction” in some sense because, after all, the texts don’t all say exactly the same thing. But that’s not how logic works, and it is absurd and unrealistic to demand that four separate accounts written by as many people must report what was seen in identical fashion.
2. Were there guards at the Tomb? It’s not a contradiction merely because Matthew mentions this and the other three Gospels don’t. Arguments from silence prove nothing. A true contradiction would require one or more of the other three to say something like “the tomb was unguarded.”