When asked by a university student following one of his speaking engagements what it would take for him to concede the raising of a dead man in modern times, the answer Os Guiness gave was one worth noting. His answer took the student the student by surprise. More than likely expecting something more akin to a 3 point test for the verification of such a “miraculous” event, Guiness responded with a much more logical and basic answer. “I would have to know,” he answered, “whether or not the individual was actually dead or not.” Simple, but straight to the point.
Think about what Guiness said for a moment. Knowing one was actually dead would play an important role in the determination of some resurrection miracle, don’t you think? After all, if not “dead” as a proverbial “door nail,” then reviving someone isn’t a revival or resurrection from the dead at all? Hence, the significance of this first historical evidence for the resurrection. “Jesus died due to the rigors of crucifixion.”
First, the horrors of crucifixion were unimaginable as the Journal of the American Medical Association tells us (JAMA),Jesus of Nazareth underwent Jewish and Roman trials, was flogged, and was sentenced to death by crucifixion. The scourging produced deep stripelike lacerations and appreciable blood loss, and it probably set the stage for hypovolemic shock, as evidenced by the fact that Jesus was too weakened to carry the crossbar (patibulum) to Golgotha. At the site of crucifixion, his wrists were nailed to the patibulum and, after the patibulum was lifted onto the upright post (stipes), his feet were nailed to the stipes. The major pathophysiologic effect of crucifixion was an interference with normal respirations. Accordingly, death resulted primarily from hypovolemic shock and exhaustion asphyxia. Jesus’ death was ensured by the thrust of a soldier’s spear into his side. Modern medical interpretation of the historical evidence indicates that Jesus was dead when taken down from the cross.
As this excerpt reveals, the ordeal was no ordinary execution with death being the primary goal, but was, instead, designed to wreak as much havoc with the human body and cause as much suffering to the dying offender as possible. In fact, the fuller picture of crucifixion, as laid out by the Journal of the American Medical Association, may be viewed at the following address. It is revealing! (http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/deathjesus.pdf)
Essentially, Jesus hung upon the cross with “deep stripe like lacerations and appreciable blood loss,” and then had each spike driven into those parts of the hand/wrist and feet that would inflict as much nerve shattering pain as possible. His position upon the cross was so configured that breathing was practically impossible “at rest,” or in the slumped position as the perfect placement of the spikes made supporting one’s body in order to breath agonizingly difficult.
Significantly, then, imagining that Jesus did not actually die upon the cross ignores the evidence, and any suggestion that he merely “swooned” until the coolness of the tomb revived him with him somehow convincing a group of confused, doubting, and scared stiff disciples that he was their risen and glorified savior would be the bigger miracle. In this case, the “natural” explanation, the swoon theory, seems much more miraculous than the actual miraculous resurrection.
In conclusion, Jesus died due the rigors of crucifixion and any claim otherwise contradicts the available historical information.