Is Jesus a zombie? This was sparked by a good-natured ribbing I took today at work. A colleague asked me about the school at which I teach, and someone else added, “Yeah, but Jesus was a zombie, right? He’s back from the dead!” This prompted some laughter, but as many Christian apologists know, this is a frequent rhetorical talking point.
I perceive this to be less of an argument and more of a statement designed to ridicule Christians (at least in the context of debate). If that is true, then it can be ignored, addressed, or however you believe it is best to deal with insults. However, if it is meant to be an argument, we should analyze its merits.
First, the reader will notice that the argument depends on a premise very much like, “all people who are resurrected from the dead are zombies.” This is just false. It’s not a sufficient condition of being a zombie to be back from the dead. That’s merely a necessary condition. Zombies are also what is called the “undead;” they are neither alive nor dead, by definition (incidentally, as far as I can tell this is why zombies are not, strictly speaking, logically possible). However, according to the story of Jesus, Jesus is back to life, not “undead.” In that case, zombies are a subset of the “formerly dead” category. But it would not follow from this that all in the overall category are zombies. To make it plain, you cannot reason as follows:
- All zombies are formerly dead.
- All of the formerly dead are zombies.
(B) does not follow validly from (A). The message of Jesus is that God raised him from the dead. He did not raise him to a brief life, or even to a full lifespan to be enjoyed on this earth. Instead, Jesus was raised to be the firstfruits of a greater resurrection than that which can be had in an earthly sense only (cf. 1 Cor. 15:20). This life, which goes beyond the understanding of the natural man (cf. 1 Cor. 2:10), is available to every one who will believe that God sent his Son Jesus to take the punishment for the things you have done wrong; it is available to every one who will believe Jesus died and rose again; it is available to every one who will place her trust in God and ask to be forgiven.