"WILLIAM LANE CRAIG ADMITS "MANY RAISED SAINTS" TALE IN MATTHEW PROBABLY AROSE DUE TO SOMEONE'S "APOCALYPTIC" IMAGINATION RUNNING AWAY WITH THEM. BUT...
What about other APOCALYPTIC elements in the earliest Gospel (GMark)? Why should Craig only imagine that the "raising of many saints" in Matthew is questionable, when there are equally APOCALYPTIC elements in the tale of Jesus' death and resurrection in the earliest Gospel, Mark? Why not question the historicity of those as well?
1) "You will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven" GMark has Jesus say those words at his trial, and GMatthew and GLuke follow suit more or less. But it's pure apocalyptic.
2) "At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon." GMark says this happened, while Jesus was dying, and GMatt and GLk follow suite more or less.. But it's another purely apocalyptic idea that also appears in the little apocalypse of Mark, chapter 13.
3) "The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!” GMark says this happened, and GMatt and GLk follow suite more or less.The curtain in the temple separates the mundane world from the heavenly world of God's domain, His holy of holies, so the "tearing" echoes the beginning of GMark where Jesus is baptized, comes out of the water and sees "heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove," and the idea of the heavens being opened is again, pure apocalyptic. As is the soldier's remark that accompanies the "tearing open" of the holy of holies or heaven, for the soldier declares, "Surely this man was the Son of God," just as in the baptismal scene "a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” Pure apocalyptic once again.
These APOCALYPTIC elements in the earliest Gospel are unquestioned by Craig, and only the tale of the "raising of many saints," which Matthew added to the Markan tales, is questionable? Craig, like Licona, who agree the "many raised saints" tale is questionable are merely opening the door to more questions, including the all too APOCALYPTIC idea of Jesus having been "raised," the "first fruits" of a predicted soon coming general resurrection."
For those who are unfamiliar with the story of the many raised saints here is an old post for you:
Here we have William Lane Craig doubting the biggest resurrection story in the Gospels. Amazing. This is enough food for thought for any Christian to re-examine their faith and look into Islam. People, the Bible you have only makes sense with Islam - with Islam you can discern what parts of the Bible are to be believed and which parts are to be rejected or left without belief and disbelief.
Of course the Gospels contain more than one resurrection story, so which one is this Christian apologist doubting? He is doubting the biggest one - the most spectacular resurrection story of them all. Clearly if folk can think the Gospel writers were capable of telling such spectacular fabricated stories then surely the same people would not trust the Gospels?!
|What are churches teaching?|
In Matthew’s Gospel* the story of Jesus being crucified includes an eschatological-style scene which included an earthquake as well as the resurrection of many holy men:
A unique and otherwise unclassifiable incident is reported by Matthew as coinciding with the death of Jesus on the cross. According to his Gospel, the tragic event was marked by an earthquake, a common feature together with thunder, tornado and fire, of the eschatological crescendo in scripture (Isa 29:6; Ps 18:7;Mk 13:8; Mt 24:7; Lk 21:11). 
The resurrection of many saints
We just don’t see our Christian friends celebrating the resurrection of the “many” saints, are they unaware of this story or are they selectively choosing to believe in the story about Jesus whilst ignoring/forgetting/disbelieving the resurrection account concerning these holy men.
Our Christian friends don’t even know the names of these men (and women?) but celebrate the resurrection story of Jesus (p) every Easter. Christians claim he “conquered” death but fail to celebrate all these saints who also “conquered” death according to the stories within the New Testament.
Here is the Jesus scholar, Geza Vermes, to describe the forgotten resurrection story:
Following this earthquake, rocks were split and tombs were opened. Out of them emerged the risen bodies of many saints who were seen by numerous inhabitants of Jerusalem following the resurrection of Jesus (Mt 27:51-53). Needless to say, nothing is heard of them afterwards. 
I’m not surprised nothing was heard of these saints afterwards.
Seeing resurrection stories as metaphorical…
Vermes writes: Matthew’s account is best understood as symbolical and suggests that an anticipatory resurrection, the disgorging of the raised ‘saints’ (i.e. righteous) by the gaping tombs, happened immediately after Jesus had expired. Yet the saints are said to have appeared to ‘many’ not on Friday, but early on Sunday. Therefore the religious message hints at link between the death and consequent resurrection of Jesus and the general rising of the dead. This idea points to St Paul’s definition of the rising of Jesus as the ‘first fruits’ of the general resurrection. 
Now, this is interesting. If folk can take the “resurrections” of all these holy men as symbolical why not take all the accounts claiming Jesus was resurrected as metaphorical too?
David Friedrich Strauss introduced the idea of the Gospels containing untrue stories as religiously true ‘myths’. So the resurrection of Jesus could also be seen as one of these myths which were designed to convey a ‘religious truth’. Perhaps the ‘religious truth’ the resurrection stories were designed to convey was the message that, ultimately holy people always win.
The author of Matthew liked earthquakes
The author or scribes involved with the Gospel of Matthew added another earthquake story to the mix – another earthquake story that nobody else mentions.
Geza Vermes notes, It is to be observed tat Matthew speaks again of an earthquake at the moment of the resurrection of Jesus (Mt 28:2). There is no further reference to the story in the New Testament tradition. 
I guarantee you there will be fundamentalist Christians out there who literally believe in all of the resurrections in the New Testament – including those of the ‘many’ saints. To those folk, I would ask them, what happened to the ‘many’ saints who rose from the dead. Where did they go? What were their names? Did they also “conquer” death?
*Accomplished scholars consider the Gospel of Matthew to be anonymous.
 The Resurrection, Geza Vermes, Penguin Books, 2008, p 92
 Ibid. p 92-93
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