Intro (& update):
I have just uploaded a video on my youtube channel which discusses the substitution hypothesis. Like the last upload on my blog, I will be making a youtube video and a blog upload side by side, hopefully twice a week (depending on my schedule). This would be about the same topic and will hopefully allow you to access the information regardless of where you are. If you can’t watch youtube, you are in a public space for example, you can read the blog, and if you are at home you can just check out my youtube channel instead.
My uploads on youtube will tend to be more in-depth, however if I missed anything out or want to elaborate more on specific points, I will do so in my blog upload which will normally come out within an hour of my video. (just a quick reminder to go check it out and subscribe for more content and interaction)
What is the Substitution Hypothesis?
The Substitution hypothesis is the idea that there was someone who looked like Jesus who replaced Jesus at one of three stages, on the cross, into the tomb, or after the tomb. This switch of people (the substitution) deceived the disciples and also the public that Jesus was alive after his death.
Why this is wrong?
This is perhaps the most extreme hypothesis in the resurrection account, this is why I decided to place it first. Not only is there a lack of historical and Biblical evidence for the existence of this twin or imposter, there is also no reason to believe that it would successfully dupe anyone.
While there are accounts of Jesus having brothers in the Bible and other historical sources, there is only one source which points to the possibility of Jesus having a twin found in the Gospel of Thomas which writes
[I]t has been said that you are my twin and true companionTurner, John. “The Nag Hammadi Library: The Book of Thomas the Contender”. The Gnostic Society Library. Coptic Gnostic Library Project
Yet this is the only place that you can find such a statement. Alongside the fact that the Gospel of Thomas does not make the cut of being in the Bible (it has dubious historical origins), we can see that this isn’t a great source.
Furthermore, even if he had a twin, he probably wouldn’t have been able to fool anybody who was close to Jesus. Even when you have two people who look extremely alike, you can differentiate them pretty quickly, their mannerisms are normally different and they speak in a different way! Nobody is truly “identical”!
Even if it wasn’t Jesus, he wouldn’t have been able to fool everyone that he was Jesus and would have failed in his mission of deceit.
These two rebuttals easily overcome the substitution hypothesis. Do not worry too much if this hypothesis comes up in conversation, it isn’t the strongest one that can be made. Feel free to check out my channel and the video I posted on this topic. Have a great week and hope to see you soon!
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