The Swoon Hypothesis
The swoon hypothesis proposes that Jesus did not die on the cross but was merely unconscious (“swooned”) and was later revived in the tomb. In the 1780, Karl Friedrich Bahrdt suggested that Jesus deliberately feigned his death through drugs and was later resuscitated by Joseph of Arimathea.
One of the biggest proponents of the swoon hypothesis in the modern times is the Muslim preacher Ahmed Deedat. The official Islamic position on the crucifixion is based on this verse: “and for their unbelief, and their uttering against Mary a mighty calumny, and for their saying, ‘We slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, the Messenger of God’ — yet they did not slay him, neither crucified him, only a likeness of that was shown to them” (Quran 4:155).
The aim for the swoon hypothesis proponents is to disprove the resurrection and divinity of Christ. But the swoon hypothesis can easily be disproved for the following reasons:
1-Jesus’ enemies (the Sanhedrin, Pilate, and the Roman guards) that put Him to death made sure that their efforts to kill Him were successful.
2-The soldiers in charge of the crucifixion were professionals in capital punishment. Roman law even inflicted the death penalty on any soldier that failed to effectively carry out his duty.
3-The Roman soldiers broke the legs of the other two crucified with Christ to speed up their death, but they did not break Christ’s legs because they found out that He was already dead (John 19:31-33) .
4-The Roman soldiers pierced Jesus in his side to make sure that He died. And when they did there came ‘blood and water’ which is a sign that He died of asphyxiation (John 19:34-35).
5-Jesus body was wrapped completely with sheets for embalming (John 19:38-42). There is no way that any person in a swoon condition could have escaped the wrappings.
6-The Roman guards fell as dead when they saw the glorious resurrected body of Christ. If Jesus was merely a swooning figure, He would not have had that effect on them.
7-There was a heavy stone at the entrance of the tomb which no single person could move. All the guards posted at the grave site ensured that no group of people could have stolen or rescued Jesus from the tomb.
8-After the Resurrection, Jesus appeared to His disciples with a glorified body but had nail marks in His hands and feet, and a gash in His side (John 20:19-29). He could not have such marks had He not been crucified.
9-The religious leaders circulated a false story which stated that the Roman guards were sleeping on their duty and the disciples stole the body of Jesus (Matthew 28: 11-15). This is most unbelievable for sleeping on duty for the guards meant their death sentence, which was not carried out.
10-The disciples testified that Jesus rose from the dead, a testimony they were willing to die for. No one would be willing to die for a lie.
Thus, the swoon hypothesis cannot be valid.
In His service,