The First Christian Creed

How did the first disciples of Jesus talk about the resurrection? There’s a rather clear answer to that question that has strong support from even atheist scholars for its development within a short time after the first Easter Sunday. The Apostle Paul uses the terms of “delivered” and “received” as kind of first century quotation marks to show he is using a source, in this case, the first creed of the Christian church:

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles (1 Corinthians 15:3-7)

Even skeptic scholars, such as Robert Funk, founder of the Jesus Seminar, and Gerd Lüdemann, an atheist scholar, concede the early development of this creed, no later than two to three years after the resurrection. This creed represents what was on the lips of the early disciples after the first Easter. In other words, this creed is nearly as old as Christianity itself.