In Matthew’s account of the resurrection, he says, “a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it.” Even though I phrased it somewhat differently, A.T. Robertson’s comments on this passage are quite reflective of my general response to Dustin:
Clearly not the earthquake of 27:51. The precise time of this earthquake is not given. It was before sunrise on the first day of the week when the women made the next visit. Matthew alone relates the coming of the angel of the Lord who rolled away the stone and was sitting upon it.
There are apparent inconsistencies in the various narratives of the Resurrection and the appearances of the Risen Christ. We do not know enough of the details to be able to reconcile them. But the very variations strengthen the independent witness to the essential fact that Jesus rose from the grave. Let each writer give his own account in his own way.
After I explained this to Dustin, he seemed to understand that Bart Ehrman was making a mistake by essentially labeling added or ommited details as contradictions. It is not as if all four Gospel writers need to say the exact same thing about every event!
Another way to think of it, I told him, is this: Mark, Luke, and John do not say at any point, “There definitely was not an earthquake during the resurrection of Jesus”. If they had, then we would have in Matthew 28:2 something that would constitute an actual contradiction – but we do not.
A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament (Vol.V c1932, Vol.VI c1933 by Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.;Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, 1997), Mt 28:2.