How COULD Jesus Rise from the Dead?

naturalism-of-the-gaps1-625x469 

I began this blog series by pointing out the significance of Jesus’ resurrection in Christianity and the warrant for the topic. I then argued that Christians are not different from any other human beings in terms of their rational and intellectual acumen. In fact, some of the greatest minds mankind has known have been Christians. I also made the point that for any rational person to believe such a miracle, they would need to have a personal experience of it or accept the vast weight of historical evidence attested by eyewitnesses. The question in this post is, “How Could Jesus Rise from the Dead?”…with the emphasis on the word of ability “could.” How is it even remotely possible?

The skeptic may reasonably object to any claim of the veracity of Jesus’ resurrection because resurrections simply do not happen. Dead people—certainly people who died a violent and traumatic death, and who remained dead for three days—do not recover. It is not possible. I would ask: But what about the eyewitnesses and the reliable historical accounts? The skeptic may respond by saying that, at best, history proves those people sincerely thought they saw the resurrected Jesus…but there MUST be a natural explanation, because people do not return to life.

This is the classic case of just about every Sherlock Holmes mystery. The keen detective is presented with a set of clues and circumstances that defy reason. Common men, lesser mortals, are struck with fear. With their intellect thoroughly overwhelmed, they resort to concluding the perpetrator must be some supernatural (spiritual) miscreant at foul play. At times, Sherlock appears to be on the tipping point, in doubt himself. Yet, he reminds himself of his faith in naturalism, musters his intellectual powers, and solves the crime. It was not a ghost or devil, but the handiwork of a mastermind criminal, and each step of the plot is explained, debunking any notion of a spirit. Indeed, everything has a natural explanation.

If I were the victim of a heinous crime, I would certainly want my detective to be such a naturalist. However, the world in which Sherlock Holmes operates, his conviction that the natural or material world is all there is, is not sustainable. Let’s now consider how the theory of naturalism fails under its own weight.

Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Notre Dame University, Alvin Plantinga, offers the following argument, filtered through my own understanding. First, the naturalist is defined as an atheist. The naturalist believes there is no god, no spiritual, or supernatural reality. The naturalist is a materialist. Matter and energy is all that exists. And a naturalist, or materialist, is also an evolutionist. He believes that the world around us, and more importantly we ourselves, exist solely from the means of natural processes. The activities with which we involve ourselves are the results of purely chemical, electro-mechanical mechanisms. Over billions of years, those chemical and electro-mechanical actions and reactions produced life of various forms which have resulted in their successful procreation—or survival. This worldview gives us words such as “instinct.” There is no rhyme or reason, no cognitive motive, just behavior. These instincts have become hard-wired, passed along from generation to generation to ensure survival.

Beyond the behavior of instinct, lies thought. But thought itself is the effect of electro-chemical activity. We all have heard of neurons firing and crossing synapses in the brain. Thought is the activity of neurons and bio-chemistry. Beyond rational thought, lies belief. Belief is more subjective, but also must be the result of electro-chemical activity only.

A quick search on the internet provides plenty of articles of scientists explaining the natural phenomena of faith. They claim to have located the area of the brain responsible for spirituality. For instance, in this article, a professor of health psychology at the University of Missouri stated

“We have found a neuropsychological basis for spirituality, but it’s not isolated to one specific area of the brain,” said Brick Johnstone, professor of health psychology in the School of Health Professions. “Spirituality is a much more dynamic concept that uses many parts of the brain. Certain parts of the brain play more predominant roles, but they all work together to facilitate individuals’ spiritual experiences.

Belief is ultimately irrelevant. What one believes, that is, the why one acts the way he does, has no impact upon the effect of his actions. Results of behavior are isolated from belief. If a behavior results in survivability, who cares what the person believes? That belief can be true or false. Furthermore, the probability of a belief being right or wrong, true or false, must be about 50/50. The same probability must apply to all thought. Therefore, Plantinga argues, the reliability of one’s faculties “is very low.” Since the naturalists’ reasoning faculties are unreliable, then his notion of a materialist-only reality is unreliable. A true naturalist must admit that he cannot have confidence that naturalism is certain.

One likely response is that reliability in rational thinking is high because experiments are reproducible. Technology works, we see it work, it is reliable. However, I must reiterate Plantinga’s point, if naturalism produces unreliable thought processes, then your experiments and your interpretations of those experiments are unreliable. The experiment has been compromised at every level. Each person has at some time come to grips with having been wrong about something. We all have experienced times when we were certain about a thing, only to be humbled and forced to admit that our “reality” was false. Ultimately, Plantinga argues that if one is relying solely on the chemical activity of neurons in the brain for a reliable interpretation of reality, that one must doubt if his neurons have produced a right conclusion.

This argument is a lot like daily life at my job. As an electronics engineer, I make measurements. I measure voltage, current, resistance, and all sorts of signals. I rely on the accuracy of the measurement tools. To ensure the reliability of those measurements, our equipment gets calibrated each year. If I find, after-the-fact, that my measurements were taken with an uncalibrated instrument, then all my data is suspect and the conclusions are dismissed. I must do my work all over again. Plantinga has shown that if the naturalist is consistent with his worldview, he must admit that his data is suspect and his conclusion is unreliable at best.

If the naturalist’s conclusions are potentially false, then logically the opposite is potentially true. A spiritual reality can exist coincident with a physical reality. In such a case, miracles like the resurrection can indeed occur; and the evidence provided in the previous blog supports the claim that they did occur.

Distinguished professor of Mathematics at Oxford University, John Lennox, explains that the naturalist vs. theist debate is not new. It has existed since antiquity. And he makes the point that the two are indeed simply worldviews—how one interprets the world. The naturalist likes to think that his view is a lock-tight truth based on unbiased empirical evidence, science. But it is not the case. The fact that the community of leading scientists is comprised of both believers in God and non-believers shows that belief exists on a deeper level than science alone. Ultimately, the worldview one adopts is based on faith. I will give an example.

I asked my non-Christian co-worker why he did not believe in Jesus Christ? He answered that the Bible was just too myth-like. He could not accept stories such as a snake speaking or Noah’s ark that drew animals from all over the world. Furthermore, he was unwilling to simply believe what men had written in a book. I asked him that if did not believe the Bible, that God had created the world, then what did he believe? How did everything we see come to be? He answered that he believed in Darwinian Evolution—the Earth is billions of years old and that life formed from primordial soup and over time evolved into what we now see. I went on to ask how he knows that is the case? Have you witnessed the evolution of a life form? Of course he had not witnessed it, for no individual has. So, if you have not witnessed it, then how did you come to believe it? He said that he believed what he was taught in school. I asked, “You read it in a book written by men?” The point was obvious.

The summary of this blog post is that the answer to the question, “How COULD Jesus Rise from the Dead?” is: Jesus could rise from the dead if reality is not limited to a naturalistic materialism. In a theistic world, a man can be raised from the dead. Furthermore, this post points out that naturalism is an assumption, a belief, a worldview and not the “slam dunk,” sine qua non that society has blindly accepted.

 

 

 

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Did Jesus Rise From the Dead?

The question before us in this post is “Did Jesus rise from the dead?” As the two previous blogs indicated, the resurrection is prominent in the good news of Jesus. It is the point upon which all of Christianity pivots. It, being concomitant to the cross, is the nexus of Biblical faith. Furthermore, the resurrection serves to bridge material and spiritual reality. (I may have just lost the materialist.) The cry of the skeptic goes something like this: “show me God and I’ll believe.” The resurrection is his evidence. Rather than God writing His name across the sky or speaking audibly and repeatedly from Heaven, He spoke finally through His Son, Jesus—a living, breathing, person from a remote town in the middle East…the One by whom our calendars mark the years. Yeah, that one.

It is no small point to say there were eyewitnesses to his life:

What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life—and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us—what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. (1 John 1:1-3)

 

If Jesus’s resurrection was indeed an historical event, then there should be evidence to affirm it; otherwise there should be evidence to refute the claim. An historical claim can be accurately researched. There are recognized guidelines, techniques, “science” used to investigate past events and people. The homicide investigator uses forensic science to gather information, clues, in order to establish the facts surrounding the past. Likewise, historians of antiquities use science: the study of ancient documents—particularly philology as a study of source criticism especially the Greek New Testament—, archaeology which involves the “hard sciences,” as well as anthropology. Surely, the materialist has no problem with science’s ability to accurately portray the past. Is this confidence not the foundation upon which the studies of the origin of the universe and evolution are built? Our task here should be much easier, as we are going back a mere 2,000 years and remaining on Earth rather than going back billions and billions of years looking into the vast cosmos.

One pertinent academic discipline akin to philology is historiography. The Mirriam-Webster definition is: the writing of history based on the critical examination of sources, the selection of particulars from the authentic materials, and the synthesis of particulars into a narrative that will stand the test of critical methods. Having original sources is ideal for historians. When original sources are not available, then secondary sources are used, and so on. Therefore, it is completely logical that the nearer a source is to the time of the person and events, the better. Furthermore, the higher number of supporting sources that corroborate, the better. As with any investigation, a reliable eye-witness, even multiple corroborating eye-witnesses is “golden.”

A major historian of Jesus’s resurrection is Christian professor and author Gary Habermas. Dr. Habermas puts forth what he calls the “minimal facts” argument, which I will summarize in this post. I find it to be a compelling argument. Before the skeptic balks at my using a Christian to defend Jesus’s resurrection, let me offer two counter-points to the objection that a Christian historian must be biased who undoubtedly will produce skewed conclusions. First, if a so-called unbiased person does the homework well, carefully researches a matter, stands up well to academic scrutiny, and the results lead him to act upon those conclusions to the degree that he becomes a “believer,” does that subsequent belief negate the research? It cannot. His “conversion” merely proves his character and integrity to respond personally and consistently with his research. I would be more suspicious of the character of a person who says “I conclude ‘X’ but remain ‘anti-X.’” Or, if a biased person does that same level of good research and his bias is strengthened, does that invalidate the research? Surely not. Though everyone’s research must stand the test of careful scrutiny, one’s bias does not automatically disqualify the research. This is the case with Dr. Habermas. His research was motivated by his own personal struggles of doubt about Christianity.

Secondly, if the “biased” person acknowledges his bias and then applies, not his own criteria, but the criteria of his opponents, to his research, would that help quench the suspicion of bias and appease the skeptic? I hope so. What else could be asked of him? It would respectfully identify common ground upon which both parties could proceed. Surely, that approach would be the only way dialogue and knowledge could healthily progress between them. Someone has to compromise (in a good way) their own beliefs in order to accommodate the other. That is exactly what Dr. Habermas does with his “minimal facts” argument. He restricts his dialogue to these “least common denominators” of agreement, recognized within critical, skeptical scholarship among credible subject-matter experts. It is only right to limit the debates to the academicians for obvious reasons…they are the ones who have done the homework and who have been recognized. It promotes the best possible measures of quality control.

Habermas’s criteria for a minimal fact is:

Each event had to be established by more than adequate scholarly evidence, and usually by several critically-ascertained, independent lines of argumentation. Additionally, the vast majority of contemporary scholars in relevant fields had to acknowledge the historicity of the occurrence. Of the two criteria, I have always held that the first is by far the most crucial, especially since this initial requirement is the one that actually establishes the historicity of the event. Besides, the acclamation of scholarly opinion may be mistaken or it could change.[1]

He also accommodates the skeptic by NOT basing his minimal facts on either the reliability or inspiration of the Bible. He offers these premises regarding the Bible and proof of the resurrection:

  1. If one concedes the Bible is Inspired, then the resurrection happened
  2. If one concedes the Bible is Reliable, then the resurrection happened
  3. IF one concedes the Bible is a book of ancient literature—and everyone does—, then the resurrection happened.

The third premise is his claim.

Some convenient data, but not necessary to the argument, is:

The empty tomb is accepted by 75% of true scholars.

The other data in his minimal facts argument is accepted by 95-100%.

How can such percentages be authenticated? He says it is from empirical data, “I counted.” Habermas claims to have catalogued critical scholars and their positions from 1975-2012 citing 3400 resources in French, German, and English, using 140 subcategories, amounting to 600 pages.

Habermas’s minimal facts include:

  1. Jesus died due to crucifixion.
  2. His disciples had experiences that they thought were appearances of the risen Jesus.
  3. Their lives were transformed because of this conviction.
  4. As a result, they proclaimed this message very soon after Jesus’ death, actually within weeks.
  5. A man named Saul of Tarsus was converted to Jesus Christ by what he

also concluded was a personal appearance of the risen Jesus to him.

These minimal facts present early, eyewitness accounts. They are multiple primary sources. Remember, this is the best possible scenario for historiographers.

The date of Jesus’s undisputed crucifixion was ~30 A.D. Among the seven or so New Testament books that are recognized as authentic is Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, dated at 55 A.D or 25 years after the crucifixion. In that letter he claims a personal experience of the risen Jesus, three years after the crucifixion. He also records that at the time of the resurrection, Jesus appeared to 500 witnesses including Jesus’s own skeptical brother James. These eyewitnesses obviously put the time between the sources and the event at “Time Zero.”

The importance of these dates can be understood when you consider again historiography. From a historiography perspective, Paul’s writing twenty-five years after the resurrection is almost a ridiculously close timeframe. By comparison, Alexander the Great whose authenticity is not doubted. No one doubts Alexander the Great lived and conquered the world. There are no copies of historians who wrote during his life.

If you would like to view Dr. Habermas’s lecture on the minimal facts argument, you can do so here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5znVUFHqO4Q

This blog presents a very brief explanation of arguably the best, critical evidence for the historicity of Jesus’s resurrection. In the forthcoming blogs, I will consider some of the objections raised by skeptics. I would like to leave the skeptic with these thoughts, if you find the historical research to be reliable, then your argument for scientific evidence is satisfied, your exclusively materialistic worldview has been disproven, your demand for God to make Himself plain has been satisfied. The question then is: Will you believe Him? And if not, why not?

[1]http://garyhabermas.com/articles/southeastern_theological_review/minimal-facts-methodology_08-02-2012.htm, accessed March 5, 2017.

How Can Christians Possibly Believe Jesus Was Raised from the Dead?

faith-reasonIs the Resurrection of Jesus Believable?

The first blog post is in this series explained the warrant behind asking the question “Is the Resurrection of Jesus Believable?” and it challenged the Christian church to make Jesus’ resurrection the primary part of personal evangelism and to give it a prominent position in its teaching ministry. The short explanation for that challenge is: because the resurrection is the Gospel. I mean that the resurrection encompasses all of the component parts of the Gospel of Jesus Christ—the resurrection validates the cross; it validates Jesus’ claim of deity, it validates all of Jesus’ teachings; it validates the Old Testament and the New Testament, the entirety of redemptive history from creation to glory even eternity past and eternity future. All of those glorious theological truth claims, all of those supreme matters of faith in a God who cannot be seen rest upon this single historical event. Paul knew this. Otherwise he could not have written to the Corinthians, “and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.”

The remaining blog posts will try to persuade the skeptic, and the Christian alike, that not only could the resurrection happen, but that it did happen. Where do we begin? I’ll begin where I perceive the skeptics are coming from… “it just seems ridiculous.” I get that. Why should anyone give the story of the resurrection of Jesus a second thought? Furthermore, even if Jesus was raised from the dead, how does that validate his claim of deity and all of Christianity? It seems utterly absurd and irrational. People do not, cannot be raised from the dead.

Yet millions of Christians believe it and entrust their never-dying souls to Jesus because of it. Generally speaking, these are not unthinking people. As fellow human beings, Christians do not differ from non-Christians in intellect and rationality. That bastion of unquestionable research, Wikipedia, cites: “According to [the book] 100 Years of Nobel Prize (2005), a review of Nobel prizes awarded between 1901 and 2000, 65.4% of Nobel Prize Laureates, have identified Christianity in its various forms as their religious preference (427 prizes).”[1] Certainly, this does not prove the resurrection and is not an appeal to Nobel Prize winners as authorities, rather it simply supports the point that the Christian faith, grounded in the story of the resurrection of Jesus, is believed by many people whom our society acknowledges as the intellectual elite.

isaac-newton

With Christians intellects like Isaac Newton, Blaise Pascal, C.S. Lewis, John Lennox, Ravi Zacharias, and Alister McGrath (just to list some of my favorite geniuses off the top of my head), I think it is safe to say that the resurrection of Jesus has been believed by some rather brilliant people throughout the ages. Furthermore, I would venture to say that most Christians, at least those I associate with, do not typically entertain fantastical stories as believable stories. For instance, modern day accounts of miracles like resurrections, exorcisms, weeping statues, and healings are rightly met with skepticism by many—me included. I would demand irrefutable proof before accepting any of those things as fact. Furthermore, I really have no desire to even investigate those claims. I do not rely on them as evidence for my faith nor do I fear that if they prove fraudulent that my faith and the claims of Christ are in any way threatened or diminished. I am inclined to think the stereotypical TV evangelists who purportedly demonstrate faith healing and so-called “words of knowledge” are false teachers, maybe even shysters (since I do not know any personally, I cannot say with certainty that they are crooks). But, I outright dismiss all preachers whose message smells of the “health and wealth gospel.”  Paul’s words still ring true today:

For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain.

But I digress.

grapevineAdmittedly, most Christians work backwards in the thinking process, in their logic. Of the many Christian testimonies I’ve heard over my 50 years in the church, almost always I hear of faith coming before intellectual pursuit. That is, most Christians do not come to faith after a logical review of the historic evidence of the resurrection of Jesus; rather, they attribute their belief to a personal experience with the risen Christ, then they begin to make sense of it and study the Bible. Understanding the events as historical comes later. Just because faith is not first deduced from scientific or historic evidence, does not make it irrational. Actually, the process is quite rational. Think about it, the only way a rational person would be persuaded of a miracle is to witness it firsthand. Do we not all relate to the skeptic’s mantra from Marvin Gaye’s I Heard it Through the Grapevine, “People say, believe half of what you see, son, and none of what you hear?” The genuine Christian will tell you that something spiritual happened TO him. Something—rather, some-One— from outside of himself penetrated him, reached into his soul and changed him. They did not physically see or hear the risen Jesus, but they did, and still do, experience Him. The Bible expresses this experience in terms of being “born again” or having been spiritually deaf, they now hear, spiritually blind they now see, and having been spiritually dead, they are now alive. With new spiritual eyes, they read the Scriptures and believe them to be true. It is after-the-fact that the Christian goes on to investigate the historical evidence and are intellectually satisfied to find the record is “legit.” Some investigate first, but most people I’ve heard experience what I described.

I would also propose that it is the very rare Christian who can defend the legitimacy of Jesus’ resurrection using empirical data. As a result, Christians become easy targets for claims of “fideism,”—a negative term for having “blind faith,” where “blind” means irrational, unthinking, or ignorant. When challenged, most Christians can only refer to some Bible verses. And so, they come off looking like “fundamentalists” or “Bible thumpers” whose only argument is “because the Bible says so.” This works if they speak only among themselves, with other Christians. Other Christians get it. After all, Jesus taught that childlike faith is genuine faith. It can be argued perhaps that the doubters are the weaker ones…only doubters seek affirmation from empirical support, e.g. “Doubting Thomas.” I’ve known Christians, myself included, who teach that since “The Gospel is the power of God to salvation” (Romans 1:16), we ideally just need to get unbelievers to read the words for themselves or at least present a Gospel formula to them—pearl-string verses like quoting “the Romans road.” But to the skeptic, a Christian who exudes “because the Bible says so” is enough to squelch any further dialogue. Jesus often confounded His detractors with superior reasoning, which included Bible verses, but more often he presented Bible truth in a logical and relatable way—like parables. Also, the Apostle Paul regularly argued from the Scriptures. Paul was a highly educated religious lawyer. His letter to the Romans, his “Magnum Opus” is a well-reasoned argument. The point is that while childlike faith is to be lauded for its trusting God, there is a time and place for adult reasoning for the faith. That was obviously true then, and it is just as true for today.

circular_reasoning_standard

Perhaps to some readers I’ve merely confirmed the skeptic’s suspicions that Christians are using “circular reasoning,” which is not reasoning at all. Did I not state that we Christians come to the debate with pre-conceived conclusions, biased toward seeing only what we want to see rather than using pure, objective research…like they do. Or do they?

Getting back to my alien and the Iowa farmer analogy…why would otherwise rational people (Christians) believe the resurrection of Jesus, especially 2,000 years removed from the supposed event? And why should Christians press the skeptic to believe when they seemingly do the same thing the skeptic does when confronted with fantastical stories?

I begin answering with, and arguing for, the uniqueness of Jesus’s miracles and especially His resurrection. While I am skeptical of modern-day miracles, I do allow for the possibility of miracles. One reason why they can happen is because they have happened. One difference between the Christian and the skeptic is the Christian believes in a very particular theism while most skeptics, secularists, believe in naturalism or materialism. That means Christians believe in an unseen, spiritual reality, specifically that which the Bible accounts for, while most skeptics believe in a purely material world.

The next blog post will present a detailed argument for the historical evidence drawn largely from Gary Habermas’s “minimal facts” argument. It should interest the skeptic and Christian alike that the resurrection can be substantiated using the skeptics’ own criteria!

 

[1]Wikipedia, “List of Christian Nobel Laureates,” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christian_Nobel_laureates#CITEREFShalev2003, accessed December 24, 2016

Evidence

 

I polled my Facebook friends and asked a few co-workers which of these assignment topics is more important to them?

(1) “Is the Resurrection of Jesus Believable?”

(2) “Is Jesus Really the Only Way to Heaven?”

(3) “Why Would God Judge People for the Way They Live?”

(4) “Isn’t It Arrogant to Claim Your God Alone is Real?”

I took the poll to find out which question really matters to people, rather just crank out the easiest assignment. I hope this blog series will be a help to someone. I think the question I chose is the most important, challenging the non-Christian and the Christian alike. So, before I dig into the question, I need to explain why I picked it.

The results of my polling were very interesting, mainly because of the diverse group of people I approached. My FB friends are predominately evangelical Christians from the South. By contrast, my co-workers are a slice of New England—a mixed bag of practicing Catholics, nominal Catholics, non-religious secularists, and the anti-religious. Several are electrical engineers with Master’s degrees, including two Russian, secular Jews—one of whom I’d describe as “spiritual” and the other an agnostic-leaning atheist (his words) who said all the questions are the same:  “unimportant” because they come to the same conclusion of a “God” who does not exist.

So, which question won? (drum roll please)

coexist

The most popular response was number 2: “Is Jesus really the only way to Heaven?” That is not too surprising considering that pluralism is so heavily promoted in our culture. The second most popular choice number 4: “Isn’t it arrogant to claim your God alone is real?” I think that question is pretty much the same question as number 2, only with an emotional component. Speaking of emotion, one of my co-workers responded to the list with a hearty, “Oh Hell yeah, number 4!”  Number 3 was next in line with surprisingly very little fanfare: “Why Would God Judge People for the Way They Live?” With the mantra “Don’t judge!” so prevalent in our society, I thought for sure it would garner a higher ranking. The unequivocal loser of the poll, and therefore the LEAST important and LEAST relevant to Christians and non-Christians alike, was number 1: “Is the resurrection of Jesus believable?”  Now here’s the plot twist: that is the question I picked to write about! Hmmm…If I want to write about that which is MOST relevant, why pick the one that everyone agreed is LEAST important?

I asked myself, “Why did that one evoke the least interest?” The more I thought about it, the more I determined it HAS to be the one I write about because it is the proverbial “elephant in the room.” Think about it. Modern Christians don’t talk about the resurrection much, especially to non-Christians; and non-Christians dismiss it as myth. I can understand why non-Christians dismiss it. But why aren’t Christians thinking and talking about it in order to confront the non-Christian with it? After all, is it not the most spectacular demonstration of God’s existence and validation of Christ’s claims? Is it not at the very heart of our faith? I think if Christians were transparent, they’d agree that talking about the resurrection is very awkward. Do we really believe it? Or could it be that we subconsciously adopt the skeptic’s mind and feel a sense of absurdity behind such a claim? Do we inwardly agree with them…that we might as well claim that a UFO landed in a remote cornfield in Iowa and a space alien told some farmer to tell others to believe him or else the earth will be destroyed by his “Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator?” (My millennial readers can check out that iconic cultural reference here.)

martian

I think Christians and non-Christians alike unwittingly and wrongly dismiss the resurrection as irrelevant. My experience is that Christians do not bring up the resurrection in their evangelism—I know I haven’t—even though we read throughout the New Testament that it is THE VERY MESSAGE OF THE GOSPEL. (Sorry for e-yelling, but it is that important.) We try to relate to our non-Christian friends by talking to them about common experiences such as life’s many problems and tell them that Jesus gives us hope, love, and answers. Or the more bold (and precise) of us confront unbelievers about the problem of sin and rebellion against a holy God and tell them that the only way of forgiveness, reconciliation, and peace with God is through repentance and faith in Jesus. All of those things are true. But they still don’t mention the resurrection.  Should we mention it? If we follow the example (dictate?) of The Apostles, then absolutely. The resurrection was foremost in their evangelism.  Consider the very first sermon ever preached by a Christian, recorded by the preeminent Christian historian, Luke, in Acts 2:14-ff. He writes that Peter proclaimed

Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know—this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.

Also, the Apostle Paul preached Jesus’s resurrection and defended his message as the genuine Christian gospel, confirmed by the most imminent authorities of the Christian church— those closest to Jesus Himself— James (the brother of Jesus), Peter, and John. He said, “I submitted to them the gospel which I preach among the Gentiles…for fear that I might be running, or had run, in vain and those who were of reputation contributed nothing to me.”  (Galatians 1 and 2).

 

Paul clearly cited the resurrection as essential to salvation in 1 Corinthians 15:

Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved…For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then [He appeared] to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then [He appeared] to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.

Paul went beyond his fellow Jews with his gospel of the resurrection, and preached to the Greeks. Remember, that was in ancient Athens—the birthplace of philosophy: Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle— at the Areopagus itself. Granted, it was about 350 years after Aristotle. But considering we, 2400 years and a world away, know who Aristotle was, it is safe to say the Greeks in first century Athens were serious about philosophy   Luke recorded the event and commented, “And also some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers were conversing with him. Some were saying, ‘What would this idle babbler wish to say?’ Others, ‘He seems to be a proclaimer of strange deities,’—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection.

Furthermore, (back to 1 Corinthians 15) Paul explained:

Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain…and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthlesswe are of all men most to be pitied.

There you have the skeptic’s mind on the matter. They say to us that Christ has not been raised from the dead and Christians are to be most pitied for believing such foolishness.

Again, I think my friends and co-workers have exposed a most significant problem in our day by NOT picking question number 1. They are communicating that the resurrection of Jesus is unimportant and not even on the radar of interest. Modern Christians typically do not include the resurrection in their evangelism—which begs several questions: Do they really believe it? Are they overwhelmingly hesitant to admit it for fear of appearing foolish and pitiful in our scientifically advanced world? Or, have pastors failed to communicate the importance of it? Whatever the reasons, the church has marginalized the resurrection. If Christians ignore the resurrection message, then non-Christians surely aren’t going to think about it either!

In this blog, I must first challenge the church with this observation. If we fail to include the resurrection in our conversations, are we unwittingly guilty of Paul’s rebuke to the Galatian church and dangerously close to preaching a false gospel?— “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! …For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men?

Secondly, I have to do what I am challenging the rest of the church to do—persuade the non-Christian of a few things; namely, that not only could the resurrection of Jesus happen but it did happen, that belief in the resurrection is rational, not irrational, and finally, there are subsequent life-changing implications due to the fact of the resurrection.

Addendum for Presuppositionalists The Fingerprints of God: Proving God Through Science part 7

 

This addendum to my blog series is given as a disclaimer of sorts, and as another teaching opportunity. I think it is necessary for me to explain my current position on why and how I could publicly post a reasoned defense of the existence of God using science, when I consider myself a Reformed Baptist. For, most adherents of Reformed Theology in our day align themselves exclusively with Presuppositionalism…seeing absolutely no place or purpose for such a discussion. Actually, there are those who go so far as to say it is unbiblical to do so. But I disagree. I also am an evidentialist, because I believe the Bible uses both apologetic philosophies. I believe they both have a proper place in defending the faith.

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Presuppositionalism

The term “Presuppositionalism” refers to that apologetic philosophy set forth by Cornelius Van Til at Westminster Theological Seminary from 1929 to 1972. The term refers to those things that Christians know, or presuppose, about God as revealed through the Bible. From verses such as Romans 1:18-ff, we learn, via special revelation, that mankind inherently knows there is a God, but that alone is insufficient for saving faith. In fact, the passage tells us that men even suppress the minimal knowledge of God they do have. By contrast, Christians have been given the very Spirit of God who sheds the light of truth, saving knowledge as set forth in the Bible, in them. Saving faith is a gift of God, supernaturally and Providentially given to them. Therefore, they have a completely different worldview than the unconverted. And since salvation is imparted TO men, the only worthwhile communication in our apologetics is the Truth of God’s word.

Christian theologian John Frame explains, “These facts pose a problem for apologetics. Non-Christians do not share the presuppositions we have discussed. Indeed, they presuppose the contrary, as they suppress the truth. The job of the apologist, trusting in God’s grace, is to persuade the non-Christian that the biblical presuppositions are true.” (“Presuppositional Apologetics”  May 23, 2012. Article found here.)

Frame further explains the position by showing us that if the apologist (evangelist) attempts to meet the unconverted man where he is in his thinking, accepting the atheist’s own presuppositions for the sake of argument, then he cannot help but come to wrong conclusions. It is argued that the Christian’s place is to proclaim Christian truth so that God can use that appointed means to bring salvation. To apply this to my blog, the presuppositionalists would point out that it does no good to defend the faith using science, because science and human reasoning will not bring the soul to be in conflict with his sin and show him his need for Jesus as Savior.

Those are all points well taken. And I indeed agree that there is no salvation via science. I disagree that it is the ONLY weapon in our God-given arsenal.

Classical Apologetics

I have to admit that my adoption of evidentialism, along with Presuppositionalism, into my apologetic system is in large part due to the book Classical Apologetics: A Rational Defense of the Christian Faith and a Critique of Presuppositional Apologetics by R.C. Sproul, John Gerstner, and Arthur Lindsley. (You can view a brief summary by R.C. Sproul in this video clip.) The book argues that Presuppositionalism is really nothing more than fideism. Fideism as defined by Webster’s dictionary is “A reliance on faith rather than reason in pursuit of religious truth.” Sproul uses it pejoratively, claiming that the Christian church, merely followed liberal theology and post-modernism having “been severely crippled by the Enlightenment. Ours is perhaps the most anti-intellectual era of Christian history, despite our positive support for scholarship, research and technology (Classical Apologetics, pg. 12). He argues in the book that the very goal of the Apostle Peter’s appeal for us in 1 Peter 3:15 is to give a reasoned defense of or faith. I have to agree with Sproul, et.al., on this. We see Paul reasoning with the Jews. Acts 17:2 “And according to Paul’s custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures.” True, it says “From the scriptures.” But later in verses 22-31, we read of Paul also standing the midst of the Aeropagus and using the Greek gods as a launching point for reasoning with them.

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Evidentialism

Evidentialism is part of Classical apologetics. I separated here to point out that it is the specific rational argumentation that focuses on “Evidence.” And evidence was such a huge part of my blog series as it dealt with Intelligent Design. The Intelligent Design philosophy is one sophisticated and detailed presentation of the Cosmological and Teleological arguments. That is, it looks at the universe and all it contains and reasons that the complexity and orderliness and grandeur of it all proves God. Furthermore, due to the basic knowledge that every effect had a cause, the first cause is God—the only truly eternal, and self-existing being. I am fine with using this approach as well because I think Jesus also used evidentialism.

In John 10:38, Jesus was again confronting the Jews and proclaiming His deity to them. They naturally picked up stones to kill Him for it. In His discourse with them, Jesus said to them, “do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.” In this one episode, we see Jesus both proclaiming truth (score for the presuppositionalists) and also appealing to them using evidence (score for the classicists and evidentialists).  Also there was the time Jesus dealt with “Doubting” Thomas as recorded in John 20: 27 “Then He said to Thomas, ‘Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.’” Clearly Jesus condescended and met Thomas where he was, so to speak.

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Personally

For the reasons given above, I am inclined to incorporate both systems of apologetics in my evangelism. I think it is perfectly biblical and Christlike to be—as John said of Jesus—full of grace and truth. Being full of grace, I would argue, means being respectful to people and starting the conversation from where they are.

I have had many occasions to do this in my line of work in the technology field. I work with people who are highly educated in the field of science, typically Electrical Engineers. They are thoroughly a thinking, and highly analytical group of people. And like most in our world, they have been indoctrinated into the evolutionary theory of origins. The Bible to them is simply myth and they see Christians stereotypically as fideists who ignore science. Admittedly, I have never “reasoned” anyone into the Christianity. I do not think the classical apologist would every claim that could be done either. But what a classical and evidentialist approach has done, is gain there respect and challenged their worldview. And when it is done winsomely, it surely puts us and him in a better position to proclaim the truths of God’s word.

 

The Fingerprints of God: Proving God Through Science part 6

 

The skeptic of our day thinks he has a lock-tight, impenetrable argument for denying the existence of God by demanding the Christian prove God scientifically before he will believe in God. He makes such a demand because he truly believes it is an impossible task. It is really a rhetorical demand meant simply to proclaim his own faith in materialistic scientism. Nevertheless, the arguments discussed in this blog shows that we can actually provide him with evidence that science can and has proven the existence of God. The Intelligent Design community has provided ample, quality, scientific proof of the existence of God in nature. The type of science used is not quite what the skeptic had in mind; but, he needs to come to grips with the fact that legitimate “science” is not limited to so-called empirical evidence produced in a laboratory. “Empirical Evidence” is often the “best explanation” of secondary evidence. That is what the study of origins is all about. For the skeptic to not accept historical science as science, would mean he would also have to abandon all adherence to evolution that is if he wants to not be a hypocrite.

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Going Farther Than Intelligent Design

The existence of God is proven scientifically by common observations of the world around us as well as by sophisticated, molecular biology. However, I went further than Intelligent Designers by stating that the same type of abductive reasoning or historical science that Stephen Meyer uses to prove an Intelligent Designer has long been used to prove the veracity of the Bible. The clues gathered in paleography, for one, lead us to the best conclusion that the Bible is a reliable, ancient, historical document. Many volumes have been written about the historical evidence—internal and external biblical information—proving that Jesus also existed as the Bible reports.

Since the historical evidence surrounding the Bible and Jesus is reliable, then the claims of the Bible must be taken as true. They are true because they are not mere religious platitudes, but are based on historical accounts. These words of Jesus are critical: “If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.” The point here is that the teachings and claims of Jesus were proven to be true by the miraculous works He performed. It is a bit ironic, that the skeptic also often asserts that in order for him to believe in God, God would have to “write it in the sky.” That is, God would have to perform some miracle that would make His existence utterly undeniable. Well, He did, in the person and work of Christ. But, rather than repeating some sky-writing miracle for every person in every age, Jesus performed many miracles for two years as God incarnate and the accounts are available for us to read and believe. Of course, the most important of His miracles was his resurrection. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.” (That does not sound like the words of a man trying to deceive the world.)

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Jesus is the Intelligent Designer

What does this have to do with proving that Jesus is the creator and not some Hindu demi-god? The answer lies in the difference between mythology and history. The Bible is an authentic historic document and Jesus is an authentic person of history. The scientifically proven Bible and the scientifically proven Jesus teach us that Jesus is the Intelligent Designer. Jesus is the Creator. The Bible states it emphatically in Colossians 1:16 “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.” Another verse is Hebrews 1:1-2 “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.”

The connection between Genesis 1 and Jesus is an interesting exercise in Biblical Theology. Of course Genesis 1 is the account of God creating the world, “In the beginning, God (Elohim) created the heavens and the earth.” Each new day of creation is prefaced with, “Then God said, ‘Let there be….’” We also know that the Spirit of God was an active agent. Genesis 1:2 “…and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.” Then, we also note that God reveals He is a plurality of persons, Genesis 1:26, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.” The next revelatory milestone takes place at the “burning bush” with Moses.

God, the Creator in Genesis 1, summons his servant Moses while Moses was tending sheep on Mt. Horeb. God identifies Himself as the same God of the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The purpose of the encounter was to commission Moses to free the nation of Israel from Egypt. Moses asked God what he should tell the people if they ask, “What is His [God’s] name?” God said that his name is, “I AM WHO I AM.” Thus, the covenant name of God was established, which we transliterate as “Yahweh.” This name is what links God, the creator, to the God of Israel, and later to Jesus.

If we fast-forward about fifteen hundred years, from the burning bush to Jesus confronting the Pharisees, the link between the Creator and Christ is completed. The scribes and Pharisees were the Jewish leaders who opposed Jesus and His claim of being the long-awaited Messiah. In John chapter 8, these Jews again approached Jesus in an attempt to trap Him with legal questions—this particular episode involved an adulterous woman. In the course of the conversation, Jesus repeatedly refers to God as His Father. He provokes these Jews by contrasting His Father, God, with their father, the devil. They respond that “Abraham is our father.” Later, they ask Jesus “Surely You are not greater than our father Abraham, who died?” Jesus claims, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” That statement confounded them thoroughly because it was impossible for Abraham to have seen Jesus who was by their estimation, “not yet fifty years old.” It was at this point that Jesus makes this supremely important statement, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.” The gravity of that pronouncement prompted the Jews to “pick up stones to throw at Him.” They were, in their minds, doing was lawful and stoning someone who uttered blasphemy. Jesus’ use of the words, “I am” communicated that He was assuming that most holy covenant name of God, Yahweh or “I am.”

Trinitarianism is a cardinal doctrine of Christian theology. Episodes like the one above clearly teach that Jesus was God, God the Son. The Athanasian Creed gives the fullest expression of the biblical doctrine of the Trinity where it states

That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity, neither confounding the persons, nor dividing the substance. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit. But the godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, is all one, the glory equal, the majesty co-eternal.

For these reasons we know that Jesus, the Son of God, co-equal with the Father and Spirit, was present and active in creating the heavens and the earth in Genesis 1.

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Conclusion

Dear reader, I hope you have found this blog series helpful for your own faith and in your defense of the Christian faith to the skeptic. I have presented merely the “tip of the iceberg” on the topic of proving the existence of God using science. Perhaps in an upcoming addendum to this series, I can address those brothers who take issue with the very thought of trying to “prove” God using science. What I hope that you and they take away from this venture is that we live in a world where scientism is the religion du jour. It is a false religion, but it is a prevalent religion in which our neighbors are indoctrinated from all areas of society, especially in education. Therefore, if we can winsomely, respectfully, and lovingly offer them reasoned, informed, perspectives about God from their worldview, we may very well be turning the soil of their consciences in preparation for the seed of the Gospel.

The Fingerprints of God: Proving God Through Science part 5

If you have been following my argumentation in this blog series, you know that I have laid out the Intelligent Design position as set forth by Dr. Steven Meyer in The Signature in the Cell, flavored with my input as a Semiconductor Failure Analysis Engineer. The Intelligent Design philosophy interprets scientific data and concludes that a paradigm shift is needed in the scientific community. They argue, and I think successfully, that Darwinism fails to hold up under the “quality control” system of science.

From a theological viewpoint, Intelligent Design is limited because it operates in the realm of “General Revelation”—revelation about God that is known generally, by all people observing the natural world. That means that it can tell us THAT there is a Designer, but it cannot identify WHO that Designer is. Anti-religionist and scientist Jerry Coyne uses that fact to argue against religion’s claim for God altogether. In refuting Alvin Plantinga on the point that men have an inherent knowledge of God, Coyne says, “even if we had such divinely installed sensus, it’s not evidence of Plantingas’ Christian God as opposed to any other God” (Faith Vs. Fact, pg. 179). The same would apply to any scientific evidence that could be conceded. In other words, he is stating that if one could convincingly prove God using science, it would not tell us whether that God is the God of the Bible or any one of the thousands of Hindu gods, etc.

However, I think the same methodology of abductive reasoning that Meyer uses to prove a Designer can prove that the Designer is none other than the God of the Bible, Jesus Christ. In order to accomplish this task, I will divide the parts into proving the veracity of the Bible and then the historicity of Jesus. If the two are true, then the claims of the Bible by and about Jesus are true.

In Chapter 18 of Signature in the Cell, Meyer lays out four distinctive characteristics of historical science that support his reason for defining Intelligent Design as science. Likewise, in my opinion, the wealth of literature that has been generated and artifacts discovered over the centuries has proven the authenticity and veracity of the Bible, including the person and works of Jesus Christ.

History is Science

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In a previous blog, I used the example of Napoleon as a historical figure that no sane person doubts existed. There are paintings of his likeness, artifacts, documents, and his political and historical legacy that authenticates his existence. Obviously, as we travel farther back in time, historical records become fewer due to decay and the lack of wide-scale production. Yet, there is a science devoted to authenticating ancient works. The Bible, by far, has been the most scrutinized book in history with fierce opposition to it, even though it stands head-and-shoulder above its contemporary, ancient works. The information on this subject is prevalent. I will therefore, summarize the main points and provide internet resources for you to read more thoroughly on it.

The most common “reason” I have heard from non-Christians for not trusting the Bible is, “It has been copied and recopied so many times that we cannot know if what we have today is actually what was originally written.” I always respond to these skeptics by saying, “I understand how you could think that and it seems reasonable to you. However, have you ever studied how the Bible was handed down? Are you aware that thousands of partial manuscripts exist with some dating to the 2nd century and that scholars have meticulously combed through them and have confirmed that we have accurate translations?” The answer is always, “no”—in my experience. I also inform them that the Bible was not a single book that was passed along linearly. To use computer terms, it was not transmitted serially, but in parallel.

Ancient Manuscripts

CARM (Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry) has a table of comparative data showing the Bible’s superiority to other ancient documents in terms of reliability. I have come across this data in many other settings and understand it to be accurate. The reliability of ancient manuscripts considers the span of time between the original writing and the first extant copy, the number of copies, and the accuracy of those copies when compared to one another. The closer in time between the original writing and the first copy, the better. For the sake of brevity, I will compare only two to the Bible, Aristotle and Homer’s Iliad. To begin with, I have never found anyone who doubts the existence of either Aristotle or Homer. I know of no one concerned with or doubting that Homer is the author of the Iliad. According to the chart mentioned and linked above, Aristotle wrote his works between 384 and 322 B.C. The oldest copy is from A.D. 1100, which is 1,400 years removed from its original. There are 49 copies. Apparently, the accuracy of those copies has not been quantified. Homer’s Iliad was written in 900 B.C. The oldest copy comes 500 years later, in 400 B.C. There are 643 copies with a 95% accuracy rate. The New Testament was written as separate letters and historical accounts from 50 to 100 A.D. The oldest copy (which is a fragment of the Gospel of John, known as “P52” or “Rylands Library Papyrus P52”) is dated near 130A.D. which is less than 100 years after John’s Gospel account was written. There are 5,600 copies of various portions of the New Testament. The accuracy of those copies is 99.5%. As you can see, the reliability of the New Testament is superb and has no comparison. As I said earlier, there is no shortage of opposition to every claim made. Therefore, the exact date of P52 has been questioned. Just pull up the Wikipedia article for some leads.

p52

P52 also provides for us an example of Historical Science at work. How does one date ancient manuscripts, in this case, made of papyrus? One way, which the Wikipedia article taught me, is through “paleography.” (You too can learn paleography at The National Archives website.) Like the studies of origins by the scientific community, Biblical studies—as an ancient document— use dating methods to determine age. Therefore, we can include the dating of those 5600 copies of the New Testament as “science.” Furthermore, there is science behind quantifying the 99.5% accuracy of those copies.

That extremely brief mention of the comparative reliability of the manuscripts is meant to whet your appetite and introduce you to the world of Textual Criticism and to make the larger point that there is indeed science behind Historical Science which is used in verifying the Bible. It also serves to counter the common view that the Bible has been copied too many times to be trustworthy. Such statements are simply said out of ignorance. Most people simply do not know and have not questioned that assumption.

Truth vs. Fiction

It is one thing to determine that the Bible we have in front of us today is THE Bible that was written so long ago. It is another thing to determine if the accounts within the Bible are true. For instance, there are other 1st Century documents that make claims about Christ that Biblical scholars reject as being NOT true. These documents are known as the Gnostic Gospels. Here is an article about them on PBS.org. This question is also answered using abductive reasoning, looking at the evidence, and determining the best explanation which holds up logically and against scrutiny.

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That study does start with the Bible’s own claims. The New Testament authors state their purposes in writing. For instance, the New Testament historical books (The Gospel of Luke and The Acts of the Apostles) written by the doctor, Luke begins his account by saying, “Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us,  just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.

The “eyewitness” also wrote about what all had happened. The Apostle John states, “What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life—and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us— what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.” It is noteworthy that these authors, who learned from Christ and taught others about holiness, integrity, and telling the truth are making these claims. There is nothing that would suggest these men lied. It would be contrary to the Christian faith and unlikely that they would preach and suffer imprisonment and death for a deception.

Nevertheless, such arguments are written off by skeptics. Therefore, we turn to extra-biblical accounts. The most important references made to Jesus and Christianity is by the contemporary Roman historians Tacitus and Josephus. Tacitus, (circa 56-120 A.D.) wrote in his Annals15.44

Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome…

Josephus gives far more information in his writings Jewish Antiquities. In 18.3.3§63, he states,

About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man.  For he was one who performed surprising deeds and was a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Messiah. And when, upon the accusation of the principal men among us, Pilate had condemned him to a cross, those who had  first come to love him did not cease.  He appeared to them spending a third day restored to life, for the prophets of God had foretold these things and a thousand other marvels about him.  And the tribe of the Christians, so called after him, has still to this day not disappeared.

 Conclusion

As you can see, it is very easy to quickly fill up a lot of space covering the vast amount of information dedicated to proving the veracity of the Bible and its historical records. The entirety of the study is apportioned to that field known as Historical Science, which Stephen Myer also uses as the foundation for Intelligent Design. The science supports the Bible’s claims because of its proven authenticity and reliability as an ancient document, by its internal evidence, and the external evidence. I will write a final blog entry to summarize the series and to discuss the Bible’s claims about origins.