GOD ROCKS MINISTRIES

Psalm18:2 "The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer

Twelve Points That Prove Christianity is True

Featuring

Dr. Norman Geisler

with

Frank Turek.

 

 1.  Truth about reality is knowable.

2.  The opposite of true is false.

3.  It is true that the theistic God exists.

4.  If God exists, then miracles are possible.

5.  Miracles can be used to confirm a message from God

(i.e., as an act of God to confirm a word from God).

6.  The New Testament is historically reliable.

7.  The New Testament says Jesus claimed to be God.

8.  Jesus' claim to be God was miraculously confirmed by:

   a.  His fulfillment of many prophecies about himself;

   b.  His sinless and miraculous life;

   c. His prediction and accomplishment of His resurrection.

9. Therefore Jesus Is God

10. Whatever Jesus (who is God) teaches is true.

11. Jesus taught that the Bible is the Word of God.

12. Therefore, it is true that the Bible is the Word of God

(and anything opposed to it is false).

title

 

1.     The truth about reality is knowable

A.     Truth is that which corresponds to its referent (that to which it refers). 

   1)      Abstract truth corresponds to abstract reality (e.g. numbers, ideas)

   2)      Concrete truth corresponds to concrete reality (e.g. God, people, things).

B.     We can know actual reality. This is undeniable.

   1)      It is self-defeating to claim “we cannot know reality.”  Such a statement implies we really do know something about reality.

   2)      Likewise, it is self-defeating to claim “that we cannot know truth.”  That statement itself claims to be true!

C.     Therefore, we can know truth about reality (including truths about God).

 

2.     The opposite of true is false (this is undeniable)            

A.     The law of non-contradiction affirms opposites cannot both be true.

B.     This law of non-contradiction is undeniable.  Even those who deny it use it.

For example:

   1)      Those who claim that conflicting truth claims can both be true (e.g. “All truth is relative: Christianity is just your truth, I have my truth.”) imply that the opposite of that statement is false. In other words, they imply that the statement “Christianity is the truth” is false.  But that is a use of the very law of non-contradiction that they attempt to deny.

   2)      Those who claim that Atheism is true are implying that all Non-Atheisms (e.g. Theism, Deism, Pantheism, etc.) are false.   

C.Therefore, the opposite of what is true is false.

 

3.        It is true that the theistic God exists.

 A.  Cosmological argument

           -Everything that had a beginning has a cause.

           -The universe had a beginning.

           -Therefore, the universe had a cause.

 

Major Premise:  The Principle of Causality 

 

Every event has a cause.  (Nothing cannot produce something.)

Note: 1)   What had a beginning had a cause

1)   What did not have a beginning did not need a cause       

a)   If the universe had no beginning, then it had no cause (it was uncaused)

b)   If the cause of the universe had no beginning, then it had no cause (it was uncaused)

Even the Skeptic David Hume affirmed the principle of causality:   "I never asserted so absurd a proposition as that anything might arise without a cause." (Hume, Letters, 1:187)

Minor Premise: The Universe had a Beginning

What is the Big Bang Theory?  “Big Bang Theory holds that everything in the known universe—all time, space, energy, and matter—was once contained in a point of infinite density known as a singularity.  Scientists leave the “why” of that state of affairs to priests and poets.  But in the next instant, they theorize, this point began expanding madly in size—pinhead, grapefruit, basketball—to a radius expressed in incomprehensibly large numbers.” (Kathy Sawyer, “Unveiling the Universe,” National Geographic, October 1999, 20)


SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE THAT THE UNIVERSE HAD A BEGINNING:

1)      THE SECOND LAW OF THERMODYNAMICS

The universe is not eternal: It is running out of usable energy and running down toward disorder

“Once hydrogen has been burned within that star and converted to heavier elements, it can never be restored to its original state.  Minute by minute and year by year, as hydrogen is used up in stars, the supply of this element in the universe grows smaller.”  (Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers, 15-16)

 

2)      THE UNIVERSE IS EXPANDING  (If time were reversed, the universe would collapse back to nothing)                                                      

Universe is not eternal: It is expanding

“The most complete study made thus far has been carried out on the 200-inch telescope by Allan Sandage. He compiled information on 42 galaxies, ranging out in space as far as six billion light years from us.  His measurements indicate that the universe was expanding more rapidly in the past than it is today.  This result lends further support to the belief that the universe exploded into being.”  (Jastrow, God and the Astronomers, 95)

 

3)      RADIATION ECHO OF THE INITIAL EXPLOSION (discovered in 1964)

The universe is not eternal:  It exploded into being out of nothing

“No explanation other than the big bang has been found for the fireball radiation.  The clincher, which has convinced almost the last Doubting Thomas, is that the radiation discovered by Penzias and Wilson has exactly the pattern of wavelengths expected for the light and heat produced in a great explosion.  Supporters of the steady state theory have tried desperately to find an alternative explanation, but they have failed.” (Jastrow, 15)

 

“The universe exploded out of nothingness.” (University of Hawaii physicist V. J. Stenger, “The Face of Chaos,”Free Inquiry, Winter 1992-93)

 

4)      GREAT MASS OF MATTER FROM THE INITIAL EXPLOSION (discovered in 1992)

“If you’re religious, it’s like looking at God.”  (George Smoot, University of California Astrophysicist, TimeMagazine, May 4, 1992, 62)

 

         This Scientific Evidence Leads to a Supernatural Cause


“Astronomers now find they have painted themselves into a corner because they have proven, by their own methods, that the world began abruptly in an act of creation to which you can trace the seeds of every star, every planet, every living thing in this cosmos and on the earth.  And they have found that all this happened as a product of forces they cannot hope to discover. . . . That there are what I or anyone would call supernatural forces at work is now, I think, a scientifically proven fact.”  (Agnostic Astronomer Robert Jastrow, in an interview with Christianity Today, August 6, 1983, emphasis added) 

 

“The scientist’s pursuit of the past ends in the moment of creation.  This is an exceedingly strange development, unexpected by all but the theologians.  They have always accepted the word of the Bible: ‘In the beginning God created the heaven and earth.’” (Jastrow, God and the Astronomers, 115)

 

“Now we see how the astronomical evidence leads to a biblical view of the origin of the world.  The details differ, but the essential elements in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis are the same: the chain of events leading to man commenced suddenly and sharply at a definite moment in time, in a flash of light and energy.” (Jastrow, 14)

 

This Scientific Evidence led U.S. News and World Report to conclude: 

In the beginning, there was no time, no matter, not even space.  Then in some unfathomable way, a universe emerged from a dimensionless point of pure energy. . . . This theory of an expanding universe emanating from a primordial big bang is the explanation of creation held by nearly all scientists, for it best fits what they can actually observe.   (U.S. News and World Report, March 26, 1990, 54.)     

 

5) PHILOSOPHICAL ARGUMENT THAT THE UNIVERSE HAD A BEGINNING

 

If there were an infinite number of moments before today, then today would have never have gotten here (because an actual infinite cannot be traversed-- one cannot be at the end of an actual infinite).

But today is here.

Therefore, there were not an infinite number of moments before today (the universe had a beginning). 

 

MEMORY AID:

IN THE BEGINNING, GOD SPOKE AND THERE WAS A GREAT SURGE:

Second law

 Universe is expanding

  Radiation echo

   Great mass of matter

     End of infinite time impossible 

 

 

 

 


 

 

If the universe had a beginning, then it must have had a Beginner.

The evidence leaves us with the following two options. 

 

                                                                     Either

            1)  NO ONE CREATED SOMETHING OUT OF NOTHING (ATHEISTIC VIEW)

or

2)  SOMEONE CREATED SOMETHING OUT OF NOTHING (THEISTIC VIEW)

 

                                               Which view is more reasonable?

QUESTION TO ASK AN ATHEIST:

“If there is no God, why is there something rather than nothing at all?”


Atheistic Explanation of Origin of Universe: Nothing Caused the Universe

 

The two states of existence--nothing on one side, equivalent amounts of positive and negative energy on the other--might have equal probabilities of existence.  For that reason, nothing could give rise to double-energy on a purely random basis.  (Isaac Asimov, The Beginning and the End, 148)

 

“It’s sort of like we’re brushing our ignorance under the rug of the very early universe.”  Chris Impey, Cosmologist, University of Arizona, in “Unveiling the Universe,” National Geographic, October 1999, 36)

 

The bottom line from an agnostic astronomer:  “For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream.  He has scaled the mountains of ignorance: He is about to conquer the highest peak: As he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”  (Jastrow,  God and the Astronomers, 116)

                                                                                   

According to the Big Bang Theory, the whole matter of the universe began to exist at a particular time in the remote past.  A proponent of such a theory, at least if he is an atheist, must believe that the matter of the universe came from nothing and by nothing.  (Anthony Kenny, Five Ways, 66)

            B.     Teleological argument

 

                     Every design has a designer.

                     The universe and life has highly

  complex design.

                     Therefore, the universe and life

                       has a Designer.

 

 

Can everything be a product of Natural Laws?  We have never observed natural laws producing specified and complex systems such as books, computers, sculptures or symphonies. These things are all the products of intelligent beings.  Therefore, using the principles of forensic science, it is reasonable to assume that the origin of the most specified and complex systems in existence (i.e., life and the universe itself)  must be the product of an intelligent being.  It is unreasonable to assume that they are the product of mindless, purposeless natural laws.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1) Life is incredibly complex: it must have a designer

 

Carl Sagan: Information Content of the Human Brain = 20 Million Books!

“The information content of the human brain expressed is bits is probably comparable to the total number of connections among the neurons--about a hundred trillion bits.  If written out in English, say, that information would fill some twenty million volumes, as many as in the world's largest libraries.  The equivalent of twenty million books is inside the heads of every one of us.  The brain is a very big place in a very small space. . . . The neurochemistry of the brain is astonishingly busy.  The circuitry of a machine more wonderful that any devised by humans.”  (Carl Sagan, Cosmos, 278)

 

Microbiologist Michael Behe: Life has been designed!

“Life on earth at its most fundamental level, in its most critical components, is the product of intelligent activity. . . . The conclusion of intelligent design flows naturally from the data itself--not from sacred books or sectarian beliefs.” (Behe, Darwin’s Black Box, 193).

 

“The result of these cumulative efforts to investigate the cell--to investigate life at the molecular level--is a loud, clear, piercing cry of ‘design!’  The result is so unambiguous and so significant that it must be ranked as one of the greatest achievements in the history of science.  The discovery rivals those of Newton and Einstein” (ibid., 232-33)

 

 

Albert Einstein: Order implies a Creator

“The more man is imbued with the ordered regularity of all events, the firmer becomes his conviction that there is no room left by the side of this ordered regularity for causes of a different nature [than a Creator]  (P. Frank,Einstein, His Life His Times, 286).

 

Scientist Alan Sandage: The World is too Interconnected to be without an architect

The world is too complicated in all its parts and interconnections to be due to chance alone.  I am convinced that the existence of life with all its order in each of its organisms is simply too well put together. Each part of a living thing depends on all its other parts to function.  How does each part know?  How is each part specified at conception?  The more one learns of biochemistry the more unbelievable it becomes unless there is some type of organizing principle — an architect for believers . . .“  (Dr. Allan Sandage, “A Scientist Reflects on Religious Beliefs,” Truth, vol.  1). 

 

2)      The universe is incredibly complex: it must have a designer

 

The Anthropic Principle—shows that the universe has been precisely “tweaked” to support life on earth. See Hugh Ross The Fingerprint of God, Fred Heeren, Show Me God, and William Dembski Mere Creation.  In these books, scientists reveal their findings concerning the Anthropic Principle — the amazing design of the universe.  Here are just a few of those findings (Ross lists 74 such constants in Mere Creation, p. 372-380, Dembski, editor):

 

1)   Oxygen comprises 21% of the atmosphere: if it were 25% spontaneous fires would break out; if it were 15% we’d suffocate.

 

2)   If the gravitational force were altered by 1 part in 1040 (that’s 1 with 40 zeros following it), our sun would not exist; the moon would crash into the earth or fly out off into space (Heeren, 196).

 

3)   If the centrifugal force did not precisely balance the gravitational force, nothing would be held in orbit and the planets might crash into one another.

 

4)   If the universe was expanding one millionth slower than what it is now, the temperature here would be 10,000 degrees (Heeren, 185).

 

5)   The average distance between the stars in our galaxy of about 100 billion stars is 30 trillion miles (the vastness of the universe is incredible — that’s just the average distance between stars in our galaxy); if that distance was altered slightly, orbits would become erratic and extreme temperature variations would occur on earth.  (Traveling at space shuttle speed — 17,000 mph which is about 5 miles per second — it would take 201,450 years to travel 30 trillion miles!).

 

6)   Any one of the laws of physics can be described as function of the velocity of light © = 186,000 miles /sec.).  Therefore, even the slightest variation in the speed of light would alter all the other constants and preclude the possibility of life on earth (Ross, 126).

 

7)   If Jupiter was not in its current orbit, we would be bombarded with space material.  Jupiter’s orbit and gravitational field acts as a cosmic vacuum cleaner attracting asteroids and comets to itself and keeping us clear of such debris (Heeren, 196).

 

8)   If the thickness of the earth’s crust was greater than it is now, too much oxygen would be transferred to the crust to support life.  If it were thinner, volcanic and tectonic activity would be too great (Ross, 130).

 

9)   If the rotation of the earth took longer than 24 hours, then temperature differences would be too great between night and day.  If the rotation period was shorter, atmospheric wind velocities would be too great.

 

10)     Surface temperature differences would also be too great if the axial tilt of the earth were altered slightly.

 

11)     If the atmospheric discharge rate were greater, there would be too much fire destruction.  If it were less, there would be too little nitrogen fixing in the soil.  (Yes, God even has a purpose for lightening!)

 

12)     If there were more seismic activity, too many life forms would be destroyed.   If there was less, nutrients on the ocean floors from river runoff would not be recycled back to the continents through tectonic uplift (i.e. even earthquakes are necessary to sustain life!)

 

In light of the anthropic principle, I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist.

 

            C.  Moral argument

                  -Every law has a lawgiver.

                  -There is an absolute moral law.

                  -Therefore, there is an absolute Moral Lawgiver.

“The moment you say that one set of moral ideas can be better than another, you are, in fact, measuring them both by a standard, saying that one of them conforms to that standard more nearly than the other.  But the standard that measures two things is something different from either.  You are, in fact, comparing them both with some Real Morality, admitting that there is such a thing as a real Right, independent of what people think, and that some people’s ideas get nearer to that real Right than others.  Or put it this way.  If your moral ideas can be truer, and those of the Nazis less true, there must be something– some Real Morality– for them to be true about.”

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity,  25.

 

How we know there is a Moral Law:

1)   Absolutes are undeniable.  We know right from wrong best by our reactions when we react to wrongs done to us.

2)   Everything can't be relative if there is nothing to be relative to. There must be some independent standard otherwise nothing could be measured.

3)   We wouldn't know injustice if there was no absolute sense of justice.

4)   Real moral disagreements would not be possible without the Moral Law. Every moral issue would be a matter of opinion (e.g. there would be no objective moral difference between the actions of Mother Teresa and those of Hitler.)

5)   We would not make excuses for breaking the Moral Law if it didn’t exist.

 

4.     If God exists, then miracles are possible.

 

            A.  A miracle is a special act of God.

            B.  And if there is a God who can act in creating the world (3), then:

                  1)   There can be special acts of God.

                  2)   The big miracle (creation) has occurred.

C. David Hume’s Objection:

  1)   Natural Law is by definition a description of a regular occurrence.

  2)   A miracle is by definition a rare occurrence.

  3)   The evidence for the regular is always greater than that for the rare.

  4)   A wise man always bases his belief on the greater evidence.

  5)   Therefore, a wise man should never believe in miracles.

D. Answer to Hume’s Objection:

  1)   The evidence for regular events is not always greater than for the rare.

         a)   The Big Bang Theory is not based on regular events

         b)   The origin of life on earth does not occur regularly

         c)   Spontaneous generation/evolution is unrepeatable

         d)   The entire history of the earth is unrepeatable.  (In fact, if Hume were consistent he wouldn’t                  have believed in his own birth!)

  2)   A miracle is a rare event

  3)   Therefore, the evidence against miracles is not always greater (i.e., the evidence for miracles can be         greater)

 

5.     Miracles can be used to confirm a message from God.

 

            A.  This is logically possible.

                  1)   A miracle is a special act of God.

                  2)   God is the source and standard of all truth; He cannot err.

                  3)   Nor would a morally perfect (theistic) God act to confirm something as true that was                              false.

                  4)   Therefore, genuine miracles that occur in connection with a message confirm that                                   message to be from God.

                          a)   The miracle confirms the message.

                          b)   The sign confirms the sermon.

                          c)   An act of God is used to confirm the Word of God.

                          d)   New revelation needs new confirmation.

            B.  This is what the Bible claims (Exod. 4:1-5; Num. 16:5f; 1 Kings 18:21-22; Mt. 12:38-39; Lk. 7:20-22;                 Jn. 3:1-2; Acts 2:22; Heb. 2:3-4; 2 Cor. 12:12)

            C.  This is what the Qur'an claims (Sura 3:184; 17:102; cf. Sura 23:45).

            D.  Even the skeptic David Hume acknowledged this by implication (when he said a resurrection                      would be a miracle).

            E.  Also, the agnostic Bertrand Russell agreed (Look, "What Is an Agnostic?" 1953)

            F.   The criteria for miracles as a confirmation of truth.

                  1)   They should be verified by credible witnesses.

                  2)   They should be many miracles to remove all reasonable doubt.

                  3)   They should be unique so as to eliminate all opposing truth claims.

                  4)   They should be connected with a truth claim.

                  5)   They should be truly supernatural, not just unusual.


6.     The New Testament is historically reliable.

We must look at three tests to discover the reliability of the NT documents:

   -The Bibliographic Test (What textual support does the NT have?)

   -The Internal Test (What's in the text?  Is it internally consistent?)

   -The External Test (What's outside the text?  Do other sources confirm it?)  

 

A.  Bibliographical Test— how we know that our NT is the same one written down by the apostles in the first century (it has not been corrupted)

  1) There are reliable documents.

       a)   There are 5686 handwritten Greek NT manuscripts (cf. to only dozens for most other books from                the ancient world).

       b)   There are early manuscripts  (25 to 150 years after the original NT mss. cf. to about 1000 yrs. for              other ancient books) written by eyewitnesses or contemporaries.

                    i.    Undisputed manuscript evidence from the early 2nd century has been found in Egypt                               (John Rylands fragment of Jn. 18:31-33). And some scholars believe that the Magdalen                               fragment of the Gospel of Matthew may be from the 1st century (See LA                                                 Times 12/25/94, p. A42)

                   ii.   Luke was written before Acts and Acts is known to have been written A.D. 60-62 

                  iii.  Even the most critical scholars date 1Corinthians at A.D. 55-56.  This places written                                  testimony about the death and resurrection (1Cor. 15:1-6) only 22-23 years after the                                event.

                  iv.  NT Gospels are cited in other 1st century works including Pseudo-Barnabas, Didache,                                Clement’s “Corinthians” and Ignatius’ “Seven Epistles.”  This proves the Gospels must have                        been written earlier in the 1st century.

                  vi.  Even later dates (A.D. 60-80) do not allow enough time for legendary development.  Roman                        historian, A. N. Sherwin-White calls the mythological view of the NT                                                       “unbelievable.”  Indeed, tests have shown that more than two generations must pass                                before myths can develop to begin to wipe out historical fact (because before that time,                          eyewitnesses are still alive to refute mythological development).

        c)   They are more accurately copied than other books.

                    i.    Mahabarrata is only 90% accurate.

                   ii.   Homer is only 95% accurate.

                  iii.  New Testament is 99.5% accurate.

         d)   Early Church Fathers (2nd and 3rdcent.) quoted the Bible 36,289 times in their writings.  In fact,               their quotes were so frequent that the entire NT (except for 11 verses) can be reconstructed                 solely from their writings.

 

  2)   There are reliable witnesses.

Skeptic David Hume’s Criteria to evaluate witnesses: "We entertain suspicion concerning any matter of fact when the witnesses contradict each other, when they are but few or of a doubtful character, when they have an interest in what they affirm, when they deliver their testimony with hesitation, or with too violent asseveration [declaration]". (Inquiry, 10.1.120).  The New Testament Witnesses Meet these Criteria:

          a)   Were the Witnesses Persons of Good Character? Yes.

                   i.    They taught the highest standard of ethics.

                  ii.   They lived and died for what they believed.

                 iii.  Where their testimony has overlapped with secular history, it has been confirmed (see                             below).

          b)  Were the Witnesses Prejudiced? No.

                  i.    They were predisposed not to believe (Lk. 24:11, 25; Jn. 20:25).

                 ii.   They had everything to loose by believing (their religion and lives).

                iii.  Jesus appeared to unbelievers (Jn. 7:5 cf. I Cor 15:7, Acts 9).

                iv.  They did not deny their belief under persecution and the threat of death (Acts 4, 5, 8).

          c)   Were there a Sufficient Number of Witnesses? Yes.

                 i.    There are 27 books written by nine contemporaries.

                ii.   There are five crucial books written by eyewitnesses of the resurrected Christ (Matthew,                         Mark, John, 1 Cor, 1Peter).

               iii.  Over five hundred people saw the resurrected Christ.

               iv.  Jesus was seen on twelve occasions over 40 days (see p. 24).

          d)  Do the Witnesses Contradict Each Other? No.

                i.    Each writer tells the same basic story.

               ii.   There are minor discrepancies but no contradictions.

              iii.  Minor differences show that the witnesses were not in collusion.

 

B.  Internal Test—how we know the events recorded in the NT actually occurred (they are not myths but history).

 -Here are three compelling lines of internal evidence (what the NT actually says) that affirms the eyewitness nature of the NT: 

1)   CONTENT of the writings

a)   NT authors claim to be eyewitnesses (Lk. 1:1-4, 1Jn. 1:1-4, 2Pet. 1:16, Acts 2:22, 4:19-20, 13:31, 1Cor 15:5-8).

b)   NT authors did not attempt to harmonize minor details.

c)   NT authors left in the difficult sayings of Jesus.

d)   NT authors left in events that were embarrassing to them (they did not try to hide their own faults).

e)   NT authors were careful to distinguish Jesus’ words from their own.

f)    Paul reminded readers of miracles he performed (2 Cor 12:12).

            “What gives a special authority to the list as historical evidence is the reference to most of the five hundred brethren being still alive. St. Paul says in effect: ‘if you do not believe me, you can ask them.’ Such a statement in an admittedly genuine letter written within thirty years of the event is almost as strong evidence as one could hope to get for something that happened nearly two thousand years ago.”

 

(William Lillie, “The Empty Tomb and the Resurrection,” in D. E. Nincham,Historicity and Chronology in the New Testament, 125)

g)Paul named eyewitnesses of the risen Christ (1Cor.15:5-6) thereby challenging his readers to verify what he was saying.  Why would he do this if he was telling a lie?

 

2)   DETAILS of the events described

a)   Physical surroundings (pp 13-16)

b)   Specific dates (e.g. Lk. 2:1, 3:1-2, Jn. 18:13, Acts 18:11-12).

c)   The Death of Jesus

i.    Sweating blood (Lk. 22:44)

ii.   Fatigue and thirst (Jn. 19:38)

iii.  Death cry (Lk. 23:46-48)

iv.  Blood and water from the side (Jn. 19:34)

d)   The Burial

i.    Buried by a member of the Sanhedrin (Mk. 15:43).

ii.   Jews would have disproved it if they could.

iii.  No alternative story was offered by the Jews.

e)   The Resurrection

i.    The “creed” in 1 Cor 15:3-5 is extremely early (i.e. “handed down” before 55 A.D.).

ii.   12 appearances to over 500 people (see p. 24).

iii.  Simple, non-legendary account (compare to sensational apocrypha).

iv.  Women were first witnesses (Mt. 28:1f, Mk. 16:1f, Lk. 24:1f, Jn. 20:1).

3)   RESPONSE of the people

a)   Disciples

i.    They abandoned their sacred Jewish beliefs.

ii.   They affirmed their testimony by suffering and death (they had every motive to say that Christ did NOT rise from the dead).

b)   Enemies

i.    The greatest enemy was converted (Saul).

ii.   Thousands of unbelievers were converted (Acts 2:41).

iii.  All admitted tomb was empty (Mt. 28:11-15).

iv.  Skeptics today still cannot explain why the tomb was empty.

v.   Skeptics are committed to anti-supernaturalism.

 

About those alleged Bible errors:  The Bible is internally consistent.  When we think we've found an error in the Bible, we have made any one of a number of interpretation mistakes.  (See When Critics Ask, by Geisler and Howe).   When one considers the "big picture," even the loosest English translation of the Bible conveys clearly that God sent Christ to redeem man.  Unresolved internal details (if there are any) do not invalidate that message or the historical evidence that overwhelmingly supports the life, death and resurrection of Christ.  Mark Twain once said, "Most people are bothered by those passages in Scripture which they cannot understand.  The Scripture which troubles me most is the Scripture I do understand." 


C.  External Test—shows corroboration of the NT from non-Christian sources

1)   The eyewitnesses died for what they said they witnessed (and could have saved themselves by denying the events). As a testament to the truth of their claims, it is important to note that no one attempted to refute the claims of the Apostles; opponents only attempted to silence them.

 

2)   A combination of numerous secular sources (Josephus, Tacitus, Lucian, Thallus, Suetonius, Pliny the Younger, the Jewish Talmud, etc) reveals a story-line congruent with the eyewitness testimony of the NT.   Here is a summary of what the Non-Christian Sources say about NT events (See F.F. Bruce, Jesus & Christian Origins Outside the New Testament):

         Two examples of many:

 

Thallus (c. A..D. 52) [Speaking of Christ’s crucifixion, Thallus wrote that] “On the whole world there pressed a most fearful darkness; and the rocks were rent by an earthquake, and many places in Judea and other districts were thrown down.”

 

Phlegon (freed slave of Emperor Hadrian A.D. 80)“Jesus, while alive, was of no assistance to himself, but that he arose after death, and exhibited the marks of his punishment, and showed how his hands had been pierced by nails.” [Phlegon also wrote] “The eclipse in the time of Tiberius Caesar, in whose reign Jesus appears to have been crucified, and the great earthquakes which then took place. . .”  (Phlegon, Chroniclescited by Origen, 4:455 & 4:445).

 

a)   Jesus lived during time of Tiberius Caesar.

b)   He lived a virtuous life.

c)   He was a wonder-worker.

d)   He had a brother named James.

e)   He was acclaimed to be the Messiah.

f)    He was crucified under Pontius Pilate.

g)   An eclipse and earthquake occurred when He died.

h)  He was crucified on the eve of the Jewish Passover.

i)    His disciples believed He rose from the dead.

j)    His disciples were willing to die for their belief.

k)   Christianity spread rapidly as far as Rome.

l)    His disciples denied the Roman gods and worshiped Jesus as God.

 

3)   Archaeologists confirm that Luke named thirty-two countries, fifty-four cities, nine islands, and hundreds of details without making a single error.

 

4)   Some of the more important archaeological discoveries (see When Skeptics Ask by Geisler and Brooks for many more):

a)   The Ebla tablets (1975)- These tablets affirm the accuracy and antiquity of the early part of the book of Genesis.

b)   Excavations at Jericho (1930-1936) revealed the city's walls fell outward as the Bible says.

c)   The Dead Sea Scrolls (1947)-- confirms the accuracy of transmission of Old Testament writings.

d)   Inscriptions:

i.    “House of David” found in Israel at Dan in 1993.

ii.   "Lysanias" of Lk. 3:1 found near Damascus, dated 14-29 A.D.

iii.  "Erastus" of Romans 16:23 found in Corinth in 1929.

iv.  "Synagogue of the Hebrews" of Acts 18:47 found over doorway in Corinth.

v.   The "meat market" of 1Cor 10:25 was found in scripted in Corinth.

vi.  Theater of Ecclesia of Acts 19:23; when excavated this theater was found to hold 25,000 people.

vii. Luke relates that a riot broke out in Jerusalem because Paul took a Gentile into the temple (Acts 21:28).  Inscriptions in Greek and Latin have been found which read:  "No foreigner may enter within the barrier which surrounds the temple and enclosure.  Anyone who is caught doing so will be personally responsible for his ensuing death."

viii.            Luke gives Publius, the chief man in Malta, the title "first man of the island" (Acts 28:7). Inscriptions have been unearthed which give him the title of "first man."

e)   In 1945, a Tomb that dates prior to 50 A.D. was found near Jerusalem that contained human bones, four crosses and prayers to Jesus for resurrection.

f)    Among the New Testament sites discovered:

i.    The Pavement of John 19:13 where Jesus was tried by Pilate.

ii.   The Pool of Bethesda

iii.  Jacob's well

iv.  The Pool of Siloam

v.   Ancient cities of Bethlehem, Nazareth, Cana, Capernaum, and Chorazin

vi.  The residence of Pilate in Jerusalem

 

Jewish archaeologist Nelson Glueck summed them up by stating that “no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a Biblical reference.”  Rivers in the Desert: History of Negev, 31.

 

World renowned archaeologist William Albright wrote:

“There can be no doubt that archaeology has confirmed the substantial historicity of the Old Testament tradition.” Archaeology and the Religion of Israel, 176.

 

“All radical schools in New Testament criticism which have existed in the past or which exist today are pre-archaeological, and are therefore, since they were built in der Luft [in the air], quite antiquated today.”  The Archaeology of Palestine, 29.

 

”As critical study of the Bible is more and more influenced by the rich new material from the ancient Near East, we shall see a steady rise in respect for the historical significance of now neglected or despised passages and details in the Old and New Testaments.”  From Stone Age to Christianity, 81.

 

“In extraordinary ways, modern archaeology has affirmed the historical core of the Old and New Testaments—corroborating key portions of the stories of Israel’s patriarchs, the Exodus, the Davidic monarchy, and the life and times of Jesus.” Jeffery Shelter, “Is the Bible True?”  US News & World Report, October 25, 1999, 52.


 

The Authenticity and Accuracy of the Book of Acts

 

1.         Acts was written A.D. 60-62 as evidenced by the following:

 

A.  Acts gives no hint of the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, the outbreak of the Jewish War in 66, the Neronian persecution of the late 60s, or the death of James at the hands of the Sanhedrin in c. 62 (recorded by Josephus,Antiquities. 20.9.1.200).  These were important events that would have been included by an historian of Luke’s quality.

 

B.  The optimistic tone of Acts probably would not have existed after Judaism had been destroyed and Christians martyred in the Neronian persecutions of the late 60s (Hemer, 376-382).

 

C.  There are areas of controversy within Acts which presuppose the relevance of an early Jewish setting while the Temple was still standing (e.g. Acts 21 where Paul is accused of bringing a foreigner into the temple).

 

2.         The Gospel of Luke was written before Acts (Acts 1:1) by the same first-rate historian (see below) who penned Acts.

 

3.         Therefore, the Gospel of Luke was written within the life-time of Jesus’ contemporaries and the eyewitnesses of the resurrection.

 

Details that Prove Acts is an Accurate, Historical, Eyewitness Account:

Luke manifests an incredible array of knowledge of local places, names, conditions, customs, and circumstances that befit only an eyewitness contemporary of the time and events.  All of these have been confirmed by historical and archaeological research to be true of the persons, times, and  places mentioned by Luke including knowledge that (of):

 

1)  a  natural crossing between correctly named ports  (13;4-5);  2)  the proper port (Perga) along the direct destination of a ship crossing from Cyprus (13:13); 3) the proper location of Lycaonia (14:6); 4) the unusual but correct declension of the name Lystra (14:6); 5) the correct language spoken in Lystra (Lyconian); 6) two gods known to be so associated (Zeus and Hermes); 7) the proper port Attalia which returning travelers would use (14:25); 8) the correct order of approach to Derbe then Lystra from Cilician Gates (16:1);  9) the proper form of the name Troas (16:8); 10) The place of a conspicuous sailors landmark, Samotrace (16:11); 11) the proper description of Philippi as a Roman colony (16:12); 12) the right location for the river (Gangites) near Philippi (16:13);   13) the proper association of Thyatira as a center of dyeing (16:14); 14) correct designations for the magistrates and of the colony (16:22); 15) the proper location (Amphilpolis and Appolonia) of where travelers would spend successive nights on this journey (17:1); 16) the presence of a synagogue in Thessalonica (17:1); 17) the proper title “politarchs” used of the magistrates there (17:6); 18) the correct implication that  sea-travel is the most convenient way of reaching Athens with favoring East winds of summer sailing (17:14); 19) the abundant presence of images in Athens (17:16); 20) the reference to a synagogue in Athens (17:17); 20) the depiction of the Athenian life of philosophical debate in the Agora (17:17); 21) the use of the correct Athenian slang word for Paul, a spermologos (17:18) as well as the court (Areios pagos); 22) the proper characterization of the Athenian character (17:21); 23) an altar to an “unknown god” (17:23); 24) the proper reaction of Greeks philosophers who denied bodily resurrection (17:32);  25)  Areopagites is the correct title for a member of the court (17:34); 26) a Corinthian synagogue (18:4);  26) correct designation of  Gallio as proconsul, resident in Corinth (18:12); 27) proper positioning of the bema, overlooking Corinth's forum (18:16f.); 27) the name 'Tyrannus' as attested from Ephesus in 1st cent. inscriptions (19:9); 28) well known shrines and images of Artemis (19:24);  29) reference to the well attested “great goddess Artemis” (19:27);  30) the Ephesian theater was the meeting-place of the city (19:29); 31)  use of the correct title grammateus for the chief executive magistrate in Ephesus (19:35); 32)  mention of proper title of honor neokoros authorized by the Romans (19:35);  33)  correct name to designate the goddess (19:37);  34) proper term used for those holding court (19:38); 35) use of plural, anthupatoi, may be remarkable reference to the fact that two men were conjointly exercising the functions of proconsul at this time (19:38); 36) the “regular' assembly as the precise phrase is attested elsewhere (19:39); 37) use of precise ethnic designation, beroiaios (20:4); 38) the employment of ethnic term Asianos (20:4); 39) the implied recognition of the strategic importance assigned to this city of Troas (20:7f); 40) danger of the coastal trip in this location (20:13);  41) correct knowledge of sequence of places (20:14-15); 41)  the correct name of the city as a neuter plural (Patara) (21:1); 42) the appropriate route passing across the open sea south of Cyprus favored  by persistent northwest winds (21:3); 43) the suitable distance between these cities (21:8);  44)  this characteristically Jewish act of piety (21:24);  the Jewish law regarding Gentile use of Temple area (21:28); 45) the permanent stationing of a Roman cohort (chiliarch) at Antonia to suppress any disturbance at festival times (21:31); 46) the flight of steps used by the guards (21:31, 35);  47) common way to obtain Roman citizenship at this time (22:28); 48) the tribune is impressed with Roman rather than Tarsian citizenship 22:29); 49) that Ananias is high priest at the time (23:2); 50) Felix is governor at this time (23:34); 51) the natural stopping-point on the way to Caesarea (23:31);  52) whose jurisdiction Cilicia was at the time (23:34); 53)the provincial penal procedure of the time (24:1-9); 54) the name 'Porcius Festus' agrees precisely with that given by Josephus (24:27); 54) the right of appeal right for Roman citizens (25:11); 55) the legal formula de quibus cognoscere volebam (25:18); 55) the characteristic form of reference to the emperor at the time (25:26);  56) the best shipping lanes at the time (27:4); the common bonding of  Cilicia and Pamphylia (27:4); 56) the principal port to find a ship sailing to Italy (27:5);  57) the slow passage to Cnidus in the face of the typical northwest wind (27:7); 58) the right route to sail in view of the winds (27:7);  the locations of Fair Havens and the neighboring site of Lasea (27:8); 59) Fair Havens was a poorly sheltered roadstead (27:12): 60) a noted tendency of a south wind in these climes to back suddenly to a violent north-easter, the well-knowngregale (27:13); 61) the nature of a square-rigged ancient ship, having no option but to be driven before a gale (27:16);  61) the precise place and name of this island ) 27:16);  62) the appropriate maneuvers for the safety of the ship in its particular plight (27:16f.);  63) the fourteenth night  in a remarkable calculation, based inevitably on a compounding of estimates and probabilities, confirmed in the judgment of experienced Mediterranean navigators (27:27);  64)  the proper term of the time for the Adriatic (27:27); 65)  the precise term (Bolisantes ) to be used for taking soundings, and the correct depth of the water near Malta (27:28); 66) the position that admirably the probable line of approach of a ship now released again to run before an easterly wind (27:39); 67) the severe liability on guards who permitted a prisoner to escape (27:42);  68)  the local people and superstitions of the day (28:4-6);  68) the proper title protos (tes nesou) (28:7);  69) Rhegium  as a refuge to await a southerly wind to carry them through the strait (28:13); 70)  Appii Forum and Tres Tabernae as correctly placed stopping-places on the Appian Way (28:15); 71) appropriate means of custody with Roman soldiers (28:16); 72) the conditions of imprisonment, living “at his own expense” (28:30-31).

SIR WILLIAM RAMSEY ON ACTS:  I began with a mind unfavorable to it [Acts]. . . . It did not lie then in my line of life to investigate the subject minutely; but more recently I found myself often brought into contact with the book of Acts as an authority for the topography, antiquities, and society of Asia Minor. It was gradually borne in upon me that in various details the narrative showed marvelous truth.  [Ramsay, St. Paul the Traveller and the Roman Citizen, 8]

NOTED ROMAN HISTORIAN ON ACTS:  Roman historian A. N. Sherwin-White says, “For Acts the confirmation of historicity is overwhelming. . . .  Any attempt to reject its basic historicity must now appear absurd. Roman historians have long taken it for granted.” [Sherwin-White, Roman Society and Roman Law in the New Testament, 189]

 

 

Sources

Hemer, Colin J. The Book of Acts in the Setting of Hellenistic History. Eisenbrauns, Winona Lake, Indiana, 1990.

 

See also: William Craig, The Son Rises.  Julius Muller, The Theory of Myths, in its Application to the Gospel History, Examined and Confuted.  R. Sherwin-White, Roman Society and Roman Law in the New Testament.

 

7.        The New Testament says Jesus claimed to be God

 

            A.  Jesus Claimed to be the Great "I Am" (Jn. 8:58; cf. Ex. 3:14)

 

            B.  Jesus Claimed to be Jehovah (Yahweh)

 

                        1)         By claiming to have eternal glory with the Father (Jn. 17:5 cf. Isa. 42:8)

                        2)         By claiming to be the first and the last (Rev. 1:17 cf. Isa. 42:8)

                        3)         By claiming to be the good shepherd (Jn. 10:11 cf. Psa. 23:1)

                        4)         By claiming to be the judge of all men (Jn. 5:27f cf. Mt. 25:31f).

                        5)         By claiming to be the Bridegroom (Mt. 25:1; cf. Isa. 62:5; Hos. 2:16).

                        6)         By claiming to be the light of the world (Ps. 27:1; cf. Jn. 8:12).

 

            C.  Jesus Claimed to be Equal with God

 

                        1)         By claiming to forgive sins (Mk. 2:5f)

                        2)         By claiming power to raise and judge the dead (Jn. 5:25, 29) cf. 1 Sam. 2:6; Deut. 32:39; Ps. 2:7; Joel 3:12; Deut. 32:35).

                        3)         By Claiming to be honored as God (Jn. 5:18, 23).

 

            D.  Jesus Claimed to be Messiah--God

 

                  "Mighty God" (Isa. 9:6); "God" (Ps. 45:6 cf. Heb. 1:8);  "Lord" (Ps. 110:1 cf. Mt. 22:43-44); "Ancient of Days" (Dan. 7:9, 13, 22 cf. Mk. 14:61-64).

 

            E.  Jesus Claimed to be God by Accepting Worship

 

                  OT forbids worshiping anyone other than God (Ex. 20:1-4; Deut. 5:6-9). NT agrees (Acts 14:15; Rev. 22:8-9). But Jesus accepted worship many times:

                        1)         A healed leper worshiped Him (Mt. 8:2)

                        2)         A ruler knelt before after Jesus healed his Son (Mt. 9:18)

                        3)         The disciples after the storm (Mt. 14:33)

                        4)         Canaanite woman (Mt. 15:25)

                        5)         Mother of James and John (Mt. 20:20)

                        6)         Gerasene demoniac (Mk. 5:6)

                        7)         Healed blind man (Jn. 9:38)

                        8)         All the disciples (Mt. 28:17)

                        9)         Thomas said “My Lord and My God” (Jn. 20:28)

 

All worshiped Jesus without one word of rebuke (this was religious adoration not merely kneeling in respect before an important person (Rev. 22:8-9)).

 

            F.   Jesus Claimed to Have Equal Authority with God

 

                        1)         He put His words on a par with God's (Mt. 5:21, 22).

                        2)         He claimed the authority of God (Mt. 28:18-19).

3)                                 He gave a new commandment (Jn. 13:34).

                        4)         He claimed His word would never pass away (Mt. 24:35).

5)                                 He said He had authority to judge all men (Jn. 12:48).

 

            G.  Jesus Claimed to be God by Requesting Prayer in His Name

 

                        1)         The disciples prayed in His name (Jn. 14:6; 15:7).

                        2)         The disciples even prayed to Jesus (Acts 7:59).

 

            H.  Jesus' Immediate Disciples Acknowledged His Claim to be God

 

                        1)         By Calling Jesus "God"

 

 (Jn. 20:28; Col. 2:9; Heb. 1:8; Phil. 2:5-8; Heb. 1:3; Jn. 1:1).

 

                        2)         By Attributing Other Titles of Deity to Christ

 

                                    "the first and the last" (Rev. 1:17; 2:8; 22:13), "the true light" (Jn. 1:9), "rock" or "stone" (1 Cor. 10:4; 1 Pet. 2:6-8; cf. Ps. 18:2; 95:1), the "bridegroom" (Eph. 5:28-33; Rev. 21:2), "the Chief Shepherd" (1 Pet. 5:4), "the great shepherd" (Heb. 13:20), "Great God" and "Redeemer" (Tit. 2:13; Rev. 5:9), forgiver of sins (Acts 5:31; Col. 3:13), and "savior of the world" (Jn. 4:42).

 

                        3)         By Considering Jesus the Messiah-God.

 

                                    Psa. 45:6 cf. Heb. 1:8.

                                    Psa. 110:1 cf. Mt. 22:44.

                                    Zech. 12:10 cf. Jn. 19:37; Rev. 1:7.

                                    Isa. 45:22-23 cf. Phil. 2:10, 11.

 

                        4)         By Attributing the Powers of God to Jesus

 

                                    Power to raise the dead (Jn. 5:21; 11:38-44), forgive sins (Acts 5:31; 13:38), create the universe (Jn. 1:2; Col. 1:16), sustaining its existence (Col. 1:17).

 

                        5)         By Associating Jesus with God's Name

 

                                    In prayer (1 Cor. 5:4; Acts 7:59); in benedictions (Gal. 1:3; Eph. 1:2); in Trinitarian formulas (Mt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14).

 

                        6)         By Considering Jesus Superior to Angels

                                    (Eph. 1:21; Mt. 8:32; Rev. 22:8-9; Heb. 1:5-6).

 

                                    C. S. Lewis insightfully observed:

I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish things that people often say about Him: 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.'  That is the one thing we must not say.  A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher.  He would rather be a lunatic - on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg - Or else he would be the Devil of Hell.   (Mere Christianity, 55-56).

 

Objections to the Deity of Christ Answered:

1.                     Jn. 14:28:  “The Father is greater than I”

A.              The Father is greater in office but not in nature.

 

B.  The Father is greater in function but not in essence.

C.              The Father is greater in position but not in character.

2.                     Mt. 19:7 “No one is good but One, that is, God. “

Jesus is not denying his deity. He is affirming it by prompting the man to consider the implications of his statement. In effect, Jesus was asking,  “Do you realize what you are saying when you call Me Good?  Are you saying I am God?”

3.                     Mt. 24:36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.”

Jesus had two natures in one being (note graphic).  So as God Jesus knew, but as man he didn’t (cf. Lk. 2:52, “Jesus increased in wisdom.”).

                     If Jesus was really God, then why wasn’t he more overt in his claim to be God?  There are a number of possibilities:

A.              To accomplish his mission of sacrificial atonement:

1)         If he displayed too much divine power, they never would have killed Him; or they may have killed him before he had a chance to teach.

2)         If he displayed too little, there would be little proof that he was really God.

B.              He didn't want interference from the Jews who had the misconception that the Messiah would free them from Roman oppression.

C.              To provide an example for us of humility and servitude and to glorify the Father rather than himself.

D.              To prevent people from thinking that he was God the Father.

E.              To prevent gawkers.

F.               To allow people to draw their own conclusions freely (as he did with parables).                                                                                                         

 

 

           

8.     Jesus' Claim to be God Was Miraculously Confirmed

 

            A.  Jesus’ Claim was confirmed by His Fulfillment of Messianic Prophecies

 

                  1)   Born of a woman (Gen. 3:15; cf. Gal. 4:4).

                  2)   Born of a virgin (Isa. 7:14 cf. Mt. 1:21f).

                  3)   "Cut off" (die) 483 years after the declaration to reconstruct the city in 444 B.C. (Dan. 9:24f).  (This was fulfilled to the very year. See Hoehner, Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ, 115-138).

                  4)   Of the seed of Abraham (Gen. 12:1-3 and 22:18 cf. Mt. 1:1 and Gal. 3:16).

                  5)   Of the tribe of Judah (Gen. 49:10 cf. Lk. 3:23, 33 and Heb. 7:14).

                  6)   Of the house of David (2 Sam. 7:12f cf. Mt. 1:1).

                  7)   Born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2 cf. Mt. 2:1 and Lk. 2:4-7).

                  8)   Anointed by the Holy Spirit (Isa. 11:2 cf. Mt. 3:16-17).

                  9)   Heralded by the messenger of the Lord (Isa. 40:3,Mal. 3:1 cf. Mt. 3:1-2).

                  10)      Would perform miracles (Isa. 35:5-6 cf. Mt. 9:35).

11)                  Would cleanse the Temple (Mal. 3:1 cf. Mt. 21:12f).

                  12)      Rejected by Jews (Ps. 22 and Isa. 53 cf. Mt. 27:31f).  This involved:

            a)   Rejection by His own people (Isa. 53:3 cf. Jn. 1:10-11; 7:5, 48).

                        b)   Silence before His accusers (Isa. 53:7 cf. Mt. 27:12-19).

                        c)   Being mocked (Ps. 22:7-8 cf. Mt. 27:31).

                        d)   Piercing His hands and feet (Ps. 22:16 cf. Lk. 23:33).

                        e)   Being crucified with thieves (Isa. 53:12 cf. Mk. 15:27-28).

                        f)    Praying for His persecutors (Isa. 53:12 cf. Lk. 23:34).

                        g)   Piercing His side (Zech. 12:10 cf. Jn.19:37).

 

           

            B.  Jesus’ claim was confirmed by His Sinless and Miraculous Life

 

1)   Jesus was sinless as evidenced by:

 

a)   Himself:

Jn. 8:46 "Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me?

 

b)   His disciples who spent three years with him day and night:

1Pet 1:19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.

 

1Pet 2:21-22 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth;

 

1Jn. 3:3-5 And everyone who has this hope {fixed} on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. . .  And you know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin.

 

 

 

 

c)   Paul and the writer of Hebrews:

2Cor 5:21 He made Him who knew no sin {to be} sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

 

Heb 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as {we are, yet} without sin.

 

d)   His enemies who could find no evil in him:

Mk. 14:55 Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain testimony against Jesus to put Him to death; and they were not finding any.

 

Lk. 23:22 And he said to them the third time, "Why, what evil has this man done? I have found in Him no guilt {demanding} death; I will therefore punish Him and release Him."

 

 

2)   Jesus was confirmed by miracles

 

a)   There is extensive testimony of miracles in the eyewitness accounts.  At least 35 miracles by Jesus are described in the gospels.

 

b)   Even Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, recognized that Jesus was confirmed by miracles:

 

Jn. 3:2   “He came to Jesus at night and said, ‘Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.’”

 

c)   Peter appealed to Jesus’ miraculous signs to those who saw those miracles themselves: 

 

Acts 2:22 “Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know.

 

d)   The writer of Hebrews claimed that Christ was confirmed by miracles:

 

Hebrews 2:3-4 “How shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

            C.  Jesus’ claim was confirmed by His Prediction and Accomplishment of His Resurrection.              

 

1)   Jesus Predicted His Resurrection  (Jn. 2:19, 21; Mt. 12:40; Mk. 8:31; 9:31; Jn. 10:18)

 

2)   Jesus Accomplished His Resurrection.  But to rise, Jesus had to first die.  Here's the evidence that he died:

 

a)   After getting no sleep the night before, Jesus was severely whipped and crowned with thorns.  Three six-inch spikes were then driven into his hands and feet, and a spear was later thrust into his side.

 

b)   Jesus experienced a heavy loss of blood from at least six hours on the cross (Mk. 15:25, 33-34) and from the bloody sweat in the garden the night before.

 

c)   His side was pierced and “blood and water” (Jn. 19:34) came out.  This had to have been an eyewitness account because it's a medical fact that blood and a watery serum would flow from a punctured heart after crucifixion.  No one could have invented that detail — John must have witnessed it!

 

d)   Crucifixion required that Jesus needed to continually pull himself up in order to breathe.  If the whipping, nails, blood loss, and spear didn’t kill him, then asphyxiation certainly did.  (See Appendix 2)

 

e)   Jesus was not drugged since he refused drugs (Mk. 15:23).

 

f)    Witnesses heard his death cry (Lk. 23:46-48).

 

g)   The Romans, who were professional executioners, did not break his legs because they knew he was already dead (Jn. 19:33).

 

h)  Pilate confirmed the death of Jesus before allowing them to bury him (Mk. 15:44-45).

 

i)    Jesus was embalmed in about 75 pounds of spices and bandages (Jn. 19:39).

 

j)    He was laid in a garden tomb, blocked by a rock weighing 3,000 -4,000 pounds; sealed by a clay Roman seal, and guarded by elite Roman soldiers.  

 

k)   He remained in the tomb for “three days” (1Cor 15:4).  If he wasn't dead when he went in, he would have been dead by Sunday.

 

l)    Medical authorities have verified it: "Clearly, the weight of historical and medical evidence indicates that Jesus was dead before the wound to his side was inflicted and supports the traditional view that the spear, thrust between his right rib, probably perforated not only the right lung but also the pericardium and heart and thereby ensured his death. Accordingly, interpretations based on the assumption that Jesus did not die on the cross appear to be at odds with modern medical knowledge" (Journal of the American Medical Society, March 21, 1986, 1463).

 

3)   Here’s the evidence that He rose:

 

a)   There is a permanently empty tomb!  Enemies of Christianity could only call him names — they couldn't produce his body (their disbelief was a matter of the will, not of the evidence).  The silence of the enemies almost speaks louder than the voice of the believers.

 

b)   The “very large” rock was rolled away from the grave site and the grave clothes were left behind (Mk. 16:4, Mt. 28:2).

 

c)   Twelve different physical appearances over 40 days, during which:

i.     He claimed to have flesh and bones (Lk. 24:39)

ii.    He and his scars were physically touched (Jn. 20:27-28)

iii.   He ate food (Lk. 24:42-43)

(See next page for the “Order of Appearances”)

 

d)   Over 500 witnesses (including the greatest unbeliever of the day — Saul)

 

e)   Jesus taught and performed miracles over those 40 days.

 

f)    Twelve scared, scattered, skeptical disciples suddenly became the most aggressive and effectivepeaceful evangelical missionary force the world has ever known.  Eleven of the twelve died martyrs for what they saw (they were honest men — if they weren't, surely one of them would have cracked under the threat of death).

“Here we were, the 12 most powerful men in the United States.  All the power of government was at our fingertips, but we could not keep a lie together for three weeks. . . . Are you going to tell me that those powerless apostles who were outcasts in their own land could be stoned, persecuted and beaten, some for 40 years, never once denying that Jesus was raised from the dead?  Impossible, humanly impossible-- unless they had seen the risen Christ face to face. Otherwise, the apostle Peter would have been just another John Dean.  He’d have gone in to turn state’s evidence.  He had already done it three times.”  Chuck Colson, Former presidential counsel to President Nixon during the Watergate Scandal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

g)   Despite intense persecution of Christians, Christianity spread by peaceful means throughout the Roman Empire (compare to Islam which spread via the sword).  Only an impact event like the resurrection could explain the rapid spread of Christianity by peaceful means.

 

class=Section4>

              The Order of the Twelve Appearances of Christ

 

Persons

Saw

Heard

Touched

Other Evidence

1.

Mary Magdalen

(Jn. 20:10-18)

X

X

X

Empty tomb

2.

Mary Magdalen & other Mary (Mt. 28:1-10)

X

X

X

Empty tomb (empty tomb and grave clothes also in Lk. 24: 1-12)

3.

Peter (1Cor. 15:5) & John (Jn. 20:1-10)

X

X

 

Empty tomb, Grave clothes

4.

Two Disciples

(Lk. 24:13-35)

X

X

 

Ate with Him

5.

Ten Apostles 

(Lk. 24:36-49; Jn. 20:19-23)

X

X

X**

Saw wounds, Ate food

6.

Eleven Apostles

(Jn. 20:24-31)

X

X

X**

Saw wounds

7.

Seven Apostles

(Jn. 21)

X

X

 

Ate food

8.

All Apostles (Mt. 28: 16-20; Mk. 16:14-18)

X

X

 

 

9.

500 Brethren

(1Cor. 15:6)

X

X*

 

 

10.

James 

(1Cor. 15:7)

X

X*

 

 

11.

All Apostles

(Acts 1:4-8)

X

X

 

Ate with Him

12.

Paul  (Acts 9:1-9;

1Cor. 15:8)

X

X

 

 

                                          *Implied    **Offered himself to be touched

 


Most (if not all) of the theories to explain away the resurrection are based on an anti-supernatural bias.  These theories are all easily shown to be absurd:

 

Theory

Refutation

Jesus swooned;

he didn't really die

1.    How could he have survived? (See evidence of death above and the description in Appendix 2.)

2.    And if he did survive, how could a weak man seeking medical attention:

 A. move the 2 ton rock up and away, then get by the Romans, and then

 B. fool the scared, scattered, skeptical disciples and 500 others into faith to the death?

3.    In light of his teachings, could Jesus have been such a charlatan?

 

Witnesses hallucinated his

resurrection

1.    How could 500 hallucinate at different places and different times over 40 days, especially people who were NOT predisposed to it? (They were disbelieving, not anticipating a resurrection.)

2.    Why is the tomb still empty?

3.    Why didn't the Jews or Romans produce the body to squash Christianity?

 

The disciples stole the body

1.    Why would they later die for a known lie?

2.    They denounced lying — were they charlatans?

3.    What did they possibly have to gain?

4.    How did they get past the elite Romans who guarded the tomb with their lives? (Besides, the disciples were cowards before the resurrection).

 

Witnesses went to the wrong tomb

1.    Did everyone do this for 40 straight days and ever since?

2.    Why didn't the Romans or Jews go to the right tomb and produce the body to squash Christianity?

3.    What about the 12 appearances and 500 witnesses?

 

It was a case of mistaken identity

1.    How could people who spent 3 years with Jesus day and night continue to mistake someone else for him for 40 straight days?

2.    If it was a case of mistaken identity, then who performed the miracles and ascended into heaven?

3.    Again, why didn't the Romans or Jews go to the right tomb and produce the body to squash Christianity?

 

It's all a myth

1.    See the internal, external and bibliographic tests of step six (NT documents are historically reliable) and all the reasons above.

2.    Where did the accurate eyewitness details come from (e.g. bloody sweat in the garden, blood and water from his side)?

3.    Gospels show no sign of legendary development (compare apocryphal stories);  there was not enough time between events and writing for that to occur — eyewitnesses were still alive and the biblical writers appealed to them repeatedly.

4.    Not even hostile secular writers deny the existence of Jesus;  if Jesus didn't say those things, who did?

5.    Why would anyone — especially the moralizing disciples —  make up the resurrection story considering the persecution associated with proclaiming it?   Why would they suffer torture and go to their deaths for a known lie?

 


  9.   Therefore, it is true that Jesus is God.

 

10.   Whatever Jesus (who is God) teaches is true.

A.     God is morally perfect (The Moral Law Argument from point #3)

B.              An all-knowing, morally perfect God would not teach error.

       

11.   Jesus taught that the Bible is the Word of God.

 

A.  The Things Jesus Affirmed about the Bible:

 

1)  It is divinely authority (Mt. 4:4, 7, 10).

 

But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone,

but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ”. . .     7 Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ” . . . Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ”    

 

2)  It is imperishable (Mt. 5:17-18).

 

                  Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.

 

3)  It is infallible (Jn. 10:35).

 

                  If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken.

 

4)  It is inerrant.

 

Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. (Mt. 22:29)

 

                  Sanctify them through your truth: your word is truth (Jn. 17:17).

 

5)  It is historically reliable.

 

For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (Mt. 12:40).

 

But as the days of Noah [were], so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.  For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark (Mt. 24:37-38).

 

6)  It is scientifically accurate.

And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’5 “and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? (Mt. 19:4-5)

 

If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? (Jn. 3:12)

 

7)  It has ultimate supremacy.

 

                  But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?  But he answering said to them,

 

                  Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition

 

He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?. . . Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. (Mt. 15:3, 6).

 

B.  Jesus Affirmed about the Bible what the Critics deny.

      

1)  Daniel was a prophet (not a mere historian) --  Mt. 24:15

 

Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand),

 

2)  God Created Adam and Eve (they did not evolve) -- Mt. 19:4

 

3)  Jonah is literally true (not mythological) -- Mt. 12:40

 

4)  World was actually drowned in a flood -- Mt. 24:39

 

5)  There was one prophet who wrote Isaiah (not two):

                       

 And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: (Lk. 4:17 from Isa. 61:1).

 

That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying:  “He Himself took our infirmities And bore our sicknesses.”  (Mt. 8:17 from Isa. 53:4 and Jn. 12:37-41 quotes Isaiah chapters 6 and 53 as if from the same author).

 

                  Question:      Who knew more about the Bible, Christ or the critics?

 

                  Dilemma:       If Jesus is the Son of God, then the Bible is the Word of God. 

Conversely, --

If the Bible is not the Word of God, then Jesus is not the Son of God (since He taught false doctrine).

 

C.  Jesus Did Not Accommodate to Erroneous Jewish Beliefs about the Bible

 

1)  Jesus rebuked those who accepted Jewish teaching that contradicted the Bible (Mt. 15:1-6).

 

2)  Jesus often set His word against false views about the Bible.

You have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill....  But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.... You have heard that it said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery.... But I say to you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.... It has been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement.... But I say to you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery....  You have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy....  But I say to you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you (Mt. 5:21-43).

 

3)  Jesus rebuked the famous Jewish teacher Nicodemus.

 

Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things? (Jn. 3:10).

 

4)  Jesus told the Sadducees bluntly that they were mistaken.

 

Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. (Mt. 22:29)

 

5)  Jesus' words of denunciation to the Pharisees were scarcely accommodating.

 

                  Woe unto you, you blind guides.... you fools and blind.... Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!.... you blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.... Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead [men's] bones, and of all uncleanness....  Thus also you, outwardly you appear righteous to men, but within are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous....  You serpents, brood of vipers.... (Mt. 23:16-34).

 

6)  Jesus did not accommodate to false beliefs and practices in the temple.

 

When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables.  And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!”  (Jn. 2:15-16).

 

7)  Even Jesus' enemies recognized that He did not compromise.

 

And they sent to Him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are true, and teach the way of God in truth; nor do You care about anyone, for You do not regard the person of men. (Mt. 22:16).

 

D.       Did Jesus' Human Limitations Cause Him to Err on Scripture?

 

1)  Jesus was limited in his understanding as a man (even though as God He knew all things; He had two distinct natures).

 

a)   He grew in knowledge as a child.

 

And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man (Lk. 2:52).       

 

b)   He did not know what was on the fig tree.

            

                        And seeing a fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it but leaves, and said to it, “Let no fruit grow on you ever again.” Immediately the fig tree withered away. (Mt. 21:19).

 

c)   He did not know the time of His Second Coming.

 

But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. (Mt. 24:36).

 

2)  However, Jesus never erred in what He taught.

 

a)   Limits on understanding are different from misunderstanding.

 

b)   Fact that He did not know some things does not mean He was wrong in what He did know.

 

c)   What Jesus did know He affirmed with divine authority.

 

                        And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (Mt. 28:18-19).

 

i.    He affirmed 25 times "truly, truly..." (Jn. 3:3, 5, 11).

 

ii.   He claimed His words were on the level of God's.

 

iii.  Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away (Mt. 24:35).

 

d)   Jesus taught only what the Father told Him to teach.

 

Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. (Jn. 8:28).

                        “For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me. (Jn. 17:8).

 

                        I have given them Your Word (Jn. 17:14).

 

                        Conclusion:  To charge Jesus with error is to charge God the Father with error, since He spoke only what the Father told Him and that with "all authority in heaven and earth."

 

E.        Jesus Affirmed the Divine Authority of the Whole Old Testament.

 

1)   He used phrases that encompass the whole Old Testament.

 

a)   “Law and Prophets” refers to the whole OT.

 

And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded to them in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself. (Lk. 24:17 cf. 24:44).

 

b)   "The Scriptures" refers to the whole OT.

 

                                    “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. (Jn. 5:39).

 

c)   "From...Abel unto...Zechariah" (Mt. 23:35).

 

“that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.

 

2)   Jesus and NT writers cited almost all (18 of 22) the OT books, including every section of the OT.

 

3)   Jesus said He came to fulfill the whole OT.

 

                              17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.18 “For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.  (Mt. 5:17-18).

 

F.         Jesus Promised the Divine Authority of the New Testament.

 

1)   Jesus said the Holy Spirit would teach the Apostle "All things" and lead them into "all truth."

 

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to (Jn. 14:26).

 

However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. (Jn. 16:13)

 

2)   The Apostles claimed this divine authority for their words.

 

But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.  (Jn. 20:31).

 

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life. (1 Jn. 1:1).

 

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.. . . They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them.6 We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. (1 Jn. 4:1; 5-6).

 

3)   Paul cites the Gospel of Luke as “Scripture” (cf. 1 Tim 5:18, Lk. 10:7)

 

4)   Peter acknowledged all Paul's writings as "Scripture" (cf. 2 Tim. 3:15-16).

 

And consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.  (2 Peter 3:15-16).

 

5)   The New Testament is the only authentic record of apostolic teaching.

 

6)   Therefore, the NT is the "all truth" Jesus promised his apostles (=the NT is confirmed by Jesus to be the Word of God).

 

7)   Therefore, both the OT and the NT are the Word of God.

 

12.   Therefore, it is true that the Bible is the Word of God (and anything opposed to it is false).

 

A.    Everything affirmed as true in the Bible is true:

1)   God cannot err.

2)   The Bible is the Word of God.

3)   Therefore, the Bible cannot err.

B.    Not everything affirmed as true in other writings is true.

C.    Whatever in other writings is opposed to the Bible is false.  For example:

1)   The Bible says that Jesus died and rose three days later (true).

2)   The Qur’an says Jesus did not die and rise three days later (false).

 

SOURCES

Baker Encyclopedia of Apologetics: N.L. Geisler

Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air: Francis Beckwith

Mere Christianity: C.S. Lewis

Legislating Morality: Geisler and Turek

Fingerprint of God: Hugh Ross

Creator and the Cosmos: Hugh Ross

God and the Astronomers: Robert Jastrow

Darwin’s Black Box: Michael Behe

Show Me God: Fred Heeren

 Miracles and the Modern Mind: N.L. Geisler

In Defense of Miracles: Doug Geivett, ed.

Miracles: C.S. Lewis

When Critics Ask: N. L. Geisler

The Case for Christ: Lee Strobel

The Historical Reliability of the Gospels: Craig Blomberg

Jesus and Christian Origins Outside the New Testament: F.F. Bruce

The New Testament Documents: Are they Reliable?: F.F. Bruce

General Introduction to the Bible: N. L. Geisler

The Historical Jesus: Gary Habermas

The Resurrection of Jesus: Gary Habermas

In Defense of the Resurrection: N. L. Geisler

Knowing the Truth about the Resurrection: William L. Craig

SPECIAL THANKS

I wanna give a shout out to my amazing apologetics teacher Mr. Skinner from where all of this information  came to me. Thanks!!!!!!

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