As I was anticipating starting a new idea here, namely “tough questions” that arise in my head (or ones I hear about), I considered what it would be about. 2013 had been a very tough, but growing year for me. I grew a lot spiritually by asking hard questions, making scripture as my standard (and seeing where it led) and by getting into community with other like-minded Christians via the summer camp I volunteered at this past summer, and continuing friendships afterward (keep godly people in your life, you will never regret it!)
So in all the biblical, philosophical, scientific, or what have you questions, the one that’s nearest and dearest to the Christian is the question is the Bibles absolute authority. As one of my favorite theologians, John MacArthur says “without the Bible, we have nothing“.
The big question is this:
Is the Bible true?
That really is what we as Christians hang our hope on, because if the Bible is the historical record of creation, the fall, Christ’s coming, His resurrection, and his ascension, then without it, we’re left in the dark.
So where do we base this hope in? Well, there are many (and I mean a lot!) resources out there defending the biblical record and Christ’s historicity (The Case For Christ, by Lee Strobel to name one), and the Bible’s all-around accuracy historically.
But in this post, I’ll answer some things that struck me as most compelling.
So the claim of Christ’s divinity, miracles, etc. as not historical must be backed up with compelling evidence of that (i.e. the gospel records being false). So as a counter we would in turn need something historical to believe it actually did happen in real life, not as a fantastic world thought up by some (as one friend I used to have said) “Monk in the dark ages”.
So what’s behind these inquiries? Are they grounded in fact? Or are the skeptics just naturalists who don’t have room in their worldview for the supernatural? (The latter I believe is the most probable I think). But it could always be just plain ignorance (which, would most certainly not be bliss in this case).
So what of the gospel records? Well, the best witnesses to Christ would be eye-witnesses, meaning they actually saw Christ and what happened, rather than re-telling a new folk-tale. Also, one thing to note is that a folk-tale based on some historical fact (but not much) isn’t usually written 40-60 (est.) years after the events. Meaning they would be far too early to be believable legends. In Luke’s Gospel he begins saying,
“Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.”
So basically what Luke is telling the people at that time was “go ask the eye-witnesses to see if it’s true, this is important and you should know it for yourselves!”. Blind faith? I don’t believe that’s Biblical. Faith is “…the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Heb 11:1).
So the Biblical narrative telling people to go ask the eye-witnesses is a very strong argument towards its reliability, because of its massive spread as fact and not as folklore. They told the people to verify it, and I’m sure a majority of the 500 witnesses after Christ’s resurrection would easily verify what they saw (and if you say they hallucinated, then that’s one powerful ‘shroom hitting 500 people with the same exact vision).
Also the great writer, philosopher, and theologian C.S. Lewis said,
“I have been reading poems, romances, vision literature, legends and myths all my life. I know what they are like. I know none of them are like this.” (referring to the gospel narrative)
Also, as a quick side-note all the places and architecture are completely historically founded, meaning Golgotha, Jerusalem, and Nazareth are legitimate places (and still are today!).
So all this makes for a fairly decent claim to the historicity of the gospels, at least on a Dating, Testimony, and nature of the writing side of things. This doesn’t seem like it could be folklore, it just doesn’t add up.
Next time i review this, I’d like to get into the Apostle Paul’s testimony of this, and the disciples testimonies. Stay tuned for that!
Thanks for reading!