Every once in a while, Christians are accosted by unbelievers who demand "proof" (or evidence) of the miracles that Bible believers affirm. On this site, as well as on many of those which are linked, a reader will find copious evidence demonstrating the paucity of particles-to-pastor evolution, and presenting scientific evidence affirming biblical creation. What about the events that happened about 4,000 years after creation that involve Jesus?
|Background image: Pixabay / Gerd Altmann|
Now we're back to the main trail. There is abundant historical evidence for the life, death, and bodily Resurrection of Jesus from the dead   . I'll allow that most of the evidence regarding Jesus is contained in the Bible. Alleged biblical inaccuracies have been asserted but not demonstrated, and many claims of critics have been refuted. Indeed, respected archaeologist William Ramsay was skeptical of the New Testament, and his investigations let to his conversion to Christ. Ramsay said that "Luke is a historian of the first rank . . . his statements of fact trustworthy" . I should add that the Bible is brutally direct when describing the failings of God's people. Saul persecuted the church before he was promoted to Apostle Paul, Peter denied Jesus, Judas betrayed Jesus and hanged himself, all of the disciples went into hiding. Note that God was woman-affirming, since they were the first ones to report the risen Lord when the culture had a low view of women's testimonies, so the disciples were reluctant to believe them at first (Luke 24:10-12).
Some critics will say something akin to, "Leave the Bible out of it, and let's discuss evidence on neutral ground; show me extra-biblical evidence for Jesus". Sounds reasonable, except that there is no such thing as "neutral ground" . More than that, the scoffer wants the Christian to tacitly admit that the Bible is not true, and to argue on his plot of land: materialistic presuppositions, where God is disallowed ! Further, the atheist is wanting you to appeal to his pride, where he can decide if God the Creator and Redeemer is worthy of worship. The atheist's ultimate starting point is rejection of God and affirming naturalism, while our ultimate authority and starting point is the Word of God.
Some folks say that they sincerely want evidence for our position. We can offer a prairie-schooner full of evidence for creation, miracles, and the Resurrection of Jesus, but if they are spiritually closed, they will reject what we have to offer. They are blinded by their father down below (John 8:44, 2 Cor. 4:4), are enemies of God (Rom. 8:6-8), and unbelievers cannot understand the deeper things of God (1 Cor. 2:14). They seldom set out to actually do evil, believing they are doing what is right according to their degenerate worldview. An example of this is that secular scientists are unaware of their own biases . These things support the Christian teaching of the noetic effects of sin, that sin has darkened the minds of unbelievers so that it interferes with their morality and ability to reason . I have seen this in people who have been rational in some things, but are consumed by hate when discussing God, the Bible, Christians, and so forth. Some seem so far gone that their basic reasoning abilities are affected as well.
If you study on it, you'll find that atheists arbitrarily define "reality" as naturalistic atheism. This fallacious reasoning empowers intolerant unbelievers to heap abuse on Bible believers and call us "reality deniers", but they do not understand that reality and wisdom begin with God (Prov. 1:7). Dr. Greg Bahnsen pointed out that the kind of evidence an unbeliever claims to desire (and what evidence may be accepted), as well as the way he or she interprets such evidence, is based on what he thinks about reality in the first place. Metaphysical views determine anyone's epistemological views.
Don't be disunderstanding me, evidence is important, especially for strengthening the faith of believers. When presenting evidence to unbelievers, we must present it in a presuppositional framework. That is, we will not yield on the ultimate authority of Scripture, which is certain. Probability arguments tend to put a burr under my saddle. Saying thinks like, "It's probable that Jesus rose from the dead", "It's improbable life could arise on Earth by chance", such arguments are weak in and of themselves. Yes, they have their place when used properly (especially when showing the folly of evolution), but not when divorced from Scripture. Remember that Salvation does not come from our "brilliant" arguments, but from God (1 Cor. 2:1-5). Our job is to give an account for the hope that is in us, starting with Jesus as Lord, proclaim repentance (Acts 17:30, Luke 24:46-47), not depending on worldly wisdom (1 Peter 3:15) and leaving the results to the Holy Spirit. We need to be prayerful, especially in relationships that are more than just social media drive-by encounters.
Celebrating the bodily Resurrection of Jesus from the dead on Easter is very important for Christians . Sure, some pharisaical "Christians" will saddle up with atheists to spread the false claim that Easter has pagan in origins . The Creator of the universe (Col. 1:16, John 1:1-3) took on human form, lived a sinless life, was crucified on a cross for our sins, rose from the dead (1 Cor. 15:3-8), ascended to the right hand of God the Father (Eph. 1:18-21), sent the Holy Spirit to indwell us (John 14:16) until he comes to take us to our greatest home — forever (Rev. 21: 1-4). We are children of the living God (John 1:12). Those are excellent reasons to celebrate!