History and the Resurrection

If I’m not reading, there’s a good chance that I’m listening to, or watching, a debate or lecture.

In almost all the debates I’ve watched on the Resurrection, at some point during the debate, without fail, someone will say something to the effect of, “History cannot prove a miracle.”

As Bart Ehrman says in all of his debates, “A miracle is by definition is the least probable explanation.”

However, initially appealing as these two objections seem, and they do seem that way, I think a better understanding of history, as well as the Resurrection will reveal them to be vacuous.

The Nature of History

History doesn’t “prove” anything. History is the study of events that happened in the past.

The past cannot be observed, nor can we run experiments on the past. In fact, the past (like the future) doesn’t even exist. Not anymore, at least.

So, to say you are certain about an event that occurred 2,000 years ago is dishonest. You aren’t.

You are 2,000 years removed from a time and place that no longer exists. There is plenty of possibility for doubt.

However, none of this means the past is unknowable. We don’t need to have certainty in order to know something. If we did, we would literally know just about nothing and our species would never have developed into what we have become.

Knowledge of the past is vital. You couldn’t function properly if you didn’t have knowledge of the immediate past stored in memory.

But knowledge of the distant past is important as well. It is important that we understand what led to the atrocities of the past, lest we repeat them.

The Nature of the Resurrection

We speak of the Resurrection as one event. While this is an accurate way to speak, obviously Jesus’ coming back to life would constitute a single event, I would like to propose another way of looking at things (This doesn’t originate with me. I think William L. Craig does this too).

Think of the Resurrection as 3 Events.

Event 1: Jesus lived.

Event 2: Jesus died.

Event 3: Jesus lived again.

If history is the tool by which we study events in the past, then history is the tool for this job.

The probability of miracles doesn’t matter, as Ehrman insists, the question is simply what evidence do we have for each event?

As it is, events 1 and 2 are accepted by virtually everyone. The evidence for Jesus’ life, ironically, is the overwhelming attestation to his crucifixion.

The question then really comes down to this: What historical evidence do we have that he lived again?

Why Everyone Should Believe that the Gospels are Reliable

The idea that the Gospels are unreliable, contradictory, copies of copies of translations of copies, is false. In this article, drawing on Peter J. Williams’ new book, Brett Lunn gives some evidence as to why the Gospels are indeed reliable sources not only of their historical claims, but also the miracle claims.

Why Everyone Should Believe that the Gospels are Reliable

Why are Jesus’ Genealogies in Matthew and Luke Different?

The differences in the Gospels can be very significant, even appearing to contradict one another in certain places. Jesus’ genealogy is a famous apparent contradiction. In this article, Dr. Mark Strauss tacks the question as to what could explain the obvious differences.

Why are Jesus’ Genealogies in Matthew and Luke Different?

Ep 51 Travis Dickinson: Apologetics and the Brilliance of the Gospel

Dr. Travis Dickinson, professor of apologetics and philosophy at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, joins the show to discuss his new book (link below). We discuss truth, faith, doubt, and a recent engagement Dr. Dickinson had at the atheist-christian book club with John Loftus and Aron Ra.

Links

Live Episodes/Bonus Segment:
https://www.patreon.com/helpmebelieve

Travis Dickinson:
http://www.travisdickinson.com/

Stand Firm:
https://amzn.to/2kfUMo5

3 Tips for Reading More

I have an abnormal reading schedule. If I had to guess, I’d say I’ve read fifty or more books this year and it is only September.

I don’t say this to brag, it just is what it is. I make reading recommendations all the time and the most common response is, “I’d love to read that, I just don’t have the time.”

Yes you do.

What I didn’t tell you is that this year I have also maintained being a full-time employee, student, husband, and obviously I write and make videos.

“Yeah, but you don’t have kids.” Fair enough.

Here’s some tips. Disclaimer: they will only help if you actually want to improve in this area. If you don’t actually want to, you’ll find any excuse in the world.

  1. Commit. That’s why the first step is to commit and stop making excuses. I know that is simplistic, but it is really the most important step based on the obvious: we don’t do things that we don’t want to do. If you don’t want to read more, you never will. So, ask yourself, do I really want to read more? Why do I want to read more?
  2. Read what you want. What are you interested in right this second? Right this second, I’m very interested in the Thomistic arguments for the existence of God and the reliability of the Gospels. So, guess what I’m reading. Not long ago, I was interested in Business and Economics, so guess what I was reading. If you don’t know where to start, just start with what interests you and see where that goes.
  3. Schedule. I have a daily routine (most days). I wake up at 5:00 a.m. (yes, really). Take the dogs out. Pour a cup of coffee. Study the Bible where I left off the day before. Post a blog. Then, I read whatever book on whatever topic I’ve been studying. I can usually get in a chapter at this point. Then I have to go to work. Don’t tell anyone, but I usually find a way to read at work (kindle has an app and a website), even if it is just on my lunch break. When I get home, I usually have homework because I’m a philosophy student right now. I have to eat, of course. And if my wife and I aren’t doing anything, I usually read a little bit more. Things come up, but this is my normal routine. Without it, I would never make time to read.

I have a freakish reading schedule, but it is important to me. I want to know everything about the topics I study and write about. You obviously don’t have to, if that isn’t your goal, but these are some simple (not easy) tips that I use to ensure I’m reading as much as I would like.

Jesus Wasn’t a Real Person? That’s Dumb!

I had the privilege of interviewing Clay Jones recently on the problem of evil. In this article, he responds to a reporters questions about whether or not Jesus actually existed. To quote the skeptical scholar, John Dominic Crossan, “That he was crucified is as sure as anything historical can ever be.”

Jesus Wasn’t a Real Person? That’s Dumb!

Jesus for skeptics. How to respond to those who say Jesus is a myth

There is a growing number of people (not in scholarship) that deny the existence of Jesus. Despite the mountain of evidence to the contrary, and despite the fact that no one questioned Jesus’ existence for eighteen centuries, the “mythicist” movement has gained enough traction that it should be directly addressed. Justin Brierly gives you a few points to respond with in this article, but I highly recommend Bart Ehrman’s Did Jesus Exist? which put the question to bed. That Jesus existed and was crucified is as sure a fact as anything from antiquity. Deny this, and you might as well deny all of antiquity. The question is: did he rise?

Jesus for skeptics: How to respond to those who say Jesus is a myth

Why Does the Universe Exist?

There’s only a few options when it comes to the explanation of the universe: (1) The universe came from nothing, (2) something, (3) created itself, or (4) has no cause. Three of the four are ridiculous and even logically impossible. That the universe had a cause outside space, time, and matter should be clear.

Why Does the Universe Exist?

3 Times Archaeology Has Confirmed the Gospels and Shut the Mouths of Skeptics

Erik Manning drops some archaeological facts that confirm claims made in the Gospels. Unlike other religions, Christianity is rooted in history, and as such, can be falsified.

3 Times Archaeology Has Confirmed the Gospels and Shut the Mouths of Skeptics