Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Few Evidences for Christianity

In this post I will address the evidence for the Christian God. I have been asked to address the historicity of the existence of Jesus as well as the potential mystical creation of Christianity out of Judaism and other ancient religions. I must first point out that entire books have been written on these subjects and my post will only be a thumbnail sketch of the available research into these ideas. I have read much about it, but I have not exhausted all resources on the subject for it is extensive.


I was going to start with a discussion on the eyewitness accounts of the life of Jesus. But instead, I am going to start with testimony about him before he even came on the scene. There are 322 references in the Old Testament that was written well before Jesus of Nazareth is said to have lived that describe Jesus perfectly. Things that a man could not have had any control over occurring simply by following what was written and making it happen that way. The statistical likelihood of one man fulfilling just 8 of these prophesies in his life time is 1 in 10 to the 17th power. To borrow an illustration from Josh McDowell the odds would be the same as filling the state of Texas with quarters two feet deep with one marked quarter and sending a blindfolded man to find that quarter. That is for just the possibility of 8 being fulfilled in one man’s lifetime. Jesus fulfilled 322. So before we even look at eyewitnesses who wrote about his life and his death and resurrection, we have all these prophesies foretelling what the Messiah would do, where he would be born, and what he would be like. Also in those prophesies involves how others will interact with him: for instance, the people giving him a donkey to ride, or Judas betrayal for silver pieces.


Now fast forward to Jesus life on earth. Christianity was birthed in Jerusalem. And many scholars are attesting that the New Testament was completed before the destruction of the city in 70A.D. This means that hundreds of eyewitnesses were still alive when the church was growing in Jerusalem and into the known world. The Romans and Jews wanted to squelch Christianity. The Romans because the talk of a Kingdom of God was a threat to their rule and while they allowed a plurality of religious beliefs, they were not favorable to the Jews for their insistence on a one true God more powerful than Rome, nor the Christian belief of a Kingdom of God that was greater than the Roman power. The Jews did not want Christianity to survive because they thought it a heresy for despite the clear prophesies they thought their Messiah was going to come and rule and subdue their enemies as is prophesied for the second coming of Christ. The Jews believed that when the Messiah came on the scene he was going to immediately set the world to right with his great power and when Jesus did not do this they rejected him as the Messiah. However, many Jews today are coming to Christ and acknowledging He is the true Messiah as was prophesied.


So had Jesus never lived, and Christianity been the construct of a new religion written by simple fisherman it would not have grown as it did. Rome would have not persecuted it as a threat, Jews would have easily dispelled the rumors of its veracity and the Christian sect would have never seen the light of day. Christianity spread in the very place it was birthed because people had seen Jesus and it was not a mystical creation, but a very real historical truth. The mystical Gnostic beliefs did not get introduced until the second century after the canonical Scriptures was already the accepted authority. The popular story that there were a bunch of books floating around and the church leaders decided to sort through them all and pick out the ones that suited them best is a great fabrication and is extremely unhistorical. The “other books” were few and did not come into play until well after the accepted Scriptures had been written and already established in the church by testimony of the writers who were giving eyewitness testimony.


Moreover, the theory of Christianity being merely Jewish and mystical religion teachings combined holds no water. Christianity is a fulfillment of the work God started with the Jewish people. So naturally the truth of the Old Testament (the Jewish Scriptures) blends and is completed in the truth of the New Testament. As for the mystery religions and the resurrection of the corn gods, those are nature religions based on observing the changes in seasons and the death of a corn causing seeds to bring about a new corn plant. It is merely a shadow, a picture, of the real. All of nature points to the truth of Christianity. C.S. Lewis addresses this matter at some length in his book Miracles I believe for he was an expert in mythological literature.


I’m going to stop here for now, for I have said a lot and I’ll give you some time to think about this and discuss it.


4 comments:

Mandy said...

Thanks for the thought-provoking post.

Karla said...

Your welcome.

Godless Woman said...

"Jesus fulfilled 322. So before we even look at eyewitnesses who wrote about his life and his death and resurrection, we have all these prophesies foretelling what the Messiah would do, where he would be born, and what he would be like. Also in those prophesies involves how others will interact with him: for instance, the people giving him a donkey to ride, or Judas betrayal for silver pieces."

The writers of the New Testament had the Old Testament. How do we know that they didn't just copy from what the writers of the Old Testament said?

Karla said...

It is way too intricate to have accomplished that fictionally for one thing. Two, we have historical evidence for Jesus and many of the prophesies from extra-biblical sources. Meaning secular history testifies to it so it wasn't invented by the followers. If you read over the prophesies they are amazingly intricate and precise. Also the Jewish people, despite the already written text about the coming Messiah still believed the Messiah was coming in triumphant power and would rule and reign establishing His authority on earth. One day when Christ returns He will come in glory and power, but the Jews were blind to the first coming and thus there is no way Jewish fisherman would have created such an intricate fulfilling of prophesies that they were commonly overlooking in expectation of a triumphant Messiah. The only way they could have written such detail is if it were true. Also the disciples were often shown in an unfavorable light meaning that even their embarassing faithless moments are recorded by them. No one would make up such a story where even their embarrasing doubts and misdeeds were written in detail.