The Evidence For Jesus’ Resurrection, Part 1: Why This Matters

By Evan Minton

Did Jesus really rise from the dead? How can we know? Most people, both Christians, and non-Christians alike, will tell you that if you believe that Jesus rose from the dead, it has to be on either the basis of a religious experience (for example, you were addicted to drugs but prayed to Jesus to free you, and if He did, you would follow him all the days of your life) or blind faith. The general public is under the impression that Jesus’ resurrection cannot be believed on the basis of evidence. However, while this perception is common among the general population, it isn’t true. There is actually a wealth of historical evidence for the truth of Christianity, and many skeptics have become Christians by looking at this evidence.[1]  I’m glad that such evidence exists for a number of reasons. For one, I consider myself a generally skeptical and critically thinking person. I like that I can believe that Christianity is true on the basis of more than “The Bible tells me so.” If there were no evidence for Jesus’ resurrection other than the claims of The Bible, I would have a hard time maintaining belief in it. Especially since other religions make equally radical claims. How would I know to accept The Bible’s claims about God rather than, say, the Quran’s? Secondly, it is important to our eternal fates whether we know that Jesus rose from the dead if He actually did. As C.S Lewis eloquently put it: “Christianity, if false, is of no importance. But if true, it is of infinite importance. The only thing I cannot be is moderately important.”[2]  Christianity is of no importance whatsoever if it isn’t true. If Jesus were just a wise teacher or a false prophet who met an untimely demise, who cares? On the other hand, if The Bible is true, if Christianity is true if Jesus was God incarnate who died and rose from the dead, then it is infinitely important that we listen to what He has to say and that we apply it to our lives. If Christianity is true, and we don’t believe it, we’re in for one Hell of an afterlife (pun intended), since The Bible teaches that whoever does not believe in Jesus will be under God’s wrath (John 3:18, John 3:36), who will be thrown in a lake of fire to be tormented forever and ever (Revelation 14:10-11). It is therefore vital that we believe Jesus’ claims about Himself. Not to do so result in us dying in our sins (see John 8:24). This is why C.S Lewis said that Christianity is infinitely important if it’s true. But if it’s not true, then the warnings of judgment in scripture are nothing but empty threats.


So if it’s true and we don’t believe it, eternal agony awaits.[3] If it’s false and we don’t believe it, no biggie. This is why Lewis said it’s either infinitely important or not important at all. But under no circumstances can it be somewhat important.

Why The Resurrection Is So Important

As you’ve probably noticed, I used “Christianity” and “Jesus’ resurrection” interchangeably in the paragraphs above. There’s a reason I did that. If the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth can be historically established, then that means that the entire Christian worldview is established as well. If Jesus rose from the dead, Christianity is true and any worldview or religion that contradicts Christianity is false.

Why do I say that? Is this some unjustified leap? “Are you seriously saying that validating one of The Bible’s claims validates the entire Bible? Aren’t you committing the hasty generalization fallacy in making this assertion?”[4]  I understand why you would raise this question. Before I get into making a case for Jesus’ resurrection, I need to first unpack why it would validate the entire Christian worldview.

First of all, there is strong historical evidence that Jesus claimed to be God. If Jesus said that he was God, but he wasn’t, then he was either a lying heretic or else he was crazy. If that were the case, there’s no way God The Father would resurrect Jesus from the dead knowing that that would vindicate his blasphemous claims and lead many people astray. God would never raise a heretic and a blasphemer. But if God did raise Jesus from the dead, then God implicitly put his stamp of approval on everything Jesus said and did. If Jesus rose from the dead, then that means God The Father agreed with Jesus’ claims for which his enemies killed him as a blasphemer. If God The Father raised Jesus from the dead, then that means He agrees with Jesus’ claims to be divine.

If that’s the case, then whatever Jesus teaches carries a lot of weight. Well, what did Jesus teach? He taught (1) that the Old Testament was the divinely inspired Word of God. He believed and taught that every word in The Old Testament was true. (2) Since he handpicked the writers of the New Testament, this means the New Testament is divinely inspired given that Jesus is God, (3) He also seemed to believe that Adam and Eve were historical individuals, that (4) the flood story in Genesis 6-9 actually happened, that (5) angels and demons really do exist, and (6) that if you place your faith in him, you will have eternal life but that if you don’t place your faith in Him, you’ll end up in Hell (John 3:16-18, John 8:24).

So if Jesus rose from the dead after allegedly blaspheming the One who raised him, we can believe all of these things as well simply because Jesus believed them. This is why you’ll often hear Christian Apologists say “I don’t believe in Jesus because I believe The Bible. I believe The Bible because I believe in Jesus”.

But, how do we know that Jesus actually claimed to be divine and that he believed the Old Testament was inspired, that he believed angels and demons existed, etc.? I unpack this in my blog post “What Is The Significance Of Jesus’ Resurrection?”  

“Oh no! Not Another Blog Series!” 

I’ve come to learn that not everyone likes blog post series[5], so I plan on making this both a blog post series as well as a book. I know of no one interested in researching these matters who hates books, so if you’re one of those people who hate blog posts series, you can wait and the series compiled in book form. Though this particular paragraph and subsection will be missing.

Be Willing To Follow The Evidence Wherever It Leads 

If you understand the importance of knowing whether or not Christianity is true, then you’ll take the time to either read this blog post series or read the book adaption of it. If you do take the time to listen to my arguments, please follow them to their logical conclusions. My friend Neil Mammen has a saying “Don’t let the consequences of your logic cause you to abandon that logic.”[6]  Not everyone who denies the resurrection of Jesus does so purely on intellectual grounds or on the grounds that the evidence isn’t sufficient. Some people deny that the resurrection occurred simply because they want it not to have occurred. Some people aren’t Christians because there isn’t enough evidence to establish that it’s true, but because they don’t want it to be true.

If Jesus rose from the dead, then Christianity is true. If Christianity is true, then several implications follow. It means that if you’re living in sin, you’ll have to repent. Jesus said that if you even look at a woman with lust, you’ve committed adultery in your heart (Matthew 5:28), and adultery is one of the things God said not to do (Exodus 20:14). If you like to spend your evenings downloading and looking at pornography, you’ll have to get that out of your life or answer to God for it (2 Corinthians 5:10). But porn watchers don’t want to do that. Watching porn is fun! It’s exciting! Porn watchers don’t want to give up porn because they enjoy it too much. Others may want to sleep around, bouncing from woman to woman as Charlie Harper did on the hit sitcom Two and A Half Men. According to Hebrews 13:4, this is a no-no. If someone engaged in this behavior doesn’t repent, they’ll be facing judgment. Romans 1:26-28, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, and 1 Timothy 1:9-11 prohibit homosexual relationships. Some people don’t want Christianity to be true because it means they’ll have to stop having sex with their same-sex partner. 2 Corinthians 6:14 prohibits a believer marrying an unbeliever. Some people may not want Christianity to be true because they know that if it is, they need to become Christians, or else they face Hell, and if they’re Christians themselves, they’ll be prohibited from marrying their boyfriend or girlfriend who is also an unbeliever.

For many people, it’s a purely intellectual issue. Merely being presented with the evidence in this blog series will be sufficient to persuade them to become Christians. For others, they’re resistant to following the evidence where it leads because they’re in love with their sin, and don’t like the idea of having to exchange their pet sin for a relationship with Jesus. Jesus talked about this when he said “This is the verdict: that light has come into the world. Yet men loved the darkness rather than the light for their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light and will come nowhere near the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.” (John 3:19-20). Echoing Jesus’ words, the mathematician and Christian Apologist John Lennox said: “If religion is a fairytale for those afraid of the dark, then atheism is a fairytale for those afraid of the light.”[7]

So again, “Don’t let the consequences of your logic force you to abandon that logic.” Don’t let the consequences of Christianity being true to force you to swim against the current of evidence pointing against it. The Christian Apologist Frank Turek of CrossExamined.org often exposes someone as resisting Jesus on emotional or moral grounds by asking them one simple question: “If Christianity were true, would you become a Christian?” That’s the question I’m posing to you, dear reader. If you knew beyond a reasonable doubt that Christianity is true, would you be willing to give up whatever lifestyle Christ might not approve of in order to follow Him and serve Him? If you were convinced that God exists, would you bow to Him as your Savior and Lord? If you hesitate or if your answer is “no,” then your problem isn’t in your head, it’s in your heart. In that case, this series and its e-book adaption will be of no use to you, since your problem isn’t intellectual, to begin with. So, before you proceed, do some introspection and determine whether you’re on a truth quest or whether you’re on a happiness quest. If your answer to that question is “Yes,” then keep reading! God promises that those who sincerely seek Him find Him when they seek Him with all their heart (see Jeremiah 29:13).

Moreover, if your answer is “No, let me ask you something. Isn’t it better to live in the truth than in a lie? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if life didn’t end at the grave, but that an eternity of uninterrupted bliss followed? Wouldn’t it be infinitely awesome if the death of a loved one wasn’t a final goodbye, but an “until we meet again”? If Christianity is true, life doesn’t end at the grave, death is the beginning of an eternity of uninterrupted bliss, and I will see my loved ones again someday. I would think you would want Christianity to be true, not false! Yeah, you’d have to give up some worldly pleasures, but isn’t an eternal life worth more than a night of porn or a marriage to someone of the same sex?

Of course, what we want to be true doesn’t matter one iota. What matters is where the evidence points. My point in the previous paragraph was an attempt to change your desire if you fell into the category of people who say “No” to Frank Turek’s question. I wanted to make you want it to be true, or at least find Christianity attractive so you might be less prone to suppressing the truth (Romans 1:18-20).

Addressing The Elephant In The Room

Moreover, when you examine the evidence, make sure you don’t go in with a presupposition that miracles cannot occur. What is a presupposition? Josh and Sean McDowell explain that “A presupposition is something assumed or supposed in advance. … A presupposition is something that is assumed to be true and is taken for granted. Synonyms include prejudgment, an assumption of something as true, prejudice, for judgment, preconceived opinion, fixed conclusion, preconceived notion, and premature conclusion.”[8] If you go into this concluding from the outset that miracles cannot occur, that will distort your ability to interpret the evidence.

The biochemist Michael Behe gives an amusing illustration of this in his book Darwin’s Black Box:

“Imagine a room in which a body lies crushed, flat as a pancake. A dozen detectives crawl around, examining the floor with magnifying glasses for any clue to the identity of the perpetrator. In the middle of the room, next to the body, stands a large, gray elephant. The detectives carefully avoid bumping into the pachyderm’s legs as they crawl, and never even glance at it. Over time the detectives get frustrated with their lack of progress but resolutely press on, looking even more closely at the floor. You see, textbooks say detectives must “get their man,” so they never consider elephants.”[9]

Behe was writing in the context of Darwinists ruling out Intelligent Design theory out from the outset, but the analogy is just as applicable in looking at the evidence for Jesus’ resurrection. If you presuppose that a miraculous resurrection cannot occur and then interpret the evidence in light of that presupposition, you’re like the detectives who refuse to consider that the corpse on the floor may have been killed by the elephant standing directly adjacent to it. Of course, if a naturalistic explanation can account for the data, that’s one thing. But to think, either consciously or subconsciously “No matter what the evidence says, Jesus could not possibly have come back to life” is wrongheaded. If a human culprit could be found, tried, and convicted for the murder of the person in Behe’s analogy, that would be one thing. But to say “No matter what the evidence says, an elephant couldn’t possibly be the culprit” is wrongheaded.

Why I’m Writing A Whole Series On This

I have written about the evidence for Jesus’ resurrection elsewhere. I’ve written about it in “The Minimal Facts Case For Jesus’ Resurrection PART 1” and “The Minimal Facts Case For Jesus’ Resurrection PART 2”. I’ve also written an abbreviated version of that first article called “A Quick Case For Jesus’ Resurrection.” And I’ve done a 20-page chapter on it in my book Inference To The One True God: Why I Believe In Jesus Instead Of Other Gods. Given this, one may wonder why I’m doing a whole series on it. The answer: because the evidence is far more powerful and plenteous than I was able to present in the space allotted to me in those linked articles and book chapter. For example, I gave three reasons to believe Jesus’ tomb was empty in the writings above, but there are actually a lot more reasons to believe that this is true. Other criteria of authenticity establish that Jesus’ tomb was empty and that Jesus did die by Roman crucifixion. I just didn’t mention these in these above writings because (1) I didn’t know about a few of these arguments until recently, and (2) I didn’t want the above writings to be lengthier than need-be.

In this series, I’ll be covering familiar ground while also talking about the evidence I had not talked about in my prior writings on this subject.

Conclusion 
In the next blog post, I’ll explain the methodology of how we get from the question “Did Jesus rise from the dead?” to the answer “He is risen!” Most of the non-Christians I engage with simply don’t understand the reasoning behind the arguments, and therefore make all kinds of misguided accusations, such as that we’re reasoning in a circle. It’s vital to understand the process of the case for Jesus’ resurrection if one is to properly respond to it (either by falling to their knees or in rebuttal).

Notes 

[1] Such as Lee Strobel, Josh McDowell, J. Warner Wallace, Frank Morrison, and C.S Lewis. They came to believe that Jesus claimed to be God and rose from the dead on the foundation of the historical evidence that we will be looking at in this series.

[2] C. S. Lewis Quotes. BrainyQuote.com, Xplore Inc, 2017. https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/c/cslewis164517.html, accessed November 6, 2017.

[3] Some people think The Bible’s teachings on Hell impugn God’s goodness. I don’t, but it’s beyond the scope of this series to get into why. If you’re bothered by The Bible’s teachings on Hell, I recommend checking out my book A Hellacious Doctrine: A Defense Of The Biblical Doctrine Of Hell which addresses this biblical doctrine in depth. Each chapter takes on a different objection to the doctrine of Hell, from the “Eternal torment is overkill” argument to the “What happens to the unevangelized” question.

[4] The Hasty Generalization fallacy occurs when someone takes a small sample of a class and then makes an unjustified conclusion about the totality of that specific class in which the sample was found. For example, someone would be committing the hasty generalization fallacy if they said “All men are pigs” based on their past relationships, or if they said “All white men are racists” just because they knew a couple of white men who were indeed racists.

[5] Tony Lee Ross Jr. expressed his dislike of blog post series in an article he wrote titled “Why You Should Stop Writing Blog Post Series (Part 1). — https://www.sinnersinthehandsofanangryblog.com/2017/09/why-you-should-stop-writing-blog-post.html

[6] Neil Mammen, “Who Is Agent X: Proving Science and Logic Show It’s More Rational To Believe That God Exists”, page

[7] I could never find a place where Lennox said this in writing, but I know he said this in a debate he had with Stephen Hawking. In fact, it’s a rather popular quote of his.

[8] McDowell, Josh; McDowell, Sean. Evidence That Demands a Verdict: Life-Changing Truth for a Skeptical World (p. lxi). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

[9] Michael J. Behe, Darwin’s Black Box (New York: Free Press, 1996), 192.rft

 


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58 replies
  1. Andy Ryan says:

    “If Jesus rose from the dead, then Christianity is true”
    .
    I don’t think Jesus rose from the dead. But I don’t see that it follows Christianity is true if he did. All it tells us is that a man rose from the dead. I could give you several alternative explanations that would all strike you as unlikely or absurd, but how would you calculate that they are less unlikely than Christianity being true?
    .
    “Imagine a room in which a body lies crushed, flat as a pancake. A dozen detectives crawl around, examining the floor with magnifying glasses for any clue to the identity of the perpetrator. In the middle of the room, next to the body, stands a large, gray elephant. The detectives carefully avoid bumping into the pachyderm’s legs as they crawl, and never even glance at it. Over time the detectives get frustrated with their lack of progress but resolutely press on, looking even more closely at the floor. You see, textbooks say detectives must “get their man,” so they never consider elephants.”
    .
    Problem with the analogy is we know elephants exist – we know their size, where they are found, how they act. Behe is suggesting the detectives ignore elephants and consider instead an animal that has never been seen, about which we know nothing, that also has supernatural powers.

    Reply
    • TVZ says:

      “I don’t think Jesus rose from the dead. But I don’t see that it follows Christianity is true if he did. All it tells us is that a man rose from the dead.”
      .
      What if he predicted it a few days before it happened?

      Reply
      • Andy Ryan says:

        Why does that get you closer to ‘Christianity is true’? Why does that mean Christianity has to be true and there are no other explanations? Again, other explanations all seem extraordinary and unlikely, but how do you dismiss them as being more extraordinary and unlikely than Christianity being true?

        Reply
        • TVZ says:

          Christianity is God becoming flesh, living the perfect life, and sacrificially dying in our place for the forgiveness of our sinful behavior so that we can be reconciled to him for eternity. The proof provided that this was indeed God becoming flesh was the miracles (healing sick, giving sight to the blind, bringing a dead man back to life, calming storms, walking on water, etc…), and the biggest miracle was his overcoming death after telling everyone he was going to. If he was just a magician and was not resurrected (despite telling everyone he wold resurrect), he was just a false magician who knew a lot about morality and the condition of man’s heart. If he was a miraculous healer who had authority over nature and resurrected after his death (after telling everyone he was going to resurrect), then he was much more than a magician… he was a miracle-worker who predicted his miracles beforehand, and God in flesh. No?

          Reply
          • toby says:

            Christianity is God becoming flesh, living the perfect life, and sacrificially dying in our place for the forgiveness of our sinful behavior so that we can be reconciled to him for eternity.
            Doesn’t this strike you as pointless rigmarole? Useless theater that only seems to be a god amusing himself. Killing himself as a sacrifice to himself so that he can feel good or allow himself to say that we’re okay.

          • TVZ says:

            It doesn’t. I know the condition of my heart. I’m useless in this world apart from God. I just selfishly seek self-gratification that brings temporary pleasure and permanent disappointment. It is useless to try to appease or please him in this condition. He has set me free by turning me inside out and taking the focus off of me and onto you (and everyone else). Only by allowing God to be god does my life have any meaning. I’ve tried me being god and it only leads to destruction and disappointment and bitterness and resentment and on and on. He sets you free from the bondage of selfishness in this world and for eternity.

        • Andy Ryan says:

          If a man showed he was able to raise himself from the dead then we’ve found something very unusual, something we didn’t previously think was possible – a true ‘black swan’ occurrence. Why would it mean Christianity has to be true? Is it evidence of technology we weren’t previously aware of? Possibly sufficiently advanced alien civilisations would be able to perform such a feat. Perhaps it’s genuine evidence of the supernatural. All these strike me as unlikely, but no more unlikely than Christianity. So no, Christianity wouldn’t be the only possibility.
          .
          All that aside, I see no evidence that Jesus was raised from the dead.

          Reply
          • TVZ says:

            Is it evidence of technology we weren’t previously aware of?
            .
            No, that technology is still not around. It happened once (that I’m aware of… certainly only once when it was predicted beforehand).
            .
            Possibly sufficiently advanced alien civilisations would be able to perform such a feat.
            .
            Maybe, but there is no evidence of alien civilizations in this universe (yet). There is much less evidence for that possibility than Christianity, imo.
            .
            “no more unlikely than Christianity.”
            .
            Prophecies make the difference. If someone wrote about the future arrival of an ancient alien civilization whose leader would be executed by his people for their benefit and would overcome his own death, and then that happened, it would be incredibly hard to ignore or write off a as fluke or happenstance.

          • Andy Ryan says:

            “Maybe, but there is no evidence of alien civilizations in this universe ”
            .
            No evidence? They resurrected a guy!

    • Sam Harper says:

      I think you are right that a resurrection, by itself, wouldn’t prove that Christianity is true. If somebody just spontaneously rose from the dead, that would definitely leave us all scratching our heads, but it wouldn’t tell us much about the truth of any particular religion. So I think you need more than the resurrection to prove the truth of Christianity.

      In the case of Jesus, I think what proves Christianity is the resurrection combined with the various things Jesus did and said. Jesus showed by his words and actions that he thought he was the fulfillment of God’s promise to always have a man on the throne of David. In other words, he portrayed himself as being the coming messiah. He claimed he was sent by the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. When you combine that claim with the resurrection, I do think that is sufficient to prove that Christianity is true.

      The reason is because if Jesus was not who he claimed to be, then it would just be a wild coincidence that the same person who made these lofty claims about himself ended up rising from the dead later on. You would expect that if a resurrection happened spontaneously, then it would be more likely to happen to an average Joe. Or, that a person who made such lofty claims about himself would die and never rise. I think it is far more likely that there’s a connection between the claim and the resurrection than that there is just a big coincidence about it.

      Of course there are other possibilities. For example, maybe there’s a trixter supernatural being with the ability to raise people from the dead, and he just thought it might be interesting or entertaining if he raised this Jesus character after the spectacle Jesus created during Passover week. That’s possible. But it just doesn’t seem as parsimonious as the conclusion that Jesus rose from the dead because he was exactly who he claimed to be.

      I would be interested in knowing if there’s a more parsimonious explanation for the resurrection than the one that jumps out at us, which is that Jesus really was the messiah and that he was sent by YHWH.

      Reply
      • Susan says:

        I think the resurrection does prove Christianity because all the circumstances of the Cross are given as detailed info that Christ was actually dead. The Romans were very efficient at killing people so Christ was not being removed from the Cross without having died.

        The Romans who handled the crucifixion handled everything and would have checked his vitals.

        The Resurrection is God doing only what He can do. Demonstrating His power over life and death.

        We just have to read the Gospels paying close attention to the details.

        An eyewitness evidence expert checked the Gospels presuming they weren’t actual witnesses and came away convinced they were. His name is Simon Greenleaf.

        There are a lot of people who never read the Bible. They will pretend that they know from social info they picked but they never read it or cared to study it carefully.

        Christians should quiz these people more and let them quiz us less then we can identify their misassumptions.

        Reply
      • Andy Ryan says:

        How’s about this: the lofty pronouncements about being the son of God were quotes invented by others after Jesus died. I can’t see any way to rule out that possibility. We only have anonymous sources for Jesus’ claims, written down decades after he died.
        .
        For that matter, the same goes for the claims that he was witnessed after his death – there’s no way now for us to check these claims were genuine.

        Reply
        • Mark Heavlin says:

          “How’s about this: the lofty pronouncements about being the son of God were quotes invented by others after Jesus died. I can’t see any way to rule out that possibility.”
          .
          Why and for what purpose? All of the disciples except Luke were already devout Jews ( you know GOD’s chosen people ). So they would go from the scattered frightened individuals that abandoned Jesus when he was arrested and crucified. To this dynamic group that made up all these wild claims so they could get kicked out of the synagogue and persecuted what would be their motivation for that? You got anything in the way of proof or is this just another unfounded ridiculous atheist opinion of yours?
          .
          .
          “We only have anonymous sources for Jesus’ claims, written down decades after he died.”
          .
          Well this is an interesting claim. Let’s see your proof that you are right and the inerrant WORD of GOD – The Holy Bible is wrong. You do realize of course that there were thousands upon thousands of Christians before even a single line of The New Testament was written down? Or is this yet just another of your baseless ridiculous atheist claims?
          .
          Acts 2:40-41 40 With many other words he testified, and he urged them, “Be saved from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who embraced his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to the believers that day.
          .
          .
          “For that matter, the same goes for the claims that he was witnessed after his death – there’s no way now for us to check these claims were genuine.”
          .
          John 20:30-31 30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.
          .
          John 3:17-18 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. 18 Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

          Reply
    • Justin Cheek says:

      I see where your coming from but the issue I see in your point of view is that there is no good evidence to support that Jesus didn’t rise from the grave. you could elaborate on it more and say well aliens took the body or maybe that everything that is happening is just a dream with in a dream and some time your going to wake up and be in a different life but there is no evidence to support that. 🙂

      Reply
      • Andy Ryan says:

        The burden of proof rests on the person making the claim. If you claim Jesus rose from the dead then it’s up to you to provide the evidence.

        Reply
  2. Andy Ryan says:

    “Some people don’t want Christianity to be true because it means they’ll have to stop having sex with their same-sex partner”
    .
    Right, and you don’t want Islam to be true because you enjoy eating bacon, right?
    .
    “While the specific saying of Jesus in both of these instances are not multiply attested, nevertheless two different sayings where Jesus expresses the same principle certainly is. Matthew and John are independent sources and therefore it’s multiply attested.”
    .
    So two difference anonymous sources make the claim in the same book, both written years after the supposed events. We know nothing about the authors or what they used as a source. That’s not very compelling. If they both made up the quotes from Jesus claiming to be divine, how would we know?

    Reply
  3. Julien C. says:

    Food for thought regarding how one can compare what we know about Jesus and what we know about Caesar: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/sources-for-caesar-and-jesus-compared/. Of course, history is biased and its interpretation depends strongly on the historian making the analysis. Then, as all people do, we either accept the interpretation or reject it based on our own belief system.

    As an ex-atheist of 40 years, I still struggle with “physical” proofs as a mean to explain Christianity. I would say the same about science. A single argument is usually never good enough to prove a point. That’s why there are always two (or more) sides to a story or two (or more) schools of thought. Personally, I came to think that Christianity is true because when all the arguments are linked together, whether they are historical, scientifical, anthropological or philosophical, I found that they tend to point to the claims of Christianity.

    To me, it was like working on a “connect the dots” worksheet. One or two or three dots didn’t help on their own, but after linking twenty dots, the picture became clearer. Does history alone teach us that Jesus is God? No, it doesn’t. But history, plus other disciplines seeking to get closer to the truth and understand the human condition, in my experience, point to that direction.

    Reply
  4. Susan says:

    Quote: The general public is under the impression that Jesus’ resurrection cannot be believed on the basis of evidence.

    This may be true but it does not matter as much as
    you seem to think it does.

    Faith is the supernatural gift of God and some people don’t care about the evidence because in giving faith God has opened the eyes of their heart to His revelation.

    Why be overly concerned with evidence? The spiritually blind dead people are the ones that make this an issue.

    Faith is by hearing not by evidence because it is a supernatural work in the human soul that loves God.

    It is the people that over value logic and the world’s opinion that don’t get this so they play the evidence game that the blind people demand.

    Some people are just born God lovers which is evidence that God touched them in their mother’s womb.

    Try constructing the scriptures from what God tells us for a change and stop basing your knowledge on worldly ideas.

    When you enter the Bible you have to be open to the spiritual realm. Open like a little child is to receive revelation which IS God’s evidence.

    Leave the materialist evidence demands in the dust. This world does not own God’s people so take your heart and mind back from the world and surrender it into God’s hands where he will mold and shape you through the scriptures.

    The world’s ways are not God’s ways but the apologists are so busy answering all the world’s false charges against God that they forget that and start to transfer superficial worldly knowledge in place of the things people should be focusing on more.

    Don’t let the world control your thinking with it’s doubts, worries and materialism. Who cares what the world thinks? God doesn’t. He told His people to rest confidently in Him.

    We don’t have to strive with the world all the time.

    Faith is diffetent from logic. It is a supernatural gift that opens communication to and from God to us.

    The world and unbelievers don’t want to hear from God so don’t adopt or over rely on their methods.

    Start using your spiritual mind Christians and see where it takes you when you are free of worldly doubts, burdens and cares.

    That is what the world does. Thrusts burdens on us that God never intended.

    Can you help it if someone is cutting himself off from God deliberately in His own mind. Of course not. You don’t control others. But watch that they don’t communicate their error and ways to you dulling God’s illumination.

    Stay in God’s Word until you learn His ways because this world likes to drag Christians off course.

    Reply
  5. Bryan says:

    “If Christianity were true, would you become a Christian?”

    I’d have to have more information to answer that question. For example, how many time a week would I have to go to Mass? Could I disagree with the Holy Father and still be a good Christian? Do I have to go through catechisms before becoming a Christian? How often do I need to go to confession? Do I pray to Mary?

    Reply
    • bob says:

      I’d have to have more information…
      Bryan, just read the bible. The answers to all of these questions are in there.
      Here, let me answer them for you:
      6
      no
      maybe
      as needed
      perhaps

      Reply
    • Thoughtful Discussion says:

      “If Christianity were true, would you become a Christian?”

      I’d have to have more information to answer that question
      .
      This, unfortunately, is missing the heart of the question, of which I think we can agree you probably understand but are being unnecessarily difficult in answering. So to state it more plainly, if you knew the truth would you follow it to its conclusion (essentially, are you logically consistent)? Though fine questions, their weight amounts to very little to someone who decides to follow truth over their own conveniences.
      .
      As an example, I wouldn’t know offhand what I’d need to do to become Buddhist, Pagan, Morman or the like, but if I somehow knew one were true I would still become it, even if it required great effort. Would you do the same or just make excuses?

      Reply
      • Andy Ryan says:

        What does it mean to say you’d become a Muslim if you found out Allah was real? Do you mean you’d go through whatever rituals were needed in order to avoid Muslim hell? Or would you accept all ethical pronouncements about Islam to have true moral force behind them? If you found God was in favour of child sacrifice, would you whole heartedly throw yourself into killing kids, or would you just do it in the same way you obey laws set by a dictator to avoid getting punished yourself?

        Reply
      • bob says:

        TD: “If Christianity were true, would you become a Christian?”
        This question is virtually unanswerable. It forces the questionee to just ask more questions – mainly – As best as I can tell, there is no “Christianity”, but “Christianities” – so we have to determine which Christianity is true in order for me to answer. Once we have determined which Christianity is true, we should be then able to determine the requirements for “becoming” a Christian. I may have objections at that point. For instance – I will not join the NRA even though the NRA is “true” due to philosophical objections.
        And that is the problem – forget Christianity(ies) – just based on a simple reading of the bible and an analysis of it’s tenants and characters (God, Jesus) – I could not worship such beings nor subscribe to such tenants.
        .
        r.u.reasonable@gmail.com

        Reply
        • TVZ says:

          “As best as I can tell, there is no “Christianity”, but “Christianities” – so we have to determine which Christianity is true in order for me to answer. ”
          .
          There are essentials to Christianity: the deity of Christ, salvation by God’s grace and not by works, salvation through Jesus Christ alone, the resurrection of Christ, the Gospel, monotheism and the Holy Trinity. If you believe this, you are a Christian. Once you believe this, then there are differing convictions about what it means to behave as a Christian and differing answers to questions people have. The convictions and questions are what individuals have a hard time coming to a consensus about. If you agree with the Baptist view to your questions, you can attend church there. If you agree with the Catholic view, you can attend church there, etc… According to your post though, you cannot reach the essentials of Christianity.

          Reply
          • toby says:

            Following another discussion here they’ve been going on about Revelation. In Revelation 20:12 it says “And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.”
            .
            So it seems to indicate that works are judged. And then there’s that other verse about good deeds being but filthy rags. Looks like a contradiction.

          • bob says:

            TVZ – “…essentials to Christianity…”
            And the (hopefully) obvious question – who determines what is “essential”. There are people who call themselves “Christian” who do not believe in the doctrine of the trinity. There are those who believe water baptism is an “essential” action to becoming a Christian and those who do not.
            Come on people – wars have been fought over some of these “essentials” of Christianity. People have been burned at the stake over some of these supposed “essentials”.
            .
            r.u.reasonable@gmail.com

          • TVZ says:

            Christians will be judged, but not with condemnation. Jesus has made us righteous in God’s eyes based on his works. The judgement will likely be a rewards-based judgement… the greater the work, the greater the reward. We are to work with good deeds in this life to glorify God to an unbelieving world, but it doesn’t make us righteous in God’s eyes… still filthy rags.

          • TVZ says:

            And the (hopefully) obvious question – who determines what is “essential”.
            .
            Theologians. The Bible says, “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” This seems to be the bare minimum of salvation. Bend the knee and believe he was resurrected. How could one argue against that statement?
            .
            “There are people who call themselves “Christian” who do not believe in the doctrine of the trinity.”
            .
            Indeed, but how will they be judged if they don’t believe Jesus is Lord or that the Holy Spirit doesn’t teach the truth that Jesus is Lord? Granted, the Trinity is a very difficult concept for man to try to understand in this life. God will judge the heart of man.
            .
            There are those who believe water baptism is an “essential” action to becoming a Christian and those who do not.
            .
            Yes, that’s not an essential. If you want to be sprinkled, you could be a Methodist and still be saved. Or if you want to be dunked, you could be a Baptist and still be saved. Christianity is about the heart, not about religious acts.
            .
            Come on people – wars have been fought over some of these “essentials” of Christianity. People have been burned at the stake over some of these supposed “essentials”.
            .
            That’s man being sinful, not God’s instructions. We are a corrupted creature if you haven’t noticed. Christians have been fed to lions and beheaded for being loving and turning the other cheek and no following the laws of evil dictators. It works both ways. It’s not Christianity that makes man sinful, that’s who we all are by nature. A Christian should not behave as those did… that’s anti-Christianity (as is taught in the Bible).

          • Andy Ryan says:

            “Christians will be judged, but not with condemnation”
            I guess except if it turns out you picked the wrong God and get punished for not believing in the right one.

          • TVZ says:

            I guess except if it turns out you picked the wrong God and get punished for not believing in the right one.
            .
            Nah, I think all the others just require you to “be a good person” and aren’t we all? This is the only one that requires faith isn’t it?

          • bob says:

            TVZ, thank you for another grand waste of time.
            .
            I submitted, just for instance: “There are those who believe water baptism is an “essential” action to becoming a Christian and those who do not.
            .
            Your masterful response: Yes, that’s not an essential.
            .
            Thank you – problem solved – for it is YOU, know-er of all things orthodox, who decides what is and is not essential to becoming a Christian.
            .
            Why do I freeking bother???

          • TVZ says:

            Baptism is an outward expression after salvation. Therefore, one is saved BEFORE they are baptized. Plus, the NT is very clear that our works do not save us. Do some reject the Bible? I’m sure. Why? I don’t know.

          • TVZ says:

            That’s a tough question. I’m not sure I would say their opinion is better than mine since all scripture is inspired by Holy Spirit. They just got a lot of minds together in a room hundreds of years ago and talked these things through to come up with the essentials of calling yourself a follower of Christ.

          • Andy Ryan says:

            “Nah, I think all the others just require you to “be a good person” ”
            .
            Really, that’s your impression of Islam? All good people get into heaven, including the infidels? I’m pretty sure that’s not right. Anyway, you make Christianity sound like the least reasonable religion – ‘believing in me is more important than being a good person’ sounds like a really pretty admission policy for Heaven.

          • bob says:

            TVZ – Baptism is an outward expression after salvation. Therefore, one is saved BEFORE they are baptized.
            .
            Acts 2:38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
            .
            Mark 16:16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
            .
            Acts 22:16 Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.
            .
            Galatians 3:27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
            .
            1 Peter 3:21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
            .
            I’ll let you figure it out because it doesn’t matter to me.

          • TVZ says:

            “Really, that’s your impression of Islam? All good people get into heaven, including the infidels?”
            .
            I have to plead ignorance. I don’t know much about Islam. They do seem to be “my way or we cut your head off” though. I don’t know what the Quran says about that. If they say faith in the God of Abraham is required, then I’m safe. He’s my guy too.
            .
            “Anyway, you make Christianity sound like the least reasonable religion – ‘believing in me is more important than being a good person’ sounds like a really pretty admission policy for Heaven.”
            .
            Can you do it? Christianity pretty much says no one is a good person (based on God’s standard, not man’s), so realize this, humble yourself, and accept my olive branch. In response to the peace we have with God, we respond in obedience to Him (we love Him because He first loved us), which is good works (the best we can possibly do, though we still fall way short of His standard of good). This fits my reality of this world. There are times when we do good deeds, but what do we do with the bad acts/thoughts? Of course, if there is no god, the good and bad don’t matter at all… just a figment of our imagination or delusion of the evolutionary process (which sounds less reasonable than Christianity to me).

          • TVZ says:

            Bob, again, you are bringing up a conviction, not an essential. God judges the heart of man, not if he is baptized or not. Baptism is an outward expression of a change of heart… a repentance, turning away from filth and into righteousness. Buried with Christ and raised to a newness of life. I don’t know of any Christians who refuse to be baptized, but the ones who are baptized (outside of infants and children who are sent forward by their parents) have had a change of heart first. Being baptized doesn’t change your heart, surrendering to Christ most definitely does. I think you can see how some believe this is an essential though… the scriptures could possibly say that… but if you understand what it means to give your life to Christ, baptism isn’t essential in doing that.

          • bob says:

            TVZ – Bob, again, you are bringing up a conviction, not an essential.
            NO – in your version of Christianity water baptism is a conviction – to other believers, it is an essential. So – I gave you the verses that they use in support of their belief that water baptism is essential and you are free to ignore them, make them fit your own doctrine, take a black sharpee and mark them out – that’s entirely up to you.

          • TVZ says:

            Okay, you’ve convinced me. Pretty sure every Christian has been baptized. What was your original point?

          • bob says:

            @ TVZ
            I’ll try to stop shaking my head long enough to respond.
            .
            Okay, you’ve convinced me.
            I am assuming that you are being sarcastic…but I’ll take it anyway.
            .
            Pretty sure every Christian has been baptized.
            “Pretty sure”…Can you just pause for a moment and use your imagination – picture a person who has just accepted Jesus but they have not yet been baptized in water.
            Now, picture a person who has accepted Jesus a few years ago and still has not been baptized. When I was 17 years old I accepted Jesus as my savior and did not get baptized until I was 20. So…how can you be “Pretty sure”…
            .
            What was your original point?
            My original point, way, way back on the 13th, was in response to the question – “If Christianity were true, would you become a Christian?”
            My original point in response to your claim that – There are essentials to Christianity… was this – And the (hopefully) obvious question – who determines what is “essential”., in which you proceeded to show that you are in charge of the essentials.
            .
            r.u.reasonable@gmail.com

          • TVZ says:

            “picture a person who has just accepted Jesus but they have not yet been baptized in water. Now, picture a person who has accepted Jesus a few years ago and still has not been baptized.”
            .
            I’ve got the picture, the question is are they saved before the baptism or only after. Is is a state of purgatory before they act out the formal expression of their salvation to the public, or has God already accepted the repentance of their heart? Can man even know this? Taking the whole Bible into context, its the heart of man God is after primarily. However, God also wants us to proclaim our repentance towards others, which is where baptism comes in. What is someone repents and is on the way to the river to be baptized and a snake bites them and they die before they make it to the river? Does God say, “Nope, you didn’t make it to the river, you are not reconciled to me for eternity.” I guess we would have to be God to know that answer.
            .
            “When I was 17 years old I accepted Jesus as my savior and did not get baptized until I was 20. So…how can you be “Pretty sure”…
            .
            This brings another concept into discussion… predestination. Were you ever saved in God’s eyes? He knows the end already. He knew you were going to reject Him before you accepted Him and before you were baptized (and he knows if He will call you back to Him or not). We really don’t play much part in our salvation, other than responding to His gift offering or not. I’m pretty sure that one who accepts Christ and is lead by the the Spirit, will obey God’s desires/wishes/commands/whatever you want to call it (baptism, give your testimony, make disciples, glorify Him, love your enemy, turn the other cheek, be kind, on and on…) . You’re not off to a good start if you refuse baptism. lol
            .
            ” in which you proceeded to show that you are in charge of the essentials.”
            .
            I’m not in charge of the essentials. I just trust and obey. These essentials are more for people who are starting up churches or want to decide which denomination more closely aligns to their understanding and such. I would not have a problem aligning myself with a church who said baptism was essential for salvation, nor would I have a problem aligning myself with a church who said it was not an essential. I would not align myself to a church who said baptism is old-fashioned and God doesn’t want you to do this anymore.

        • Mark Heavlin says:

          “Once we have determined which Christianity is true, we should be then able to determine the requirements for “becoming” a Christian. I may have objections at that point.”
          .
          Only in the illogical mind of an atheist could you find a person who would object to the TRUTH after they know for certain they have found it. If you are going to OBJECT to the TRUTH then you are lost and with out hope. For TRUTH by definition is that which corresponds to REALITY and in this case ULTIMATE REALITY.
          .
          Romans 9:20-21 20 But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to Him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Does not the potter have the right to make from the same lump of clay one vessel for special occasions and another for common use?
          .
          .
          “And that is the problem – forget Christianity(ies) – just based on a simple reading of the bible and an analysis of it’s tenants and characters (God, Jesus) – I could not worship such beings nor subscribe to such tenants.”
          .
          First, let me correct you from “beings” to ” a being”. Your statement should read “I could not worship such a being nor subscribe to such tenants”. The FATHER, SON, and HOLY SPIRIT are the three persons of The Trinity which is GOD ( a single being) not plural. Christianity is monotheistic NOT polytheistic.
          .
          Secondly, let me say that you have NOT comprehended what The Bible is actually saying then. Sure you have read the words and know their meaning but the TRUTH of the entirety of the message of The Bible is hidden from you.
          .
          Lastly, if you reject the TRUTH then I suggest you go eat, drink, and be merry and stop wasting your time here for someday you will die. But beware.
          .
          Hebrews 9:27 Just as man is appointed to die once, and after that to face judgment,
          AND
          John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
          AND
          Jesus is speaking here in John 3:16-21.
          John 3:16-21 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that everyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. 18 Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 And this is the verdict: The Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness more than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come into the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever practices the truth comes into the Light, so that it may be clearly seen that what he has done has been accomplished in God.”

          Reply
          • bob says:

            Hey Mark, you never addressed the bible verses I listed on another blog post a few days ago. I’ll re-post here for your convenience:
            .
            Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne. And there were open books, and one of them was the book of life. And the dead were judged according to their deeds, as recorded in the books.
            .
            Well, let’s compare “scripture with scripture”:
            .
            1 John 4:7-8 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
            That seems pretty straight forward – Love is from God, period!
            .
            1 Corinthians 13:4-5 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
            That seems pretty straight forward – Love does not keep a record of the wrongs people do or say, period!
            .
            So:
            A) 1 John 4 tells us who the source of love is – God.
            B) 1 Corinthians 13 tells us that one of the attributes of love is that it doesn’t keep a record of what people do wrong.
            C) Revelation 20 tells us that people will be judged based on the actual RECORD of the WRONGS they have done.
            .
            Conclusion: God is love, love does not record wrongs, God records wrongs,…wait…what?
            .
            As can be clearly read – one of those verses needs to be discarded in order to remove this glaring contradiction. Which verse are you going to remove from your bible Mark?
            .
            Let that rattle around in that empty space between your ears for a while.
            .
            r.u.reasonable@gmail.com

      • Bryan says:

        If you knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that Mormonism was true by the power of the Holy Ghost and had a testimony of the Book of Mormon would you leave and renounce Smith when you discovered he “married” teenage girls and other men’s wives?

        Reply
          • Mark Heavlin says:

            Do you have an actual point or just another unsupported opinion? Because you have already proven your own reprobate mind with your previous posts.

  6. Brent Hurst says:

    To my understanding, no one from Adam all the way to the thief on the cross next to Him had any real understanding of the resurrection, enough to say they “believed” in it. And if this is meant merely to prove the legitimacy of Christianity, even Christianity does not save us as proven at the final judgment when the tares are separated from the wheat.
    .

    Reply
    • Sam Harper says:

      Brent, I’m not entirely sure what you mean by “believed in it,” but there’s a story in second Maccabees about various Jews being martyred, and some of them went willingly to their deaths because of their confidence that whatever body parts they lost, they would get them back at the resurrection. Here’s one section for example.
      .
      “And when he was at his last breath, he said, “You accursed wretch, you dismiss us from this present life, but the king of the universe will raise us up to an everlasting renewal of life, because we have died for his laws.” After him, the third was the victim of their sport. When it was demanded, he quickly put out his tongue and courageously stretched forth is hand, and said nobly, “I got these from heaven, and because of his laws I disdain them, and from him I hope to get them back again” (2 Maccabees 7:9-11).
      .
      I would say these people definitely believed in the resurrection. And even if this were a fictional account, it at least shows that the author believed in resurrection.

      Reply
      • TVZ says:

        There’s also this: Acts 23:8: for the Sadducees say there is no resurrection or angels or spirits, but the Pharisees believe in all of these.

        Reply
        • Susan says:

          The Essenes believed in predestination.

          The Sadducees under the influence of the Greeks believed in free will.

          The Pharisees a combination of both.

          I believe In predestination. Giving the control to God seems to keep me calmer and my mind less cloudy with gloom and doom.

          Then you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.

          What you believe in your heart affects your spiritual growth and resulting actions.

          Reply
    • James says:

      Youre not talking about Christianity. Youre talking about the catholic church cult that preaches a false gospel. They teach work based salvation, bowing to idols, the blasphemous mass, prsying the rosary, popes, Mary worship etc, its a cult.

      If you accept Jesus as your God and Saviour, believing what he did at the cross and tge resurrection youll have everlasting life. Its through faith. You must accept him as your substitution. Stay well away from the catholic church they preach manmade dictrines that completely contradict the bible. If you believe the gospel then youll be saved. It is finished.

      Reply
  7. Brent Hurst says:

    Dear Sam,
    .
    “”””I would say these people definitely believed in the resurrection. And even if this were a fictional account, it at least shows that the author believed in resurrection.”””””
    .
    The author of this site is inferring that if we look at the particular evidence, witness, etc… and thus become convinced of the reality of the resurrection, then we should whole heartedly accept Christianity, and thus Christ, and thus repent and be saved.
    .
    These apologists work within this basic context, more or less, as if physical evidence can lead one to Christianity, and thus be led to God. The “Lee Strobel” effect as it were. But Christianity is their Job, they get paid to sell Christianity as a religion, and they think of themselves as good noble souls for doing so, despite any pretentious appeals at humility. But all of this is to know Christianity after the mind of the flesh.
    .
    Since I know Christ according to the Spirit I have a natural aversion to the shallow nature of these kinds of arguments. I started posting on a few threads here a few weeks ago, chances are no one will understand me as I try to emphasize the Spirit as the main instigator and effective force in the context of salvation, people tend to find it difficult to give up their (self righteous) part in their own salvation, even though to do so simply returns ALL the Glory back to God as the Beginning and the End of it all.
    .
    And in a short time I will probably leave this site and just go about my life. But while I am here I will drop the seeds of Spiritual vision that perhaps some might take root, though I will not be around to know if they do.
    .
    So here I am at this thread, and we are given the assumption “if we just follow the evidence”, but our minds have a tendency to SUPERIMPOSE our present understanding or view across all of history. Doctrinally this can be seen with the idea of Satan taking with his a third of the angelic host, simply because of a metaphorical statement in Revelation about a third of the stars etc… never mind the warning about how easily we can slander Celestial Beings, and so through doctrine we build up these epic stories of the Heavenly reality that resemble more Dante’s Inferno than they do what the scriptures actually teach.
    .
    But the “commonality” of such doctrines does not make them accurate. Now let me get to the meat of this post, just as Martyrdom cannot prove a truth, for if it did we would also have to accept Islam and many other POVs, neither does the Resurrection prove Christianity is true as if we should believe exactly what the church is teaching today, which basically is Substitutional Theology where Christ died INSTEAD of us, presenting the context of God’s justice being purely penal or retributional. The FLESH, as it divided the world into a dualistic context of pleasure or pain, is only concerned with the avoidance of Pain, therefore this view of Christ dying INSTEAD of us becomes simply a way to AVOID a painful eternity. And like it or not, the antithesis to that our attraction to God is based upon divine bliss or pleasure.
    .
    But just beyond the subjective nature of your flesh, is the objective view of the universe around us, the same universe that God created and also reflects His glory, in the objective the context of the universe itself is that of “something verses nothing” as seen in hot/cold, sound/silence, light/dark, even truth/lies. When the scriptures are read and understood in such a context, then we see that God has set before man Life and Death, existence verses non-existence.
    .
    In this view Mankind, being created, does not possess an eternal nature or soul. Creation, time and space, etc… will one day cease to exists, and on the day all things created will be swallowed back into the nothingness from which they arose. The soul might be superior to the present physical body it now resides in but it is not superior to time and space.
    .
    Accordingly, Christ died (For/on our behalf) so as to pour out His own LIfe Being into the Creation, His own Eternal Spirit, so that as we take part in that (drink His blood), we also receive eternal life. Thus when the Creation is destroyed, both of the Heavens and the Earth, the realms of soul and body, like Noah in the Ark, we rise above such destruction as God’s own eternal being has been given to us also.
    .
    Within the Flesh’s Substitional view, God is vindictive in His judgment, He comes to punish and thus we desire to avoid that punishment.
    .
    In the Spirit’s view, God is graceful, and He send a seed (Christ) of His own Being into the Creation to save us from the wrath (END) of the Creative order.
    .
    Now, for those that are saved, they enter into “eternity” as it were, mystically this age is know as “Olam Ha-Ba” in Judaism, the “age to come”, mystically in Christianity it is the eighth day, the eternal day as it is beyond the week that symbolizes the duration of the Creation. It is also the mystical day in which Christ rose from the dead but to the flesh is seen as the first day of the week. In Judaism, as the Maccabees spoke of it, they spoke of their resurrection in this eternal sphere. The hand they might lose here would be returned to them their, though not of the same nature as we understand flesh and blood do not inherit the Kingdom of God, but nonetheless, they trusted God to return anything they could give up.
    .
    But they spoke this as Jews and servants of YHWH, not of Christ and Christianity as they did not yet exist as such.
    .
    But here is a bit more of the crux, today Christianity says “We MUST believe”, but what the scriptures really meant is “we WILL believe”, because if God has seen fit to give us of His own Spirit, so that we are now born of God also, then so will we develop the eyes and ears to see and hear the truth about Christ, the LIFE that He brought to us.
    .
    Salvation does not surround our personal will to believe, it surround God’s grace as He has given to us a portion of Himself through His seed, Christ.

    Reply

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