EVER WONDERED ABOUT GOD
WHO HE IS AND WHY
This is Torque Talk
If there's only matter nothing matters, no reason to trust reason, no objective moral values.
No free will - (materialists & atheist Sam Harris and pantheist Albert Einstein)
Scroll down on each page to the text
'The radical change that took place in my heart was not from a rational decision but in response to an overwhelming Love that became rational'
Arguments for God
You have none you've not received. You can bring Me nothing that doesn't belong to Me but your heart. Love is free. My heart cries 'Turn to Me'
It is both Rational and Logic to Believe in God
Here is Why;
Arguments for the Existence of God
I. The Cosmological Argument (causation)
Throughout the millennia and up to a mere hundred years ago physicists’ views were that the universe was a ‘steady state’, that it was a vast, perhaps infinite, cosmos that had simply always been there. Bertrand Russel, philosopher and atheist said in a 1948 BBC interview that the universe was a brute fact, that it is just there, and that was all.
Wrong; ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.’ Genesis 1:1
In the second half of the 20th-century scientists discovered evidence for a ‘beginning’ of the universe. In the late 1960’s the vast majority of cosmologists had accepted some form of the ‘Big Bang’ theory. This theory was confirmed by the observation of the ‘cosmic microwave’ radiation (radiation afterglow), or the second law of thermodynamics – universe cooling down, and that the universe is expanding as discovered by Hubble as early as 1929.
Stephen Hawking developed theories that predicted that the universe began its expansion from an ‘initial singularity’, an infinitely small, dense, and hot point, some 14 billion years ago and the universe has been expanding since. All-time, space, energy and matter had its origin at this moment.
In 2003, physicists Borde, Guth and Vilekin published a widely accepted theory that there was a cosmic beginning.
The universe started out of nothing, the Big Bang.
Space, matter, time did to exist before this moment.
Something/Someone must have set the Big Bang off.
William Lane Craig argues that the concept of anything physical existing infinitely into the past is philosophically nonsensical. If our universe really did extend eternally into the past, we would actually never ‘arrive’ at the present moment.
Craig's ‘Kalam Cosmological Argument’ states that if the universe had a beginning to its existence, and if everything that begins to exist has a cause (nothing appears into existence without a cause), then the universe too must have a cause but can’t be space, time and matter bound as it did not exist before the Big Bang. So, the cause must be outside space, matter and time and decided to cause the Big Bang; Only a spaceless, timeless, immaterial, powerful, personal, intelligent being outside space, time and matter can therefore explain the known universe and origin.
II. Teleological Argument or Fine-Tuning of the Universe (Design)
The chances for life to have developed in this universe is infinitesimally small, incredibly improbable.
Eg. gravity. If one part in 1040 was different ( that is if the value of gravity differed 1 part in 10 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000) from what it is, the universe as we know it would not be possible. And so are about 30 fundamental numbers so exact that the tiniest fluctuation from their actual number and life would have been impossible.
Fred Hoyle, atheist; ‘A common-sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super-intellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as chemistry and biology …’
William Lane Craig said that it appears that there are 3 possibilities; 1. Chance – ruled out by the possibilities involved, logically just impossibly too small 2. Physical necessity – ruled out by the fact that there is no obvious reason why the forces and initial conditions could not have taken different values. 3. That leave design only.
The teleological/design argument for God’s existence is logically unavoidable. The universe was designed and points to the existence of a Designer.
III. Ontological (Metaphysical-) Argument
Dealing with the nature of things; the existence or reality. The ontological necessity for God’s existence; the conclusion that God exists from the premise of reason only. The ontological necessity for God’s existence is strong.
Here is the Ontological Argument
The ontological argument is an argument based not on observation of the world (like the cosmological and teleological arguments) but rather on reason alone. Specifically, the ontological argument reasons from the study of being (ontology).
The first and most popular form of this argument goes back to St. Anselm in the 11th century A.D. He begins by stating that the concept of God is "a being than which no greater can be conceived." Since existence is possible, and to exist is greater than to not exist, then God must exist (if God did not exist, then a greater being could be conceived, but that is self-defeating—you can't have something greater than that which no greater can be conceived!). Therefore, God must exist.
In other words, Anselm defined God as "that than which nothing greater can be thought", and argued that this being must exist in the mind, even in the mind of the person who denies the existence of God. He suggested that, if the greatest possible being exists in the mind, it must also exist in reality. If it only exists in the mind, then an even greater being must be possible—one which exists both in the mind and in reality. Therefore, this greatest possible being must exist in reality.
Descartes did much the same thing, only starting from the idea of a perfect being.
IV. DNA or Any Wonder of Creation
If you pick up a book and read the content, is it not reasonable to conclude that it was written by someone, that there is intelligence behind the words, behind the facts written? The average language has 20-30 characters in the alphabet and 20 000 to 30 000 words.
DNA, which makes up the genetic information of the human cell that determines all the characteristics of the individual has a 3.5 billion letter message.
The human fertilized cell, a single cell with its approximately 3.5 billion genes, has the potential to develop into an adult human being with its complex anatomy and physiology, emotions of love, hate, various forms of creativity, a myriad of intricate emotions and creativity. Completely unique to each individual.
DNA is made up of four chemicals, abbreviated as letters A, T, G, and C. Much like the ones and zeros in computer software programs, these letters are arranged in the human cell like this: CGTGTGACTCGCTCCTGAT and so on. The exact order in which they are arranged instructs the cell's actions.
Within the tiny space in every cell in the body, this code is 3.5 billion letters long!
To grasp the amount of DNA information in each cell, "a reader of that code at a rate of three letters per second would take thirty-one years, even if reading continuously day and night."
It has been determined that 99.9% of the DNA is similar to everyone's genetic makeup. What is uniquely you comes in the fractional difference in how those 3.5 billion letters are sequenced in your cells!!
Dr. Francis Collins, Christian and director of the Human Genome Project (that mapped the human DNA structure with Graig Venter) said that one can "think of DNA as an instructional script, a software program, sitting in the nucleus of each cell."
Perry Marshall, an information specialist, comments on the implications of this. "There has never existed a computer program that wasn't designed... (whether it is) a code, or a program, or a message given through a language, there is always an intelligent mind behind it."
Former atheist Dr. Antony Flew asked if it is not legitimate to ask oneself regarding this 3.5 billion letter code instructing the cell ... who wrote this script? Who placed this working code, inside the cell?
It's like walking along the beach and you see in the sand, "Mike loves Michelle." You know the waves rolling up on the beach didn't form that--a person wrote that. It is a precise message. It is clear communication. In the same way, the DNA structure is a complex, three-billion-lettered script, informing and directing the cell's process.
Is it not unreasonable to deny an intelligent agent behind the letters and message in a book, the words on the beach, the words/messages contained in DNA?
V. Moral Argument
If there is no objective morality outside the human brain then all moral arguments are about preference.
The Moral Argument for God’s Existence;
Everyone, including atheists, appeals to a moral standard. A moral standard requires a transcendent law giver. That Lawgiver is can only be God.
Atheists can be moral but how do you justify morality?
If atheists talk about right and wrong, what is the standard for right and wrong or is it reduced to human opinion. Then whose opinion; Mother Theresa's of Hitler's opinion? Frank Turek
Right and wrong is written on our hearts. 'They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right.' Romans 2:15
Objective morality means that moral statements like “murder is bad” is independent of the person saying it. Objective morality means that there is a standard of morality that transcends human opinions and judgments.
Morals are not invented, they are discovered.
Each one of us makes moral judgments and decisions every day, ranging from opening the door for someone to helping someone who just got in a car wreck.
Premise 1: If objective moral values and duties exist then God exists
Premise 2: Objective morals values and duties do exist
Conclusion: Therefore, God exists
Think about it; ‘How does an amoral universe through non-moral processes end up with a moral framework?’ Ravi Zacharias
It is important to bear in mind that the moral argument pertains to the ultimate source of objective moral values and duties (moral ontology) and not how we know what is moral or immoral (moral epistemology) and not ‘what we mean’ by good/bad or right/wrong (moral semantics). The theistic ethicist maintains that moral values are grounded in the character and nature of God.’
VI. Truth Exists.
The claim that there is no absolute truth defeats itself as it makes a truth claim. ‘There is no absolute truth’ ’Is that true?’ Everybody makes truth claims all the time. Therefore, truth exists. It can never be dependent on opinion or be relative. It is either true or not. And the truth can only exist outside the human brain. The way something happened is not dependent on how we think about it - our perception of the truth can be influenced by how we think about it or experienced it but cannot change the truth. Just as 1+1=2 ... independent of what any human brain thinks about it or experience it.
VII. Why is there Something rather than Nothing?
The question of whether there is a conclusive argument for the existence of God has been debated throughout history, with exceedingly intelligent people taking both sides of the dispute. In recent times, arguments against the possibility of God’s existence have taken on a militant spirit that accuses anyone daring to believe in God as being delusional and irrational. Karl Marx asserted that anyone believing in God must have a mental disorder that caused invalid thinking. The psychiatrist Sigmund Freud wrote that a person who believed in a Creator God was delusional and only held those beliefs due to a “wish-fulfillment” factor that produced what Freud considered to be an unjustifiable position. The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche bluntly said that faith equates to not wanting to know what is true. The voices of these three figures from history (along with others) are simply now parroted by a new generation of new atheists who claim that a belief in God is intellectually unwarranted.
Is this truly the case? Is belief in God a rationally unacceptable position to hold? Is there a logical and reasonable argument for the existence of God? Outside of referencing the Bible, can a case for the existence of God be made that refutes the positions of both the old and new atheists and gives sufficient warrant for believing in a Creator? The answer is, yes, it can. Moreover, in demonstrating the validity of an argument for the existence of God, the case for atheism is shown to be intellectually weak. Consider points I to VI above.
To make an argument for the existence of God, we must start by asking the right questions. We begin with the most basic metaphysical question: “Why do we have something rather than nothing at all?” This is the basic question of existence—why are we here; why is the earth here; why is the universe here rather than nothing? Commenting on this point, one theologian has said, “In one sense man does not ask the question about God, his very existence raises the question about God.”
In considering this question, there are four possible answers to why we have something rather than nothing at all:
1. Reality is an illusion.
2. Reality is/was self-created.
3. Reality is self-existent (eternal).
4. Reality was created by something that is self-existent.
So, which is the most plausible solution? Let’s begin with reality being simply an illusion, which is what a number of Eastern religions believe. This option was ruled out centuries ago by the philosopher Rene Descartes who is famous for the statement, “I think, therefore I am.” Descartes, a mathematician, argued that if he is thinking, then he must “be.” In other words, “I think, therefore I am not an illusion.” Illusions require something experiencing the illusion, and moreover, you cannot doubt the existence of yourself without proving your existence; it is a self-defeating argument. So the possibility of reality being an illusion is eliminated.
Next is the option of reality being self-created. When we study philosophy, we learn of “analytically false” statements, which means they are false by definition. The possibility of reality being self-created is one of those types of statements for the simple reason that something cannot be prior to itself. If you created yourself, then you must have existed prior to you creating yourself, but that simply cannot be. In evolution, this is sometimes referred to as “spontaneous generation” —something coming from nothing—a position that few, if any, reasonable people hold to anymore simply because you cannot get something from nothing. Even the atheist David Hume said, “I never asserted so absurd a proposition as that anything might arise without a cause.” Since something cannot come from nothing, the alternative of reality being self-created is ruled out.
Now we are left with only two choices—an eternal reality or reality being created by something that is eternal: an eternal universe or an eternal Creator. The 18th-century theologian Jonathan Edwards summed up this crossroads:
• Something exists.
• Nothing cannot create something.
• Therefore, a necessary and eternal “something” exists.
Notice that we must go back to an eternal “something.” The atheist who derides the believer in God for believing in an eternal Creator must turn around and embrace an eternal universe; it is the only other door he can choose. But the question now is, where does the evidence lead? Does the evidence point to matter before mind or mind before matter?
To date, all key scientific and philosophical evidence points away from an eternal universe and toward an eternal Creator. From a scientific standpoint, honest scientists admit, as argued earlier, the universe had a beginning, and whatever has a beginning is not eternal. In other words, whatever has a beginning has a cause, and if the universe had a beginning, it had a cause. The fact that the universe had a beginning is underscored by evidence such as the second law of thermodynamics, the radiation echo of the big bang discovered in the early 1900s, the fact that the universe is expanding and can be traced back to a singular beginning, and Einstein’s theory of relativity. All prove the universe is not eternal.
Further, the laws that surround causation speak against the universe being the ultimate cause of all we know for this simple fact: an effect must resemble its cause. This being true, no atheist can explain how an impersonal, purposeless, meaningless, and amoral universe accidentally created beings (us) who are full of personality and obsessed with purpose, meaning, and morals. Such a thing, from a causation standpoint, completely refutes the idea of a natural universe birthing everything that exists. So in the end, the concept of an eternal universe is eliminated.
Philosopher J. S. Mill (not a Christian) summed up where we have now come to: “It is self-evident that only Mind can create mind.” The only rational and reasonable conclusion is that an eternal Creator is the one who is responsible for reality as we know it. Or to put it in a logical set of statements:
• Something exists.
• You do not get something from nothing.
• Therefore a necessary and eternal “something” exists.
• The only two options are an eternal universe and an eternal Creator.
• Science and philosophy have disproven the concept of an eternal universe.
• Therefore, an eternal Creator exists.
Former atheist Lee Strobel, who arrived at this end result many years ago, has commented, “Essentially, I realized that to stay an atheist, I would have to believe that nothing produces everything; non-life produces life; randomness produces fine-tuning; chaos produces information; unconsciousness produces consciousness, and non-reason produces reason. Those leaps of faith were simply too big for me to take, especially in light of the affirmative case for God's existence … In other words, in my assessment, the Christian worldview accounted for the totality of the evidence much better than the atheistic worldview.”
VIII. Historical Argument; Christ's Resurrection and Time the Gospels were written
Well, this may not be so much an argument as much as it is admiration. Even the most skeptical of NT historians agree that Jesus was quite tenacious.
The Dating of the Gospels
Most researchers place the date of Jesus’ death at Passover time around the year 30.
The earliest New Testament books, the letters written by Paul, were composed in the decade of the 50s.
In the mid-60s, James, Peter, and Paul are all killed. Peter and Paul likely perished during the persecution of the church in Rome by Nero. The deaths of these important church leaders likely encouraged the writing down of narratives about Jesus.
In the year 70, Roman armies destroyed Jerusalem and its Temple, effectively ending a Jewish revolt against the Empire that had begun four years earlier.
Although some scholars disagree, the vast majority of researchers believe that Mark was the first Gospel to be written, sometime around the year 70.
This scholarly consensus holds that the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke were composed, independently of one another, sometime in the 80s or 90s. Both used a written form of the Gospel of Mark as source material for their own narratives. In addition, because both Matthew and Luke contain a large amount of material in common that is not found in Mark, most researchers hold that both Evangelists also had a collection of Jesus’ sayings that they incorporated into their works. This saying source is known as “Q” and was likely assembled in the 40s or 50s. This understanding of the origins of the Gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke explains why they are similar yet different from one another. The arrangement is called “The Two-Source Hypothesis” because Matthew and Luke are seen to have two written sources, Mark and Q.
The Gospel of John emerges from an independent literary tradition that is not directly connected to the Synoptic tradition. This explains the major differences between John and the Synoptics. The Johannine narrative is indebted to oral and possibly written traditions that were transmitted from earlier decades.
But evidence shows that the four Gospels were written in a relatively short time after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Examining the internal evidence of the New Testament itself can make this plain.
The City Of Jerusalem And The Temple Were Still Standing
The first three Gospels, and possibly also the fourth, were apparently written while the city of Jerusalem was still standing. Each of the first three Gospels contains predictions by Jesus concerning the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple (Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21), but none records the fulfillment. We know that Titus the Roman destroyed the city and Temple in A.D. 70. Hence, the composition of the first three Gospels most likely occurred sometime before this event, otherwise their destruction would have been recorded.
The Book Of Acts Gives A Clue To Its Date
The Book of Acts also provides us with a clue as to when the gospels were written. Acts records the highlights in the life and ministry of the Apostle Paul. The book concludes with Paul at Rome awaiting trial before Caesar.
For two whole years, Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. Boldly and without hindrance, he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 28:30-31).
The inference is that Acts was written while Paul was still alive, seeing his death is not recorded. Since there is good evidence that Paul died in the Neronian persecution about A.D. 67, the Book of Acts can be dated approximately A.D. 62.
Luke's Gospel Was Written Earlier
If Acts were written about A.D. 62, then this helps us date the gospels, since the Book of Acts is the second half of a treatise written by Luke to a man named Theophilus. Since we know that the gospel of Luke was written before the Book of Acts, we can then date the Gospel of Luke sometime around A.D. 60 or before.
IX. Are the New Testament Documents Reliable?
The Bible is written by men. Why should it be trusted? All books are written by men. That's not the point. Are they historically correct?
In the words of the renowned scholar F. F. Bruce, “There is nobody of ancient literature in the world which enjoys such a wealth of good textual attestation as the New Testament”
It is a reliable selection of historical documents that can be tested; 5 760 Greek manuscripts (earliest dated 125 AD, within 35 years of the original writing) and 9 300 manuscripts in other languages from early church fathers.
The originals have been lost but this fact makes the writings within actually more reliable; it easy to corrupt or change one copy, the original but with thousands of copies available for comparison the original writing are much more reliable. The original copies were copied by different scribes and there are variants between manuscripts though only 6% difference. But not in meaning (3% scribal errors like spelling or words left out and 3% more important but between all the thousands of manuscripts the correct original words or thought can be defined.)
All Bible translations are from original manuscripts. The different translations reflect the difficulties with translating from mainly Greek and Hebrew text with no words in current languages with the exact meaning and words as close as possible to that meaning are used - therefore the different words in different translations.
From William Lane Craig;
How do we know that the Gospel narratives are historically reliable? The idea that the abundance and age of the manuscripts of the Gospels is evidence for their historical reliability is a misconception fostered by popular Christian apologetics.
It’s true that the New Testament is the best-attested book in ancient history, both in terms of the number of manuscripts and the nearness of those manuscripts to the date of the original. What that goes to prove is that the text of the New Testament that we have today is almost exactly the same as the text as it was originally written. Of the approximately 138,000 words in the New Testament, only about 1,400 remain in doubt. The text of the New Testament is thus about 99% established. That means that when you pick up a (Greek) New Testament today, you can be confident that you are reading the text as it was originally written. Moreover, that 1% that remains uncertain has to do with trivial words on which nothing of importance hangs. This conclusion is important because it explores the claims of Muslims, Mormons, and others that the text of the New Testament has been corrupted so that we can no longer read the original text. It’s awe-inspiring to think that we can know with confidence that when we pick Paul’s letter to the church in Rome, for example, we are reading the very words he wrote almost 2,000 years ago.
But that doesn’t prove that what these documents say is historically accurate. We could have the text of Aesop’s fables established to 99% accuracy, and that would do nothing to show that they are true stories. After all, they are intended to be fables, not history.
The Gospels are intended to be history. The Gospels are of the literary genre of historical writing. They are not of the genre of mythology, fiction, or fable. The Gospel writers were trying to write a historical account about real people, places, and events (just look at Luke 3.1-3).
Were they successful in getting the facts straight about Jesus of Nazareth? There are two ways to get at that question.
1. One way would be by assessing the general credibility of the Gospel accounts.
Five reasons we ought to assume that the gospels are reliable until proven wrong:
1. There was insufficient time for legendary influences to expunge the historical facts. The interval of time between the events themselves and recording of them in the gospels is too short to have allowed the memory of what had or had not actually happened to be erased.
2. The gospels are not analogous to folk tales or contemporary "urban legends." Tales like those of Paul Bunyan and Pecos Bill or contemporary urban legends like the "vanishing hitchhiker" rarely concern actual historical individuals and are thus not analogous to the gospel narratives.
3. The Jewish transmission of sacred traditions was highly developed and reliable. In an oral culture like that of first century Palestine the ability to memorize and retain large tracts of oral tradition was a highly prized and highly developed skill. From the earliest age children in the home, elementary school, and the synagogue were taught to memorize faithfully sacred tradition. The disciples would have exercised similar care with the teachings of Jesus.
4. There were significant restraints on the embellishment of traditions about Jesus, such as the presence of eyewitnesses and the apostles’ supervision. Since those who had seen and heard Jesus continued to live and the tradition about Jesus remained under the supervision of the apostles, these factors would act as a natural check on tendencies to elaborate the facts in a direction contrary to that preserved by those who had known Jesus.
5. The Gospel writers have a proven track record of historical reliability.
Look at one example: Luke. Luke was the author of a two-part work: the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles. These are really one work and are separated in our Bibles only because the church grouped the gospels together in the New Testament. Luke is the gospel writer who writes most self-consciously as an historian. In the preface to this work he writes:
Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things which have been accomplished among us, just as they were delivered to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word, 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 know the truth concerning the things of which you have been informed. (Lk. 1.1-4)
This preface is written in classical Greek terminology such as was used by Greek historians; after this Luke switches to a more common Greek. But he has put his reader on alert that he can write, should he wish to, like the learned historian. He speaks of his lengthy investigation of the story he’s about to tell and assures us that it is based on eyewitness information and is accordingly the truth.
Now, who was this author we call Luke? He was clearly not an eyewitness to Jesus’s life. But we discover an important fact about him from the book of Acts. Beginning in the sixteenth chapter of Acts, when Paul reaches Troas in modern-day Turkey, the author suddenly starts using the first-person plural: "we set sail from Troas to Samothrace," "we remained in Philippi some days," "as we were going to the place of prayer," etc. The most obvious explanation is that the author had joined Paul on his evangelistic tour of the Mediterranean cities. In chapter 21 he accompanies Paul back to Palestine and finally to Jerusalem. What this means is that the author of Luke-Acts was in fact in first-hand contact with the eyewitnesses of Jesus’s life and ministry in Jerusalem. Sceptical critics have done back-flips to try to avoid this conclusion. They say that the use of the first-person plural in Acts should not be taken literally; it’s just a literary device that is common in ancient sea voyage stories. Never mind that many of the passages in Acts are not about Paul’s sea voyage, but take place on land! The more important point is that this theory, when you check it out, turns out to be sheer fantasy.  There just was no literary device of sea voyages in the first person plural—the whole thing has been shown to be a scholarly fiction! There is no avoiding the conclusion that Luke-Acts was written by a traveling companion of Paul who had the opportunity to interview eyewitnesses to Jesus’s life while in Jerusalem. Who were some of these eyewitnesses? Perhaps we can get some clue by subtracting from the Gospel of Luke everything found in the other gospels and seeing what is peculiar to Luke. What you discover is that many of Luke’s peculiar narratives are connected to women who followed Jesus: people like Joanna and Susanna, and significantly, Mary, Jesus’s mother.
Was the author reliable in getting the facts straight? The book of Acts enables us to answer that question decisively. The book of Acts overlaps significantly with secular history of the ancient world, and the historical accuracy of Acts is indisputable. This has recently been demonstrated anew by Colin Hemer, a classical scholar who turned to New Testament studies, in his book The Book of Acts in the Setting of Hellenistic History.  Hemer goes through the book of Acts with a fine-toothed comb, pulling out a wealth of historical knowledge, ranging from what would have been common knowledge down to details which only a local person would know. Again and again, Luke’s accuracy is demonstrated: from the sailings of the Alexandrian corn fleet to the coastal terrain of the Mediterranean islands to the peculiar titles of local officials, Luke gets it right. According to Professor Sherwin-White, "For Acts the confirmation of historicity is overwhelming. Any attempt to reject its basic historicity even in matters of detail must now appear absurd."  The judgement of Sir William Ramsay, the world-famous archaeologist, still stands: "Luke is a historian of the first rank . . . . This author should be placed along with the very greatest of historians."  Given Luke’s care and demonstrated reliability as well as his contact with eyewitnesses within the first generation after the events, this author is trustworthy.
On the basis of the five reasons listed, we are justified in accepting the historical reliability of what the gospels say about Jesus unless they are proven to be wrong. At the very least, we cannot assume they are wrong until proven right. The person who denies the gospels’ reliability must bear the burden of proof.
In summary, the gospels are not only trustworthy documents in general, but as we look at some of the most important aspects of Jesus in the gospels, like his radical personal claims, his miracles, his trial and crucifixion, and his resurrection, their historical veracity shines through. God has acted in history, and we can know it.
See article entitled “The Evidence for Jesus” for the five lines of evidence supporting the general credibility of the Gospel records of Jesus’ life.
2. The other way is to establish specific facts about Jesus without assuming the general reliability of the Gospels. The key here is the so-called “Criteria of Authenticity” which enables us to establish specific sayings or events in Jesus’ life as historical. Scholars involved in the quest of the historical Jesus have enunciated a number of these criteria for detecting historically authentic features of Jesus, such as dissimilarity to Christian teaching, multiple attestations, linguistic semitisms, traces of Palestinian milieu, retention of embarrassing material, coherence with other authentic material, and so forth.
I’m convinced that we can. Indeed, it’s shocking to me how much of Jesus’ life can be established, including his radical personal claims, his crucifixion, his burial in a tomb, the discovery of his empty tomb, his post-mortem appearances, and his disciples’ coming to believe suddenly and sincerely that God had raised him from the dead. Take a look at my book Reasonable Faith (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossways, 1994) for detailed argument. We, therefore, have quite solid reasons for believing in Christ on the basis of the historical facts preserved about him in the Gospels.
One of the arguments; embarrassing details … you don't lie to make yourself look bad. Peter was called Satan. The fact that all the disciples ran away and only the woman stayed cross. And the first witnesses at the tomb. The disciples and Jesus died for ‘the story’ and at different times. The dramatic change in the lives if the disciples after the resurrection; prepared to die for the truth of it and 10 disciples were martyred to death at different times in different places for what they saw and experienced. Died for the love of Christ that lived within them as they preached the message that no one could stop. Should the story of the New Testament be a lie for what purpose did they lie and die. Crimes are committed for three reasons; relationships/sex, for money or fame. None of these were factors in these people’s lives.
X. Do Miracles Happen.?
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
The first and biggest of miracles; Genesis 1:1 God created everything out of nothing. And then it follows that all of the miracles described in the Bible are not really problematic, not even the resurrection of Christ.
XI. The Practical Argument. The Reality
The millions of lives touched and radically changed when they encounter the living God, from the time of the disciples especially after they witnessed the resurrection, to Paul on the Damascus road to hundreds of millions of people around the world over the last 2 000 years including my own