Parents, teachers, and others frequently express concern over the lack of religious conviction evidenced by many youth today. A materially-minded society, the unsettling prospect of growing up in a world threatened with nuclear destruction, and the inconsistencies between "saying" and "doing" which youngsters see on every hand surely affect their thinking. The truth is that the philosophies of youth often reflect the philosophies of their elders. Why should we be surprised, when so many of the parents and teachers of our time reject God as He reveals Himself in the Bible and His testimony proclaiming Jesus Christ as His Son sent to reign as King of our lives?
An honest examination of the evidence for the divinity of Jesus compared with that given in support of figures in secular history makes one wonder how a would-be thinker doubts the first, yet believes the second. Alleged exploits of the Pharaohs, Babylonian kings, Persian rulers, Philip of Macedon, Alexander the Great, the Caesars, the Herods, along with the multitude of characters and events of the last 19 centuries are accepted usually without question of their validity; however, when unbelievers and critics of Biblical history are faced with Biblical testimony of equal weight pertaining to alleged historical facts, they often discredit such matters simply because they do not appeal to their reason.
Certain rigid realities center in the alleged resurrection of Jesus. These events are narrated by the four gospel writers and the Apostle Paul. Matthew and John write as
Eyewitnesses and Luke as one who had traced the course of all things accurately from the first. (Luke 1:1-4). In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul alleges himself to be one of a multitude of eye-witnesses of the risen Jesus and as one untimely born. In this text Paul affirmed that more than half of the 500 persons who had seen Jesus at one time were still alive when he wrote. The implication is that they could be interrogated. Paul's statement to Festus in Acts 26:26 was "These things were not done in a corner."
This alleged fact of Jesus's conquering death manifested itself in many forms. First, there was a change in attitude on the part of his disciples from despair to joy as their disbelief turned into belief on the ever-increasing testimony of eye-witnesses. One of the strongest evidences of the resurrection is that those who were later to give lives for their testimony were at first the strongest disbelievers; they had to be convinced before they would preach what they believed and seal their faith with their blood.
Second, the evangelistic fervor growing out of the original announcement must be explained by an honest doubter.
Third, this evangelism inevitably led the witnesses into conflict which brought them pain, hence the need for the skeptic to explain the suffering endured at the hands of both Jews and Romans because of their religious convictions founded in the alleged fact behind it.
Fourth, the moral reformation produced by the gospel must be explained by an honest critic; for example, one must account for the change in the lives of the Corinthians. (1 Cor. 6:9-11)
Fifth, the conversion of Saul of Tarsus, with the implication of what he was and had, as opposed to what he became and gave up, must be explained. (1 Phil 3:3-11)
When the two lines of evidence (secular history and Biblical history) are considered, there is no doubt that the Biblical writers have been subjected to an incomparably greater critical analysis than any other writers of antiquity—including Plato, Aristotle, Seneca, Virgil and others whose works are glibly quoted. The question, is: how can an honest person be so certain that the Biblical narrative is not authentic and is undependable whereas the alleged contributions of these other writers are of such great cultural value and so meaningful to our knowledge of the past?
It has been said that on the same basis that evidences are admitted into any court of equity according to the strictest interpretations of English law, Jesus Christ stands before the world confirmed by the most carefully screened testimony as the Son of God possessing all the authority He claimed for Himself. An examination of the evidence proves that He rightfully commands our submission to Him as Lord and obedience to His Word as revealed in the Bible. - James R. Cope, The Bible – The Way, 1-17-1971
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