How the Gospels are Evidence

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When engaging unbelievers I consistently hear arguments along this line of reasoning, “There is no scientific proof for the resurrection.”

science_labsThe argument usually presupposes truth can only be determined by one method — scientific research. So, if science and the scientific method must verify a fact, and we are unable to scientifically reproduce the resurrection, then it must be false. Therefore, “Although you believe the Bible, and that is good for you, it is really just myth created for another reason.”

There is a problem with this logic. But before addressing the solution, the problem is usually compounded by the Christian’s response. The response takes on this form, “Well, you just have to have faith and believe. Sometimes our faith is irrational.” This response actually accepts the skeptics reasoning and buys into his faulty presupposition. This response, just like the skeptic, fails to consider how truth can be verified.

In this discussion, the skeptic and the Christian seemingly accept and assert truth can only be verified by scientific research. However, there are other ways to verify truth. One other way to verify truth is multiple eye-witness testimony.

Skeptics will often counter with the superiority of scientific research. However, to date, what proof exists verifying scientific research is the only way to obtain facts? Second, scientists do change their views and findings as more research becomes available or presuppositions change. This is important to remember. All scientists operate with presuppositions influencing their findings. When a polar bear researcher makes observations assuming evolution, his assumption of evolution will influence his data collecting and conclusions. If evolution is found false, then his findings will be wrong too because they are built on faulty evidence.

But primarily, no science lab in the world can prove, according to the scientific method, whether or not pizza is in my kitchen. They can run their tests a thousand times, they will not verify to you, whether or not pizza is in my kitchen.

It is this third point Christians need to understand primarily. Multiple eye-witness testimony1-300x255testimony is a sufficient way to determine truth, especially historical fact. [1] It is extremely important to grasp this concept. Before there were crime labs in the world, men would be punished for murder when multiple eye-witnesseses testified. The more witnesses who said the same thing, the stronger the evidence. Even today, in courts, multiple eye-witnesses influence trials. The DA’s office would love for every case to have three or four eye-witnesses.

Justice can be upheld based on eye-witness testimony alone! Listen to God’s instruction to Israel when considering evidence.

  • “On the evidence of two witnesses or three witnesses, he who is to die shall be put to death; he shall not be put to death on the evidence of one witness” (Deut 17:6).
  • “A single witness shall not rise up against a man on account of any iniquity or any sin which he has committed; on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed” (Deut 19:15).
  • “Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses” (1 Tim 5:19).

To summarize, multiples witnesses is not only a means to determine evidence, guilt, and punishment, but also required when levying charges against a church elder. The Lord provides means for qualified, verifiable, and solid evidence in a court setting. Does the Lord negate science? No. Instead he provides support for eye-witness testimony.

jpg_law_justice_003This brings up the main point of the article. Christians need to understand multiple eye-witnesses provide valid evidence verifying historical events. [2] So, how can we prove the resurrection? Simple, each Gospel is an eye-witness testimony to Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. In fact, there are at least four accounts of the resurrection: Matthew’s, Mark’s, Luke’s, and John’s. We need to understand each Gospel testifies regarding Jesus, the Christ.

Now, is your faith reasonable? Answer?

[1] Now, some will claim, “But eye-witness testimony has been wrong.” Sure it has, but so has science. The fact some people have lied when testifying does not negate the veracity and integrity multiple eye-witnesses can have when observing an event. In other words, YES, sometimes there is another variable in the equation, but one person lying in a situation does not invalidate eye-witness testimony.

[2] 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 testifies regarding the amount of eye-witness sightings to the resurrected Jesus. First, Jesus appeared to Cephas, then the twelve, and after that to the 500. This line of reasoning provides integrity to the claim Jesus was resurrected according to the Scriptures.

 

*** This article first appeared at ShepherdtheSheep.com November 11, 2014.

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Jason Vaughn

About Jason Vaughn

Jason is a graduate of the Master’s Seminary and the pastor of Cornerstone Las Vegas, a Grace Advance church plant. He loves Christ, his wife Kyla, sometimes his kids :), the church, missions, people, and coffee. You can also follow him on his personal blog at shepherdthesheep.com.