Review – A Matter of Days – Chapter 8

beige analog gauge

Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

Guided by Theology

One would think Dr. Ross became a biblical creationist in between ch7 and ch8 as he begins this chapter with

The Bible is a harbor of truth. And yet, navigating a harbor safely often requires a guide who offers clear, specific direction around dangerous obstacles especially during a storm. God calls Christians to love Him with all of  their minds, and to do so, serious followers must explore the breadth and depth of His recorded Word. Jesus said, “Seek and you will find” (Matthew 7:7). Good theology helps direct an honest search. Wise church scholars throughout history have acknowledged that determining the precise meaning of a biblical word or passage sometimes requires more effort than a mere surface reading. Many passages that address or allude to the age of the universe and Earth are difficult to interpret. Such sections require careful consideration of both context and relevant theological points.

Failure to be cautious and thorough in analyzing them can lead to inaccurate conclusions.

Amen. Theological considerations should be ever present when reading God’s Word. In sections regarding the origin and state of the universe prior to human rebellion against the Creator is a significant question since we (in the present) see evil, death, suffering, and corruption. Creation and human plight seem somehow marred, broken, and tarnished. Has it always been so, or did something bring the corruption we now see?

For the old earther, death, suffering, cancer, corruption, and thorns have always been a part of the creation despite God calling his creation “very good”

Is cancer, suffering, death and corruption very good? The old earth would be forced to say ‘YES!’

Dr. Ross continues well when he says,

According to the Bible, God is truthful and He expresses Himself truthfully all His works and words, both in the creation of the physical world and in the inspiration of His written Word. When Jesus, the visible expression of the Visible God, said to His disciples, “I am…the truth,” He identified one of His divine attributes (John 14:6). Many familiar Bible verses declare that God is truthful and He does not lie in word or in deed.’

God is indeed truthful and trustworthy, and I’m starting to think Dr. Ross has matured into a biblical creationist since his next two paragraphs sound like this:

The Bible clearly affirms the God’s handiwork displays His character…According to Christian theology, then, an honest investigation of nature leads to discovery of truths

But sadly, in the very next paragraph Dr. Ross devolves back to his old earth arguments and unsuccessfully tries to make the case that because the modern paradigm disagrees with the text of Genesis that the Bible needs to be reinterpreted to accommodate

In no way does God’s revelation via the universe detract from the importance of His written revelation. Nor does this belief in the trustworthiness of nature’s message imply that God never intervenes in the natural realm by performing miracles. It does mean that when He performs miracles God does not remove, hide, or distort physical evidence for them.

Dr. Ross continues to make clear that when there appears to be a discrepancy between the modern academic paradigm and the Bible, he’s ready to change the definition in the Bible, so it has not problem accommodating the interpretation of observations. So, while he talks about scripture having the highest authority, in practice, he surrenders the Biblical text to academia. 

Suddenly, Dr. Ross takes a dark turn on page 82 when he writes:

The accelerating expansion of the universe due to the effect of dark energy will eventually cause the radiation  from the cosmic creation event [13.8 billions years ago] to move away from us at greater then the velocity of light.

There’s some serious SERIOUS problems with dark energy and the Big Bang model upon which Dr. Ross hangs all of his theory. If the Big Bang or dark energy/dark matter fail as explanations, old earthism loses all of its foundation.

Let’s look at some recent crushing blows to the foundation of the Rossians.

Ross inadvertently hampers his own argument when he writes,

Writers of scripture compared the number of God’s children with the number of stars in the sky and the number of grains of sand on the seashore – a ‘countless’ number. Hebrew and Greek numbering systems included numbers up to billions. ‘Countless’ suggests at least an order of magnitude greater than billions: tens of billions.

So, when God revealed to Moses how long it took from the creation until He created mankind, God said 6 days. Why did God not use these “Countless” numbering analogies or the simile He used with Abraham: number of days like the number of grains of sand on the seashore. But God chose instead to use definite boundaries and ordinal numbers of the word day to very specifically limit the creation time periods.

p83

In the above inset, Dr. Ross sneers at the old young earth model that proposed light might have been faster in the past and has decayed to its present rate. Unfortunately, he forgets that his own sandy foundation has a light time travel problem. For the universe to exhibit such uniform temperatures as is observed, light would have had to travel much fast in the past or the universe be much older than his error bars could apologize for. Ooops. 

Pg 83 turns out to be a rough page for Dr. Ross because he finishes this page with some very poor logic

God’s fourth commandment says the seventh day of each week is to be honored as holy: “Six days you shall labor…but the seventh day is a Sabbath….For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth…but he rested on the seventh day” (Exodus 20:9, 11). Young-earth creationist leaders often cite this passage as proof positive for the 24-hour creation-day interpretation. However, this passage is just one of five in the Pentateuch (the books of Moses) that address the fourth commandment. For three of these passages (Exodus 35:2; Leviticus 23:3; Deuteronomy 5:12-15), no connection at all is drawn between God’s work week and humanity’s. For the remaining two passages, the “proof” would hold only if neither the word for “day” nor the word for “Sabbath” were ever used with reference to any time period other than 24 hours.

Conveniently, Hugh Ross leaves out Exodus 31:17 which (along with Exodus 20) ties the creation week to the weekly cycle that God’s people are to observe. 

Six days you shall labor
For in
Six days the LORD made

The seventh day is a Sabbath
For on
The seventh day the LORD (SHABATH – Gen 2:2) abstained from work

It is made perfectly clear in Exodus that the days of creation week were not only a pattern for God’s people, but the same time duration. Were Dr. Ross’s interpretation valid, then the expectation would be for God’s people to work for 6 epochs of time (upwards of 13 billion years or whatever the current academic paradigm declares the age of the universe to be) and then rest for a single epoch before repeating it all again. Poor logic, Dr. Ross, but he continues

The seven days of our calendar week follow God’s established pattern. His “work week” gives us a humanlike picture we can grasp.

Exactly! So day ≠  billions of years

This communication tool is common in the Bible. Scripture frequently speaks of God’s hand, eyes, arm, even wings.The context in each case makes clear that these descriptions are not to be taken concretely.

But Dr. Ross, the context of Ex 20 and Ex 31 are not figurative or poetic in nature like Psalm 104. The text in question gives no openness to smuggle in your old earthism. There clearly are passages that are poetic in nature, and we honor the LORD because of them by their context. We also honor the LORD when He reveals historic and commandment passages. The context here in both Genesis and Exodus are not figurative, therefore, we must exercise proper exegesis and put the 24 hour boundaries on the days just as God says.

On pg 85, Dr Ross attacks a clear reading of Mark 10:6 in favor of his old earthism

Jesus said, “At the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female” (Mark 10:6). Ken Ham, Henry Morris, and John Morris have claimed this statement implies that virtually no time transpired between the creation of the universe and the creation of Adam and Eve.” Henry Morris asserted that “Jesus Christ…who was there at the beginning of the creation, said that man and woman were there, too!” Morris used this passage to assert that Jesus was a young-earth creationist.”

Jesus IS a biblical creationist 

However, even from a young-earth perspective on the creation week, this interpretation of Mark 10:6 cannot be correct. Adam and Eve were not created until the sixth creation day, after the creation of the universe and the earth. Therefore, Adam and Eve could not have been present at the beginning of the Universe.

Let’s look at the 2 opposing timelines of old earthism vs. biblical creation.

Timeline

ReasonsTimeline

 

You can see from the biblical creation timeline on top, that mankind was created during the creation week…at the beginning. Jesus was not speaking about the initial nanosecond of the creation, but the creation week as has been established in Genesis 1 and confirmed in Exodus 20/31. The word that Jesus used:“beginning” now makes sense because both from the perspective of Moses (who wrote Genesis) and Jesus (who spoke 4000 years after creation) the 7 days of creation week very clearly were the beginning.

Conversely, when we analyze the old earther timeline (which is from Hugh Ross’s website reasons.org), we see humans did not emerge until the very END of time…almost 14,000,000,000 years after creation. In this case, it makes no sense to refer to male and female being created at the beginning since from their perspective, it is at the end.

We can combine the differing perspectives into a single timeline to further highlight the distinctions

TimelineCompareYEtoOE

 

Ross makes a similarly futile attempt to discredit the passage in Mark 10:6 as having an anchor in history when he says:

The question asked of Jesus was about marriage. Thus, the context suggests that He was referring to the is beginning of humanity’s story, the story of the first husband and wife. On that basis, the Mark 10:6 “beginning of creation” most likely refers to the beginning of marriage.

Notice, how Ross inserts his own thoughts and words intermixed with Jesus’s words. This is called eisegesis and is a no-no when interpreting scripture. Rather than being content with the actual words Jesus spoke, Dr. Ross changes “the beginning of creation” to “the beginning of marriage”

The chapter is winding down when Dr. Ross adds to the bad logic with:

He (God) will replace this present universe with new heavens, a new Earth, and a new Jerusalem, all having new physical laws and dimensions to make possible our eternal life and rewards in His presence.

Dr. Ross, will the new heavens and earth take 14,000,000,000 years of death, suffering, cancer and bloodshed like you think this creation experienced, before it’s ready for resurrected humans? Why do you assume the current creation took that time to get to where it is in spite of the Bible rejecting that view?

To finish chapter 8 on pg 86 Dr. Ross makes a point that is in strong contention with biblical creationists because of the nature of God.

The clearest evidence of different physics in the new creation comes from the promise  of “no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” As Romans 8:21-23 further amplifies, the universe “will be liberated from its bondage to decay.” 

Dr. Ross has defined “bondage to decay” as the 2nd law of thermodynamics. The text in Romans does not support this as we read in Romans 8:20

“For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.”

Creation was SUBJECTED to futility and its corruption by the curse of sin. Creation has not always been corrupted with death/disease/suffering/bloodshed/evil/thorns as Dr. Ross would have us believe because the passages in Genesis and here in Romans forbid his model of thinking. Dr. Ross, thinking that corruption was part of God’s initial creation is “very good”, but here in Romans we see that God calls it bondage. 

Even though Dr. Ross calls this chapter “Guided by Theology”, we see that his theology is poor, and we don’t want to be guided by poor theology. We want to be guided by biblical theology with a proper understanding of scripture rather than eisegesis. 

Praise God for the consistent nature of his revelation. As Christians, we do not have to redefine the words in the Bible to accommodate modern academic paradigms or cultural changes in sexuality or political revolutions as we have seen Dr. Ross do. God’s Word is eternal and we can trust God to keep his word regarding the future since we can trust his revelation from the past.

Back to the Table of Contents

YoctoNumeroPhobia

It’s not a real word, but I’m going to construct it and use it as:

The abnormal fear of the smallest defined number.

Stephen Meyers lays out a case that makes it irrational to believe in evolution. The whole video is worth watching, but the link starts at minute 24, when his talk begins to destroy the foundation of evolution.

If you know and understand math, you’ll agree. I’ll leave alone (for now) that without a Christian worldview, one cannot even account for the invariant, absolute, and universal laws like mathematics. At about minute 30 he gets into the math itself:

 For every 12 letters (in the English language) that are functional/meaningful there are 100,000,000,000,000 other ways to arrange those same characters…that are non-functional/meaningful. The very same things are true in the DNA protein case. The ratio to non-functional sequences to functional sequences is even more prohibitively small than in the case of the English language.

For a small protein, the chances of getting a functional sequence without guidance is 1 over 10 ^ 77. This is a number so small that it does not even warrant a definition with latin prefixes. The real problem is much worse for evolutionists who insist that natural selection acting on random mutations has generated all functional code. Since the chances of getting a non-functional protein are so much greater than all of the possible chances (all of the creatures 10 ^ 40) over the perceived available amount of time (3.5 X 10 ^ 9), logic dictates that we declare the evolutionary theory as failed.

Dr. Meyer built his case to answer theistic evolutionists, but the case is even more powerful when used against naturalists, who demand that there is no Creator. So fearful are evolutionists of these arguments that they choose not to even engage with Meyer’s arguments. They resort instead to strawman, ad hominem, and genetic fallacy arguments. When exposed to the near infinitely small chances that their worldview kingdoms have any substance, they become prey to YoctoNumeroPhobia. It is an irrational fear and is solvable by trusting the Creator in what He has revealed. It makes sense rationally (to trust One with infinite knowledge and love), logically (science supports the conclusion) and morally (God provides forgiveness for sin.)

I do want to cover a few comments that Meyer only minimally addresses in his talk. Meyers is not a biblical creationist, but I’m pretty sure that can be solved if he were to read my posts on this blog.

Many think they must adopt an evolutionary understanding of biological origins despite its substantial cost to the coherence of basic Christian doctrine.

I could not agree more!!!! The gospel of Jesus Christ is clear!

  • The Creator made a universe that was very good
  • God declared that life was to reproduce according to its kind.
  • Adam and Eve rebelled and brought death, bloodshed, pain, and the curse of sin into creation. Genesis 3. Romans 5. Romans 8. I Cor 15
  • To bring glory to Himself, God’s plan to offer a substitute to take on God’s wrath in the place of sinful humans was made manifest in Jesus. Jesus took the curse of sin upon himself, which allowed God’s children to be in relationship to him.
  • Jesus rose from the dead.

Is evolutionary theory so well established that it makes it compulsory to read scripture in a completely different way.

It is so important that people not take naturalistic interpretations to scripture. So many heresies arise from trying to dilute the teachings of God’s revelation with cultural proclivities.

So, don’t let YoctoNumeroPhobia crush your soul.

God’s Word can be trusted in what He has revealed about history, so we can trust Him with our future! He is trustworthy!!!

Goodness Gracious!

God is good. We can see this from several texts in the Psalms and in the gospel of Mark.

jesus-christ-good-shepherd-religion-161289.png

Psalm 119:68 You are good and do good

Psalm 135:3 Praise the LORD, for He is good

Mark 10:17-18 A man ran up and asked him, ‘Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.’

While this list is not comprehensive, we get a picture that one of the characteristics of God and the way that he acts is his Goodness. The English word from these passages that has been translated to be “good” is the Hebrew transliteration: towb.

This same word is used in Genesis 1 as God describes his new creation. After the first, third, the fourth, and the fifth days, God describes his creation as ‘towb’ or good. Genesis 1:29-31 says, “Then God said, ‘I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground-everything that has the breath of life in it- I give every green plant for food. And it was so. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning the sixth day.” In fact, since God called his creation “good” twice on days 3 and 6, there is a total of seven “good” descriptors of his creation. As seven is seen throughout scripture as the perfect number, God is bringing extra emphasis on the goodness of his creation. Creation wasn’t just “good” in a trivial sense, it was made to reflect God’s goodness and glory (Psalm 19:1).

We know that later on in chapter 3 of Genesis, it describes Adam and Eve’s rebellion against God’s one command. Sin caused pain, thorns, and death to pervert God’s “very good” creation. Romans 8 confirms this when it says, “creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole of creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.”

Sin perverted God’s “very good” creation. And God revealed that the curse of sin included death, pain, thorns, and creation being in bondage to decay.

When archaeologists dig down into the layers of earth, what do they find? Fossils of billions of dead things. Fossils of dinosaurs and other animals that had terrible diseases like cancer are found. Some fossils show teeth marks of predators in layers that evolutionists date as having been buried millions and millions of years before mankind walked the earth. Even fossilized thorns have been found in layers that evolutionists date as being 400 million years old.

sharp_thorns

But there are Christian teachers out there, who are trying to harmonize clear teaching of scripture with billions of years of bloodshed, suffering, and death. Is this what the Psalmist would relay as a character quality of the Almighty? But that’s exactly what Hugh Ross,  the Rossians, and John Walton would have us believe. To make this work, they have to re-define the Hebrew word “towb” to mean potential or ordered.

It is no small thing to attribute billions of years of cancer, bloodshed, pain, and death with the perfect character of the Almighty. Yet, when Walton and Ross redefine the same word “towb”, which is used to describe God’s character, as inclusive of death, one has to question their understanding of scripture.

Lastly, Isaiah 11:6-9 describes a time when God will restore his perfect creation. God revealed to Isaiah that there will come a time when predatory behavior, harm, and destruction will be a thing of the past. But Ross and Walton would say that predatory behavior, harmfulness, and destruction was a part of creation prior to Adam’s sin. Their interpretation of scripture has serious problems that affect the gospel. If death and destruction and harm were part of God’s very good creation, then why did Jesus have to die a horrific physical death on the cross? Romans 8:21 “Creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay.”

Revelation 21:4 “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

We can trust the Good God Almighty about what he has revealed about the past, and we can trust him about the good He plans for the future. Praise Him!!!

It’s a Curse

Hypocrisy is difficult to deal with. When I observe it, it tends to make me mad. When my wife observes it, she can hardly contain herself with righteous indignation. When I think of hypocrisy, I most often think of it as being applied to Christians, who have claimed to have a moral stand against something “wicked” but have then proceeded to be involved in exactly that. As a Christian, I’ve been a hypocrite…not intentionally, but usually with my kids, I’ll find that I’ve failed on a moral level. It usually comes in the form of me yelling at my son, “You should not react with anger when you don’t like something!!!!” Um…unless you’re a parent…no that’s not right either. Ok. So Christians are hypocrites…forgiven and (hopefully) letting God’s Spirit guide our actions in accordance with His will.

What about Jesus? Jesus was not a hypocrite. Going way back in time, before Twitter, before Y2K, before Walmart, before Prohibition, before the Battle of the Alamo, before Columbus’ famous voyage, before Guttenburg…well, you get the idea…back at the very beginning, there was freedom in the Garden of Eden. The only guideline was to avoid eating from a single tree. There were no other boundaries. Adam and Eve had a chance to show the Creator that they trusted him completely by obeying this single guideline and enjoying fellowship with Him. But when they thought they knew better than Almighty God…with a little deceit and doubt thrown in there by the serpent (“Did God REALLY say…?”), the repercussions were catastrophic. To quote from Genesis 3 when God had to enter his newly tarnished creation after the prideful sin of Adam and Eve,

Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it’, Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.

So death, that terrible enemy, made itself prevalent within creation. Why are thorns and thistles mentioned in the curse? In the same sentence that describes Adam’s inevitable death, God declares that mankind will face the problem of thorns. Odd.

Looking ahead to the fulfillment of God’s promise to crush the head of the serpent through the offspring of the woman, Jesus lived a perfect life, but faced the final enemy (I Cor 15:26) with purpose and resolve. About the events just prior to Jesus’ death, Mark records this:

They put a purple robe on him, then  twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him.

pexels-photo-814058.jpeg

The curse of sin was explicitly stated in the garden as thorns and death. Jesus took both of these upon himself and decisively defeated them both with his resurrection. Thankfully, the perfect Messiah, who did not come to restore Israel’s political dominance in worldly affairs, took the curse of sins upon himself so that we could be restored to life.

Asking Tough Questions

This article appeared as a headline on The Drudge Report this morning. It intends to mock Republican presidential nominees who do not worship at the feet of atheist patron saint, Charles Darwin.

While 99.85% of American earth and life scientists believe the theory of evolution to be bedrock fact, 42% of the general public surveyed in a 2014 Gallup poll said they believed that human beings arrived on the earth in their present form.

While the belief in evolution, or lack thereof, may not directly impact whether a given candidate is qualified to become president, the question is regularly put to those who seek the White House. Why? Because some liberals believe it helps demonstrate whether a politician will be guided by evidence in making decisions

The article goes on to show some video clips of republican presidential candidates squirming in their seats when having to answer direct questions on whether they believe that the earth is 6000 years old or whether or not people come from monkeys.

Here’s what I’d like to see. I’d like a reporter to ask those candidates, who support evolution wholeheartedly, these questions about the effects of evolution in their decision-making:

  • Since you strongly believe that biological evolution is true, what intrinsic value would you place on human life? If humans are simply here because of a collection of accidents, why not kill your political enemies and take from the populace whatever you want? Only the strong survive…right?
  • As a strong believer in the success of natural selection, why do you think that the government should provide handouts, entitlements, and assistance to the downtrodden, the weak, and the victims? Are you not abandoning your strong stance of evolution for more of a Christian worldview by helping the weak?
  • There have been national leaders in the past, who were strong advocates of evolution, and because their value of human life was consistent with this belief, they made decisions that lead to the death of tens of millions of their own citizens. Should you be elected, what assurances do we have that you will not make decisions that are consistent with your belief that evolution is true?
  • Should apes and higher simian mammals receive more protections under the law since you believe that people are closer relatives to these evolved “cousins”? Where should we draw the line? Why not include the entire order of primates? Or the family of mammals? Why do you not advocate protecting the rights of bacteria…after all, they’ve been here longer and propagated more successfully? Is it because they do not pay taxes?

I give full permission for any journalist to take these questions and ask…no, press hard for answers to these questions from the presidential candidates. I also give full permission for any candidates who speak boldly to supporting biblical authority to link their campaign website to my creation manifesto, which goes into much detail about the truth of God’s Word and the emptiness of evolution.

UPDATE: Steven Meyer, who is a scientist and writer for the intelligent design movement recently posted this article that is supposed to help conservative politicians answer the question of whether they believe in evolution. The succinct answer he gives is appropriate for the campaign trail:

Reporter: “Do you believe in evolution?”

Candidate: “I believe that organisms change over time, but I am skeptical about unguided evolution.”

I’d really like to see more push-back from candidates, who are asked this question,  to expose the equivocation fallacy that many evolution-believers espouse. Does evolution mean change over time? Does it mean universal common ancestry? Does it mean naturalism’s mechanism for forming all of life?

There has most certainly been evolution…change over time, but as the Bible tells us, there is no change between kinds of animals. The coyote, fox, dog, and wolf probably all came from a common ancestor, which was a kind of dog. Canines have always borne canine pups, and this is verifiable by experimentation. To claim that sometime in the past, an animal had offspring that were of a different kind is perpetuating their naturalistic religion.

Can We Help?

Assuming that God did use evolution as his creative mechanism and seeing how God has used the death of the weak, sick, and less fit to advance and cleanse his creation, why should we as Christians not join him in his creative work by keeping the weak and unfit animals or humans from reproducing? How does the evolutionary process of culling the weak and sick logically overcome Jesus’ gospel of helping the sick and unfit?

 

 Back to the Creation Manifesto Outline

Jesus. Myth or Historically Verifiable

If the only sure things in life are death and taxes, can we be sure that Jesus actually lived on Earth? The Bible says he paid taxes (Matthew 17:24-27), and it goes into graphic detail about his death (Mark 15, John 19), but for some, the Biblical accounts of Jesus’ life are not enough. What about the countless personal testimonies from people whose lives have been changed by giving their lives to Jesus? Nope. Still not good enough for some.

So, can a person look at historical documents besides the Bible to see whether Jesus really lived? Is there enough evidence to overcome the obstacle that would keep someone from salvation? **

While I enjoy history, I’m not really a true historian. But I came across this article that should help those interested in researching the historical viability of Jesus to see the Bible as accurate.

Thallus (52AD)
Thallus is perhaps the earliest secular writer to mention Jesus and he is so ancient his writings don’t even exist anymore. But Julius Africanus, writing around 221AD does quote Thallus who previously tried to explain away the darkness occurring at Jesus’ crucifixion:

“On the whole world there pressed a most fearful darkness; and the rocks were rent by an earthquake, and many places in Judea and other districts were thrown down. This darkness Thallus, in the third book of his History, calls, as appears to me without reason, an eclipse of the sun.” (Julius Africanus, Chronography, 18:1)

– See more at: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2014/is-there-any-evidence-for-jesus-outside-the-bible/

Tacitus (56-120AD)

Mara Bar-Serapion (70AD)

Phlegon (80-140AD)

Pliny the Younger (61-113AD)

Suetonius (69-140AD)

Lucian of Samosata: (115-200 A.D.)

Celsus (175AD)

Josephus (37-101AD)

Jewish Talmud (400-700AD)

The Toledot Yeshu (1000AD)

This is not a comprehensive list of the historical sources, but it is a good start for someone interested in checking on the Bible’s veracity.

The followup question on Jesus’ historicity would be, “Well, just because he existed, it doesn’t mean that he is God. How can we know that he was truly the God?”

This question is actually not as difficult as it appears, because Jesus claimed to be God (John 8:58). Since he made the claim to be God, he was either telling the truth, he was a liar, or he was crazy. Those are the only three choices.

  • If he told the truth, then He is deserving of worship. The truth of his claim is verified mostly in the fact of his resurrection and his fulfillment of hundreds of old testament prophecies.
  • If he knew that he was not the eternal Creator God, but he wanted others to believe this, then he was a liar. Liars are not generally regarded as good men, and because of his resurrection, he possesses a great deal of leverage to his divinity claim.
  • Was Jesus crazy, delusional, wacko? Did he unfortunately believe that he was the eternal Creator God? Again, he would not be regarded today as a good teacher if he believed something was was sheer lunacy, and because he backed up his claim with his prophecy-fulfilling miracles and resurrection, it is certain that he was not a lunatic.

Just understanding the historicity of Jesus is not enough. If Jesus truly lived and he really is God, what does that mean for you? You are certainly paying taxes, and you certainly will die. I can’t get you out of the taxes dilemma, but you can have life without end.

UPDATE: This is a good article from the same guy that wrote Cold Case Christianity.

Ignatius and Polycarp were direct students of the Apostle John; Clement was a direct student of the Apostle Paul. These students later became leaders in the early Christian Church and wrote their own letters to local congregations.

 

Even if people disregard the historical veracity of the Bible, Jesus still appears in historical writings.

 

**Disclaimer: The authority of God’s Word is the basis for being able to know anything. In other words, if the God of the Bible is not true then we cannot know anything for certain. Because He has revealed Himself, we have the necessary preconditions for intelligibility. So believing that God is the Creator and his word is true must be the foundation of our faith. If researching historical documents and seeing the evidence of creation helps someone overcome the obstacles of unbelief as a step towards salvation, I’m more than happy to help lay out the case for a historically verifiable account of the Bible.