Thursday, February 16, 2012

Evidence That Demands A Verdict

Again, a comment was posted here yesterday that asked, in part, “What truth did you gain from the Bible and how was that done?” That is a very good question and it deserves a “good” answer.  Here’s my best shot:

I was in college, convinced that everything my professors were teaching about the theory of evolution was true, and ignoring God because I felt the Bible was a bunch of lies. Some friends of my husband took me to their church. It was quite an evening! That story, if you’re interested, has been posted here under the title, “True Worship”, dated 7/14/2010. Shortly afterwards, one of those folks, knowing me to be an evolutionist and a scientist, gave me a copy of Josh McDowell’s Evidence That Demands A Verdict. That was 1983.

I gobbled that book up like it was candy! I will do my best to give you a clear and concise explanation of what I found. There’s a lot of “evidence” that McDowell gives using the Old Testament prophecies that came true in the life of Jesus. That was interesting, but I wasn’t very impressed. I really felt that anyone could just make that stuff up – like a mystery writer who knows who-done-it even before they’ve selected the title of their next novel.  But then he explained how there are Old Testament manuscripts that are proven to have existed before Jesus was born. That made it a little more interesting, but I still wasn’t buying it.

Next, he talked about how many of the disciples of Jesus were tortured and martyred for not recanting their stories about Jesus’ resurrection. This made me take notice. Why would anyone do that? If they knew Jesus was a fraud, why not just give it up and get on back to their lives?

Then he puts these two pieces of evidence together – the gospels, which contain the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies, where written by the same guys who were tortured and killed. Now let’s think about that for a moment. Suppose the gospel writers were frauds and they put stuff in their writing about the fulfilled prophecies that they KNEW was false, but hey, they wanted to be on the best-seller list! Now why, really, WHY would they not just confess this rather than be killed?

It seems like very powerful evidence to me that they wrote what they FULLY believed was the truth. Now you say, perhaps so, but they could be delusional and therefore, WRONG! After all, sincerity is no proof of anything at all. But go back to that first part about all the prophecies that were fulfilled. Mathematically, it would be impossible to think that the 300+ specific prophecies were all just a coincidence.

However, the last argument that McDowell made was the most convincing for me. It is rather popular and I don’t want to bore you with details, but it is the Lord, Liar, or Lunatic argument. Here McDowell uses many of Jesus’ own words against Him. Jesus clearly claimed to be the Incarnate Son of God come to earth, who could forgive sins and promise eternal life to His followers. So you have just 3 options: either what He claimed is true and therefore He is LORD, or He is the biggest liar of all time, or He is a completely crazed lunatic.

Now I can already see that you may be going with option 2 or 3, but remember – the gospel writers gave up their lives because they felt He was telling the TRUTH! And they were traveling around the country with Him for 3 years; don’t you think they would have noticed if something was not really the way He said it was? And they all said they saw Him die on the cross AND that He came to visit with them after the resurrection. These men spent the rest of their days going from city to city preaching and teaching everything they knew about Jesus Christ. And in the end, they chose to DIE for this “fairy tale”!

So there you have it, I was convinced. The eye-witnesses of Jesus while here on earth are the evidence I have for the veracity of the Bible. That was nearly 30 years ago. I’ve since carefully studied the Bible and have not found any of it to be unreliable.

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