Summary: Are there good reasons to believe that Christian Theism is the most plausibly truth religion? If so, Jesus demands our attention, our faith, our love and obedience and our total devotion.
HOW I MET MY SAVIOR
4. Jesus: Fact or Fiction?
We’ve been building a Christian worldview from scratch this month, and here’s what that looks like from the GROUND UP:
- (SLIDE) First, we have to believe Truth exists.
- (SLIDE) Second, we looked at the competing Truth claims of different worldviews.
- (SLIDE) Third, we looked at the case for Theism.
So, it looks quite reasonable to have a THEISTIC worldview, but we know there’s multiple THEISTIC worldviews to choose from:
- Jews, Christians and Muslims ALL believe in God.
Now, where the Christian worldview differs in belief about God centers on how we view Jesus differently: we think he WAS God. The others don’t.
- (SLIDE) So today we need to look at the evidence for the Christian view of Jesus.
THE TEST OF FALSIFIABILITY.
Now, that view all hangs on one key thing. And this thing makes Christianity uniquely TESTABLE because it makes it “FALSIFIABLE.” What does that mean? Think about it like this: no amount of positive observations can ever PROVE something is true. But it only takes one observation to prove something is false.
(SLIDE) For example, I can say, ALL SWANS ARE WHITE. Can you prove that’s true? What if every swan we ever see is white, does that PROVE it? No, because no matter how many white swans we see, there might be some we don’t see of a different color.
(SLIDE) SO we can never prove something like “ALL SWANS ARE WHITE” to be true, not with a million, million white swans!
Ah, but we COULD prove it to be false! That’s easy! How could we do it? Simply find ONE swan that’s not white! That’s how you can FALSIFY the claim.
(SLIDE) And in fact, in 1790, Europeans laid their eyes on BLACK swans in Australia for the first time, which falsified the widely accepted idea that all swans are white.
No matter how much evidence we present for a religion, you can never prove it true. But only Christianity goes on record and says, “here’s how you could prove it false.” Christianity is the only world religion that provides its own falsifiability test. It’s own black swan test. Here it is from Paul:
(SLIDE) 1 Cor 15:13-15: If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.
So the test is simple. Prove the resurrection of Jesus didn’t happen, Christianity is false. You can never prove Christianity is true, not with a million changed lives, not with a thousand visions, or miracles or healings. But Paul says you could prove it false just by doing one thing.
- Disprove the resurrection.
- The whole thing, so says Paul, hangs on the thread of a single notion, which if proved false collapses the whole system.
So today, we need to investigate that thread. Now, we’re investigating a miracle, so you might think you can snip it with just a snap of your fingers. “All dead men stay dead.” But that too can be falsified – all it takes is proof that one man was raised from the dead!
So today I want to show you 7 lines of evidence that suggest that the resurrection happened – which shows Jesus is our black swan. I got this outline idea from Frank Turek and it’s easy to remember, because they all start with “E”. How do we know Jesus rose from the dead,
- which would prove he’s God,
o which would validate Christian THEISM?
1. EARLY TESTIMONY
To start, let’s not put the Bible in a special category and assume it to be God’s Word. To start, let’s just ask what the evidence from manuscripts tells us. First thing we learn is that the New Testament:
- was written very early,
o and early means closer to the time of writing
and closer to the time of writing means less chance for legends to corrupt the text
• and less corruption, means more reliable.
Just look at this chart to get a sense of how EARLY the New Testament record is, compared to other ancient literature. You can see in each case,
- the date of writing,
o followed by the oldest copy we have in existence today,
followed by the time span between time of writing,
• followed by the number of copies:
(SLIDE) AUTHOR Date Written Earliest Copy Time Span # of Copies
(SLIDE) Plato 427 BC 900 AD 1200 years 7
(SLIDE) Caesar 100 BC 900 AD 1000 years 10
(SLIDE) Aristotle 450 BC 1100 AD 1400 years 5
(SLIDE) N.T. 50-100 AD 125 25 years 5,735
The evidence here explodes two things which are popular to say in mildly educated company these days. People say: