Gospel Contradictions on the Resurrection of Jesus? Gary Habermas, PhD

Gary Habermas answers various questions about the historical Jesus of Nazareth. Q&A Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list…

Watch – Historical Authors on the Resurrection of Jesus ~ Gary Habermas, PhD

VIDEO by Theology, Philosophy and Science

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Historical Authors on the Resurrection of Jesus ~ Gary Habermas, PhD

Gary Habermas answers various questions about the historical Jesus of Nazareth. Q&A Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list…

Watch – Gospel Contradictions on the Resurrection of Jesus? Gary Habermas, PhD

VIDEO by Theology, Philosophy and Science

Debate – Is It Rational to Believe in Miracles?: Gary Habermas vs Geoff Campos

What Jesus Said About Who He Is?

The most offensive thing a Christian can say is that Jesus is the only way for salvation. This is characterized as intolerant, as arrogant, as narrow minded. But according to the Gospels, Jesus prompted belief in His exclusive relationship with God, the Father. He spoke of Himself as „the light”, „living waters”, „the way”, as „the good shepherd”, as „the vine”, „bread”, as „the door and gate to God”. When Jesus said „I and the Father are one” the religious leaders at the temple understood what He meant because they picked up stones and they wanted to stone Him for blasphemy. They understood that Jesus was making a claim far higher than the oneness of mission, He was claiming to be one of essence with the Father. Jesus knew who He was and was very clear in declaring who He was: that He was one with the Father. That he was God come to earth.
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Gary Habermas – The Minimal Facts Approach to the Resurrection

Gary Robert Habermas (born 1950) is an American historian, New Testament scholar, and philosopher of religion. He is a renowned and prolific author, lecturer, and debater on the topic of the Resurrection of Jesus. (Wikipedia)

In this interview with staff apologist Jacob Daniel (apologetics.com), world-renowned scholar and authority Dr. Gary Habermas presents his ‘Minimal Facts’ approach for the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He argues that, today, the scholars in secular world are moving more towards accepting the data on resurrection as credible facts. He encourages serious thinkers by pointing out that, it is truly a favorable and positive era to study resurrection and one must go where the evidences lead. VIDEO by apologeticscom Photo credit Wikipedia

Gary Habermas: 10 Reasons for the Fall of Atheism

steps to atheism rodiagnusdei

Gary Habermas is Chair, Department of Philosophy Distinguished Research Professor at Liberty University, author of 36 books (with contributions to 60 other books) and expert on the facts surrounding the Resurrection of Jesus.

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina – A Christian apologist presented 10 reasons for the fall of atheism during the Southern Evangelical Seminary’s 20th annual Christian Apologetics conference on Saturday, an argument which he is also set to deliver before the Swedish parliament, one of the most atheistic societies in the world.

Gary Habermas, who is the distinguished research professor and chair of the Department of Philosophy and Theology at Liberty University, divided his 10 reasons into two groups: those which argue for theology in general as opposed to naturalism, and those which support specifically a Christian worldview.

„Both categories are important. God exists, naturalists are wrong, there is some kind of theism or deism, something to do with God, and then there are things saying Christianity is true,” the apologist explains.

„Virtually no religion, and no philosophy, tells you why their beliefs are true,” he added of belief systems outside of the Christian faith. „Christianity has something that no other religion has.”

A number of recent surveys have suggested that the number of non-believers in America is on the rise. According to a 2012 poll by Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life in conjunction with PBS’ Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, one-fifth of Americans said that they are religiously unaffiliated. That number rises to 32 percent when dealing specifically with young adults between 18-29 years of age.

Similarly, an extensive General Social Survey report from earlier this year also found that the number of people who do not identify with religion is on the rise, and has jumped to new levels in recent years.

„This was not happening really for decades, until around 1990 when it started to take off,” Claude Fischer, one of the researchers with UC Berkeley, shared with The Huffington Post. „One thing striking is the trend in terms of renouncing religious affiliation you might say continues to move up at a regular pace, while there is hardly any perceptible trend in the percentage of people who express atheist or agnostic beliefs.”

The decline in religious views has also been felt throughout Europe, and especially in Sweden, where Habermas will be presenting before the parliament this month.

According to a 2010 Eurobarometer Poll, only 18 percent of Swedish residents believe that there is a God, 45 percent believe that there is some sort of spirit or life force, while 34 percent do not believe in any kind of God or spirit.

Habermas argued, however, that despite cultural trends, belief in naturalism, which states that the world operates without any kind of divine or supernatural influence, is losing ground in academic circles.

„The naturalistic argument is starting to break,” the research professor said, bringing up a number of examples of atheists who have turned to theism, or non-believers who have admitted that naturalism doesn’t hold as much weight as previously thought.

The four theistic arguments that Habermas listed against atheism were as follows: Cosmology, Intelligent Design, Fine Tuning, and Near-Death Experiences.

For cosmology, which explores questions about the Big Bang, the beginning and eternal nature of the universe, he brought up a quote from C.S. Lewis, where the famous Christian author said: „If there ever was a time that nothing existed, then nothing would exist now.”

While Habermas only mentioned by name the two other reasons, he noted that next to the resurrection, he has done more work on near-death experiences than on any other topic.

„I have been working on this topic for 40 years, and I am a reviewer for a secular peer-reviewed journal on the subject,” he revealed, adding that near-death experiences have been written up in almost 20 different medical journals.

The apologist explained that this reason falls in the general theistic field, because it deals specifiaclly with people who had lost heart and brain function for a while, and been able to see or understand things through their experience that they could not have come to otherwise.

„But these are non-worldview specifics, meaning that it is religious data in general and that any religion can be right,” he noted.

Next, he presented six reasons that people can use for believing specifically in the Christian faith, listing them as follows:

  • Recent documentations of miracle claims: referring to thousands of cases around the world of documented miracles, including those where medical doctors witness prayer healing people with severe physical disabilities.
  • Double-blind prayer experiments: where people pray for others with terminal illness. Habermas admitted that most such experiments have not worked, but the three that he knows of that have indeed worked were cases of orthodox-Christians praying for the sick.
  • Jesus as a miracle healer: the research professor noted that when he went to graduate school, most people did not believe that Jesus was a miracle healer, but that has changed and many scholars now believe in the real miracles presented in the Bible.
  • Jesus proclaimed the resurrection beforehand: meaning that Jesus did not simply rise from the dead, but revealed beforehand that he would be resurrected. „It’s one thing to rise from the dead, but you claim double the significance of it if you told everybody what was going to happen ahead of time, which shows that you’re in control and know what’s going on,” the apologist argued.
  • Resurrection of Jesus Christ: Habermas said that „we are on the strongest grounds up here on the resurrection argument. Today, there are more scholars who believe that something happened to Jesus than there are those who believe that nothing happened to Jesus.”
  • Shroud of Turin: the apologist referred to an hour-long session he led on Friday about recent discoveries surrounding the Shroud, but admitted, „It deserves to be put on the board, at least now. It could be proven wrong tomorrow.”

Habermas concluded: „We have got to get the world out there, because the challenge is there, naturalism is losing, and we need to see Christianity ascend, because we have the data.” SOURCE: http://christianpost.com

Darrell Bock and Dr. Gary Habermas discuss Bill O’Reilly’s book ‘Killing Jesus’ (video)

Bill O'Reilly at the World Affairs Council of ...

Bill O’Reilly  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In popular books and the media, Jesus continues to attract attention. Fox News host Bill O’Reilly builds on this fascination with his latest best-selling book Killing Jesus. What does O’Reilly present about the facts of Jesus’ life, death, burial, and resurrection?

John Ankerberg interviews his two guests: Dr. Darrell Bock, who is one of the leading historical Jesus scholars of the United States, and one of the foremost authorities in the world on the Gospel of Luke, and Senior Research Professor of the New Testament and Dallas Theological Seminary. One of the books O’Reilly recommended that we all read, and one he relied on for his writing is Dr. Bock’s book ‘Studying the historical Jesus- A Guide to Sources and Methods’.

The second guest is Dr. Gary Habermas, Distinguished Research Professor and Chair of Dept. of Philosophy and Theology at Liberty University, he holds a pHd from Michigan University and has authored, co-authored or edited  more than 60 books, including one of the key articles in the book ‘Jesus Under Fire’- another book Mr. O’ Reilly used and recommends we read. Dr. John Ankerberg, Darrel Bock and Gary Habermas examine the points raised in Killing Jesus. VIDEO by John Ankerberg (length 26 minutes)

Filling Naturalism’s Void – Gary Habermas, PhD (video & transcript)

This is a lecture on world views, given by Dr. Gary R. Habermas at Liberty University in 2012.

Naturalism has been the predominant world view in western civilization universities throughout all of our lifetimes. There has never been a time, in all of our lifetimes when that has not been the case. It runs the western university. It does not run the whole world university system. Other places in the world are not like that. But in western North America, western Europe, Australia, and in other places as well, in China, in the old Russia- the University system encapsulates a naturalistic world view which says: The natural world is all that there is. There is no supernatural world and what we know, we usually know by sense experience. That has dominated education philosophically, it’s dominated western education since at least the 1930’s.

But, for the first time in our lifetime, there’s a new phenomenon that seems to be sweeping the western world right now. I wrote about it in 1988, in a journal article. You can find it on my website garyhabermas.com. But, the name of the article was ‘Changing Paradigms- A Challenge to Naturalism‘.  This was 1988, and I said there were some signs that naturalism was going out. Now, we have secular philosophers and other saying: naturalism’s dead. Now, I think that’s a little premature, but something does seem to be happening.

A lot of you know that I became a good friend of Anthony Flew‘s before he passed away. He came to Liberty University in 1985. He was the best known philosophical atheist in the world, and by the way, naturalism is the world view from which atheism…. I think of atheism as a subcategory . Naturalism is the philosophical Father of that sort of thinking. And Tony Flew was the best known philosophical naturalist (he was an atheist) in the world. He came to campus and we debated the topic of the resurrection of Jesus in 1985. It became a book with what was then Harper & Rowe. Over the years, Tony and I got to be very close. We used to talk about a lot of things. One day we did our last debate, in 2003. We debated 3 times, soon afterwards, a year later I heard that Tony’s view was changing. I called him one day on the phone and I said, „I heard that you don’t consider yourself an atheist anymore. He said, „Well, sort of, I don’t, but, I’m in a state of flux right now,” and he said, „about a month ago, I thought that was my view, but, now, I think I’m still an atheist, but, with really big questions.”

We talked in between, but I called him a year later, and he said, „This time I’ve made the switch.” I’m no longer an atheist. I believe in God. This book came out in 2004, and notice the word NO crossed out- And There is a God. The subtitle is ‘How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind’. Now, this was huge and it really bothered the atheistic community. If a Christian deconverted, I would be very sad about it , but I don’t think it affects the truth of Christianity. Somehow, the atheist group has acted like this has been … they tried to explain it other ways: He’s senile, he’s getting old… Jay Leno said in a joke on his show, „Hey, this well known philosophical atheist, he’s 85 years old. I guess if I was 85 years old, I’d get right with God too.” Well, the thing is that Tony Flew didn’t believe in an afterlife. So that was not his motivation, for doing this. (Photo via www.npr.org Order from Amazon here – http://www.amazon.com/Mind-Cosmos-Materialist-Neo-Darwinian-Conception)

Here’s a more recent example. Thomas Nagel, University Professor at New York University, in both philosophy and law. He published this book: Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False. Now, you have to know how influential of a person he is. He’s not Anthony Flew, but, he’s extremely influential. I should tell you that Anthony Flew wrote more material defending atheism than anybody whoever lived. What a moniker. But, Thomas Nagel is hugely influential, and yet he is saying, „Looks like we’re losing.”

To me, this is the one that really caught my eye. I know a person who knows David Brooks, and I understand He is not a Christian. He wrote an article in the New York Times called ‘The Neural Buddhists‘. Basically, he says: Some people think atheism is center stage in this country because of New Atheism. He says, „I’ve got news for you: Atheism is dead. Atheism is dead in the western world. Something else has already taken its place. And, he defined the 2 main takers, (which) he calls ‘Neural Buddhism’- which he says is made up of a number of sciences, but this is later brain research that is now allowing for supernatural areas, at least religious areas, he says, That’s one group.” And, he says, „The other group is the Judeo-Christian heritage. They are the 2 takers for filling naturalism’s void.” Look at some of these comments/quotes:

  • The cognitive revolution- you might think it’s good news because atheism is dead and religion is coming back in, but it’s gonna challenge Christianity, if we’re not careful.
  • The momentum has shifted from hardcore materialism (which is a species of naturalism). He says it shifted. Now, when he says this may not be comfortable for Christianity, what he says is: The 2 big views- Neural Buddhism, what we would probably call the New Age Movement (which is backed up by a number of empirical science studies), (so,) Neural Buddhism vs. some revelatory religion.- he uses the Judeo-Christian heritage. He keeps talking about the Bible.   Here’s what they both have in common. They’re both open to God because naturalism’s dead, they’re both interested and open to religion They’re both okay with prayer, general prayer, general worship, afterlife; that’s okay. But he says, here’s what Christians believe that Neural Buddhists don’t believe. He says, Christians believe that there are specific revealed doctrines that are true. Now, he doesn’t say that, but we would with things like reincarnation, deity of Christ, a God of the universe who reveals Himself to a people- the Israelites, and is concerned that people come to know Jesus Christ. He says, „Those specific doctrines are not shared by the Neural Buddhists. He says, „They’re gonna say that that’s your addition to evolutionary views of spirituality. And you can be spiritual. You can believe in God, you can worship. You can pray. You can believe in an afterlife (sort of, don’t be too adamant about it) . But, if you believe in particular doctrines, prove it!” That’s what David Brooks says in his article. „If you believe in particular articles of faith, show why those doctrines are true.” Because the other group doesn’t believe that, so the biggest rub is gonna be to show your specific religious views are true.
  • „We’re in the middle of a scientific revolution and it’s gonna be having huge cultural effects. It’s going on now.” What he’s saying is naturalists don’t know they’ve lost. They’re losing, but he says, „They’re not losing, they’ve lost. The world’s passing them by.”

How are we gonna fill this void left by naturalism?

  1. New Atheism – My question is: How are we gonna fill this void left by naturalism and this battle with such things as The New Atheism? They still have some influence, although numbers show that atheists are very small. One recent survey said that only 2% of Americans are atheists. I think it’s higher than that. But the New Atheists are having real influence with our young people (ages) 18-25.
  2. New Age 
  3. Postmodernism

Those are forms, minus the atheism, those are the forms that this is coming in. And David Brooks, whom I understand is Jewish, David Brooks says, „If you’ve got specific doctrines, prove it. If you wanna say what Neural Buddhists say, but more, tell us what more and why? Why are there more doctrines? Why should we believe it? (13:00)

I’ve been starting to work with a concept in the last 10 years, that basically says this: When I talk to you about apologetics in the area of philosophy or theology, which talks about evidences. Every religion has apologetics, but, Christian apologetics are: How do we know some of these general areas like God, and morality, and afterlife are true? And how do we know the specific areas, areas like incarnation, deity of Christ, the death and resurrection of Jesus, things that are central to our faith, how do we know these things are true? That’s the subject of apologetics. When I say apologetics, most people think – Bible. We think of it as largely defending a body of doctrine that closed about 2000 years ago. But, what I’m gonna argue is that apologetics is a contemporary aspect and there are many, many new subjects that we have not had research on, at least the kind of research I’m talking about, more recently than the last 30 years. When you think apologetics, you might not just think New Testament anymore, you might think some additional research today that evidences what we believe. (Transcript continues below video)

2012 – Lecture by Gary R. Habermas VIDEO by religionphilosophy

Consciousness does not cease to exist with death of the physical body

On the subject of near death experiences- these have now been written up. My last count of 5 years ago, the subject of near death experiences has been written up in at least 15-20 different medical journals. Now, why would peer reviewed secular medical journals run articles on these. Now, first, when these came out, everyone was talking, „Yeah, it’s interesting and we’ve got some interesting cases there. I’m not talking about people who died and saw a light, went down a tunnel, and ‘wow’, doesn’t that prove that it’s true? No, it doesn’t. It might just prove common physiology, or common neurology. But, in over 100 cases, I and another individual, who is the editor of the only peer reviewed near-death journal in the world (I’m a reviewer for that journal- in fact, it’s secular, it’s largely eastern, and marginally Neuro Buddhist. The two of us, between us (I’ve not seen her list), but, we both have a list of over 100 well evidenced near death experiences. They are incredibly evidential, where a person sees something while they claim to be in an out of body state. Some of them are incredible, the person reports things that happen miles away. This has very much surprised a lot of people. And, these have been written up in a lot of journals, but, what does it show?

This indicates for a lot of folks that consciousness does not cease to exist with death of the physical body.  You say, „Well, yeah, because the brain doesn’t die right away, and you might still see something for 2,3 or 4 minutes. Well, there are reports of these things going on for hours when the person is dead. Here is one of the evidential stories and according to a Gallup survey 20 years ago, 8 million Americans have claimed to have experienced near death phenomenon of some sort. Maybe they didn’t die, but, they’ve watched someone else describe this sort of thing. How about blind folks who have never seen anything in their whole lives until their near death experienceThey report something that happens down the road, they come back and correctly report it, and now they’re still blind, but they saw something during the experience. Some of these reports come with flat EEG and flat EKG’s. This is a general category. (19:25)

How about specific Christian categories? All in the last 20 or 30 years. You say ‘Resurrection’, that’s a New Testament study. I mean it is, but the latest New Testament research that is turned… I often give a lecture at universities called „The Resurrection that Changed a Generation of Scholars”. Today, more critics than not believe something happened to the risen Jesus. And that evidence is only about 30 years old. You might think the shroud of Turin is dead. Not so. A new round of experiments are being done right now, they’re not telling you much about them, but it could either make it or break it.

Documented miracle claims

Some of us have thought, „I’ve got a few cases like this in my family. I wouldn’t call it a miracle, but 3 things have happened in my family and I think they qualify as a miracle. And I think, for the most part, Christians have been very much influenced by this naturalistic mindset , and when things happen to us that are miracles, we very frequently, just like the naturalists, maybe not as radically, but we’ll just as frequently say, „Ah, crazy things happen, and we sweep it under the carpet and we forget about it. We don’t really count is as miracles, cause we just really doubt that miracles happen, so we don’t tell anybody. We sort of think miracles occur.

A New Testament scholar, Craig Keener, phD from Duke University in New testament, and a minor in classics, and this is amazing because the classics come into this study. Craig was doing a commentary on the Book of Acts- 3000 pages. Craig is famous for this. He wrote a book ‘The Historical Jesus’ 400 pages and the end notes were 400 pages. Well, his book on Acts has 100,000 parallels with classical studies. So, he’s going through the book of Acts and he comes across these miracle accounts. So, he decided to start collecting evidence for miracle cases. The result is a 2 volume work , that, if you’re interested in this topic, you’ve got to see it, it’s a masterpiece. It has come out in 2 volumes. It’s from Baker Academics, it’s entitled ‘Miracles’. It is 1,200 pages of evidenced miracle claims.

Many of these (miracles), and I know we have a lot of medical people here, if I told you some of these cases you would say, „Mmm, no this doesn’t happen.” Let me tell you one. A fellow who had a spleen removed for medical reasons and when he got out of the hospital, they took him to the church post-op, getting ready for his post-op checkup and they laid hands on and prayed for him. He went back there and he’s got a spleen. He’s got another spleen. No way. What do you do with it? Here’s the before, and here’s the after. They do have cases of where bones have grown on the spot. They do have cases where heart valves have been replaced on the spot. You say, „That can’t happen.” Well, the guy who spread that story- an MD, phD, professor from UCLA School of Medicine, who spent 4 years at Mayo Clinic.

When you read Craig’s accounts, 1,200 pages, after a while you think, Wow, there’s no more room for skepticism.” Or double blind prayer experiments. Not all have turned out very well. Some of the ones that are politically correct- the list of prayers, are from our viewpoint kind of odd, like witch doctors and medicine men. In one well known double blind prayer experiment , if you were prayed for, you were slightly more likely not to be healed. But, the only 2 that I know of double blind prayer experiments that have had statistical favorable healing results through prayer, both of the them, all the prayers were orthodox-Christian (not the orthodox denomination, but orthodox Judeo-Christian beliefs in God- ). I want to make this clear. I think God answers prayer for everybody. He did in biblical times. Jesus didn’t heal people by saying, „Are you a believer? If not, get out of line.” God answered prayer for everyone. Here’s the last line (in that report):

The findings of this double blind prayer experiment are consistent with prayer to the Judeo-Christian God.

This is in a medical journal. (26:00)

Conclusion

What are we doing to further the Christian message and let people know we have reasons to believe in these things?

  1. The best thing we can do to remedy this is to take David Brooks up (the guy from the New York Times), take him at his word, and to be able to show that theism is true, and to further the demise of naturalism. Or, why is theism true, and naturalism false?
  2. Let’s show that Christian doctrine, which no other religion has (we share some things with Judaism), but, for the most part, Christianity has some unique beliefs, Jesus is the incarnate Son of God, He died, was raised from the dead. Are we able to argue, not just the things that overlap with Neural Buddhism, but, worship and afterlife, but specific Christian doctrines, are we ready to do that?

In closing here, there is also an encouraging aspect. I love 1 Corinthians 15, where Paul ends 57 wonderful verses on the resurrection, the earliest most evidential resurrection passage in the New Testament. Paul ends by saying, „Therefore,” verse 58, ” be steadfast, immovable.” You’ve probably seen some of the reports, but between 60-90% of our young people, who go away to secular schools, they walk away from their faiths. Naturalism may be on the downslide, but they don’t know it. And Neuro Buddhism is not gonna be a lot nicer to us. It’s nice that we can believe in religion, but they’re not gonna be a lot nicer to us. Our young people are going away and sliding away from Christianity.

There’s a study that just came out that says many of them come back in their 30’s. But, first of all, many of them don’t, and those who do have lost 15 key years of from their lives. So, Paul says to be steadfast and immovable. But, why aren’t we the bastion of teaching our young people, that Christians have the best, the best possible message in the world? So many people write to me and say, „My professor attacked this, or that… What should I say?” I tell them over, and over again, there are good responses to these things. Read this, consider this. But I tell students, „Think about this, there’s a lot more to Christianity than what I’m gonna say. But, as long as the deity, death, and resurrection of Jesus are true, Christianity follows. When someone attacks a periphery thing, I think we go after it 2 ways. We answer the complaint, and then we say to the young people, „That’s not a just reason for walking away form Christianity. Until someone can disprove the deity, death, and resurrection of Jesus, the center of Christianity remains.”

Lastly, same verse, Paul says. „always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.  First, he says, „Hang in there, be steadfast, immovable, and in his second point – your labor in the Lord is not in vain. Get out there and do something.”

Discussing the legitimacy of Christ’s resurrection using historical evidence/dates in a way that is granted by skeptics

empty tomb

On February 27, 2013 at Convocation, North America’s largest weekly gathering of Christian students, Dr. Gary Habermas talked about how to defend the legitimacy of Christ’s resurrection using historical evidence/dates in a way that is granted by skeptics. In doing so, he provided students a way to defend the Gospel against arguments that say the New Testament was written too long after the resurrection for the information to be correct.

Dr. Gary Habermas is a distinguished research professor of apologetics at Liberty University as well as the department chair of Philosophy. He has authored over 36 books and teaches primarily in the Ph.D. program for theology and apologetics at Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.

Gary Habermas:

Easter gives a stamp of approval to Jesus’s ministry and what he taught. Usually, when I go to university campuses, I am asked to speak on the resurrection, and I tell them I’m going to start speaking on 1 Corinthians 15, and the interesting thing about this is that I can start by defining the Gospel, because that’s how Paul starts 1 Corinthians 15. Paul begins by saying, „I gave you the Gospel when I came to Corinth. And, paraphrasing Paul, he says, „Whatever you do with the Gospel will determine whether you will or will not be saved. What you do with the Gospel determines where you will spend your eternity. He begins with that, and I’ll just add this: Whenever the Gospel data, God’s side of the Gospel- there’s God’s side, there’s our side, what we need to do. But, on God’s side, these 3 facts are always mentioned when the definition of the Gospel is given:

  1. The deity
  2. The death,
  3. and The resurrection of Jesus.

Paul begins, and he says, I taught you that when I first came here. And then, you’ve got a response to make: Believe, which in Greek the synonym means to commit to, to surrender to, to trust, to commit, and that’s what we’re called to do with regards to Christ. The Jesus of the Gospels is the Jesus who is the Son of God, who died for our sins, who was raised from the dead. What are we gonna do about it? Are we ready to make a lifetime,  indeed, an eternal commitment? Those 2 sides is what we call salvation. Facts + faith = salvation. But, faith by the biblical definition, which means your life will change, and so on…

Even on a skeptical look at the New Testament, here’s what a lot of people don’t understand, skeptics will quote the New Testament- they’re not opposed to using the New Testament.But, of course they will only use verses they think can be verified by other means. And, my point is that you can take those facts alone, and show that Jesus is raised from the dead. So, theoretically, the skeptic who gives you certain facts, they’re enough to show that Jesus is saved. In the timeline today, (I’m not gonna keep reminding you of this, but) virtually everything I say to you today is granted by the critics/ skeptics.

What makes a fact a fact. How do our historical tools work? How do we determine that George Washington was the first president of the United States? Or that Julius Caesar conquered Gaul? How do we determine these sorts of things? Two of the most important things you need are early reports (as close to the facts as possible) and eye witness testimony. Unfortunately, in the ancient world we rarely have these things.

Habermas goes through a timeline of 25 years after the cross

What are the historical facts that most historians accept?

1. Jesus died by crucifixion.
2. He was buried.
3. His death caused the disciples to despair and lose hope.
4. The tomb was empty (the most contested).
5. The disciples had experiences which they believed were literal appearances of the risen Jesus (the most important proof).
6. The disciples were transformed from doubters to bold proclaimers.
7. The resurrection was the central message.
8. They preached the message of Jesus’ resurrection in Jerusalem.
9. The Church was born and grew.
10. Orthodox Jews who believed in Christ made Sunday their primary day of worship.
11. James was converted to the faith when he saw the resurrected Jesus (James was a family skeptic).
12. Paul was converted to the faith (Paul was an outsider skeptic).

Read more about this here –

Lee Strobel interviews resurrection historian Mike Licona

What Jesus said about the Resurrection

Jesus resurrection empty tomb

According to the Gospel accounts, Jesus offered life after death. A claim many find hard to believe.  John 11:25  Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; The reason most people struggle with resurrection is because they don’t see that kind of a world.

Bock: Not everyone who hears Jesus’s claims automatically embrace them. In fact, some people have terrific doubts as to some of the things that Jesus is claiming, especially when they become as grand as „I’m gonna sit at the right hand of the Father”, or „I and the Father are one”, or „If you see God, you see Me”. These are not normal claims.

Bethany at the 2 minute mark, where the Bible says Jesus raised a man named Lazarus from the dead.

Shortly after the reporting of the raising of Lazarus in Bethany, Jesus made a prediction of His own resurrection. The prediction occurred during his trial before Jewish leaders, just a few hours before His crucifixion.

Matthew 26:63-65 The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.” 64 “You have said so,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” 65 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy. One problem people have in believing the resurrection is not that they can’t believe in the supernatural, but they know that that puts Jesus in a unique place of authority, and in a world filled with religions. And that seems intolerant.

Jesus Predicts His Death

Assuming that no one could possibly plan their own death and resurrection, some have suggested that Jesus’s death must have resulted in a miscalculation on His part. Some have suggested that Jesus didn’t really want to die, and that the crucifixion was a bad development in his case, kind of accidental. But, you have to remember, in Jesus’s case, nobody planned His own death more accurately than Jesus did. At least half way through Jesus’s ministry, He started advertising that there would be, at first an apparently terrible end to His life, but that He would rise again. He always provided that comforting clause. Now, to the disciples at that time, it really didn’t make any sense to them. They couldn’t conceive this happening. But, this was Jesus’s way of saying, „No, this is part of the divine design, this is why I came into the world, and this is how it’s going to go, and how it’s going to end.”

Matthew 16:21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalemand suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. At least 3 more times, Jesus gives a prophecy of going to the cross, and of being raised after that.  (From the first 7 minutes of video)

Mart De Haan hosts this documentary on the significance and evidence of the resurrection of Jesus. Many scholars and historians were interviewed in this documentary like Gary Habermas, Paul Maier, Doug Geivet, Darrell Bock, Mike Licona, Mike Wilkins, Mary Jo Sharp, Craig Evans, etc.

A study on the Resurrection of Jesus with Gary Habermas and Antony Flew

12 Historical Facts

(Most Critical Scholars Believe These 12 items)

1. Jesus died by crucifixion.
2. He was buried.
3. His death caused the disciples to despair and lose hope.
4. The tomb was empty (the most contested).
5. The disciples had experiences which they believed were literal appearances of the risen Jesus (the most important proof).
6. The disciples were transformed from doubters to bold proclaimers.
7. The resurrection was the central message.
8. They preached the message of Jesus’ resurrection in Jerusalem.
9. The Church was born and grew.
10. Orthodox Jews who believed in Christ made Sunday their primary day of worship.
11. James was converted to the faith when he saw the resurrected Jesus (James was a family skeptic).
12. Paul was converted to the faith (Paul was an outsider skeptic).

What Do Most Scholars Believe?

In The Case for the Real Jesus by Lee Strobel (p. 112), Mike Licona said, „[Gary] Habermas has compiled a list of more than 2,200 sources in French, German, and English in which experts have written on the resurrection from 1975 to the present. He has identified minimal facts that are strongly evidenced and which are regarded as historical by a large majority of scholars, including skeptics. We try to come up with the best historical explanation to account for these facts. This is called the Minimal Facts Approach.”

William Lane Craig (sadly, a non-OSASer) does confirm Habermas recorded 1400 scholars (both skeptics and non-skeptics alike) whom 75% agree the tomb was empty and nearly all agree the original disciples truly believed they had seen Jesus alive from the dead bodily, for a vision wouldn’t convince the disciples of resurrection.

Gary Habermas said (2009) on the John Ankerberg Show, „I just did a count recently of what scholars say. First of all you can count guys on one hand of the 2400 sources since 1975 on the resurrection [in] French, German, English…who think apparent death [is true]. When scholars respond they still cite David Strauss. I think we would all like to have that kind of influence in our writings. His critique has been around almost 200 years.” Habermas was referring to Strauss’s argument that Jesus wouldn’t look much like a risen Messiah to the disciples all battered and bruised.

Habermas and Licona co-authored the award winning book, The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus (2004). Historian Paul Maier said the book’s response to naturalistic explanations for the resurrection „are the most comprehensive treatment of the subject anywhere.” Philosopher J. P. Moreland said the book presented what „may be the most thorough defense of historicity of the resurrection.”

Gary said in a 2009 Ankerberg video, „If we start with the cross approximately 30 AD and call that ground zero, 1 Corinthians 15 checks in at about 55 AD whatever the writer, conservative or not conservative, we have 25 years. In ancient historiography this is incredible in a time when the best known biography of Alexander the Great is that of Plutarchalmost 400 years after Plutarch. When we learn about the early Caesars from Tacitus to Suetonius a ‘good gap’ is 100 years; 25 is incredible [for Jesus]. Paul says, ‘I am passing onto you as first importance that which I also received’ (1 Cor. 15.3).” Paul said, „I make known to you brethren the gospel which I preached to you” (1 Cor. 15.1). Gary says, „This earlier preaching may have taken place 51 AD about 21 years after the cross.” But point of fact, Jesus died not in 30 AD, but 33 AD on April Fool’s Day, Friday, April 1 (Gregorian) which I am sure of just +18 years after the cross.

Gary said, „Almost all contemporary scholarship believes Paul received this material (Gal. 1.18) when he went to Jerusalem about 5 years after the cross. Some put it as early as 3 and as late as 8, but he was converted about 2 years after the cross before he went away for 3 years. Paul spent 15 days with Peter. It is safe to say they talked about more than just the weather. Paul said he preached nothing but Christ crucified.” Gary said about James D.G. Dunn, „In his recent book Remembering Jesus that this passage (1 Cor. 15.3ff) wasn’t just taught. It was already stratified. It was already put in this creedal form within months of the crucifixion.”

Gary said (see video), „I did a count recently of people who have written from about 1990 to-date [2009]. 75% of scholars today say that resurrection or ‘something like it occurred.’ Of that 75%, three to one say it is a bodily appearance. Ted Peters had a book that was published by Eerdmans a few years ago, and 20 out of 20 scholars in his book that he edited said ‘bodily resurrection.’ Higher critical scholars who are in the minority will still usually concede the appearance involved sight and was embodied.”

In the summer of 2012, Gary wrote in the Southeastern Theological Review, „by beginning with a ‘lowest common denominator’ version of the facts. If I am correct in holding that this basis is still enough to settle the most pressing historical issues, then it is indeed a crucial contribution to the discussions. We will return below to some ramifications here. Regarding my references to the ‘vast majority’ or ‘virtually all’ scholars who agree, is it possible to identify these phrases in more precise terms? In some contexts, I have identified these expressions more specifically. At least when referencing the most important historical occurrences, I frequently think in terms of a ninety-something percentile head-count. No doubt, this is one of the reasons why the concept has gained some attention.

„My bibliography is presently at about 3400 sources and counting, published originally in French, German, or English. Initially I read and catalogued the majority of these publications, charting the representative authors, positions, topics, and so on, concentrating on both well-known and obscure writers alike, across the entire skeptical to liberal to conservative spectrum. As the number of sources grew, I moved more broadly into this research, trying to keep up with the current state of resurrection research. He said this again at William Lane Craig’s „On Guard” conference, „1 Corinthians is one of six to eight books all accredited critical scholars accept. You can count the exception on two hands, probably one hand. I have 3400 sources in a bibliography from 1975 to the present (2012). When I say you can count the guys on one hand who disagree with this it is not very many. They believe Paul is the best source, and 1 Corinthians is one of the most dependable sources. They allow 1 Corinthians and Galatians. Both are on the accepted list. Bart Ehrman says they are the authentic Pauline epistle. So does most everybody else. Whatever you write, these two books are allowed [indicating Paul’s genuine belief]. Paul is writing a mere [no more than] 25 years later. That is incredible. We have no other founder of a major world religion who has miracles reported of him within a generation.”

„I endeavored to be more than fair to all the positions. In fact, if anything, I erred in the direction of cataloguing the most radical positions, since this was the only classification where I included even those authors who did not have specialized scholarly credentials or peer-reviewed publications. It is this group, too, that often tends to doubt or deny that Jesus ever existed. Yet, given that I counted many sources in this category, this means that my study is skewed in the skeptical direction far more than if I had stayed strictly with my requirement of citing only those with scholarly credentials. Still, I included these positions quite liberally, even when the wide majority of mainline scholars, ‘liberals’ included, rarely even footnoted this material. Of course, this practice would also skew the numbers who proposed naturalistic theories of the resurrection, to which I particularly gravitated.

„The result of all these years of study is a private manuscript of more than 600 pages that simply does little more than line up the scholarly positions and details on these 140 key questions….

„[Mike] Licona begins by listing my three chief Minimal Facts regarding Jesus’ fate: (1) Jesus died due to the process of crucifixion. (2) Very soon afterwards, Jesus’ disciples had experiences that they believed were appearances of the resurrected Jesus. (3) Just a few years later, Saul of Tarsus also experienced what he thought was a post-resurrection appearance of the risen Jesus.”

Antony Flew Became a Theist

Easter 3

Shortly after the 2000 debate on the John Ankerberg show with Gary R. Habermas-leading scholar and foremost expert in world on the resurrection of Jesus (videos)-, the leading and most published atheist scholar of the 20th century Antony Flew renounced his atheism. This page recounts that debate. Antony Flew never did give his life to Christ but became a deist (a theist who rejects a personal God). He passed away April 8, 2010. This only goes to the point not whether theism is true or not but which theism, and very rarely does someone give their life to Christ at such an advanced age.

Flew said the reason he became a theist was because of the complexity of the cell. Whereas, I accepted Jesus was, is and always will be God by realizing all things sum up in Christthrough observing the unsatisfied searching of another person. It would take the equivalent of a hundred thousand encyclopedias to explain all the workings of the cell; or all the books in the entire Library of Congress, or all the knowledge we currently have about the universe.

However one may want to define life, it is hard to fathom how non-life can spontaneously turn into the simplest replicating life, let alone how unconscious processes with no mind, will, emotion, conscience, communion and intuition can produce these qualities and attributes for sentient life to exist. Can two rocks banging together for a very long time generate beings with self-consciousness and able to say, „I think, therefore I am.” If it sounds absurd it probably is. The more you think about it, the more ridiculous it seems! The 4 Step Proof for God and Minimal Facts Approach are my foundation for evidence.

Antony Flew’s more important role as a theist, from my perspective, was that he continued to agree the disciples truly believed they saw Jesus alive from the dead. Even when he was an atheist he believed this. Yet the problem remained for his faith: where was this illusive naturalistic explanation that could account for their eyewitness testimony in various group settings? What I think even I am underestimating is how solidly God intends this proof to be for us to hang our hat on as we who are Christians rise off into the sunset in glorious victory!

Jesus-Appearing-To-Two-Disciples-On-The-Road-To-Emmaus

Eyewitness Accounts (5)

The foremost contemporary philosophical, atheist scholar of the 20th century, Antony Flew agrees with these 12 facts. These facts are established in eyewitness accounts of the resurrection of Jesus, presented in the books of the NT and disclosed by some of the original twelve disciples (Matthew, Peter and John). Paul was also an eyewitness though not an original disciple. James, the brother of Jesus, also saw Jesus resurrected who wrote the book of James. Jude, also a brother of Jesus, was an eyewitness who wrote the book of Jude. Very close to the eyewitnesses who traveled with Paul were Luke and Mark. There is one verse in Mark that suggests Mark saw Jesus. Mark had close association with Peter and Barnabas. Mark and Luke wrote the other two gospel accounts. At any rate, no scholars doubts Paul’s genuine eyewitness account of the resurrected Jesus so we can begin with Pauline data.

Dates (5)

 

55 A.D., Paul wrote 1 Cor. 15, “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures” (v.3). This is the standard documentation of the historicity of tradition being kept for an ancient text! “If Christ be not risen, then [is] our preaching vain, and your faith also vain” (v.14)? Paul is declaring sincerely the reality of his beliefs.

51 A.D., Paul preached at Corinth (his 2nd and later a 3rd missionary journey).

35 A.D., Paul met Peter and James in Jerusalem, just a few short years after the death of Jesus: “Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days” (Gal. 1.18). Recall Stephen was stoned to death by the Sanhedrin council of Jews for explaining the faith (Acts 7.59). Barnabas brought Paul to see Peter and James.  What did Paul receive from Peter and James? “And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep” (1 Cor. 15.5,6). Jesus was seen by at least 11 to 12 different groups in different settings. This is all a fairly tight network!

32 A.D., Paul was converted one and half years after the cross and Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus.

30 A.D. Jesus died on the cross. – Gary Habermas used this date for ease of reference; but, I have talked with him, and he agrees that it is quite possible Jesus died on April 1st, 33 AD, Friday (Gregorian) – April 3rd (Julian). The evidence for this date would be based on these calculations.

.

Given these dates, this was very early move!

Explanation for the Most Important Proof (5)

Antony Flew lost the debate 15 years prior to Habermas. He has had 15 years to find his better arguments. Flew’s best guess for the conversion of Paul seeing Jesus in Person is that it was either “conversion psychosis disorder” (Jack Kent coined this phrase) and the disciples experienced grief hallucination like when a 3rd person may be seen in the house who had passed away.

Habermas explains for Paul to have a Conversion Disorder (and Paul does not disclose a disorder in his words or conduct) we have multiple problems with the facts:

1. There is nothing in the diagnostic literature about hallucinations. It’s short lived and goes away. The DSM-3 and DSM-4 are the standard diagnostic tools for psychiatry.
2. You would also have to have an auditory hallucination (of hearing!).
3. You would have to have a visual hallucination (of sight!).
4. A great psychosis – often called Messiah Complex. Paul, instead, says what he receives is from God, not from himself.

Characteristics of Conversion Disorder – Does this sound like Paul to you? (5)

(Kaplan)

 

1. Up to 5 to 1 it happens to women.
2. It happens mostly to adolescents.
3. It happens mostly to people of low economic status.
4. It happens to people with low IQ.
5. It happens to military persons in battle.
These are the most common circumstances. Not a single one of them applies to Paul. This adds up to 9 items. Moreover, there is not a speck of evidence Paul ever wanted to convert from Judaism to Christianity.

Grief Hallucination (5)

There is no such thing as Grief Hallucination in the DSM-4, the most standard diagnostic tool for psychiatry…nothing. However, hallucinations do occur in someone who is alone. But in the Bible the various settings were of different group sizes seeing the resurrection of Jesus in different places; men and women; indoors and outdoors; walking, sitting, standing; and an empty tomb. Hallucinations do not come out of despair necessarily, but when you believe something so strongly, you make the image. Studies have shown that such hallucinations are talked out of eventually.

Antony Flew had nothing to say other than he felt there was an “enormous shortage of evidence”. In return, Gary cites 129 facts in 45 sources from various persuasions that agree to the 4 key historical facts (see below). Though there is a great many things we don’t know, what we do know militates these two problems cited by Kent and Flew.

Flew depends on self-declaring his stance for one of these two conditions: conversion disorder or grief hallucination. But given the evidence it is not possible. The burden of the proof lies on him. The visuals seen by the disciples Flew is convinced require no external referent. There is no question the disciples believed there was an external referent in Christ Jesus the 2nd Person of the Godhead. If the disciples are not good candidates for hallucinations and Paul is not a victim of conversion disorder, then there really is no other possibility than God’s divine providence at work in the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The 4 Facts 

Though some Scholars focus on up to 20 facts in this half a week of the passion of the Christ, there is a benefit to just examining 4 of the 12 facts, from Friday to Sunday: (1) you can refute the major naturalistic theories with them, (2) you have the best evidences for the resurrection here, and (3) this is being done with a very small kernel of data, not requiring a large list of noise.

FACT 1 – Jesus died by crucifixion (1).
FACT 2 – The disciples had experiences which they believed were the appearances of the risen Lord (5).
FACT 3 – The disciples were transformed (6).
FACT 4 – Paul came to Christ (12).

Physically Touched (Fact 2)

Antony Flew tries to argue for his naturalistic theory by saying that Thomas never actually put his hand in the side of Jesus, “Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust [it] into my side: and be not faithless, but believing” (John 20.27). However, Thomas did reply, “And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God” (v.28) as though he may have done so.

Ignatius in 107 A.D., 10 years after the Gospel of John, says that Thomas did touch Jesus. Be that as it may, there is more to say: “They (the women) came to him, and took hold of his feet” (Matt. 28.9). And Jesus said to Mary Magdalene after she realized that he was not the gardener, “Stop clinging to me” (John 20.17).

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen [it], and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship [is] with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1.1-3) – After the gospel of John and onto the epistles, John says in 1 John, he has seen Jesus with his own eyes, heard with his own ears and touched with his own hands. Another instance is when Jesus is before the disciples in Luke, “See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye behold me having” (Luke 24.39). This is a straightforward account as you can get in His resurrection. It is interesting that Luke says “handle me, and see.” To “see” or to “behold” occurs after doing as Jesus said, to “handle” or “thrust into my side”. In John, he seems not to say that Thomas did touch him, for it is implied. How strange it would be that Jesus would say these words, then not to be touched.

Scholarly Agreement (Fact 2)

Gary Habermas has documented over 100 cases of scholarly work done from 1975 to 2000. His finding is that most scholars believe: (1) something really happened, (2) these were real experiences of the disciples, (3) they believe they saw the risen Jesus, and most importantly, (4) scholars believe the disciples really saw something. At the very least, critic after critic accept Paul’s eyewitness accounts.

Spiritual Body is not Spirit (Fact 2)

“It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body” (1 Cor. 15.44). Since all scholars consider what Paul says to be crucial, first and foremost, his thought should be addressed. The Greek for spirit obviously is pneuma. But the word Paul uses here is pneumatikos soma for “spiritual body.” Paul is clearly saying the is some change here. He is not saying Jesus is a spirit, but there is a physical body.

Resurrection of the Dead (Fact 2)

Paul writes to the Philippians about himself as being “an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee” (Phil. 3.5). The Pharisees believed in a bodily resurrection which is widely understood. In Acts 23, Paul was taken by the Romans to prevent him from being killed. And Paul responds with saying: Why are you taking me, I believe in the resurrection of the dead? The Pharisees, agreeing with the resurrection of the dead, don’t have a problem with this statement. But the Sadducees don’t like it, because they don’t believe in the resurrection of the dead.

“That if possible I may attain the resurrection (ek exanastasis – the out-resurrection) from the dead” (Phil. 3.11). All Greek scholars translate this passage as the out-resurrection, for that which goes in must come out. Paul here is not concerned here with whether he is saved or not to be resurrected with the saints. He is thinking of the „out-resurrection” – the „first resurrection” (Rev. 20.4-6), connoting the „best” one, to be included in the marriage feast (see Matt. 25.1-13)-the reward given to overcomer believers to reign with Christ for 1000 years.

“For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body (soma), that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body (soma)” (Phil. 3.20-21). First there is the body, then it is the body plus something else to fashion a glorious body.

Paul: (1) he is a Pharisee who believes in the physical resurrection, (2) believes in a resurrection from out among the dead (and the „first resurrection” reward), and (3) believes Jesus will change his body (soma) to be like His body (soma).

Antony Flew’s response is that a “spiritual body” is not a body at all since it is immaterial as implied by the word “spiritual.” John Ankerberg responds by asking, If the Bible is a spiritual book, does that mean it is not a physical book? However, this is an ontological question, not a behavioral question.

Phil. 3 is a commentary on 1 Cor. 15. Paul is not leaving any doubt this is a physical body glorified. Any talk about Paul thinking this referring to spirits is not to do Paul’s words justice. If Paul is clear in Phil. 3 this is not some wispy spirit, then we can’t have the problem of saying that this is non-physical because he is telling us what he means by it.

Despair Not Without Hope (Fact 2)

If you go through trial or tribulation, and mourn with hope of the resurrection it makes all the difference in the world. Without this hope it makes the trial unbearable. But if you know where you are going, peace abounds because you know you will be with those that are loved by God. Habermas correctly believes that believers who have gone to rest have not received a spiritual body yet. However, he makes the common mistake of thinking that at the moment of death believers are present with the Lord. To wait for resurrection while still in the good side of Hades (Abraham’s bosom) is timeless unawares until we are raised together which does not violate this verse: “We are confident, [I say], and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” (2 Cor. 5.8). Between Hades and resurrection is timelessness: Abraham’s bosom or Paradise below.

There is no need to be present with the Lord without a spiritual body; moreover, you cannot come to the High Priest naked or with improper attire, that is, to say without a spiritual body which we will receive during the last „set of seven” at the consummation of this age. Not even David a man after God’s own heart is in Heaven yet (Acts 2.34). God desires to receive us to the throne (Rev. 7.9) at the first rapture if we are ready (Matt. 24.40-42, Luke 21.36, Rev. 3.10) before the trumpets (8.7ff) of the Tribulation commence, but if we are not ready we will be raptured together at the last trumpet in the twinkling of an eye (1 Cor. 15.50-52). And at the last trumpet, it gives us comfort those who are „alive” and „left” (1 Thess. 4.15-17) shall not precede them who are asleep to meet the Lord in the air. Be comforted in knowing we will ascend together and not separated by hundreds and thousands of years: „Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thess. 4.18).

A disembodied state is not present with the Lord. It is the condition of the demons who seek to inhabit and possess bodies. They prefer humans than the swine. Not until resurrection of the body of Christ and saints of old are we present with the Lord. Since no time is seen to have occurred when we are resurrected, then Hades is without time. Thus, any spirit communications with loved ones is purely emotional and imaginary as they are currently resting. Any communications with people you know have passed away is purely imaginary and can sometimes be demonic pretenders.

The Contradiction (Fact 2)

Antony Flew’s belief is that the reasons for the resurrection are valid is because the Jews were looking for the Messiah to come, and it would be equally valid for Christians. The guiding principle appears to be the previously held beliefs of the person which determine the truth of the resurrection. However, there remains the contradiction. If Jesus is saying that what He says is for all people on the planet, then He would be wrong, because Antony Flew says it doesn’t apply to himself. Jesus and the Apostles are right or Antony is right. They cannot both be right. Neither can they both be wrong since none can compare to Jesus. Jesus is God or He is not. Either there are no consequences or Antony Flew is going to Hell to be eternally separated the Creator.

Christians were first non-Christians. If what was good for non-believers to become Christians, which Flew agrees is good for them, then it would be good for him too, since he is also a non-believer. Therefore, it is not good for Flew to remain unsaved, but to his benefit to become a Christian by believing in Christ.

Is there Extra-Biblical Evidence Jesus Died on the Cross? (Fact 1) 

There is data coming in from a variety of angles: 1) medical data, 2) critical data, and 3) extra-Biblical data.

1) Medical Data (Fact 1)

The Journal of American Medical Association, and dozens of other medical associations and articles, stated that death on the cross by crucifixion is death by asphyxiation. Studies by volunteers show a cutoff by about 12 minutes. If you are hanging low for any amount of time, you are not faking it. You’re dead.

The spear on the side of Jesus is confirmed in John as well as two sources outside the Bible. One of them is Roman and the is Christian that they did these things. David Strauss says if Jesus walked off the cross then there would be no Christianity because He would not be raised.

2) Critical and 3) Extra Biblical Data (Fact 1) 

Of the 17 extra-Biblical non-Christian sources, 12 mention the cross and details of Jesus’ death within 100 or 150 years from the life of Jesus in all kinds of details.

“Christus (Christ)…suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilate” (Tacitus, Roman Historian, 55-120 A.D.). Tiberius was the governor.

“Christians…worship a man to this day…who…was crucified on that account…[They] worshipped the crucified sage…” (Lucian, famous Greek Satirist). He called him a crucified sophist.

“Nor did the wise king die for good; he lived on in the teachings which he had given” (Mara Bar-Serapion, Syrian Writer). He tells his own son to emulate Jesus who gave his life.

“Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die…His disciples…reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion and that he was alive” (Flavius Josephus, 38-97 A.D.). Though it is disputed, the portion about the cross is believed. He also mentions Tiberius Caesar.

“Jesus…was nailed to a tree” (The Gospel of Truth, a Gnostic Source). 

“On the whole world presented there presented a most fearful darkness…” at the time of the crucifixion of Jesus (Thallus, Samaritan).

“And with regard to the eclipse in the time of Tiberius Caesar..” at the time of Jesus’ death (Phlegon, 80 A.D.). There was a lunar eclipse April 3, 33 AD (Julian).

Paul’s central teaching was the cross of Christ and His resurrection. The Koran was written six and a half centuries later (7th century), so it is really beside the point. It has two passages: one says Jesus died on the cross, the other says he did not. It’s hard to believe the Koran has much to contribute to what happen six and a half centuries earlier. Even the leading atheist scholar in the world considers the idea that Jesus didn’t die on the cross absurd. He said this “swoon theory is rubbish.”

Jesus Seminars and the Empty Tomb (Fact 1) 

John Dominic Crossan, Co-Chairman of the Jesus Seminars, believes Jesus was buried in an unknown plot. Very few of his colleagues agree with him. There is not a bit of evidence Jesus was burred in an unknown plot. If there was Crossan could have presented it by now.

Antony Flew suggests that the matter of the empty tomb is entirely dependent on the gospel accounts. This is incorrect because in Acts are various creedal passages: “And though they found no cause of death [in him], yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain. And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took [him] down from the tree, and laid [him] in a TOMB. But God raised him from the dead” (Acts 13.28-30).

“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that (hoti) Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was (kai hoti) buried, and that (kai hoti) he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that (kai hoti) he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve” (1 Cor. 15.3-5). Paul uses a long sentence called a triple hoti clause, three “and that” clauses. Paul is clearly onside with believing Jesus was raised from the tomb.

What Evidence Shows Jesus’ Tomb was Empty Days Later? (Fact 1) 

1. Early accounts – Acts 13, 1 Cor. 15.
2. The Jewish book – Toledoth Jesu – refers to Jesus; says his body was removed.
3. Matthew
4. Justyn Martyr
5. Tertullian

These Jews admitted the tomb was empty. Undisputedly, Jerusalem was where Christians began to preach a few days later after Jesus died. If Jesus was still in the tomb, wouldn’t there be a problem of his body still being in the tomb if He was not raised? If the body was there still, then the disciples should have preached in Galilee or Rome, not in Jerusalem. The principle of enemy attestation says what your enemy admits to is probably true. They admitted that Jesus was not in the tomb.

If the Gospels are recorded back upon what occurred 50 years prior, then you don’t pick women as witnesses. In the first century, Jewish law said women could not testify in a court of law. Jewish writings said women are liars. “And their words seemed to them as IDLE TALES, and they believed them not” (Luke 24.11). When the women came back from the tomb, the disciples did not believe them that the tomb was empty. They thought the women were spreading gossip and tales.

„A Very Impressive Piece of Testimony,” Antony Flew Concedes (Fact 1)

In The Case for Christ it is recorded the Guinness Book of Records says the most cases ever one by a lawyer in a row was 400. That lawyer said the case for Christ is the best case he has ever seen and surely would have been his 401th won case in a row. Gary Habermas asks Antony, if he finds no fault with the empty tomb (Antony agreed, „it is very difficult to get around”) then what does that say about alleged hallucinations? Hallucination requires the body be in the tomb to account for at least these 11 different group sightings of Jesus. Antony proposes, it is not possible back then to have the kinds of evidences we have today with video cameras and such. Is the determination of the proof of God really founded on video cameras? Flew did not want to give any examples of group hallucinations, but other atheists at least try to find something, but each of them are shot down in The Historical Jesus and The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus by Gary Habermas.

Even though most scholars believe Jesus died on the cross, some naturalists claim Jesus didn’t die on the cross (1). Evidence against this: (a) Medical evidence, (b) Paul’s testimony, (c) Extra-Biblical evidence, (d) Gospel writers’ testimony.

Some naturalists say the disciples lied. Antony Flew does not believe this. Flew is at least a testimony that atheism is a lie, since Flew became a deist subsequent to this information discussed here. Naturalists propose the Disciples stole the body and lied about the appearances (2). Evidence against this: (a) Disciples were transformed and (b) They died for what they believed to be true.

Flew believes the eyewitness testimony is genuine but a hallucination, and his colleagues say it is legend. They can’t agree. Naturalists say (3) Jesus’ death and resurrection is all a legend. Evidences against this: (a) Paul writes his testimony early, (b) Other eyewitnesses are cited and still living when he wrote 1 Cor. 15, in addition to the other eyewitness accounts such as John and Matthew who wrote two of the gospels. This in addition to all the writers of the NT agreed in the resurrection. The earliest known biographies of Alexander the Great are not written until 4 centuries until after his death. After that length of time mythology is a factor.

Every naturalistic theory can be shot down handedly. For Antony Flew’s theory to hold true about hallucinations, Paul has to have one kind of disorder, the disciples have another kind of hallucination, and the disciples had to have lied about the tomb all happening simultaneously. Naturalist theories are piling up, but they are getting more and more improbable. The more improbable the theories mount, the more the probable scenario bears truth.

Antony Flew concedes: „I am not responding with a naturalistic account of what happened…I don’t think it is possible to offer any satisfactory naturalistic account…I don’t offer anything to counter the empty tomb evidence.” He does believe that hallucinations are the only possibility. There is no other possibility according to Antony.

What Remains on the Table? Hallucinations (Fact 2)

Hallucinations are rare. They only occur under the following conditions: 1) Bodily depravation, 2) Someone taking drugs. These facts do not fit the descriptions of the disciples. Antony Flew says there were no group hallucinations, but perhaps 10 or 20 people are having their own individual hallucinations though without medical explanation. That’s a lot of individual hallucinations. Antony says in the last 15 years what he has learned is that there has been mass hallucinations seeing Mary at Fatima. But this is inaccurate, because ten thousand people don’t actually see Mary or Jesus, but perhaps something in the clouds („signs in the heavens”), rather than in person the risen Christ.

99.999% of them never say they actually saw Mary or Jesus. But in the case of the disciples in different settings, you have whole groups seeing Jesus as once, not as an illusion, but up close and personal. „An illusion is when you see a real thing and think it is something else. A hallucination is when there is no object referent: no real thing present” (Jack Kent). What those at Fatima are seeing is a mass illusion, not a mass hallucination. The latter is what Antony Flew is proposing for the disciples but it just doesn’t fit. Hallucinations are much more radical than an illusion.

The „Good Self” (Fact 2)

Gary Habermas considers Antony Flew the kindest, most moral and sincere atheist he has ever met, and he so happens to be the leading atheist scholar in the world at the time of their debate. Habermas has long standing, continued correspondence with several atheists and agnostics. Gary has been praying for Antony for over 15 years to give his life to Christ. Could it be that Antony is experiencing delusions with mistaken thoughts about Christ that have separated him from God by using the power of his „good self”? One so good yet still eternally separates himself from the love of the one true God! Could such a thing be possible?

The Road to Damascus (Fact 2)

What happened to Paul to convince him Jesus rose from the dead? He was killing Christians. He was not in the frame of mind to believe. He didn’t want to believe. Paul saw Jesus in Person on the road to Damascus, but the others with him did not see Him on the same road. They heard a voice and saw the light but they didn’t see Jesus. Paul lost his sight after seeing and speaking with Jesus.

Paul says he saw Jesus alive. „Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord?” (1 Cor. 9.1). „And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time” (1 Cor. 15.8). In both cases, Paul is referring to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Read all of Galatians chapter 1. Paul’s position is conclusive.

The facts against Kent’s theory of Paul having conversion disorder are: (1) Conversion disorder would not be convinced by a hallucination that eventually passes. Even if it could, simultaneously Paul would also need: (2) Auditory hallucination, (3) Visual Hallucination, 4) Visions of grandeur of „Messiah Complex” (Paul believed God spoke to him a message for the world common with other believers which was not exalting of himself), but (5) There was no evidence Paul wanted to change, was in the mood to change or why he would want to change. There are not only these logical problems but Biblical problems in proposing such a disorder because it doesn’t mesh with what would be reasonable under these circumstances.

Antony Flew wishes to bypass the whole conversion disorder idea by Kent, and instead wants to raise the issue, again, that Paul saw something, but the others who were present did not on the road to Damascus. He finds this entirely implausible. Yet Paul did said, „And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they did not understand the voice of him that spake to me” (Acts 22.9).

The Conversation is Getting Livid (Fact 2)

„I saw a light…blazing around me and my companions. We all fell to the ground and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to fight against my will” (Acts 26.13-14). „And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man” (Acts 9.7). So, we know the others (1) saw a light, (2) fell down to the ground, and (3) heard a voice. The only thing they did not experience was in seeing Jesus Christ in Person. Plainly they experience an objective effect. And, if Paul is having a conversion disorder, why are these things happening to his companions? Paul gave 3 reasons why he thought this was the physical body of Jesus Christ in Philippians 3.20-21 not a ghostly appearance.

Antony counters by saying just because Paul believed it was true, does not mean it was true. But this idea by Antony is finally relinquished when Habermas recounts what had just been said here about conversion disorder. Flew concedes, „I give up” because the conversion disorder is not plausible. But then, right around again, Antony contends, there was nothing to be seen, so how could it be a physical body of Jesus? Habermas turns it right back upon Antony again about the conversion disorder and that others experienced something also who were on the road to Damascus: „If it wasn’t a conversion disorder and it wasn’t resurrection then what was it?” Antony’s logic is that if the companions couldn’t see it then it couldn’t have been a physical body?

Philippians 3 says there is a body. Brilliantly, Habermas responds with the answer: It was not said at Paul’s conversion the companions did not see the body. We are only told what the others saw, not what they didn’t see. Straight logic does not preclude the others from seeing the body just because it is not mentioned that they didn’t see the body of Jesus. A contradiction is „two things cannot both be and not be, same time, same place, same matter”. We only have Paul’s testimony on the road to Damascus, not that of the companions. Antony concedes.

We can thus conclude: (1) Jesus died by crucifixion, (2) The disciples had experiences which they believed were appearances of the risen Jesus, (3) The disciples were transformed, and (4) Paul came to Christ. If this is not a hallucination, then where do we go further with this information?

A Very Small Group of Experiences (Fact 2)

Beyond Paul’s experience was a very small select group of others who had similar experiences seeing the risen Lord (excluding the 500). Because if this, it is too small a sample size to be credible, says Antony. Is it really so small? There is Peter, James, Thomas, the women, and all the others mentioned. What did the disciples see? The women touched Jesus resurrected in Matthew, Mary touched Jesus alone in John, and Thomas was close enough that he could have touched Jesus. Ignatius said he did, and there is no reason to think he did not. Are the candidates good candidates for hallucinations? Or did they actually touch one whom they believed to be Jesus Christ? How many times do you have to touch somebody before they are qualified to occupy time and space?

1) The women touched Jesus, 2) Mary touched Jesus, 3) Thomas is given the opportunity to touch Jesus (Gospel of John), and 4) Paul thought Jesus appeared physically (Phil. 3.21). The two horns of the dilemma remain: the disciples had hallucinations yet Kent agrees Habermas’ facts are accurate. How can you still think it is a hallucination in the Gospels after the testimony of the disciples?

Antony Flew keeps coming back to asking whether there was something to be seen by the disciples or Paul and not about the word „hallucination” or other labels. And so Antony just self-declares, „The evidence is pretty weak,” but does not indicate any such weakness specifically. Where can we go from here? Relatives and outsiders saw Jesus resurrected physically; the empty tomb is a physical scenario; they were with Jesus for three to three, and Jesus said this would haappen and it did. Therefore, the question remains, do you still fall on the hallucination idea or do you give your life to Christ?

Not Noticing Jesus Walking With Them (Fact 2)

Slight changes in the resurrection body of Jesus Christ may make him not noticeable at first, especially not ever expecting his presence there. James, the brother of Jesus, was unbelieving and sarcastic to Jesus, that he should go to Jerusalem and get himself killed then James became a leader of the Jerusalem church. What a transformation! He didn’t believe in Jesus the whole time he was living. Ankerberg asked Antony, what happened to James? Antony confounded said „I don’t know”. Antony responded, Why should he be expected to know what happened to James? Ankerberg said, That is like saying to Habermas in court, You have nothing Habermas, except those 10 witnesses. Antony then says, „I think he has got a lot”. Everyone laughed cordially. Antony conceded that James is doing something that is totally expected given no other choice if he actually saw Jesus resurrected.

Multi-Faceted Accounts and Verification (Fact 2)

Resurrection Evidence: (1) A group of women testify, (2) A woman, Mary Magdalene, testifies, (3) A group of men – the Apostles testify, (4) A lone man James testifies and no longer a skeptic, (5) Paul testifies he has seen Jesus, and (6) Jesus’ tomb was empty. One strand after another of verification! Christians say we have a lot of evidence so we ask atheists, agnostics and other religions, what do you bring to the table? Doesn’t the Burden of the Proof fall on you now? All these aspects is what an historian looks for coming in from different angles such as enemies, believers, skeptics, Jews admitting the tomb was empty, women who were not suppose to be good witnesses seeing resurrected Jesus and grabbing him. This is a lot of data. Christians are Christians because these are these key facts which no viable alternative explanation is given.

Antony Flew recalls his previous idea though turned down because of the gaping contradiction that what a person originally believes very much impacts how one perceives these events. That contradiction was whether Jesus told the truth or not that He is God which would not be dependent on another’s experience, since that person did not create the other. Either the disciples did see the risen Jesus or they didn’t. Previously held beliefs should not dictate the reality of an objective statement or occurrence. Someone who held Jewish beliefs long before in looking for the Messiah does not preclude a person in some remote area of the world who never heard of Jesus from accepting Jesus. Those who do believe in God just by observing the mountains and the stars would accept Jesus if presented the word of God in the 66 books of the Bible.

Jesus Said He is God (Fact 2)

Jack Kent says „Paul never said anywhere in the New Testament that Jesus was God” (The Psychological Origins of the Resurrection Myth). Is that true? Show me where Jesus said He is the Son of God, the Son of Man and God? We actually have Paul saying Jesus is God and Jesus saying He is God. We even have data that predates this in Jesus’ Messianic self-consciousness.

„I kept looking…and behold, with the clouds of heaven one like a Son of Man was coming and he came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him…his dominion [is] an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom [that] which shall not be destroyed” (Daniel 7.13-14). „Son of Man” was the favorite title for Himself. His usage of this title is absolutely taken from Dan. 7.13-14. He virtually quotes this verse before the high priest. Jesus needed a valid reason to die. Why did the Romans want Him to die? „The high priest was questioning him…’Are you the Christ the Son of the Blessed One (the Son of God)? And Jesus said ‘I AM (Ego Eimi) and henceforth you will see the Son of man…coming in the clouds of heaven…” (Mark 14.61-64).

Jesus changes the question about the Son of God to the Son of Man. He is going to come in the clouds and He is going to judge you. The high priest knows right away Jesus is referring to Himself as God as the Son of Man is a claim of deity. „Coming with the clouds” occurs dozens of times in the Scriptures and is always a reference to God. Jesus says, Yes I AM to the Son of God. He is the Son of Man. And He says He is going to come in judgment. At this point the high priest condemned Jesus to death that this was „blasphemy”.

There are the Q sayings which are statements made in Matthew and Luke, but not in Mark. The most ardent critics have a hard time disputing these sayings. „No one knows the Son but the Father, and no one knows the Father but the Son and those to whom He (the Son) will reveal them” (Matt. 11.27). „But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone” (Mark 13.32). This is the principle of embarrassment. If you are claiming to be the Son of Man, then why are you saying you don’t know when You will return or that you don’t know something?

Paul clearly also claims Jesus is God. „Who being in the very nature God…” (Phil. 2.5-6). „Jesus Christ is Lord” (Phil. 2.11). „Christ, who is God overall” (Rom. 9.5). Lord in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the OT, is the translation of Jehovah. Paul calls Jesus Lord repeatedly. „Christ Jesus…who was declared the Son of God with power by resurrection from the dead” (Rom. 1.3-4). Paul calls Jesus the Christ and that the resurrection proves all these things. The resurrection is God’s approval on who Jesus thought He himself was. Antony agrees, that if Jesus is raised from the dead, this is the best evidence that Jesus is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, since only God could raise the dead which is the reason Christians believe as we do. Antony doesn’t believe in the resurrection, only that the proof is unshakable. If God raised Jesus, then Jesus can’t be a heretic so what He says about himself must be true.

What is the Thing that Would Convince a Skeptic? (Fact 2)

Nothing would convince a skeptic because his heart is set on the mindless assumption in his subconscious that existence happens all by itself. His selfish self (can’t let go of self) can’t see past that choice and that the choice is wrong because that is the nature of selfishness which stems from the fall of Adam and Eve he prefers to be in.

At what point does a skeptic accept the pile up and pile up an pile up of evidence to be true? Antony says, my experience is I just don’t see people being raised from the dead, so why should I believe this amazing miracle of the resurrection?

This problem is called by philosophers, „antecedent probability.” Is it really possible miracles can happen? This is the single biggest issue, the issue of miracles and the resurrection miracle. There are two approaches to answer this question. First, instead of seeing the resurrection as mount Everest and where we stand with regard to this unscalable mountain, we need to adjust our position, experience, and understanding towards the mountain peak. Our rules need to be adjusted we make for ourselves. To make that adjustment, we need to talk about data for God’s existence such as the 4 Step Proof for God and near death experiences. If God exists, then the playing field rises up all the way to the peak of the mountain. Antony Flew agrees, that if we have some reasons God exists, then the resurrection becomes „enormously more likely.”

If there are miracles at present, this moves the playing field up further as well to open us up to other things and let go of self. There was a double-blind experiment done of 400 cardiac patients. Half were prayed for and the other half were not prayed for. They monitored these patients in 26 categories. The ones that were prayed for were statistically better: „A study of 400 cardiac patients found that in 21 out of 26 categories were better as a result of prayer” (Southern Journal of Medicine). Scientists and the medical community have established this is medically significant.

Antony says the ideal of a miracle is parasitical on the idea of a law of nature, because something (miracles) that are happening all the time is seen in the natural causes, therefore rendering them not miracles. However rare it occurs, it is still happening lots. So this should not change people’s religious or other beliefs. A miracle depends on the idea of natural causes because these seemingly impossible natural causes do exist that human beings can’t understand which does not dissuade their non-miraculousness. However, this does not prevent or disallow God being behind those natural causes and other supernatural influence upon the law of nature. The only justification for a resurrection is because God could do it, but man could not.

Citing examples of near death experiences or prayer studies happening all the time is not to say God is doing it but could be visions manifested from feelings and the loving care from one to another in prayers. Even so this love can be God’s grace and part of His design. There is still the 4 Step Proof for God and that God shows forth miracles in nature, e.g. the timing of the event. To distinguish what should be deemed a miracle and what is not, we should consider what could be from God if it is beyond the realm of our own undertaking. What we did not know before we may consider a miracle, but when we learn of its cause, then we no longer consider it a miracle. But a miracle based on timing does not change. For example, when Jesus fulfilled prophecies we realize these miracles are attainable by the correct antecedent cause. And the greatest antecedent is that it is God’s divine providence He predestinates by foreknowledge (Rom. 8.29) all the causes for eternity. We only lack the details of cause and effects, but we know its source, given the 4 Step Proof for God and various other proofs such as the moral argument and ontological argument.

In a word, NOTHING will convince a skeptic but God Himself, not even the 4 Step Proof or other reasons Habermas has given in agreement with the Word. The reason for this is because the evil spirit is in the non-believer’s spirit, guiding him through overassuming and planted ideas. It is a form of possession and control against his own will (only to an extent). However, God has made us all in His image to be able to be saved by grace from this control of the evil spirit that entered at the fall. This way out of the matrix is to give up and give into Christ, even if we don’t know everything, since we will never know everything. There is no other way to be delivered from this possession. And this is all according to God’s design to respond to the fallen of Satan and man with these contingencies. In fact God says just look at the mountain and the stars, and ask yourself, did you do that? If the answer is No, then you know you have yet to give up and give into the Intelligent Designer, even though you can’t quite understand it all. God sees this as vital humility He can work in that one.

How in your experience can you even make a determination about God if you have even one assumption that is false? That very assumption will forever color a picture that separates one from God so as not to be able to discern correctly God’s existence and corresponding response to His will. Therefore, the only solution is to gather a certain amount of evidences to convince you miracles can happen, accepting it is beyond your ability to understand of how God could do it. No matter how much information you gather along the continuum of knowledge and what is permitted to know at each point there is an allowance for entrance into God’s kingdom. Therefore the problem is not knowledge. The problem is CHOICE. If you can’t find one legitimate excuse that is totally solid then such reasoning cannot be justification for anything. Not even a non-choice is justifiable, because then you would be calling Jesus a liar when He said if you are not for Him, then you are against Him.

Gathering Additional Information at Wal-Mart (Fact 2)

The first way to show miracles can happen is to provide additional data that would corroborate the necessity of opening ourselves up to possibilities we were unwilling to accept before. When two things by all natural means contradict each other, the only possibility is that they don’t actually contradict. They only seem to contradict given one’s limited view of lacking information. For example, if you were in a car accident and your best friend was with you, but he died, and you went to his funeral and saw the medical report, yet the other day you saw what you thought was him in Wal-mart, you just know it can’t be. But as additional information is provided you begin to think otherwise which rises you up the mountain unto resurrection and rapture: your friend approaches you and shows you the scar on his face that caused the death, then you begin to think it is possible that somehow he was resurrected. Your friend says touch him to know that he has been raised. Then you tell others and they see him also. It is no longer just one person saying this happened in a hallucination. Others touch him in various group settings and sizes. We then have no choice to deny this truth. And, because it is so well documented, no one should doubt this truth in generations to come. There is only one case in history where something like this happened and that was the resurrection of Jesus.

The second way to accept miracles and the resurrection is once the data fits a scenario and becomes so overwhelming though beyond my realm of our experience, we have no choice but to accept the truth. We reach a point where we must give up and give into our conscience. No way is Thomas going to go into the Wal-mart to discover Jesus there. Jesus can’t make that choice for Him. So Jesus comes to Thomas and says to him, put your hand in my side to see I have been resurrected. Jesus deals with Thomas according to his ability to understand and does not forsake him for doubting. He comes right up to him and says, believe. Paul killed Christians. James said no way to Jesus that he is not the Son of God. The second way to go after this question of miracles is to see there is enough angles, even though it is not your experience, to leave one no choice but to accept the truth.There can be enough data that overrides our feelings.

„The laws of nature are statistical descriptions of what usually occurs when nature is left to herself” (C. S. Lewis). Statistics can be overridden, certainly in areas where it has not been absolutely determined the cause and effect in nature. We need to be at least open to that. Miracles in relation to prior existing beliefs is certainly a plausible suggestion by Antony Flew, because someone may have more knowledge, while another is lacking in such knowledge. However, this does not change the fact of the event in question. Even if Antony understood how God resurrected Jesus, this does not change the fact that God resurrected Jesus and man cannot resurrect himself. Even then, it would still be a miracle to Antony because though Antony could understand how God did it (which I don’t believe we will ever know), he still can’t figure out the intricacies of the ultimate cause what set off God to do it in His thinking other than to say He created out of His glory. God could reveal the why in His choice to create, but even as saved believers, we cannot know the exact details of God’s mind beneath this glory, for some things are reserved for God alone to know. This is the power the uncreated has over the created.

Antony says all of this about Jesus depends on Mosaic tradition. Certainly, Jesus plugs into this fact of proper cause and effect when God first revealed Himself to Israel. If Jesus were to enter creation, as He did, then it could happen no other way and as righteously as God did it. There first must be the antecedent causations leading up to His arrival and subsequent second coming in the future. God would need to choose a people whom would be willing to listen to Him (Israel was enslaved for 430 years) all the way back to the first God-conscious man even to the choice itself he would make for the tree of life or the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Because Jesus plugs into the tradition, it shows the import of it and does not dissuade from its necessity to be brought to the world’s understanding. Hence the Bible is not just 27 books of the NT but also 39 books of the OT. Credibility is achieved by not just 8 authors over 70 years but 40 writers over 1500 years and the biblical record over 6000 years.

Final Evidence for Naturalists – A Foretaste of Resurrection (Fact 2)

The overpowering evidence of the resurrection is one way to convince. The other way is to say this world admits exceptions. Near death experiences are not miracles in and of themselves, but they would be if those experiences are reporting an after-life through various contacts made by God about certain events in the future and those future events came to pass. One would take a whole new look at the resurrection. We are not concerned with the 8 million near death experiences by Americans. We don’t care about the tunnels and the lights, other temporal lobe activity and causes do to lack of oxygen. We are concerned with those cases that can be verified. „When I wrote that book we had only near-death experiences. Now we have post-death experiences.” (Recollections of Death: A Medical Perspective, 1982, Michael Sabom). In Life and Death, his new book, Sabom mentions a women with a brain aneurysm. With 30 doctors present, because the aneurysm was deep in the brain, they had to literally kill the person first to get at it (called „operation standstill”). They cooled her body temperature down to 59 degrees, taking all the blood out of her head, stop her heart and stop her brain. All these were stopped for hours. They repaired the vessel, and she is doing fine today.

After the surgery, she testified that she had risen above her body. She gave 6 points of corroboration. When she heard the saw turn on, she was out of her body and was looking over a doctor’s shoulder. It was at this point they were close to the point of putting her to death. She said she imaged a drill that looked like a pizza cutter, but instead it was a pen with a fine point on the end. The doctor asked her, Where did you get that? She said, You had a socket wrench next to you. The doctor asked, What do you mean a socket wrench? She said, There was this box with all these interchangeable parts. He said, Draw me a picture of the drill and the socket set. She drew them.

Then she described what went on in the operating room. They couldn’t find her artery. They had to go to the other side of her brain. She identified which doctor made the decision and which doctor couldn’t find the artery. She has all these points of memory in being dead for 3 hours.

In another case, a girl who drowned for 19 minutes described what her parents did that night. She reported what her mom did for dinner, the song that was played on the radio, a toy her brother played with and a specific doll her sister played with. After 3 days she was conscious. As soon as she woke, she told the doctor these things she saw that occurred three days earlier.

Though these events are not the acts of Jesus they are a model for resurrection. These after-death experiences don’t show extenuated life after death in heaven or hell, but they are minimalistic life after death: minutes or sometimes hours after cessation of heart or brain waves. If a person is reported to have flat-lined at 3:02 and there is no brain waves by 3:15 as reported in the medical logs then after awaking the patient reports something that occurred after 3:15 even an hour after 3:15, what is the explanation? This would be quite difficult for a naturalist to explain.

Antony was asked if these things open the door for being more than naturalistic? He responded belligerently, „Not really”. This is in keeping with the fact what was said previously, nothing can convince the unregenerate. All reasoning he employs is to justify his previously held beliefs without concern for the truth. These are no outer-body experiences (OBE) according to Antony nor in-body experiences (INBE) of being close to death. However, the experience of the lady from Georgia was post-death by all standards. She shouldn’t be reporting anything! I thought it interesting that Antony used the term, „outer-body” instead after having said he read much of the literature about it, one of his most favorite subjects. His nomenclature showed he was not telling the truth when he said he delved deeply into one his favorite subjects, because he should have used the term „post-death” experience, not „outer-body” since the strongest evidence is there. He appeared to be slothful even apathetic in his response.

What is the naturalistic explanation Antony gives? He believes it was a fraud or misrepresentation, and she could not recover in this way after being put to death for 3 hours. Therefore, he presumes she was not really dead. Yet, it is medical practice to put the person to death for just such cases. She was on a lung machine; the doctors gave her less than 10% chance of living–1 in 10,000 chance of living with all her faculties. She spontaneously awoke a few days later and said to the guy who resuscitated her, You’re the guy that resuscitated me, where is the tall guy without the beard?

This doctor was an agnostic and has since become a theist. Soon after, Antony Few, partly a result of this discussion also became theist though of the deistic flavor by a Creator who doesn’t personally reveal Himself, has no interaction with us, and is completely inaccessible. What love is that? This is the kind of love that reflects the love in Antony’s own heart. Even Brahma the amoral god of Hinduism is more personal than that. One has to ask the obvious question, Why create in the first place if you are going to be an absentee landlord? Seems pointless. If I have a child I want a relationship with him. Deism is a reflection of one’s own impersonal character; projecting onto the Creator his own attributes. The fact that Antony renounced atheism at this late age has to stand for something don’t you think? What does a naturalist do to explain these things happening after-death that did happen and were explained by the patient in vivid detail after they awoke? Antony is entirely confounded and simply says, „This is a new one to me” on what is suppose to be his favorite subject. I think Antony Flew is not coming to God with an honest heart. He is being intellectually dishonest with himself. It seems to me he wants to find a naturalistic explanation yet is unable to access his imagination to fit the data.

Summary of Evidences for a Theistic World View (Fact 2)

1. Good arguments for God’s existence.
2. Evidence for God being the true author of Scripture.
3. Evidence from the Old Testament of God working in time.
4. Jesus doing miracles.
5. Then He rises from the dead.
6. Double-blind experiments on prayer where 21 out of 26 categories the person is statistically better (there are many studies on healing).
7. Documented near death experiences and by all standards, after-death experiences.

Conclusion: The resurrection is not an isolated event but part of the „big picture” theistic world view. The fact that God raised Jesus is extraordinary and one of a kind. It shows Jesus is who he says He is. He’s alive. God is working in other ways too. However, we need to be firm and honest by recognizing, atheists and agnostics have an insincerity about them, an „I don’t care anyway” attitude. Their character and true colors are reflected in their world view.

 

Gary Habermas – The Worst Suffering We Will Ever Face or When God does not heal you (Essential Reading)

Dr. Gary Habermas – chairman of the Dept. of  philosophy and theology at Liberty University.

Gary Habermas (b. 1950) is an American Christian apologist, theologian, and philosopher of religion. He is Distinguished Professor of Apologetics and Philosophy and chairman of the department of philosophy and theology at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Habermas is noted for his work defending the resurrection and is often cited in the area of Christian apologetics. He has also specialized in cataloging and communicating trends among scholars in the field of historical Jesus and New Testament studies.

In 1985, Habermas and Antony Flew debated the question of Jesus’ resurrection as a literal and historical/physical event, before a crowd of three thousand people. The debate was judged by professional debate judges and was published as a book under the title Did Jesus Rise from the Dead? The Resurrection Debate (Harper & Row, 1987). (source http://www.theopedia.com/Gary_Habermas)

For apologetics resources in video and written form visit Dr. Habermas’s personal website at http://www.garyhabermas.com and here is the direct link to his video page- http://www.garyhabermas.com/video.

The Worst Suffering We Will Ever Face

This message was given at Calvary Chapel St. Petersburg (February 2013) – Where is God when I’m suffering? Is God ignoring me? Does God break promises? Does God even care about my situation? Why does God let me down so many times? Why doesn’t God answer my prayers? Is God abandoning me? Gary Habermas explores the reality of pain and suffering and doubt in the Christian life. Dr. Habermas also recounts his wife’s stomach cancer and death and the comfort he felt in learning that we are to share in Christ’s suffering.

„While physical suffering can be, and sometimes is the worst, many experts agree, that generally, the worst kind of suffering is emotional suffering. It’s the worst kind of anxiety, depression, anger, and emotional states in which we really work ourselves up. How are we going to handle these from a counseling perspective, from a pain perspective and from a biblical perspective?

I went through a time of 10 years of doubt. And, because of that (I have written 3 books on doubt), I have had about 500 discussions with doubters. So, I would listen, and over the years (30 yrs), the question has changed a little bit. Today, the question I-m hearing from believers is: How come my prayers don’t get past the ceiling? We all say this: How come God treats me this way? Maybe we even dare to think that God breaks His promises.

Now, if you tell yourself this, and your faith is important to you, you’re beginning down a path of a lot of pain….because it’s sort of like saying your spouse is not true to you, if you have a good marriage. Because you are saying that God is untrue to you. First of all, a lesson in theology. God cannot be anything other than what He is. God cannot be unGod. You can only act according to your nature, and God can only act according to His nature, and His nature is a lot more grandiose than ours. Scriptures teaches that there a lot of things that God can’t do. Because of His nature, God can’t lie. God can’t cheat, God can’t be unfair. God can’t trick you, He can’t tempt you with evil. He can’t die, He can’t lie and He can’t break His promises. So, right off the bat, there’s something wrong with these statements: God doesn’t care about me… (It’s a) lie. He breaks His promises… He couldn’t, (even) if he wanted to. And those are the things we should be glad about. (7:00)

The #1 problem with this kind of pain, where you think God is not answering your prayers, so you make God fade in the background, is the world, God, our friends, they are to each of us as we perceive them. My friend to me is the way I think of my friend. Here’s the scary thing: If we lie to ourselves about God – saying He’s breaking promises, letting us down, He’s there for other people, He’s not there for me. The Scriptures say dozens of times that God is fair, just, will do the right thing. Must not the God of all the world do rightly? We all lie, we lie to ourselves. And lies cause pain. But, here’s the issue: If I think God breaks promises, then in my mind, (not in reality), God is a promise breaking God. That’s who I perceive Him to be. And if I think He’s a promise breaker, I’ll treat Him a certain way. And from that treatment pain starts growing. Anger. From anger, often depression. Anger is one of the chief building blocks. Anger and lack of forgiveness are the chief building blocks of depression. And chief building blocks of anxiety are – „the worst thing is about to happen, and it’s about to happen now”. That’s the flint and steel of an anxiety attack.

Sometimes it’s said that depression is living in your past, anxiety is living in your future.They are both very painful, but, these are realities only in my mind. Now, some things I think are true, but, the extent to which I lie to myself determines the extent to which I will experience a lot of pain.(13:00) You can’t control what people do to you (to an extent), but, you can control what you say about it.

Uploaded by religionphilosophy

Consider this: You cannot state the Gospel of Jesus Christ without talking about the reality of suffering. Contrary to what many of us have heard, contrary certainly to what many of us hope, the Bible does not teach that it is about avoiding pain. There are dozens of verses that teach the reality of suffering, and we largely ignore them. It doesn’t preach, but it’s the truth.

What is the Gospel. There’s two sides that define the Gospel: Who Jesus was and what He did, and our response. Jesus’s side is the deity, death and resurrection. But, I can’t talk about the cross without talking about suffering. God watched His Son die. And how about this? Jesus was rejected by His family. That alone is enough to kill any one of us emotionally. Jesus’s brothers tried to take Him aside when He came into town. They thought He was nuts. That’s what the Greek says. „They thought He was besides Himself- two minds, and they tried to get Him out of the public eye. (It was like, „Come on, I have to live here, and You’re embarrassing  my friends. Come on… let’s move over here”) How about the garden of Ghetsemane? He knew why He came, and yet, the pain was so great. Although He wanted the Lord’s will, He asked, could He forego this somehow? Sweating blood is a well known medical phenomenon. But, it is caused by severe stress, which by the way, since Jesus didn’t sin, it points out that severe emotions are not always sinful. Paul says, „Be angry and sin not.” There’s a righteous kind of concern, there’s a righteous kind of anger. There’s an unrighteous kind in the sense of hurting yourself and others.

On the cross, Jesus knew God has not forsaken Him. Of course he is quoting Psalm 22:1 here. He felt abandoned. That was His human experience. Consider these verses. Sometimes we don’t think Jesus had to learn anything. There are several verses that say He did. Here’s one of them: He learned obedience from His suffering. The next one: He was completed by suffering. In John 14-16 there are 3 promises: Pray whatever you want in My name and you got it. In the exact same context there are 3 other comments that say: You’re going to have problems in this life. The last one says: People are going to kill you and think they’re doing God a favor. God, I thought you said that whatever I pray for will come true. Oh, I get it, whenever that persecution comes that will kill me, I’ll just pray that you take it away, right? No. Next chapter, John 17, Jesus is praying to God and He says, „I don’t pray that you take them out of the world, I pray that you preserve them in the world.

Where do we get this idea that being healed means being removed from things? What if it means not being taken from, what if it means God’s gonna take our hand through? We don’t wanna hear that, but, we grow that way. (21:00)

God can mend broken hearts. And God starts, in many verses, God starts in our being careful what we tell ourselves, because we multiply our own pain. We are told in Scripture that we will share in Christ’s suffering. Here’s one you probably one you don’t wanna hear. 1 Peter chapter 2 „We should walk in Jesus’s steps,” and that includes His suffering.

In the last 25 minutes Dr. Habermas recounts his wife’s dying of stomach cancer, and the comfort in the the midst of suffering through the loss of his wife.

Jesus’ Resurrection: Atheist and Theist Dialogue – Antony Flew and Gary Habermas

http://www.veritas.org/talks – Did Jesus die, was he buried, and what happened afterward? Join legendary atheist Antony Flew and Christian historian and apologist Gary Habermas in a discussion about the facts surrounding the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Join the third and final debate between Flew and Habermas, one that took place shortly before Flew admitted there might be a God, just before his death.

Over the past two decades, The Veritas Forum has been hosting vibrant discussions on life’s hardest questions and engaging the world’s leading colleges and universities with Christian perspectives and the relevance of Jesus. Learn more at http://www.veritas.org, Uploaded by

More Extra-Biblical Historical Evidence for the LIFE, DEATH, and RESURRECTION of JESUS

From Gary Habermas’ book „Ancient Evidence for the Life of Jesus”.   Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1984. via West Ark Church of Christ

See previous article – Who wrote the Gospels? Are there good reasons to attribute their authorship to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John? by Dr. Tim McGrew (1 hour video lecture)

ANCIENT NON-CHRISTIAN SOURCES

Cornelius Tacitus (55-120 AD), „the greatest historian” of ancient Rome:

„Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired. Nero offered his gardens for the spectacle, and was exhibiting a show in the circus, while he mingled with the people in the dress of a charioteer or stood aloft on a car. Hence, even for criminals who deserved extreme and exemplary punishment, there arose a feeling of compassion; for it was not, as it seemed, for the public good, but to glut one man’s cruelty, that they were being destroyed.”

Gaius Suetonius Tranquillas, chief secretary of Emperor Hadrian (117-138 AD):

„Because the Jews of Rome caused continous disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, [Claudius] expelled them from the city.”

„After the great fire at Rome [during Nero’s reign] … Punishments were also inflicted on the Christians, a sect professing a new and mischievous religious belief.”

Flavius Josephus (37-97 AD), court historian for Emperor Vespasian:

„At this time there was a wise man who was called Jesus. And his conduct was good and he was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. And those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion and that he was alive; accordingly, he was perhaps the messiah concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders.” (Arabic translation)

Julius Africanus, writing around 221 AD, found a reference in the writings of Thallus, who wrote a history of the Eastern Mediterranean around 52 AD, which dealt with the darkness that covered the land during Jesus’s crucifixion:

„Thallus, in the third book of his histories, explains away the darkness as an eclipse of the sun–unreasonably, as it seems to me.” [A solar eclipse could not take place during a full moon, as was the case during Passover season.]

Pliny the Younger, Roman governor of Bithynia in Asia Minor around 112 AD:

„[The Christians] were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verses a hymn to Christ, as to a god, and bound themselves by a solemn oath, not to any wicked deeds, but never to commit any fraud, theft or adultery, never to falsify their word, nor deny a trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up; after which it was their custom to separate, and then reassemble to partake of food–but food of an ordinary and innocent kind.” Pliny added that Christianity attracted persons of all societal ranks, all ages, both sexes, and from both the city and the country. Late in his letter to Emperor Trajan, Pliny refers to the teachings of Jesus and his followers as excessive and contagious superstition.

Emperor Trajan, in reply to Pliny:

„The method you have pursued, my dear Pliny, in sifting the cases of those denounced to you as Christians is extremely proper. It is not possible to lay down any general rule which can be applied as the fixed standard in all cases of this nature. No search should be made for these people; when they are denounced and found guilty they must be punished; with the restriction, however, that when the party denies himself to be a Christian, and shall give proof that he is not (that is, by adoring our gods) he shall be pardoned on the ground of repentance, even though he may have formerly incurred suspicion. Informations without the accuser’s name subscribed must not be admitted in evidence against anyone, as it is introducing a very dangerous precedent, and by no means agreeable to the spirit of the age.”

Emporer Hadrian (117-138 AD), in a letter to Minucius Fundanus, the Asian proconsul:

„I do not wish, therefore, that the matter should be passed by without examination, so that these men may neither be harassed, nor opportunity of malicious proceedings be offered to informers. If, therefore, the provincials can clearly evince their charges against the Christians, so as to answer before the tribunal, let them pursue this course only, but not by mere petitions, and mere outcries against the Christians. For it is far more proper, if anyone would bring an accusation, that you should examine it.” Hadrian further explained that if Christians were found guilty they should be judged „according to the heinousness of the crime.” If the accusers were only slandering the believers, then those who inaccurately made the charges were to be punished.

The Jewish Talmud, compiled between 70 and 200 AD:

„On the eve of the Passover Yeshu was hanged. For forty days before the execution took place, a herald went forth and cried, ‘He is going forth to be stoned because he has practised sorcery and enticed Israel to apostacy. Anyone who can say anything in his favour, let him come forward and plead on his behalf.’ But since nothing was brought forward in his favour he was hanged on the eve of the Passover.”

[Another early reference in the Talmud speaks of five of Jesus’s disciples and recounts their standing before judges who make individual decisions about each one, deciding that they should be executed. However, no actual deaths are recorded.]

Lucian, a second century Greek satirist:

„The Christians, you know, worship a man to this day–the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on that account. … You see, these misguided creatures start with the general conviction that they are immortal for all time, which explains the contempt of death and voluntary self-devotion which are so common among them; and then it was impressed on them by their original lawgiver that they are all brothers, from the moment that they are converted, and deny the gods of Greece, and worship the crucified sage, and live after his laws. All this they take quite on faith, with the result that they despise all worldly goods alike, regarding them merely as common property.” Lucian also reported that the Christians had „sacred writings” which were frequently read. When something affected them, „they spare no trouble, no expense.”

Mara Bar-Serapion, of Syria, writing between 70 and 200 AD from prison to motivate his son to emulate wise teachers of the past:

„What advantage did the Athenians gain from putting Socrates to death? Famine and plague came upon them as a judgment for their crime. What advantage did the men of Samos gain from burying Pythagoras? In a moment their land was covered with sand. What advantage did the Jews gain from executing their wise king? It was just after that that their kingdom was abolished. God justly avenged these three wise men: the Athenians died of hunger; the Samians were overwhelmed by the sea; the Jews, ruined and driven from their land, live in complete dispersion. But Socrates did not die for good; he lived on in the teaching of Plato. Pythagoras did not die for good; he lived on in the statue of Hera. Nor did the wise king die for good; he lived on in the teaching which he had given.”

GNOSTICS SOURCES

The Gospel of Truth, probably by Valentius, around 135-160 AD:

„For when they had seen him and had heard him, he granted them to taste him and to smell him and to touch the beloved Son. When he had appeared instructing them about the Father. … For he came by means of fleshly appearance.” Other passages affirm that the Son of God came in the flesh and „the Word came into the midst. … it became a body.”

„Jesus, was patient in accepting sufferings. . . since he knows that his death is life for many. . . . he was nailed to a tree; he published the edict of the Father on the cross. … He draws himself down to death through life. … eternal clothes him. Having stripped himself of the perishable rags, he put on imperishability, which no one can possibly take away from him.”

The Aprocryphon of John, probably by Saturninus, around 120-130 AD:

„It happened one day when John, the brother of James,–who are the sons of Zebedee–went up and came to the temple, that a Pharisee named Arimanius approached him and said to him, `Where is your master whom you followed?’ And he said to him, ‘He has gone to the place from which he came.’ The Pharisee said to him, ‘This Nazarene deceived you with deception and filled your ears with lies and closed your hearts and turned you from the traditions of your fathers.'”

The Gospel of Thomas, probably from 140-200 AD:

Contain many references to and alleged quotations of Jesus.

The Treatise On Resurrection, by uncertain author of the late second century, to Rheginos:

„The Lord … existed in flesh and … revealed himself as Son of God … Now the Son of God, Rheginos, was Son of Man. He embraced them both, possessing the humanity and the divinity, so that on the one hand he might vanquish death through his being Son of God, and that on the other through the Son of Man the restoration to the Pleroma might occur; because he was originally from above, a seed of the Truth, before this structure of the cosmos had come into being.”

„For we have known the Son of Man, and we have believed that he rose from among the dead. This is he of whom we say, ‘He became the destruction of death, as he is a great one in whom they believe.’ Great are those who believe.”

„The Savior swallowed up death. … He transformed himself into an imperishable Aeon and raised himself up, having swallowed the visible by the invisible, and he gave us the way of our immortality.”

„Do not think the resurrection is an illusion. It is no illusion, but it is truth. Indeed, it is more fitting to say that the world is an illusion, rather than the resurrection which has come into being through our Lord the Savior, Jesus Christ.”

„. . . already you have the resurrection … why not consider yourself as risen and already brought to this?” Rheginos was thus encouraged not to „continue as if you are to die.”

LOST WORKS QUOTED IN OTHER SOURCES

Acts of Pontius Pilate, reports sent from Pilate to Tiberius, referred to by Justin Martyr (150 AD):

„And the expression, ‘They pierced my hands and my feet,’ was used in reference to the nails of the cross which were fixed in His hands and feet. And after he was crucified, they cast lots upon His vesture, and they that crucified Him parted it among them. And that these things did happen you can ascertain the ‘Acts’ of Pontius Pilate.” Later Justin lists several healing miracles and asserts, „And that He did those things, you can learn from the Acts of Pontius Pilate.”

Phlegon, born about 80 AD, as reported by Origen (185-254 AD), mentioned that Jesus made certain predictions which had been fulfilled.

ANCIENT CHRISTIAN SOURCES
(extra-biblical)Clement, elder of Rome, letter to the Corinthian church (95 AD):

„The Apostles received the Gospel for us from the Lord Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ was sent forth from God. So then Christ is from God, and the Apostles are from Christ. Both therefore came of the will of God in the appointed order. Having therefore received a charge, and having been fully assured through the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and confirmed in the word of God with full assurance of the Holy Ghost, they went forth with the glad tidings that the kingdom of God should come. So preaching everywhere in country and town, they appointed their firstfruits, when they had proved them by the Spirit, to be bishops and deacons unto them that should believe.”

Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, letter to the Trallians (110-115 AD):

„Jesus Christ who was of the race of David, who was the Son of Mary, who was truly born and ate and drank, was truly persecuted under Pontius Pilate, was truly crucified and died in the sight of those in heaven and on earth and those under the earth; who moreover was truly raised from the dead, His Father having raised Him, who in the like fashion will so raise us also who believe on Him.”

Ignatius, letter to the Smyrneans (110-115 AD):

„He is truly of the race of David according to the flesh, but Son of God by the Divine will and power, truly born of a virgin and baptised by John that all righteousness might be fulfilled by Him, truly nailed up in the flesh for our sakes under Pontius Pilate and Herod the tetrarch (of which fruit are we–that is, of his most blessed passion); that He might set up an ensign unto all ages through His resurrection.”

„For I know and believe that He was in the flesh even after the resurrection; and when He came to Peter and his company, He said to them, ‘Lay hold and handle me, and see that I am not a demon without body.’ And straightway they touched him, and they believed, being joined unto His flesh and His blood. Wherefore also they despised death, nay they were found superior to death. And after His resurrection He ate with them and drank with them.”

Ignatius, letter to the Magnesians (110-115 AD):

„Be ye fully persuaded concerning the birth and the passion and the resurrection, which took place in the time of the governorship of Pontius Pilate; for these things were truly and certainly done by Jesus Christ our hope.”

Quadratus, to Emperor Hadrian about 125 AD:

„The deeds of our Saviour were always before you, for they were true miracles; those that were healed, those that were raised from the dead, who were seen, not only when healed and when raised, but were always present. They remained living a long time, not only whilst our Lord was on earth, but likewise when He had left the earth. So that some of them have also lived to our own times.”

(Pseudo-)Barnabas, written 130-138 AD:

„He must needs be manifested in the flesh. … He preached teaching Israel and performing so many wonders and miracles, and He loved them exceedingly. … He chose His own apostles who were to proclaim His Gospel. … But He Himself desired so to suffer; for it was necessary for Him to suffer on a tree.”

Justin Martyr, to Emperor Antoninus Pius about 150 AD:

After referring to Jesus’s birth of a virgin in the town of Bethlehem, and that His physical line of descent came through the tribe of Judah and the family of Jesse, Justin wrote, „Now there is a village in the land of the Jews, thirty-five stadia from Jerusalem, in which Jesus Christ was born, as you can ascertain also from the registers of the taxing made under Cyrenius, your first procurator in Judea.”

„Accordingly, after He was crucified, even all His acquaintances forsook Him, having denied Him; and afterwards, when He had risen from the dead and appeared to them, and had taught them to read the prophecies in which all these things were foretold as coming to pass, and when they had seen Him ascending into heaven, and had believed, and had received power sent thence by Him upon them, and went to every race of men, they taught these things, and were called apostles.”

Justin Martyr, in Dialogue with Trypho, around 150 AD:

„For at the time of His birth, Magi who came from Arabia worshipped Him, coming first to Herod, who then was sovereign in your land.”

„For when they crucified Him, driving in the nails, they pierced His hands and feet; and those who crucified Him parted His garments among themselves, each casting lots for what he chose to have, and receiving according to the decision of the lot.”

„Christ said amongst you that He would give the sign of Jonah, exhorting you to repent of your wicked deeds at least after He rose again from the dead … yet you not only have not repented, after you learned that He rose from the dead, but, as I said before, you have sent chosen and ordained men throughout all the world to proclaim that ‘a godless and lawless heresy had sprung from one Jesus, a Galilean deceiver, whom we crucified, but His disciples stole Him by night from the tomb, where He was laid when unfastened from the cross, and now deceive men by asserting that He has risen from the dead and ascended to heaven.'”

„For indeed the Lord remained upon the tree almost until evening, and they buried Him at eventide; then on the third day He rose again.”

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