Answering Bart Ehrman on the Historical Jesus

Answering Bart Ehrman on the Historical Jesus

 Part 1 & 2  William Lane Craig, PhD

VIDEO by Theology, Philosophy and Science

Reclame

The Resurrection of Jesus: Fact or Ficiton? William Lane Craig, PhD

Resurrection of Jesus Fact or Fiction WLC

Christian scholar, philosopher and historian William Lane Craig speaks on the historical credibility of the resurrection of Jesus.

VIDEO by Theology, Philosophy and Science

God and Origins of the Universe

Carl Sagan vs William Lane Craig –

Part 1: God and Origins of the Universe

Carl Sagan asks if the universe was created by God then who created God? If God always existed why can’t the universe have always existed then? William Lane Craig answers these questions in this video. This video is part of the ‘Carl Sagan vs William Lane Craig’ playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list…
Related:
The Cosmos by Carl Sagan & Neil deGrasse Tyson:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADJZ0…

VIDEO by Theology, Philosophy and Science

Carl Sagan vs William Lane Craig – Part 2: The Cosmos is all that is or was or ever will be?

Although Carl Sagan claims to be an agnostic, William Lane Craig shows how Sagan is actually a naturalistic scientist who has an atheist worldview.

Carl Sagan vs William Lane Craig – Part 3: Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence?

Carl Sagan claims extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. William Lane Craig refutes this contention.

Did God Create Sin and Evil? William Lane Craig

For more resources visit: http://www.reasonablefaith.org

william lane craigIn March 2015, Dr William Lane Craig was invited to give multiple lectures at the Cadbury Lectures at the University of Birmingham in England. The honor of being invited to deliver these prestigious lectures was especially meaningful because this is where he did his doctoral studies in philosophy in the late 1970s. In fact, for that very reason, the organizers asked him to stay an extra day to deliver an additional lecture at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts on the kalam cosmological argument, the focus of his doctoral work those many years ago.

LIVESTREAM Friday, January 30th Biola University – John Lennox, J P Moreland, William Lane Craig and Hugh Hewitt

Photo credit

Join us Friday, January 30th in-person or live online for this fast-paced, wide-ranging and supremely stimulating discussion among some of the finest thinkers in the Christian world. Nothing is off the table as they discuss science vs. Christianity, arguments for God, the decline of Darwinism, radical Islam and the Gospel, responding to skeptics, the problem of consciousness, mathematics and the cosmos, the nature of knowledge, and much, much more.

God, Science and the Big Questions

7:30 pm Livestream:  www.BIOLA.EDU
VIDEO by BiolaUniversity

Things That Come Into Being Have A Cause

A special HBU Convocation featuring a discussion between William Lane Craig and Lee Strobel on the campus of Houston Baptist University.

VIDEO by drcraigvideos

Establishing the Crucifixion of Jesus – William Lane Craig, PhD

To what extent must we establish the crucifixion before examining the evidence for the resurrection? William Lane Craig interacts with blogs (from Bradley Bowen) and Bart Ehrman.

VIDEO by Theology, Philosophy and Science

 

If somene asked: What sets Christianity apart from other religions, what would you say?

photo credit sojo.net

Many times, the stumbling block in a conversation with an unbeliever is their carte blanche statement that ‘all religions are the same’. How would you answer them? Here is William Lane Craig’s answer. Video by drcraigvideos,
For more resources visit:http://www.reasonablefaith.org

On April 18th, 2012 William Lane Craig and Klemens Kappel debated the topic „Does God Exist?” in Copenhagen, Denmark. After the debate there was a lengthy question and answer period with the audience. In this clip, the question arises: What sets Christianity apart from other religions?

William Lane Craig: „Christianity is set apart from most of the other religions of the world, and it’s not just a code of ethics or a system of religions about various gods and deities. But it’s a religion that’s rooted in history, in real historical events, in people and places that you can read about in other ancient historical texts, that we have archaeological confirmation of.

You can read about people like Pontius Pilate, like John the Baptist, James, Jesus’  younger brother, in the works of Josephus, the ancient Jewish historian. We have archaeological evidences for the places described in the New Testament. This is not some sort of myth about a fairyland.

This is about real people, that actually lived, real places that actually existed, real events that actually took place. And as I say, that includes those 3 facts that crucially undergird the inference to Jesus’ resurrection. So, I think this does seem to set Christianity apart.

Does the Universe Go On Forever or Come to An Edge? and If Time Continues Forever, Is That An Actual Infinite Amount of Time?

English: This photo was taken by my wife durin...

In 2011 Dr William Lane Craig spoke at the Forum of Christian Leaders (FOCL) in Hungary. While they he spoke on the topic, „Five Arguments for Theism” and took questions from the audience to accompany his lecture. In this clip, Dr Craig answers the question, „Does the universe go on forever or does it come to an end?”

Spatial infinity of the universe

There is no evidence that the universe is infinite in the spatial sense. All the evidence is consistent with the universe not only being finite in time, but also being finite in space. And you wouldn’t come to an edge of the universe, if the universe is finite. The universe could have the geometry of the surface of a sphere, for example, like the surface of the earth, which is finite. But, if you go around the earth, you never come to an edge where you fall off. You’ll just come back to where you started again. Similar to the geometry, the universe could be spherical like that so that it could be finite and yet, unbounded.

VIDEO by drcraigvideos

If Time Continues Forever,
Is That An Actual Infinite Amount of Time?

Let me address the question about the infinity of the future. I think it is important to differentiate between two concepts of the infinite. The actual infinite and the potential infinite. According to Aristotle, actual infinities never exist. Infinity exists only in potentiality. For example, if you take any finite distance, you can divide it in half, and then in half again, and then in half again. And that can go on to infinity. And what Aristotle would say is that that finite distance is potentially infinitely divisible. It is infinite in the sense that infinity  is a limit which you can endlessly approach, but at which you will never arrive. And that’s in contrast to the idea of an actual infinite, where you have an actually infinite number of definite and discreet finite individuals that make up this collection.

The notion of a potential infinite, which is Aristotle’s idea, dominated  mathematics right up to the 19th century and is the role of the infinite in calculus, where infinity is just a limit. The idea of the actual infinite was pioneered by Gayard Cantor and is the role of the infinite in set theory, which thinks of sets, like the sets of natural numbers, as having an actual infinite number of members in the sets. Now, how is this relevant to the question about the future? What I would say is this. If time is dynamic, in the sense that the future does not yet exist, but is a realm of pure potentiality only, the, what that means is that the series of events that have occurred at any time is always finite, but increasing toward infinity as a limit. So that, the numbers of events in any point in time toward the future is always finite, but growing. That is to say that it is a potential infinite. And, I agree with Aristotle that there’s nothing objectionable about a potential infinite. So, I would differentiate  between the future and the past in that respect. If, the universe is beginning less, then there has actually occurred an infinite number of events. But, if the universe will go on forever in the future, the number of future events will never be actually infinite. We will never arrive at infinity. It is infinite purely in the sense of potentiality. It will go on and on forever, but will always be finite, but growing toward infinity as as the limit.

It Is Not „Special Pleading” to Say God Is Without A Cause and Has God Existed for an Infinite Number of Years?

English: This photo was taken by my wife durin...In 2011 Dr William Lane Craig spoke at the Forum of Christian Leaders (FOCL) in Hungary. While they he spoke on the topic, „Five Arguments for Theism” and took questions from the audience to accompany his lecture. In this clip, Dr Craig answers a question concerning how the Kalam Cosmological Argument concerns God. Is it ‘special pleading’ to say God is without a cause?

Why it is not ‘special pleading’

Very often, it will be said by people, „If everything has a cause, what is God’s cause?” This objection is based upon a confusion between the contingency argument and this cosmological argument. The contingency argument says that everything that exists  has an explanation of its existence. This argument says that everything that begins to exist has a cause. And by conflating these two together, people have come up with the idea that everything that exists  has a cause. And that’s just a confusion. It is everything that begins to exist has a cause. If something begins to exist, that means it comes into being. And, given that out of nothing, nothing comes. The things cannot pop into being from nonbeing. Anything that begins to exist must have a cause.

But, God doesn’t need to have a cause, because He never came into being. He’s an eternal reality. And, this isn’t special pleading for God. That is what the atheist has always said about the universe- that matter and energy are eternal. The universe has always existed, and therefore, the universe doesn’t need a cause. It’s just that in light of premise 2, that explanation has now been called into question.

So, all this argument requires is that anything that comes into being, or begins to exist needs a cause. It wouldn’t apply to an eternally existing thing. If you want to ask about eternally existing things, then go back to the contingency argument, which says that everything that exists has an explanation, either in a necessity of its own nature or in an external cause. And, I think this helps to clarify again why in that first argument in that contingency argument, I differentiate it between explanations and causes. God, on that first argument does have an explanation as to why He exists, but He doesn’t have a cause.

VIDEO by drcraigvideos

Has God Existed for an Infinite Number of Years?

Dr. William Lane Craig:

Doesn’t the eternity of God imply that God has existed for an infinite number of years? Or an infinite amount of past time? No, I don’t think it does. In fact, what I’ve argued is that God’s eternity means he’s timelessness, at least without the universe. That God is the Creator of time and space, transcends time and space, so that God existing alone, without the universe is timeless. And time had a beginning.

Time is only finite, according to modern cosmology. It’s about 13.7 billion years ago. And there simply is no such thing as 15 billion years ago, or 20 billion years ago. That’s pure imagination. But, there really is no such time because time began about 13.7 billion years ago. So, God existing alone without the universe would simply be timeless. He wouldn’t exist through an infinite number of years, or an infinite number of hours. And that’s why the question is meaningless. Why didn’t God create the world sooner? If God had existed through an infinite number of years prior to creation, we could meaningfully ask, „Well, why did he wait so long? Why didn’t God create the world sooner?

But, if time begins at the moment of creation, then I think you can see that’s a meaningless question. There is no point ‘sooner’ at which He could have created the universe. Time simply begins at the moment of creation. So, even eternity wouldn’t involve an actual infinity in God, given that He transcends time and created time.

Why does the multiverse need a beginning? Why can it not just be eternal? + What is cosmology and the multiverse

William Lane Craig answers:

The reason the multiverse cannot be beginningless… see his answer by watching the video or my transcript below  the video.

But first:

What is Cosmology?

from Wikipedia, read more here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmology:

Cosmology is the study of the origins and eventual fate of the universe. Physical cosmology is the scholarly and scientific study of the origin, evolution, structure, dynamics, and ultimate fate of the universe, as well as the natural laws that keep it in order. Religious cosmology (or mythological cosmology) is a body of beliefs based on the historical, mythological, religious, and esoteric literature and traditions of creation and eschatology.

Physical cosmology is studied by scientists, such as astronomers, and theoretical physicists; and academic philosophers, such as metaphysicians, philosophers of physics, and philosophers of space and time. Modern cosmology is dominated by the Big Bang theory, which attempts to bring together observational astronomy and particle physics.[2]

Although the word cosmology is recent (first used in 1730 in Christian Wolff’s Cosmologia Generalis), the study of the universe has a long history involving science, philosophy, esotericism and religion. Related studies include cosmogony, which focuses on the origin of the Universe, and cosmography, which maps the features of the Universe. Cosmology is also connected to astronomy, but while the former is concerned with the Universe as a whole, the latter deals with individual celestial objects.

Modern metaphysical cosmology tries to address questions such as:

  • What is the origin of the Universe? What is its first cause? Is its existence necessary? (see monismpantheismemanationism and creationism)
  • What are the ultimate material components of the Universe? (see mechanismdynamismhylomorphismatomism)
  • What is the ultimate reason for the existence of the Universe? Does the cosmos have a purpose? (see teleology)
  • Does the existence of consciousness have a purpose? How do we know what we know about the totality of the cosmos? Does cosmological reasoning reveal metaphysical truths? (see epistemology)

Photo via Wikipedia

Photo description: The Hubble Extreme Deep Field (XDF) was completed in September 2012 and shows the farthest galaxies ever photographed by humans. Except for the few stars in the foreground (which are bright and easily recognizable because only they have diffraction spikes), every speck of light in the photo is an individual galaxy, some of them as old as 13.2 billion years; the observable universe is estimated to contain more than 200 billion galaxies.

What is the Cosmological Argument?

from Carm.org 

  1. Things exist.
  2. It is possible for those things to not exist.
  3. Whatever has the possibility of non existence, yet exists, has been caused to exist.
    1. Something cannot bring itself into existence, since it must exist to bring itself into existence, which is illogical.
  4. There cannot be an infinite number of causes to bring something into existence.
    1. An infinite regression of causes ultimately has no initial cause, which means there is no cause of existence.
    2. Since the universe exists, it must have a cause.
  5. Therefore, there must be an uncaused cause of all things.
  6. The uncaused cause must be God.

Also see this article on ReasonableFaith.org

What is a multiverse?

Also from Wikipedia, read more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiverse

The multiverse (or meta-universe) is the hypothetical set of infinite or finite possible universes (including the historical universe we consistently experience) that together comprise everything that exists and can exist: the entirety of space, time,matter, and energy as well as the physical laws and constants that describe them. The term was coined in 1895 by the American philosopher and psychologist William James.[1] The various universes within the multiverse are sometimes called parallel universes.

The structure of the multiverse, the nature of each universe within it and the relationship between the various constituent universes, depend on the specific multiverse hypothesis considered. Multiple universes have been hypothesized incosmology, physics, astronomy, religion, philosophy, transpersonal psychology and fiction, particularly in science fiction and fantasy. In these contexts, parallel universes are also called „alternative universes”, „quantum universes”, „interpenetrating dimensions”, „parallel dimensions”, „parallel worlds”, „alternative realities”, „alternative timelines”, and „dimensional planes,” among others.

VIDEO by drcraigvideos Reasonable Faith forums: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/forums/
Reasonable Faith’s other Youtube channel:http://www.youtube.com/reasonablefait…

William Lane Craig:

Dr William Lane Craig answered during the 2013 Apologetics Canada Conference question and answer period. (Photo on left via www.faithinterface.com.au)

Any universe that is in a cosmic expansion, on average, over its history cannot be past eternal. And that is true of the multiverse as well, it is true that it is in a state of expansion on average, in its past history. So that can’t be extrapolated to past infinity. And that’s why, remarkably, this amazing theorem shows that even trying to resort to the multiverse to escape the beginning of the universe won’t work. And, by the way, if people are interested, a lecture that Vilenkin gave at the conference in Cambridge last April, celebrating Hawking’s 70th birthday is on youtube. It is very accessible. It is a wonderful lecture that lay people can understand and has power points and in this lecture he surveys contemporary cosmologies, including these multiverse models that try to avert the beginning of the universe, and shows how they fail.

See the Alexander Vilenkin video Dr. William Lane Craig just referred to here:

Did the Universe have a Beginning? Alexander Vilenkin

at the University of Cambridge

VIDEO by firstcauseargument

Alexander Vilenkin (Tufts University) discusses 3 candidate scenarios with ‘no beginnings’ for the universe:

  1. Eternal Inflation
  2. Cyclic evolution
  3. Static seed (emergent universe)

He says, „I’ll tell you my conclusion right away (at the beginning of lecture), that basically, none of these approaches that try to avoid the beginning of the universe work (they are not successful).” Then he discusses the options, one by one:

Christianity & Islam: Did the early church believe Jesus was God?

William Lane Craig and Shabir Ally answer a question from the audience concerning the claims of Jesus to be God. In March 2002 Dr William Lane Craig began participating in a series of debates with Shabir Ally on the topic, „Christianity and Islam.” One of these debates was held at the University of Western Ontario on the subject, „Who is the real Jesus? The Jesus of the Qur’an or the Jesus of the Bible?” (Photo of book – www.kalahari.com)

Did the early church believe Jesus was God?

Dr. William Lane Craig: You can show that in the earliest portions of the New Testament documents are materials that refer to Jesus as God and pray to Him as God. And they use Old Testament proof texts about Yahweh and apply them to Jesus. For example in 1 Corinthians 16, you find the oldest recorded prayer of the early church: „Our Lord come,” and this is directed to Jesus, who is called Lord. Moreover, they apply Old Testament proof texts to Jesus. In the Old Testament it says that whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. And Paul, in Romans 10 picks up this Old Testament citation and applies it to Jesus. And this word ‘Lord’ applies to Yahweh, for Jehovah in the Old Testament. He says, „If you believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord, and that God raised Him from the dead, then you shall be saved”- and then comes the Old Testament proof texts for ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord, shall be saved’.

Other examples would be in Colossians 1, in Hebrew 1, in John 1. All of these refer to Jesus as God, or as Lord. They also offer worship to Jesus, regard Him as forgiving sins, you can go on and on… An excellent book on this is by Murray Harris. It’s called ‘Jesus as God in the New Testament’. It is a very fine treatment on this subject, so that your worship of Jesus as God is in line with that of the early church.

VIDEO by drcraigvideos

If Jesus Didn’t Claim to Be God Why Was He On Trial For?

Dr. William Lane Craig: If you look at Robert Gundry’s commentary on the Gospel of Mark, he has a lengthy discussion of the trial scene of Jesus. What it points out is that God of the Old Testament is portrayed as the destroyer of the temple, and also portrayed as the builder of the temple- the accusations brought against Jesus. So, Gundry says on page 900: „Saying Jesus predicted both his destruction of the temple and His rebuilding of another, brings to virtual certainty the entailment of a charge that he arrogated to himself of divine roles. He also shows why it is an authentic saying that Jesus claimed to be the Son of Man, coming on the clouds of heaven, seated at the right hand of power, thereby making Himself equal to God. So, Jesus is making claims that were blasphemous . Merely healing on the Sabbath wouldn’t have led to His crucifixion. As King of the Jews, that can only be explained by His making Messianic pretentions, which is what got Him into trouble with Jewish authorities.

What Role does the Holy Spirit play in Apologetics?

street evangelismVIDEO by drcraigvideos For more resources visit: http://www.reasonablefaith.org

Dr William Lane Craig answers a question in this clip about the role of the Holy Spirit in his ministry and apologetics. He says there is a difference between knowing Christianity to be true and showing Christianity to be true. On March 21, 2013, Dr Craig spoke at Texas A&M in College Station, Texas on the topic of faith, science and philosophy. This event was put on by the Veritas Forum which hosts university events that engage students and faculty in discussions about life’s hardest questions and the relevance of Jesus Christ to all of life. The style of this talk was more like a conversation than a lecture as Dr Craig shares much of his own personal story about how he came to faith in Jesus Christ.

Dr. William Lane Craig, FROM VIDEO: I have found it very helpful to differentiate between what I call ‘knowing Christianity to be true’, and showing Christianity to be true. I think that the fundamental way in which we know that Christianity is true, is through the inner witness of the Holy Spirit. I do not think that arguments and evidence are necessary, in order for faith to be rational, or for you to know that God exists or has revealed Himself in Christ. 

So, I would say, that the fundamental way we know that Christianity is true is through the witness of the Holy Spirit, and reason and argument, then, can confirm the Spirit’s witness. The person who has good apologetics arguments, has in a sense a double warrant for his faith. He has the warrant provided by the Holy Spirit. And then, he has a double warrant, provided by argument and evidence. But, should he lack the argumented evidence, he can still be warranted, just on the basis of the Holy Spirit. That’s knowing Christianity to be true.

When it comes to showing Christianity to be true, we’re dealing with somebody else, and therefore, we’ll need to give them arguments and evidence to show them that what I know to be true, is true. And then, the role of the Holy Spirit will be to use those arguments and evidence, as I lovingly present them, to draw that person to Himself.  

So, in knowing Christianity to be true, the Holy Spirit is primary and argument and evidence is secondary. But, in showing Christianity to be true, argument and evidence is primary, and here the Holy Spirit is secondary, in using those as means by which He draws a person to Himself. Faith is trusting in what you have reason to believe is true. That reason doesn’t just mean arguments and evidence, that reason could be the deliverance of the Holy Spirit.

Can We Know Things to Be True Through Faith?

 

VIDEO by drcraigvideos:
Dr William Lane Craig answers a question about the relationship of knowledge to faith? Is faith a way to truth? On March 21, 2013, Dr Craig spoke at Texas A&M in College Station, Texas on the topic of faith, science and philosophy. This event was put on by the Veritas Forum which hosts university events that engage students and faculty in discussions about life’s hardest questions and the relevance of Jesus Christ to all of life. The style of this talk was more like a conversation than a lecture as Dr Craig shares much of his own personal story about how he came to faith in Jesus Christ. For more resources visit Dr. Criag’s website: http://www.reasonablefaith.org

William Lane Craig – What if Faith and Reason Conflict With Each Other?

William Lane Craig:

In tonights’ debate, I tool the word ‘faith’ to mean the same thing as ‘believe’. So ‘faith in God’ – ‘believe in God’ is a belief that God exists. But, you’re quite right in saying there’s another understanding of faith that is more than propositional belief. It would be the idea of trusting in someone, committing one’s life to someone. And I would say that that kind of faith would be subsequent to propositional belief. You first believe that God exists, and then you can believe in God and put your faith in Him.

Now, in the chapter you were speaking of in (the book) Reasonable Faith, when I am speaking of faith there, I am talking about is how do we know that propositional truths of the Christian faith- like that God exists? Or that God loves me, and so forth? And what I was suggesting there is that in addition to external arguments and evidence, there is also this immediate testimony of God Himself to one, that gives you in a properly basic way a knowledge of God’s existence and the great truths of the Gospel. That was my 8th point in tonight’s debate- that God can be personally known and experienced. And I said this isn’t an argument. Rather, it’s suggesting that just like we have properly basic beliefs, like the belief in the reality, in the external world, or the reality of the past, so belief in God could be a properly basic belief grounded in the inner witness of the Holy Spirit. So, this isn’t some kind of leap in the dark sort of thing. It’s saying that God Himself can give a person a knowledge of His existence, that is independent of argument and evidence. And this is a view that’s widely defended today, especially by Alvin Plantinga, in his book ‘Warranted Christian Belief’ And I think he’s shown that there aren’t any philosophical objections to this point of view. It’s a perfectly coherent religious epistemology.

VIDEO by drcraigvideos What if faith and reason conflict with each other? What is the relationship between reason and faith? In this clip Dr William Lane Craig answers this question during the Q&A time of his debate with Dr Alex Rosenberg. On February 1st, 2013 at Purdue University, Dr Craig participated in a debate with Dr Rosenberg on the topic, „Is Faith In God Reasonable?” Over 5,000 people watched the event on the Purdue University campus along with tens of thousands streaming it live online from around the world. For more resources visit: http://www.reasonablefaith.org (photo above via wikipedia)

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.

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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.

 

What about Jesus and the story of Osiris and Horus?

If this subject doesn’t seem that important to you, you can be sure your kids (young or adult) have either seen it or have had their friends see the movie discussed in video #2 (zeitgeist)  and they (your children) will no doubt be challenged that their faith is just a myth. The movie is full of errors (from astronomy – the aligning of Orion and the other stars, to history) and

1) The short answer from Dr. William Lane Craig:

Uploaded by  on Feb 24, 2012 http://reasonablefaith.org – Dr. William Lane Craig answers the question: Is Jesus’ life parallel to the story of Osiris and Horus?

 

2) The detailed answer from Mark Foreman, professor of philosophy and religion at Liberty University:

The pagan copy cat theory: Zeitgesit wants to say that the Gospel about Jesus Christ is a myth incorporating other aspects of pagan religions. The idea is that Christianity is just a copycat of other religions that are out there. They claim that the people who originated Christianity, the apostles, simply took all these religions and brought them together in some way and created Christianity.

The tactic used to argue this point (that it’s just a myth): Usually, those who hold this view will list some characteristics of pagan deities that are parallel to the story of Jesus. Then they claim, of course, that the Gospel writers borrowed these parallels from these other religions and compiled them into a myth of Jesus Christ. The idea of using parallels is the essence of their argument. We sometimes call this parallelism.

Some general comments:

1) This is an old idea. There is nothing new here.

Many people when they first hear this say, wow, I never heard that before, it must be new research. Not at all! This idea was first propagated around the late 18th century by a school/university in Germany. They stated that religions were all related to each other in some way or another and they all evolved over time and Christianity was just a step in the evolution of religion. By the 1930’s the theory began to die out. And the reason  it died out is because critical scholars looked at it and said, „There is absolutely no evidence to support this at all”.  But,a bunch of people got on the boat when it was popular and wrote some works on that. As a matter of fact, many of the sources quoted in the zeitgeist movie come from these 19th century sources. In the clip that I showed you (it’s at the beginning of video) there’s 44 citations made and 40% of those citations come from these sources.  In the books cited, they make a lot of speculations from Egypt, from Horus about Jesus.

2) There are going to be some similarities between religions.

That shouldn’t surprise us. Most religions believe in some kind of a God like figure. Most religions believe in rites and ceremonies to express their beliefs. But, there are only a limited number of rites that you can have. Many religions incorporate some kind of a meal in their religion; but, that’s not the same thing as saying it’s communion. Just because there’s a similarity doesn’t mean that’s the same thing. Most religions try to deal with the universal human condition and questions that we all ask as human beings such as our desire for meaning and purpose, our struggle with our weaknesses and what we call sin, an answer to evil and suffering. Most religions are going to deal with that because that’s the job of religion.

I like what C.S. Lewis says here: „I could not believe Christianity if I were forced to say that with a 1000 religions of the world of which 999 were pure nonsense and the 1000th fortunately true. My conversion, very largely depended on Christianity  as the completion, the actualization  of something that had never been wholly absent from the mind of man.” Similarity does not imply dependence and that is the charge of the parallelisms, the copy catters, that Christianity is dependent upon these pagan religions for their basic beliefs and the story of Jesus.

Weak dependency and strong dependency. There are 2 kinds of dependencies: Weak dependency and strong dependency. Weak dependency is the use of accommodating language or appeals to similar beliefs in order to communicate an idea. We see this example in Paul’s Mars Hill speech in Acts 17, here he will use beliefs of his audience as a way of communicating his evidence there. He’ll say ‘the unknown god which you built a statue to, well, I can tell you who that unknown God is’. Missionaries will use this idea today. But, that’s different form what we call strong dependency.

Strong dependency is that the concept originated first in the pagan religion and then in some way or another it was brought into Christianity. And, that’s the claim again of the parallelists.

For that we don’t have any evidence at all for. There is no evidence for any strong dependency of Christian beliefs of pagan religions in the first century. There’s nothing there to support that. The parallelists assert it, but, there’s a difference between asserting it and arguing.Arguing is much more. The reason we don’t have that is because there is no evidence of pagan religions in first century Palestine. Over and over, if you look at archaeologists, if you look at critical scholars, they’ll say, „We just don’t see this.

These pagan religions just don’t seem to have existed in Palestine”. Why? As mystery religions are highly syncretic, in the sense that they’re willing to combine themselves with other religions, that’s not the case for  Judaism and Christianity. They are both highly exclusivistic. The Jews would never have allowed pagan mystery religions to be in their country. Certainly, if they were there, they wouldn’t borrow from them or make them part of their religion. Same with Christianity, as a matter of fact, Christianity is more exclusivistic than Judaism is. Christianity says that there is only one way to God, and that is through Jesus Christ. No other way will get you there.

All of the pagan mystery religions are syncretic. You could be a member of this pagan mystery religion over here and you can be a member of any other religion you want and it doesn’t bother them in the least. They are very accepting of that. That’s not true of Christianity and Judaism and that’s one of the reasons we don’t see pagan religions and Judaism  which is where Christianity originated in the first century.

Now in fairness, there is some evidence that the Christian church did adopt some pagan beliefs in the 4th and 5th centuries. It’s probably where we think we got the December 25th date. But, that’s 4th and 5th centuries, that’s not the origin of Christianity. That’s 4-500 years after Christianity. The parallelists in order to make their case, has to show that there is evidence that shows a first century influence on Christianity that created a myth of the story of jesus.

3) Their entire argument is based on the Post hoc fallacy

 Latin for „after this, therefore because of this”

This entire argument, the whole parallelist argument is actually an example of what we call Post hoc ergo propter hoc, Latin for „after this, therefore because of this” . For those of you who are not familiar with these fallacies of logic, the POst hoc fallacy basically says this: Event A occurred before event B, therefore A caused B. In other words, we look at a temporal relationship: This happened before this and therefore this must have caused this. You’ve heard this kind of stuff before. Maybe you’ve heard someone say this: I knew it would rain, I just washed my car. As if washing your car actually causes precipitation. Of course nobody really believes that, we say it facetiously, we’re not really asserting a causal connection there at all, but that’s the idea of post hoc fallacy.

The fact here is if a previous religion may have had a similar belief to that of Christianity, and by the way I am going to argue that many of the parallels don’t work, but the fact that they had a similar belief does not in itself prove that the previous religion was the cause of the belief in Christianity. You have to argue for a causal chain. You can’t just simply assert parallels. That’s parallelomania- just asserting it over and over: „See, that’s just like Jesus, so they must have borrowed from that”. You need some sort of argument there.

4) The whole theory rests on the premise that Jesus did not exist at all

In other words, you have to buy into that premise before you can believe what the zeitgeist movie is saying.

If the events of the Gospels occurred in history then of course this theory (zeitgeist) completely evaporates. Why does the zeitgeist movie have to hold that position? A very, very extreme position. Because every aspect in the life of Jesus – His birth, His teaching, His baptism, His followers, His miracles, His crucifixion, His resurrection, all of these, they want to claim are based not on historical events but on previous pagan religious myths that were around long before the time of Jesus. So, therefore there couldn’t have been a real Jesus around because that would say that there were historical events of His life here.

However, in order for them to make the point that Jesus didn’t exist at all is to go against an enormous amount of critical scholarship. The vast majority of critical scholars, across all theological spectrums (conservative, liberal, radical) acknowledge the existence (historicity) of Jesus and His life in some form. They don’t all agree, some deny the resurrection, some will say „I don’t think He was God”, but they’re all saying He existed and the basic facts of His life happened. John Dominic Crossan says that the crucifixion of Jesus is the most verifiable event in the world. In the zeitgeist movie and in many of these copy cat theorists, they never discuss this vast amount of critical scholarship

Some of the fallacies used in zeitgeist

  1. Generalization fallacy – The combining of ancient religions into one universal model that they all followed. In other words, there were a lot of mystery pagan religions that were going on around in the ancient world around the same time and before and after the birth of Jesus and they continued on and died out about the 4th century. During the early stages those religions were small pockets in different parts of the world (including the 1st century), each developing on their own. There was no universal belief they all copied. (Yet, that is exactly what zeitgeist is claiming- that they were all about Sun worship. NOT TRUE. They all had different ideas.) Copy cat theorists usually take aspects from widely different religions and then they force them together into a religion that resembles Christianity. It’s something like connecting the dots. They pull things out of all these pagan religions, but they only pull out what’s guiding them- the life of Jesus. They’ll look at the life of Jesus and then say, „Oh, that’s like that”. Then they connect the dots and they marvel, „Wow, that looks like Jesus”. Of course it looks like Jesus, that’s the model they set up. There’s a lot in these religions they’re not pulling out, they’re not talking about, that are not anything like Jesus was like or what Christianity is like. They’re not touching that stuff. Why? Because it doesn’t look like Jesus.
  2. A second blatant one is the terminology fallacy. The terminology fallacy basically does this: Events in the lives of the mythical gods are expressed using Christian terminology in order subtly to manipulate viewers into accepting that the same events in the life of Jesus also happened in the life of mythical gods. This really bothers me. For example, in the movie they talk about the messiah solar god. wow, wow, wow, the messiah? What’s that? Messiah is a distinctly Hebrew term that talks about the Savior that God would send for Israel. I mean, why are we talking about Horus being a Messiah? Because you know why? Because they want to use Christian terminology to manipulate you to believe that this stuff happened here. Baptism. What’s baptism. Well, baptism was an originally Jewish practice that Christians  adopted, but, you don’t find baptism in other religions. But they’ll talk about, anytime water is introduced, they will talk about Horus and Osirisbeing thrown into the Nile, „Oh, Osiris in the Nile? That was his baptism”. Why? „Water”. Oh, I’m not sure that’s really a baptism there. That’s the kind of stuff they do there.
  3. The idea that they were all born of a virgin. You’ve heard this on the film- Horus born of a virgin, Krishna, Attis born of a virgin. Are these really virginal births in the same way we mean when we talk about Jesus? Not really. Horus: Where did Horus come from? There are several different stories. The story of Horus is one of the most complex stories. The Horus myth is a myth that developed over 3,000 years from several different texts. There are many books, they all have something about Horus, many contradicting themselves with several different accounts of the same event. On where he came from the common story is that he was the conception of two gods – Osiris and Iris. Osiris was a God that was killed by Seth, Seth cut him up into 14 pieces and buried the pieces all over Egypt. Osiris’s wife, Iris, and by the way Iris is described as his wife so I think we can assume she wasn’t a virgin. So Iris, his wife, goes around and gathers all his 14 parts together but she can’t find on part. The part she can’t find is his penis so she creates a wooden one and has sex with it and conceives Horus. Virginal birth? I don’t think so. How about Attis. We are told he was born of a virgin. The great greek god Zeus spills his seed on a mountain. His seed becomes a pomegranate tree. Nana, the mother of Attis is sitting under a pomegranate tree when an apple drops into her lap. Conception. That’s when Attis comes from. Krishna- any claims that Krishna was virginally conceived come from 7th century, 700 years after Jesus. Actually, we are told his mother had 7 children before Krishna, hardly a virgin. So we really don’t have virginal conceptions. So, why do they say it? Because they want it to sound like Jesus.
  4. Another example- crucifixion. We’re told that many of these gods were crucified. Really? On Krishna, the earliest sources tell us that he was shot in the heel by an arrow. NOT CRUCIFIED. Attis, at one point in his life castrates himself, flees into the woods and dies. NOT CRUCIFIED. Horus, well, it depends which version you will go with since there are so many versions. One version tells us he never died, another version tells us he died being stung by a scorpion, another version he is conflated with Osiris. In the Egyptian religion sometimes Horus’s death is conflated with Osiris’s. You wonder with all these different deaths here, how can they say he was crucified? Murdoch who was the major consultant to this film says, „When it is asserted that Horus or Osiris was crucified, it should be kept in mind that it WAS NOT part of the Horus/Osiris myth that the murdered god was actually held down and nailed on a cross. Egyptian deities, including Horus were depicted in cruciform with their arms extended or outstretched.” Now saying they were depicted in cruciform, she is already trying to manipulate you. What they are, is they’re depicted with their arms out. That’s all, they just have their arms out. Most Egyptologists will tell you that Horus was the sky god and his arms being out means spanning the sky. But she wants to call it in cruciform, as in various images that are comparable to crucifixion. So Murdoch is saying, „Look, we’re not saying these people are crucified, we’re saying that any time they stretch their arms out  we can say ‘they are crucified'”.
  5. What about resurrection? We’re told all these gods resurrected from the dead. Really? Let’s again look at the original sources of the gods here. There’s an interesting thing that happened to Horus after his death. He became lord of the underworld. By the way, that’s Osiris/Horus combined. They became lord of the underworld; never came back to life in this world. But, that’s like a resurrection? He’s still alive, as the copy cats say? Attis? Attis, eventually was turned into a pine tree. Ok, I guess he’s kind of back in this world, but not exactly resurrected. Krishna? Earliest tradition says he returned to the spirit world. Now, if we go later on, in the 4th or 5th century we learn that there was a teaching that Krishna was resurrected. But, that’s 4th or 5th century, after Christianity’s been real well formulated here. Jonathan Smith who wrote the article on dying and rising deities in the Encyclopedia of religion makes this comment: All of the deities that have been identified as belonging to the class of dying and rising deities can be subsumed under the 2 larger classes of disappearing deities or dying deities. In the first case they return, but they never die. In the second case they die, but they never return. There is no unambiguous instance in the history of religion of a dying and rising deity in organ religions (he’s not talking about Christianity). There’s simply no evidence of it.
  6. Biblical fallacy – Copy cat theorists often make claims about the life of Jesus that ARE NOT based on the Gospel accounts, but they originated from other sources. When you are watching the movie you will see them quote stuff that is not even in the Bible. For example, the December 25th date. How often in the movie do they emphasize that these gods are born on December 25th? Why do they do that? Because we celebrate Jesus’ birth on December 25th. But the Gospels don’t tell us anything about when Jesus was born. We don’t know, we have no idea when it was. We don’t have any first century evidence or from any first century source the exact date of Jesus’ birth. When did the Dec 25th date come about? About the 5th century; that’s when the Christian church started to adopt and pick a particular date and there is some evidence that they may have picked that day because of pagan religion. The church may have been influenced by pagan religion,, but this was well into the 5th century. But, I am going to argue that it wasn’t influenced by pagan religion in the first century, which is the century Christianity came about and developed. Another example are the three Kings coming to worship Him. If you go back to the Horus story where they talk about the three kings, there is NOTHING in the Horus story about 3 kings coming to worship Horus. It’s just pure speculation. (Yet) Murdoch wrote a whole chapter about this in her Jesus and Horus chapter. She pulls strange speculations to speculate on this, but no evidence whatsoever. But, even it is, there are no 3 kings at the birth of Jesus. That’s a nice song we sing „We three kings of Orient are’, but go to the Gospel folks. The Gospels don’t tell s that they were kings. They never use that word. They don’t tell us how many they were. We speculate because the idea that 3 gifts were listed. We are told they are magi. Magi are not kings, magi are priests in the zoroastrian religion. So, they are not kings at all. Murdoch defends this by saying, „Well, we know that the Gospelss don’t tell us that, but Christians believe it, therefore there’s a parallel there. Again, we’re talking about (using) original sources, not what people falsely believe. And by the way, the time when they came, Jesus was probably 3 years old when they came. If you look at the Gospel accounts and what’s going on there it wasn’t the infant- we have this idea that it was in the manger.
  7. Chronological fallacy– in order for the copy cat fallacy to succeed one must provide evidence that the parallel chronologically preceded the writing of the Gospels and the New Testament epistles which were all written in the first century. In order for this to work, you have to have evidence that these teachings and ideas were around before the first century, so that the early Christians could borrow from them and create their myth about Jesus. Do we have that kind of evidence? No, we don’t. The mystery religions evolved and changed over time and as they did, their beliefs and practices and their narratives changed. We need to understand that the pagan mystery religions aren’t something you can go to and find an authoritative source and say, „This is what they believe”. Unfortunately, there was no authoritative source for many of these religions and we find out about them usually from other sources or the sources that we have are simply so broad that we don’t know what they meant. They evolved over time and what we know of them later on was not necessarily true about them earlier. And most of the evidence we have of them comes from the 2nd and 3rd centuries when they were at their peak. But, we have very little evidence of what these mystery religions were like in the 1st century. And because they evolved so much you simply can’t take the fallacious step that because they believed something in the 3rd century, they must have also believed that in the 1st century. In fact we have some evidence that many of these mystery religions may have been adopting their beliefs after those of Christianity. So, we don’t have any chronological evidence for any of these things. All the evidence comes from post Christian, not pre Christian.
  8. The source fallacy. Obviously if you’re gonna make these kinds of claims, you’ll need to have good sources to depend upon. Supporters of the movie often talk about how well documented it is. Go to the transcripts and look at them. In the 7 minute clip that we played at the beginning there are 44 citations in the transcript for the statement that they’re making, from 18 different sources. You might say that’s pretty good documentation. But any critical scholar would tell you that it’s not the quantity of the documentation that makes the difference, but the quality. I can give you a lot of documentation for something, but am I giving it form good, reliable, academic, primary sources? NO, that’s not what’s happening here at all. Not one of these 18 sources is a primary source. Nobody quotes the original texts on Horus, none at all. They’re all secondary sources. And most of the secondary sources are scholars that have been discredited or abandoned long ago by critical scholars who have looked at these people and said, „I’m sorry, these people are really not qualified or they’re arguing from quotes of other sources that support their ideas and they won’t quote a primary source. These sources often make undocumented assertions- they just assert something with no evidence for it, they speculate on causal relationships, that’s one of the most common things you’ll see: „This must have caused this to happen”. Well, why? „Because they look similar so that’s what caused it”. That is false. Mithraism doesn’t have nay writings. You know how we get our information on the religion of Mithraism? Three reliefs. A relief is just a stone carving on a side of a wall. We don’t have writings for it and of course you’ve got to interpret beliefs and it’s the interpretation that needs to be questioned here. They MUST play connect the dots and that means they select which dots they are going to use to make their picture and that’s exactly what they do; they select that way.
  9. The difference fallacy. Here, the copy cat theorists overemphasize supposed similarities through the language that they use, the terminology, the comments they make, they don’t understand much. They overemphasize the similarities and they ignore the  enormous, substantive and relative differences between these religions. And that’s one of the things that should bother us the most. They are giving the idea that all these religions are basically saying the same thing and that’s simply not true, especially the pagan religions as they relate to Christianity. There are tremendous differences that aren’t common in it at all. The purpose and nature of the pagan mystery religions is completely different than the purpose and nature of Christianity.

Examples:

  • Mystery religions are cyclical. They generally follow the cycle of birth, death and rebirth ad infinitum for ever, following the vegetative harvest circles because they were agrarian types of religions. Christianity is not like that at all, Christianity is linear. It views all of history heading towards a specific direction, towards a goal; it’s not cyclical.
  • Mystery religions involve secrecy. Only members can participate. To become a member you had to go through secret initiation rites, I think that’s one reason why we don’t know much about these religions, especially in the first century because they were secretive. Christianity- completely open. It has no secretiveness, there are no secret rites, there’s no secret knowledge, it’s completely open.
  • Mystery religions – doctrines and beliefs were unimportant. They were religions of emotion, the idea of having a mystical, emotional experience, that was the idea behind them. They were not religions of doctrines or beliefs that you had to hold. However, in Christianity doctrinal beliefs are important, they’re the heart of Christianity . What you believe is the most important thing about it, not the emotional experience you have. Now, I am not discounting emotional mystical experiences, but the heart is belief and what you believe. That’s why they were so syncretic, it didn’t matter what you believed. That’s not true of Christianity at all.
  • Mystery religions were void of any ethical element. We don’t see anything teaching about living righteousness, the way you live, or ethics or anything like that. Christianity involves moral teachings and places a strong emphasis on living a righteous life. That’s why Jesus died, so we can be like Him and have righteousness.
  • Mystery religions were not interested in historicity and often acknowledged that they were not historical. The mystery religions themselves said that these are myths, that they really didn’t happen. Christianity is really wrapped up in its historyIt’s totally historical. If the events did not occur, Christianity did not make any sense as a religion. It only make sense if Jesus Christ really came on this earth, really walked, really taught the things that He did, really performed the acts that He did, really was crucified, really rose fro the dead.. those things really had to happen for Christianity to make sense.
  • Most importantly the death of Jesus is completely different than the death of mystery religions. In the mystery religions, yes, their gods die, but the meaning of what’s happening there is so different fro Christianity. Christ died for the sins of mankind, He died for us. None of the pagan gods died for anyone else. Actually, they died under compulsion. Most of them were murdered in some way or another. Jesus died willingly. Jesus died and was raised once. The pagan gods died cyclically along with the vegetative cycle. Jesus’s death was not tragic or defeat. It was a victory for us. Pagans, they mourn and lament the death of their gods, they treat it as a memorial

So there are tremendous differences that the copy cat theorists just ignore and don’t pay any attention to at all. They just want t show you is those parallels and many of them are forced through the language that they use and the things they do there. Many of the claims of ancient pagan religions are dubious, some of it is simply made up, or they take something and inexpert it their way. The vast majority of parallels are simply not there when one examines the original sources that we actually have. They are forced to fit through the language that is used. Just because there may be some parallels (there may be some similarities, but there’s no evidence or strong dependence), mystery religions do not claim historicity (Christianity does), there is no evidence of a strong dependency of the Christian narrative or any of the doctrines from other religions, we don’t see that. And, the non syncretic nature of Christianity/Judaism is strong evidence against the borrowing from pagan religions. It was considered anathema to do that kind of thing in early Christianity, to borrow from those religions.

Adolf Van Harnack wrote back in 1911- „We must reject the comparative mythology which finds a causal connection between everything and everything else, which tears down solid barriers, bridges chasms as though it were child’s play and spans combinations from superficial  similarities by such methods one can turn Christ into a sun god in a twinkling of an eye or transform the apostles into the 12 months in connection to Christ’s nativity, one can bring up the legends of attending the births of every conceivable god or one can catch all sorts of mythological doves to keep company with the baptismal dove or find any number of celebrated asses to follow the ass on which Jesus rode into Jerusalem. And thus, with a magic wand of comparative religion or parallelism, triumphantly eliminate every spontaneous trait in any religion.” If you can do that, you can claim just about anything. Watch out for what the internet tells you. Check it out, don’t just simply believe it cause it looks good.

Refuting Zeitgeist the Movie (Dr. Mark Foreman) from shirley rose on Vimeo.

The Great Resurrection Debate (1 of 2) (William Lane Craig vs John Shelby Spong)

There is a somewhat lengthy introduction (a little over 8 minutes) which I am not too fond of long introductions, so you can plan accordingly as you watch this interesting debate between Spong and William Lane Craig. A view of someone (Craig) who believes the Word of God and someone (Spong) who only ‘somwhat believes’ some things. It helps us decide whether we choose to believe the Gospel or not.

http://www.reasonablefaith.org – Nothing is more central to the Christian doctrine than the reality of Christ’s resurrection. In this debate, William Lane Craig and Jesus Seminar fellow John Shelby Spong discuss and debate whether the resurrection was a real, physical event. Presented by Church Communication Network (CCN).”

Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXuK7CMtrRg

A Q&A on Jesus’ Resurrection: http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=CB369C15037FEDC8

Dr. William Lane Craig debates another Jesus Seminar fellow Marcus Borg here: http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=5B0135DC769FBBEF

Link: http://drcraigvideos.blogspot.com

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