Romans 1:20 “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,”
If there is one overarching rebuttal I’ve heard from atheists and doubters alike is, where is the proof that God is who the Bible says He is—-the questions that He exists, that He created all we know, and that He appeared to us in Jesus Christ 2000 yrs. ago have been doubted from the disciples until today.
I’d like to take a look at 3 aspects of proof that the Lord is God alone, that He revealed Himself to mankind, and that creation demonstrates the fingerprints of God.
To start with, we must look at the evidence that is available. To summarize what this means, we must look at how evidence is based.
There are 4 main types of evidence in law:
- Real evidence
- Demonstrative evidence
- Documentary evidence
- Testimonial evidence
Real evidence, often called physical evidence, consists of material items involved in a case, objects and things the jury can physically hold and inspect. Examples of real evidence include fingerprints, blood samples, DNA, a knife, a gun, and other physical objects.
Demonstrative evidence, usually charts and diagrams, demonstrate or illustrate the testimony of a witness. It’s admissible when it fairly and accurately reflects the witness’s testimony and is more probative than prejudicial. Maps, diagrams of a crime scene, charts and graphs that illustrate physical or financial injury to a plaintiff are examples of demonstrative evidence. Witnesses create and use demonstrative evidence at trial, and opposing counsel may use the same evidence to prove contrary positions.
The production of documents at trial is documentary evidence which is presented to prove or disprove certain allegations at trial. These documents can be from a vast number of sources from diaries, letters, contracts, newspapers, and any other type of document that you can think of.
When a person gets up on the stand at trial and relates something that they saw or heard, that is testimonial evidence. It is simply a witness giving testimony under oath about the facts of the case.
Ok, now that we’ve laid a framework, let’s fill it in….
The ‘Real evidence’, confirms not only a young earth, but that Genesis is indeed true. Some examples of real evidence that has been observed and documented are:
Each of these examples require a very lengthy and at times exhaustive description of what has been observed or tested. These are examples that have been studied by real scientists and have confirmed the Biblical narrative of Creation. I have included them in a link type format if you’d like to read further on why this is real proof. Many times the studies, which come from secular institutions have denied an evolutionary model for creation. I’ve included this list from Answers in Genesis.org. There are many other great resources, one of my favorites is the Institute for Creation research.
What about archaeological evidence? For years skeptics have accused creationists of not providing any credible proof of a biblical narrative. With the advent of modern techniques for measuring the age of relics, interpreting writings, and defining the era of a particular find, we are seeing a continued affirmation for biblical truth.
In 2002, the Biblical Archaeological Society and the Discovery Channel announced in Washington, D.C. that an ancient inscription on a 2,000-year-old ossuary with the inscribed Aramaic words “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus” was genuine. However, controversy and a lawsuit over the veracity of the inscription followed. That’s all over now, and the verdicts are in.
The November/December 2002 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review magazine published the translation, dated at between 6 and 70 A.D. according to paleographer Andre Lemaire.1 A paleographer is an expert in ancient inscriptions.
The ossuary was designed to hold previously-entombed human bones that were later interred. When it was discovered, the ossuary served as a lowly planter box.
Now, according to a triumphantly titled article in the July/August 2012 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, “There is no reason to doubt the authenticity of the inscription on the James Ossuary.”1
That article also summarized the results of a detailed statistical analysis of the likelihood that the James ossuary refers to Jesus of Nazareth.
Immediately after the Washington announcement, the bone box achieved worldwide attention. Some called it the most important New Testament archaeological discovery, since it verifies exact biblical relationships between Jesus, his brother James, and their earthly father Joseph.2 How amazing to think that this ossuary once contained the bones of Jesus’ brother! 3https://www.icr.org/article/jamesbrother-jesus-ossuary-rock-solid/
Some other examples include discoveries concerning:
The real evidence is staggering in volume, you could spend a lot of time reading of the myriads of ways a creation narrative is true, it’s up to you how you perceive the evidence. Many very brilliant people have set out to show the evidence supports the Bible, while Darwin’s failed attempt to circumvent the creation narrative fades off into irrelevance.
Speaking of Darwin, what do many of the founders of modern science really say regarding reason and scientific inquiry?
*Matthew Fontaine Maury— proved that ships could use ocean winds and currents to cross the ocean faster. He was an American astronomer, historian, oceanographer, meteorologist, cartographer, and geologist. He was born on January 14, 1806 in Spotsylvania County, Virginia to parents of Dutch and French ancestry. He used the Bible to direct his course of inquiry and discovered it to be true.
Johannes Kepler–Kepler is recognized as one of the founders of modern science. ‘In his three books, Cosmic Mystery, The New Astronomy, and Harmony of the Worlds, he began the process that eventually replaced superstition with reason.
Kepler strongly believed that ‘The world of nature, the world of man, the world of God—all three fit together.’ In particular, Kepler reasoned that because the universe was designed by an intelligent Creator, it should function according to some logical pattern. To him, the idea of a chaotic universe was inconsistent with God’s wisdom. In contrast, many other scientists had given up searching for a simple logical pattern.
How about general scientific revelations in God’s Word?
Statements Consistent With Paleontology
- Dinosaurs are referred to in several Bible books. The book of Job describes two dinosaurs. One is described in chapter 40 starting at verse 15, and the other in chapter 41 starting at verse 1. We think you will agree that 1½ chapters about dinosaurs is a lot—since most people do not even realize that they are mentioned in the Bible. (Actually reading the Bible would help, though.
Statements Consistent With Astronomy
- The Bible frequently refers to the great number of stars in the heavens. Here are two examples. Genesis 22:17 “Blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies.” Jeremiah 33:22 “As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, nor the sand of the sea measured, so will I multiply the descendants of David My servant and the Levites who minister to Me.’ ”
- Even today, scientists admit that they do not know how many stars there are. Only about 3,000 can be seen with the naked eye. We have seen estimates of 1021 stars—which is a lot of stars. (The number of grains of sand on the earth’s seashores is estimated to be 1025. As scientists discover more stars, wouldn’t it be interesting to discover that these two numbers match?)
- The Bible also says that each star is unique. 1 Corinthians 15:41 “There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory.All stars look alike to the naked eye”. *Even when seen through a telescope, they seem to be just points of light. However, analysis of their light spectra reveals that each is unique and different from all others.(*Note: We understand that people can perceive some slight difference in color and apparent brightness when looking at stars with the naked eye, but we would not expect a person living in the first century A.D. to claim they differ from one another.)
- The Bible describes the precision of movement in the universe. Jeremiah 31:35-36 “Thus says the LORD, who gives the sun for light by day, who sets in order the moon and stars for light by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—the LORD of Hosts is His name:“Only if this fixed order departed from My presence,declares the LORD,would Israel’s descendants ever cease to be a nation before Me.”
- The Bible describes the suspension of the Earth in space. Job 26:7 “He stretches out the north over empty space; He hangs the earth on nothing.”
Statements Consistent With Biology
- The book of Leviticus (written prior to 1400 BC) describes the value of blood. Leviticus 17:11 “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.” The blood carries water and nourishment to every cell, maintains the body’s temperature, and removes the waste material of the body’s cells. The blood also carries oxygen from the lungs throughout the body. In 1616, William Harvey discovered that blood circulation is the key factor in physical life—confirming what the Bible revealed 3,000 years earlier.
Statements Consistent With Anthropology
- We have cave paintings and other evidence that people inhabited caves. The Bible also describes cave men. Job 30:5-6 “They were driven out from among men, They shouted at them as at a thief. They had to live in the clefts of the valleys, In caves of the earth and the rocks.” Note that these were not ape-men, but descendants of those who scattered from Babel. They were driven from the community by those tribes who competed successfully for the more desirable regions of the earth. Then for some reason they deteriorated mentally, physically, and spiritually. (Go into a bad part of your town and you will see this concept in action today.)
Statements Consistent With Hydrology
- The bible includes reasonably complete descriptions of the hydrologic cycle. Psalm 135:7 “He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; He makes lightning for the rain; He brings the wind out of His treasuries.” In these verses you can see several phases of the hydrologic cycle—the worldwide processes of evaporation, translation aloft by atmospheric circulation, condensation with electrical discharges, and precipitation. Job 36:27-29 “For He draws up drops of water, which distill as rain from the mist, which the clouds drop down And pour abundantly on man. Indeed, can anyone understand the spreading of clouds,The thunder from His canopy? This simple verse has remarkable scientific insight. The drops of water which eventually pour down as rain first become vapor and then condense to tiny liquid water droplets in the clouds. These finally coalesce into drops large enough to overcome the updrafts that suspend them in the air.
- The Bible describes the recirculation of water. Ecclesiastes 1:7 “All the rivers run into the sea, Yet the sea is not full; To the place from which the rivers come, There they return again.” Isaiah 55:10 “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, And do not return there, But water the earth, And make it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower And bread to the eater,”
- Hydrothermal vents are described in two books of the Bible written before 1400BC—more than 3,000 years before their discovery by science. Genesis 7:11 “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.” Job 38:16 “Have you entered the springs of the sea? Or have you walked in search of the depths?“
- The Bible described the shape of the earth centuries before people thought that the earth was spherical. Isaiah 40:22 “It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.”
The word translated “circle” here is the Hebrew word chuwg which is also translated “circuit,” or “compass” (depending on the context). That is, it indicates something spherical, rounded, or arched—not something that is flat or square.
The book of Isaiah was written sometime between 740 and 680 BC. This is at least 300 years before Aristotle suggested that the earth might be a sphere in this book On the Heavens.
In the 1800’s – physician in Vienna named Semovice, in charge of a hospital where pregnant women were coming in for routine exams immediately after exams, many of them were dying of infection. Semovice noticed that doctors were entering the OB area from all other areas of the hospital, including the morgue, without washing their hands – he made it a rule the doctors had a fit! “this is ridiculous, it will slow us down!”
The medical field today knows to wash up, but only because science has caught up with the Bible in this area.
Thousands of years ago, Moses said in Numbers 19
14 ‘This is the law when a man dies in a tent: All who come into the tent and all who are in the tent shall be unclean seven days; 15 and every open vessel, which has no cover fastened on it, is unclean. 16 Whoever in the open field touches one who is slain by a sword or who has died, or a bone of a man, or a grave, shall be unclean seven days.
17 ‘And for an unclean person they shall take some of the ashes of the heifer burnt for purification from sin, and running water shall be put on them in a vessel. 18 A clean person shall take hyssop and dip it in the water, sprinkle it on the tent, on all the vessels, on the persons who were there, or on the one who touched a bone, the slain, the dead, or a grave. 19 The clean person shall sprinkle the unclean on the third day and on the seventh day; and on the seventh day he shall purify himself, wash his clothes, and bathe in water; and at evening he shall be clean.
Principles here: quarantine, washing with water, changing clothes, time interval for bacteria to die.
How did Moses know these things? “All scripture is given by inspiration of God.”
There is so much more that showed God fully understood His creation and revealed it to mankind far before the supposed “Age of Reason”.
The Bible not only confirms truth in science, it shows itself to be true in prophecy.
When looking at prophecy, the term is usually applied as what is clarified beforehand; prophecy which involves divinely-empowered forthtelling (asserting the mind of God) or foretelling (prediction).
So prophecy can either be foretelling a future event or revealing the mind of God to others. Most Bible scholars would agree that the majority of the Bible is prophetic in nature. When read in its original Hebrew language, the prophetic component shines through. I would like to focus on one specific topic of prophecy in scripture—-prophecy regarding the Messiah-Jesus.
44 Prophecies Jesus Christ Fulfilled
Prophecies About Jesus Old Testament Scripture New Testament Fulfillment. Of the 300+ prophecies Jesus fulfilled, let’s look at 44 major prophecies He fulfilled in more depth.
1. Messiah would be born of a woman. Genesis 3:15 Matthew 1:20
2. Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Micah 5:2 Matthew 2:1
3. Messiah would be born of a virgin. Isaiah 7:14 Matthew 1:22-23
4. Messiah would come from the line of Abraham. Genesis 12:3 Genesis 22:18 Matthew 1:1 Romans 9:5
5. Messiah would be a descendant of Isaac.
Genesis 21:12 Luke 3:34
6. Messiah would be a descendant of Jacob. Numbers 24:17 Matthew 1:2
7. Messiah would come from the tribe of Judah. Genesis 49:10 Luke 3:33
8. Messiah would be heir to King David’s throne. 2 Samuel 7:12-13
9. Messiah’s throne will be anointed and eternal. Psalm 45:6-7
10. Messiah would be called Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14 Matthew 1:23
11. Messiah would spend a season in Egypt. Hosea 11:1 Matthew 2:14-15
12. A massacre of children would happen at
Messiah’s birthplace. Jeremiah 31:15 Matthew 2:16-18
13. A messenger would prepare the way for Messiah Isaiah 40:3-5 Luke 3:3-6
14. Messiah would be rejected by his own people. Psalm 69:8
15. Messiah would be a prophet. Deuteronomy 18:15 Acts 3:20-22
16. Messiah would be preceded by Elijah. Malachi 4:5-6 Matthew 11:13-14
17. Messiah would be declared the Son of God. Psalm 2:7 Matthew 3:16-17
18. Messiah would be called a Nazarene. Isaiah 11:1 Matthew 2:23
19. Messiah would bring light to Galilee. Isaiah 9:1-2 Matthew 4:13-16
20. Messiah would speak in parables. Psalm 78:2-4 Isaiah 6:9-10 Matthew 13:10-15,34-35
21. Messiah would be sent to heal the
brokenhearted. Isaiah 61:1-2 Luke 4:18-19
22. Messiah would be a priest after the order of
Melchizedek. Psalm 110:4 Hebrews 5:5-6
23. Messiah would be called King. Psalm 2:6 Zechariah 9:9 Matthew 27:37
24. Messiah would be praised by little children. Psalm 8:2 Matthew 21:16
25. Messiah would be betrayed. Psalm 41:9 Zechariah 11:12-13 Luke 22:47-48 Matthew 26:14-16
26. Messiah’s price money would be used to buy a
potter’s field. Zechariah 11:12-13Matthew 27:9-10
27. Messiah would be falsely accused. Psalm 35:11 Mark 14:57-58
28. Messiah would be silent before his accusers. Isaiah 53:7 Mark 15:4-5
29. Messiah would be spat upon and struck. Isaiah 50:6 Matthew 26:67
30. Messiah would be hated without cause. Psalm 35:19
Psalm 69:4 John 15:24-25
31. Messiah would be crucified with criminals. Isaiah 53:12 Matthew 27:38
32. Messiah would be given vinegar to drink. Psalm 69:21 Matthew 27:34
33. Messiah’s hands and feet would be pierced. Psalm 22:16
Zechariah 12:10 John 20:25-27
34. Messiah would be mocked and ridiculed. Psalm 22:7-8 Luke 23:35
35. Soldiers would gamble for Messiah’s garments. Psalm 22:18 Luke 23:34
36. Messiah’s bones would not be broken. Exodus 12:46
Psalm 34:20 John 19:33-36
37. Messiah would be forsaken by God. Psalm 22:1 Matthew 27:46
38. Messiah would pray for his enemies. Psalm 109:4 Luke 23:34
39. Soldiers would pierce Messiah’s side. Zechariah 12:10 John 19:34
40. Messiah would be buried with the rich. Isaiah 53:9 Matthew 27:57-
41. Messiah would resurrect from the dead. Psalm 16:10
Psalm 49:15 Matthew 28:2-7 Acts 2:22-32
42. Messiah would ascend to heaven. Psalm 24:7-10 Mark 16:19
43. Messiah would be seated at God’s right hand. Psalm 68:18
Psalm 110:1 Mark 16:19 Matthew 22:44
44. Messiah would be a sacrifice for sin. Isaiah 53:5-12 Romans 5:6-8
Mathematics & Astronomy Professor Peter W. Stoner has made the statement that the chances of just 8 prophecies (like these) coming true by sheer chance is 1 in 1017 (100,000,000,000,000,000). That would be equivalent to covering the whole state of Texas with silver dollars two feet deep and then expecting a blindfolded man to walk across the state and on the very first try find the ONE coin you marked (roughly equivalent to the Province of Ontario being 1.5 feet deep). And if we were to add only 8 more similar prophecies, for a total of 16, the odds would be 1 x 1028 x 1017 or 1 in 1045 (1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000)
Using the same type of illustration as above, if we were to press this many silver dollars (1045) into a ball and place the center of this ball where the center of our Sun is, this silver ball’s outer edge would be in approximately the same area as the orbit of Neptune (almost to Pluto.). One man fulfilling all 16 prophecies by sheer chance would be like sending a blind-folded person out to find one specific silver dollar that has been marked and has been
mixed up somewhere in this huge ball and actually finding it the first time! (Keep in mind that this is a three-dimensional BALL, not a disk like our Solar System.)
What about Documentary Evidence?
The Bible is a unique collection of 66 books. Thirty-nine of these books belong to the Old Testament and twenty-seven are found in the New Testament. The books of the Old Testament were written primarily in the Hebrew language between 2000 B.C. and 450 B.C. A 500-year period of silence followed, in which no biblical books were penned. All the New Testament books were written in Greek in the mid-first century A.D.
There are two factors together that give us an estimate of the authenticity of an ancient writing: the number of ancient copies (more is better), and the timescale between the autograph and the oldest extant manuscript (shorter is better). When we used these factors, how does the Bible stack up against other ancient literature?
Consider the works of Plato. His writings date back to around 400-350 B.C. The oldest existing copy dates to A.D. 900. So the timescale between authorship and discovery is 1250 years. And the number of ancient manuscripts (dating before the 12th century)? Less than ten. There are some variations between them of course. Yet modern copies of Plato’s writings are considered authentic; scholars do not doubt that they accurately depict what Plato wrote.
The situation improves dramatically with the works of Homer. He wrote the Iliad around the year 900 B.C., and the earliest copies we find date back to 400 B.C. Furthermore, there are over 600 ancient manuscripts. So the authenticity of this work is unimpeachable. In fact, the Iliad is often considered the most authentic work of the ancient world… besides the Bible.
Turning to the Old Testament of the Bible, we have several thousand ancient manuscripts. About 1000 of these manuscripts are called the Masoretic text and were meticulously copied by Jewish scribes. So these greatly outnumber ancient copies of the Iliad. The oldest of the Masoretic texts dates to A.D. 916, so the timescale is quite large and may lead some to doubt the authenticity of the Old Testament. That was the case until discovery of the dead sea scrolls in 1947. These contained substantial portions of every book of the Old Testament except Esther, and they date back to 250 B.C. That’s only about 200 years after the last book of the Old Testament was written! They also showed astonishing agreement with the Masoretic texts, proving that the Jewish scribes were meticulous in their efforts.
There are around 25,000 ancient manuscripts of the New Testament, nearly 6,000 of which are in the original Greek language with the rest being translations. That’s superb! And what about the timescale between the autographs and the oldest extant copy? We have manuscripts of entire books of the New Testament that date to the 3rd and even 2nd century – less than 200 years, and often less than 100 years from the time of writing. Fragments of the Gospel of John have been found from the early second century. At that time, there were people living who could have potentially met John himself. With so short a time span, there is no doubt that the New Testament books are authentic.
The Bible is actually the most authentic collection of books from the ancient world by far. So if we cannot have confidence that the Bible has been accurately transmitted over time, then we shouldn’t have confidence that anything has been accurately transmitted.
This book is really a library of books…66 in all. These 66 books were written over a period of 1600 years.
- They were written by 40 different men,
- from 13 different countries
- 3 different continents…
and yet it all comes together as a literary masterpiece, with one central theme. That’s a miracle…with a divine Author overseeing the whole thing!
Those 40 men came from a variety of backgrounds:
- kings, princes
- some were rich, some were poor
- educated, uneducated…
…if we were to take 40 men from this room today, and let’s say they were all equal in social standing, education, and background: if we put them all in a room together, the 40 of them probably couldn’t ALL agree on any one thing, much less everything! And yet, God’s Word stands without contradiction! And they all write about the same hero, Jesus Christ.
The Bible, like many books, was written by eyewitnesses (Luke 1:2; 2 Peter 1:16) to the events and circumstances that they recorded. That they were trustworthy witnesses is only to be expected, since God inspired them to co-author their respective portions of the Bible. But some ask: how can we know if the Bible’s human co-authors were really reliable eyewitnesses?
The following eyewitness traits are the ones emphasized in common law, in law school, and in the Rules of Evidence.
A reliable witness will evidence honesty by his/her sincerity of speech, and be clearly motivated by a drive to speak the truth. The quality of a witness’s observations can be observed by accurate memory, evidenced often by access to accurate records. The competency of his/her communication will be demonstrated by an ability to recall and describe observations, with accurate information and relevant details. Testimonial consistency is also a key factor in reliability.
Though each witness will provide idiosyncratic differences (due to different perspectives and interests), all Scripture has perfect evidentiary consistency. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Moses, Daniel, Jude, and all of the other Bible’s co-authors qualify as impeccably reliable eyewitnesses. Many of the Bible’s writers suffered cruel treatment, even death, for their stand on their witness. To the obvious credibility of their writings is added the unshakeable belief that their testimony was so true that it was worth suffering and dying for.
Discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls
In 1947, a young Jewish boy was tending his sheep near the Dead Sea, thinking one of his animals was in a cave above he threw a rock into it, upon hearing something break, he inspected it to find a cave full of jars containing ancient biblical manuscripts.
Before the discovery of these scrolls, the oldest complete copy of the Old Testament in Hebrew was Codex Babylonicus Petropalitanus from a.d. 1008, more than 1,400 years after the Old Testament was completed. Fragments from the Dead Sea Scrolls now closed the gap by a thousand years and left the world waiting to see if the text had been transmitted accurately. The answer was a resounding yes.
The Dead Sea Scrolls demonstrated unequivocally the fact that the Jews were faithful in their transcription of biblical manuscripts. This reverence for the Scriptures was summed up long ago by the first century Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus:
Charles Pfeiffer had this to say along that line, “It should be noted that, while negative higher critical views of the Bible cannot be refuted by a study of the Qumran scrolls (Qumran is the main location in the Dead Sea area where the scrolls were found), there is no evidence from Qumran to justify a major reassessment of the traditional views of the origin of biblical writings.
“The Old Testament books from Qumran are those which we find in our Bibles. Minor textual variants occur as they do in any document which depends on hand copies for multiplication, but the biblical text may be regarded as essentially reliable” (The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible, Charles F. Pfeiffer, Baker Book House, 1967, p. 114).
Testimonial evidence from Tacitus, Pliny the Younger, Josephus, Babylonian Talmud, and Lucian gave collateral proof for the life of Jesus.
Tacitus—Reporting on Emperor Nero’s decision to blame the Christians for the fire that had destroyed Rome in A.D. 64, the Roman historian Tacitus wrote:
Nero fastened the guilt … on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of … Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome….
Pliny the Younger—-Pliny was the Roman governor of Bithynia in Asia Minor. In one of his letters, dated around A.D. 112, he asks Trajan’s advice about the appropriate way to conduct legal proceedings against those accused of being Christians.Pliny says that he needed to consult the emperor about this issue because a great multitude of every age, class, and sex stood accused of Christianity.
At one point in his letter, Pliny relates some of the information he has learned about these Christians:
They were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verses a hymn to Christ, as to a god, and bound themselves by a solemn oath, not to any wicked deeds, but never to commit any fraud, theft or adultery, never to falsify their word, nor deny a trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up; after which it was their custom to separate, and then reassemble to partake of food – but food of an ordinary and innocent kind.
This passage provides us with a number of interesting insights into the beliefs and practices of early Christians. First, we see that Christians regularly met on a certain fixed day for worship. Second, their worship was directed to Christ, demonstrating that they firmly believed in His divinity. Furthermore, one scholar interprets Pliny’s statement that hymns were sung to Christ, “as to a god”, as a reference to the rather distinctive fact that, “unlike other gods who were worshipped, Christ was a person who had lived on earth.” If this interpretation is correct, Pliny understood that Christians were worshipping an actual historical person as God! Of course, this agrees perfectly with the New Testament doctrine that Jesus was both God and man.
Josephus—-Perhaps the most remarkable reference to Jesus outside the Bible can be found in the writings of Josephus, a first century Jewish historian. On two occasions, in his Jewish Antiquities, he mentions Jesus. The second, less revealing, reference describes the condemnation of one “James” by the Jewish Sanhedrin. This James, says Josephus, was “the brother of Jesus the so-called Christ.”F.F. Bruce points out how this agrees with Paul’s description of James in Galatians 1:19 as “the Lord’s brother.”And Edwin Yamauchi informs us that “few scholars have questioned” that Josephus actually penned this passage.
As interesting as this brief reference is, there is an earlier one, which is truly astonishing. Called the “Testimonium Flavianum,” the relevant portion declares:
About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he … wrought surprising feats…. He was the Christ. When Pilate …condemned him to be crucified, those who had . . . come to love him did not give up their affection for him. On the third day he appeared … restored to life…. And the tribe of Christians … has … not disappeared.Bethinking.org
Babylonian Talmud—–There are only a few clear references to Jesus in the Babylonian Talmud, a collection of Jewish rabbinical writings compiled between approximately A.D. 70-500. Given this time frame, it is naturally supposed that earlier references to Jesus are more likely to be historically reliable than later ones. In the case of the Talmud, the earliest period of compilation occurred between A.D. 70-200. The most significant reference to Jesus from this period states:
On the eve of the Passover Yeshu was hanged. For forty days before the execution took place, a herald … cried, “He is going forth to be stoned because he has practiced sorcery and enticed Israel to apostasy.”
Lucian—-Lucian of Samosata was a second century Greek satirist. In one of his works, he wrote of the early Christians as follows:
The Christians … worship a man to this day – the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on that account…. [It] was impressed on them by their original lawgiver that they are all brothers, from the moment that they are converted, and deny the gods of Greece, and worship the crucified sage, and live after his laws
The evidence for the authenticity of the Bible is overwhelming. I tried to give a few highlights that have been recorded but the magnitude of this is simply too great to include in one single blog. All I can say is, if your concerned the Bible isn’t authentic, that it hasn’t been proven, or that it is unreliable, then look further, the evidence is staggering in every facet of proof. Ultimately, if a person senses a hunger for God, it is God who is calling them. If there is some aspect of Christianity that has kept you skeptical to the point of not desiring to walk into a relationship with Jesus, I hope some of these points I’ve included calm your fears and removes the things that have inhibited you from trusting Jesus as your Lord and Savior.
Sin separated us from God long ago, all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and the wages of sin is death. Sin is breaking God’s moral law, lying, stealing, lust, hatred, idolatry….we have all been found guilty. It is only by the grace of God that Jesus purchased on the Cross that has enabled you to come and be set free from condemnation. When a sinner comes to Him, Grace and Mercy are shown and sin is forgotten.
The evidence God provided through the centuries is a reflection of His love. Once you know His love, you’ll realize there is nothing that compares.