Through a facebook conversation with one of Taylor’s friends (Tay is my oldest daughter) I was asked why I believe in God. She said she wanted a very real and concrete answer as to why I believe. There are a million reasons I believe, but the one central ultimate gravitational truth why I believe is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. And if the resurrection is true, then like dominoes everything else about Jesus is true.
I had a lady one time express to me that she believed having a faith in Jesus was no more than believing in a doorknob. I would agree with her if it wasn’t for the historical proof of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It’s interesting that this is the core truth the early church would not shut up about. When Peter preached the very first sermon in Jerusalem to a crowd of thousands he specifically said, “Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, AS YOU YOURSELVES KNOW.” (emphasis mine). In other words the whole crowd has seen Jesus and his ministry, his miracles, and his resurrected body. Peter did not have to prove Jesus’ existence to them or what he had done. It was common knowledge.
So why do I believe the resurrection is true?
First, when I realized that you cannot prove historical fact with scientific methodology. In science for something to be true it has to be verified and repeatable. You cannot repeat history so you have to look to other means for verification of facts. This means relying on the Bible as an ancient document.
The Bible’s testimony passes the three tests of ancient historical verification with flying colors. First is the biographical test. The ancient manuscripts of the Bible come within 10-70 years of the actual writing. Other ancient documents, like one’s about Rome, are 1000 years from the original date, and these docs are considered trustworthy. If the Bible were a secular writing it would considered true with no doubt, one scholar concluded.
The second test is the internal test. Are there contradictions? In short, there are no contradictions, but there are differences. I don’t have space to go onto that one. But more importantly, does it read like its true? The Bible reads like an eyewitness account of an accident or someone telling you about a party. It reads true, unlike other ancient documents about gods. They read more like a comic book.
Then there is the external test. There are over 25,000 archeological discoveries that verify the Bible. No archeological discovery has ever controverted a Biblical reference. Consider William Ramsey, one of the preeminent archeologists of all time, actually set out to disprove Luke’s account of Jesus’ life. He did all these digs to show how Luke was wrong. He couldn’t do it. So finally he gave up and believed. He ended up writing 15 books showing how the history of the Bible is true.
Secondly if the Bible is a trustworthy document then I must realize that over 500 people saw the resurrected body of Jesus. Thousands more saw him die on the cross. An entire movement did not come out of thin air. It came with what they saw, heard, touched, and in some cases tasted! It is based in history. Based on the testimonies of witnesses I believe the resurrection is true. How else did a tiny movement, in the armpit of Rome, make it out and survive 2000+ years?
Then thirdly, I believe the resurrection is true because Jesus’ actions during the passion are the ultimate answer to man’s sin, or dark ways. All other belief systems fail to handle our failure and guilt. All the other systems religious and non-religious call on us to try harder when we fail (For example; In Islam there is no promise of heaven when you die), which just sets us up for failure over and over again. Even if you live just for yourself you don’t measure up. Only Jesus breaks this cycle of failure by forgiving us on the cross. We are no longer guilty. We no longer have to try harder. Jesus breaks us from that bondage. His forgiveness on the cross and his resurrection are the ultimate answer to man’s problem, evil.
But, as the Paul wrote to the Corinthians, without the resurrection our faith would be futile. It would be nothing. I believe because the resurrection really did happen.