Date: Sun, 15 Apr 2001 (Re-edited May 12, 2008)
As a child I was a skeptic. My faith had questions. When I was seven or eight years of age in Junior Boys Sunday School class, on Easter Sunday morning, I remember something very significant that happened.
Another boy named Ronnie piped up and asked the teacher a question that really got my attention. His question raised a major issue? This is what he asked:
"Teacher, how do we know that Jesus really came back to life? I never heard of anybody who was dead coming back to life. How do we know that isn't just a story? How do we know this is true?"
When he asked that question my attention level rocketed up a hundred percent. I would have been afraid to have asked that. In Junior Boys class you didn't ask provocative or skeptical questions. It was expected that you kept your questions more in the area of, "Teacher, why did they put Jesus in a cave with a stone?? That's a funny kind of grave." But Ronnie's question went right to the heart of the matter. I wanted an answer to that question too. I was excited because I sensed the answer to that question meant everything.
For our teacher this was a totally unexpected query. She was caught off guard. She looked at Ronnie for a second with shock on her face...and then she just blurted..."Well, you just have to believe it, because it's true. You have to accept it by faith!" Our teacher gave us the best answer she knew. She didn't know much more about the answer to that question than we boys did. And I could tell that question made her uncomfortable.
Ronnie wasn't satisfied by her answer. I wasn't either, and doubt arose in my mind that day. Ronnie and I really didn't understand much about faith, let alone about a dead Son of God coming back to life.
It wasn't until maybe 14 or 15 years later, sitting in a seminar with Josh McDowell, when I learned that there is massive historical evidence that Jesus Christ was thoroughly killed and then after three days HE was supernaturally raised, bodily, from death. There is more evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ than there is historical evidence that John Wilkes Boothe shot President Abraham Lincoln!!! That fact shook me.
Mr. McDowell explained something that I had forgotten from my basic high school science. He explained that it is impossible to scientifically PROVE any event of history. The reason for this is that anything that is scientifically proven must be INFINITELY REPEATABLE in the lab or in nature or somewhere. History cannot be repeated even one more time, let alone infinitely. History can only be backed up by historical evidence. We can perhaps get to 99.44% accuracy on some events of history. But we can never reach 100% proof like we can proving that water is really two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen. If we ever encounter a doubter concerning what water is made of, we can pull out our beaker of water, connect two electrodes to a battery and through electrolysis do the experiment that scientifically proves that water is H2O.[Note: With the development of DNA testing we have come a step closer to proving some historical events scientifically. Nevertheless we are still very limited in our ability to prove anything historical like we can prove something in chemistry or math.]
In other words, if you believe Unites States history is true and that Boothe killed Lincoln then you better accept the story of Jesus' resurrection totally. And if you don't believe the story of the resurrection then you better stop believing much of what is written in history books! You better not believe the astronauts made it to the Moon, because everything that happened in the past cannot be repeated. In fact most of us know that Hollywood can do a better moon landing than NASA can do.
I cannot prove my own mother gave birth to me. I can gather all the evidence, paperwork, witnesses, photographs and I can get a very, very convincing case of who was my mother and when I was born...but I cannot prove it scientifically, other than through DNA testing.
I've studied the massive historical evidences, and I know that Jesus was totally dead... and then He was raised out of the grave with more life than he ever had before! I know that the evidence is not limited to the Bible but is also contained in the writings of other people from the time period of Jesus' life. Even a major historian of the period who was not a Christian declares that Jesus Christ lived, died and was raised to life and was seen alive following His execution.
If you want to study the historical evidence, you might begin by reading MORE THAN A CARPENTER and/or EVIDENCE THAT DEMANDS A VERDICT, Volume One by Josh McDowell. Mr. McDowell was an atheist, magna cum laude grad who questioned the resurrection of Jesus Christ. When he studied the historical evidences he became a believer.
I was amazed how many judges and lawyers who were atheists and skeptics realized that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the foundation of Christianity and so they went to work to expose the resurrection as a lie, only to become believers when they went through the evidence. They could not over power the historical evidence.
But like all history the resurrection cannot be proven scientifically. It cannot be repeated. Through the years I have heard various thinkers and skeptics declare that the resurrection cannot be proven and therefore they deny it. But my answer to them is that they must therefore doubt most every thing about the past and reject all human history as possibly bogus. You see, you can't hunt and peck through history and decide you are going to reject events based on their plausibility. You can only deal with historical evidence. Good historians know this. Historical evidence is all that we can use to decide what we believe and what we reject in history.
To reject the resurrection of Jesus Christ is to declare to all that you failed to review the true evidence. There are even authors who have manufactured their own false evidence about the resurrection in order to try and eradicate it from history. But they make themselves fools because the evidence is already in. It has already been fairly and accurately collected. I challenge you to read Mr. McDowell's work, EVIDENCE THAT DEMANDS A VERDICT, Volume One He gives you the exact sources so that you can go to a good library and search out the very same data for yourself, if you so desire. I've never noticed that the history fabricaters and re-writers do that. They don't have massive sources and copious support for their position.