Evidences for the Truth of Christian Faith 4/22/06

    Perhaps the foremost evidence of Christian truth is the Person of Jesus the Messiah. No other person in history is like Him.  All time is divided into the periods of B.C. (before Christ) and A.D. (anno Domini), “the year of our Lord”.  What kind of man would go around saying, “I am the resurrection and the life”, and “He that believeth on me hath eternal life”?  If He were not speaking truth and giving evidence of His role in salvation, He probably would be called a lunatic.  No one ever made this accusation against Him.  Is it narrow-mindedness or truth when He says, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No man cometh to the Father but by Me” (John 14:6)?

    No book has ever had the impact of the Bible in the world or on individuals.  It is the all-time “best seller” of books ever written.  No book has had the impact of transforming lives like this one.  Challenges, such as criminal behavior, violence, drug trafficking, and alcoholism have gone on for centuries.  Where psychiatry has failed repeatedly, the Scriptures have been successful in millions of cases.

    What book would ever declare itself to be the very Word of God?  It is filled with direct quotations from God in the first person.  The longest chapter in the Bible (Psa. 119) is devoted to describing the blessings received by the man who keeps His Word. No other book makes this claim.  From the time of Moses in the Old Testament to Jesus and the Apostles, the Bible affirms consistently that the Scriptures came from God, even though written by men.  The means does not destroy the divine purpose.  It says, “ All Scripture is inspired by God (“God-breathed”) and is profitable for teaching… and instruction in righteousness” (II Tim. 3:16). Further, it says that the one who does not believe God’s Word has called Him a liar and the truth is not in him. (I John 5:10).

    The strongest evidence for a creative intelligence (God) is fulfillment of Biblical prophecy.  It is impossible to predict in specific detail events long before they happen, especially without error. Public fascination with astrology, horoscopes and “fortune tellers” show human desire to know the future. However, no known system yields a successful detailed prediction on any subject, whether in economics or the weather.  Only God can know and control the future.

    Of all areas of Biblical prophecy, none exceed the detail and clarity of Messianic prophecy.  It begins with Gen. 3:15 which refers to the seed of a woman.  Only men have seed (sperm), not women.  This fits with the virgin birth of Jesus (Isa. 7:14).   

    Details of all the major events in the life of Jesus are given in order, some over a thousand years before His birth.  These Scriptures detail His sufferings on the cross before crucifixion was even practiced (Psa.22).  Please consult Appendix A for details.  One should not say that these prophecies were added later.  The Dead Sea Scrolls (dated in the 2nd century B.C. and discovered in 1947 A.D.)  confirm the Biblical facts just as we have them in our Bible today.  The Scrolls contain some part of every book of the Bible except Esther.  This includes a complete text of Isaiah, which is filled with Messianic detail.

    Biblical prophecies are not limited to the Messiah.  For example, the full course of world empires are set down in the texts in correct order.  Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia, Media-Persia, Greece and Rome are covered in detail from patriarchal times in Daniel and Zechariah, and are concluded in Revelation.  Another example is the mention of nuclear fusion, including the basic principle of the atom bomb (“all things held together”, Col.1:17).  To this can be added II Peter 3:10, “The heavens shall pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with fervent heat and the earth with its works will be burned up”.  All of this is in the setting of the end times.  Surely this is a reference to an atomic explosion.

    The terms “Science” and “Religion” are used in many varied situations.  Unfortunately neither is consistently defined.  Science is a method of observation, logical consideration of all opposing explanations, and the development of a working hypothesis. “Religion” is even more widely defined. Most definitions include a reference to God, whatever one chooses, and the supernatural. The fact that it has to do with God is no reason to rule it out.  Whether it is observable or not (many elements in physics are not), the question is what elements of fact or truth are being evaluated. They should not be eliminated because of their invisible character.  They should be open to logical analysis.

    In the field of “science”, such as paleontology, a significant point of analysis is fossil evidence.  In Darwinian theory there is postulated a step-by-step evolutionary process of all living things.  This requires the crossing of species lines (not yet in evidence).

    Fossil evidence did not begin until the Cambrian geologic age.  Then fossils appeared in some abundance.  What preceded this?  Somewhere there must have been pre-Cambrian life.  How did this life begin?  For several decades Prof. Stanley Miller, now at University of California, San Diego, has worked to find proof of pre-organic life, that is, life which has sprung up from non-living matter. Despite initial publicity, he has not found the evidence.  With Miller as the intelligent designer, some algae was formed.  However, by random occurrence, there is no intelligent life.  The law of biogenesis (only life produces life) still holds true.

    Deficiencies of evidence for developing fossils is a problem.  Steven Gould, Harvard paleontologist, proposed the theory of “punctuated equilibrium”.  The theory is that there were periods of inactivity in evolutionary development when no fossils were formed.  Then there was a period when they were formed. This is a strong admission of the lack of fossil-forming activity during a period of time. Evolutionary theory requires fossil proof in the form of a steady progression of changing species.  Another objection was made by Michael Behe, professor at Lehigh University.  He called it “irreducible complexity”.  His illustration was a mousetrap.  During this development the various parts were useless without the other parts.  There was no ordinary evolutionary development as would be expected by evolutionists since the parts are useless by themselves.

    There are peculiarities in certain specimens.  There is no apparent purpose in their development.  Why should a caterpillar suddenly metamorphose into a butterfly?  What would be the useful purpose?  Another example is the somewhat comic creature called the proboscis monkey.  It has an extremely long nose which is sometimes grabbed by other monkeys.  The long nose contains no useful purpose and leads nowhere.

    Evolutionists sometimes manufacture examples for textbooks.  An illustration is the “peppered moth”.  Its change in coloration to blend with the environment allegedly shows how environment brings about change in the species.  In fact, the population of moths reverts back to original colors over time.  Hence the peppered moth is fundamentally unchanged.  There is no development of a new species in this process. On top of this, for “evidence”, the evolutionists pasted dead moths on tree trunks and photographed them for textbooks. Surely this is a form of deceit.

    One of the great arguments for a Creator-Designer (God) is the existence of ideal factors for intelligent life.  No other planet but earth has these characteristics.  The earth’s axis, speed of rotation, distance from the sun, atmosphere and abundance of water are just some of the essential elements provided for life to exist.  Our earth is fine-tuned to the smallest degree.  Any alteration of even one of them would make life here impossible.  These unique features have launched numerous space expeditions to locate life elsewhere.  This is a major project for N.A.S.A.  Since Mars in the most (only) suitable planet, there has been much exploration and digging to find even water.  The search has been largely unproductive.  There are no “canals” on Mars.  Its freezing atmosphere would render life impossible.

    Most people believe there is life on other planets by reason of movies and concepts like space travel at high speed.  In reality these events have never happened.  Earth is perfect for intelligent life.  There is no evidence that on other planets there is a suitable environment for life.
The science of astronomy has called attention to the orderly movement of planets in our universe.  It is so predictable as to be able to date events in the past.  Creation witnesses to the action of a divine Creator so all men are without excuse (Rom. 1:20).  Thus the Lord has said even to the heathen, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’.” (Psa. 14:1)

    Even the heathen, without the Scripture or other evidence of divine communication, can clearly see there is a Creator-God bringing about the natural world. This, along with conscience, is witness to the God of the Bible.  According to Romans 1:20 and 2:14-15, these are two witnesses of God before the heathen.  They are obvious signs to them of a Creator and awareness of right and wrong.  Creation and conscience are given to all men so that they are “without excuse.”   

    Of what use is “Religion” if it does not offer some future life after death?  It also gives meaning to our lives here, that it will make the way we live important. The central message of the Gospel is the resurrection of the dead.  It is featured in Gospel messages by the Lord and His apostles.  He is Jesus the Messiah, raised from the dead.  Only Christianity has a living Savior.  All other leaders have died.  Christ proved His power in raising several people from the dead, including Lazarus whose body had already begun to decay.  Finally, He raised Himself on the third day, just as He predicted.  Who would make such a promise, risking the success of the whole movement, unless He could do it?  His enemies clearly heard the prediction and sought a Roman guard to prevent the disciples from stealing His body and pretending that He was resurrected.  Unfortunately even the disciples were not looking for this.  They were sad and completely lacking in anticipation of this great event.  Even when they were told, “He is alive”, they didn’t believe it.  The saddest example is Thomas.  He said, “Unless I put my fingers in the wounds of His hand and my hand into the wound in His side, ‘I will not believe’”.  Jesus appeared to Thomas and invited him to do this.  He fell down at the Lord’s feet crying, “My Lord and my God.”  Jesus then appeared before hundreds of witnesses for 40 days. His resurrection was not a product of hallucination. Then He rose to heaven visibly before the disciples as they watched Him ascend. He promised to return.

    Edward Gibbon, English historian, ascribed the spread of Christian faith throughout the world to this belief in the resurrection of Christ. Some ardent unbelievers, such as the English publicist Frank Morison, have sought to disprove His resurrection.  The unexpected outcome was that Morison became a believer (Who Moved the Stone? by Frank Morison).

    The Scriptures say, “These things were not done in a corner” (Acts 26:26).  They were public knowledge and in agreement with the facts and personalities of history (Herod, Pilate, etc.).  Most Biblical data is confirmed by archaeological discoveries.  They are worthy of logical faith.
In summary, according to John Warwick Montgomery, four things should be borne in mind:
    1) Religions are incompatible with each other, i.e. they can all be wrong but they cannot all be right.
    2)  Finding the correct religion requires a search for truth
    3)  Evidentiary standards for science, law, and history provide a key to establishing the truthfulness of Christianity.
    4)  The historical validation of Christian faith authenticates an inerrant and understandable written revelation.  1

 We offer this in the hope that you too may believe the evidences for faith in Jesus Christ.


Otis Jean Gibson
April 2006

1 Stephen Vantassel, book review of Tractatus Logico-Theologicus by J.W, Montgomery, The Emmaus Journal, Vol.14, No. 1, Dubuque, IA, 2004.



Appendix A   

Messianic Prophecy Summary

“O foolish men and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken” (Luke 24:28).

“Beginning with Moses and with all the Prophets He explained to them the things concerning Himself”(Luke 24:27).

“The one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he does not believe in the Witness that God has borne concerning His Son” (I John 5:10).

1.  Beginnings of Messiah

     The Place – Bethlehem
                Micah 5:2, Matt. 2:5-6

     The Manner – By a virgin
                Isa. 7:14, Matt. 1:23

     The Time – After 6th week (483 years)
                Dan. 9:25-26
        a. Decree of Artaxerxes 444 B.C.
                Neh. 2:1-8; Dan. 9:25
        b. Entry into Jerusalem 33 A.D., 478 years

2.   Names of Messiah

    •    Immanuel (“God with us”) – Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:23
    
    •    Son of God – Psa. 2:7

    •    Almighty God – Isa. 9:6

    •    Prince of Peace – Isa. 9:6

    •    Jesus (Joshua – “God is Savior”) – Matt. 1:21

    •    Christ – Messiah “anointed one”  – Psa. 2:2; Acts 4:26
 
    •    “King of the Jews” – Micah 5:2; Matt. 27:37; John 19:19-21

    •    Son of David (by both Solomon and David)

3, Office of Messiah
            (three-fold)

    •    The King (Psa. 2:6) – Ruler of Nations – Psa. 22:26, King of the Jews

    •    The Prophet, Teacher, Preacher – Isa. 61:1
   
    •    The Great High Priest – Psa. 110:4; Heb. 5:6, 7:26-28

4.   Ministry of Messiah

    •    Coming from Galilee – Isa. 9:11

    •     To the Gentiles – Isa. 42:14

5.   Miracles, Healings, Signs and Wonders

    •    Signs of the Messiah – Daniel 7:13-14

6.    Trial, Crucifixion, and Death of Messiah

    •    Betrayed by a friend – Psa. 4:9

    •    Sold for 30 pieces of silver – Zech.11:12

    •    Accused by false witnesses –  Psa. 35:11; 109:2

    •    Mocked and beaten – Isa. 50:6

    •    Pierced His hands and feet – Psa. 22:16

    •    Crucified with transgressors – Isa. 53:12

    •    Prayed for His crucifiers – Isa.53:12

    •    Gambled for His garments – Psa. 22:18

    •    Deserted by God when offered for sin – Psa. 22:1

    •    Agonized by thirst – Psa.22:15, 69:21

7.    Resurrection of Messiah

    •    Raised from the dead on the third day – Hosea 6:2; Psa.16:10
 
   •    Ascended to Heaven – Psa. 68:18