Harvard Law Professor Examines the Evidence of Jesus’ Resurrection

A skeptic of the resurrection, Simon Greenleaf (1783–1853) helped to put the Harvard Law School on the map. He wrote the three-volume legal masterpiece, A Treatise on the Law of Evidence, which is still regarded as “the greatest single authority in the entire literature of legal procedure.”[1] The U.S. judicial system today operates on rules of evidence established by Greenleaf.

While teaching law at Harvard, Professor Greenleaf stated to his class that the resurrection of Jesus Christ was simply a legend; as an atheist he thought miracles to be impossible. In a rebuttal, three of his law students challenged him to apply his acclaimed rules of evidence to the resurrection account.

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What Does the Bible Say about Messiah’s Return?

As we have seen our last few blogs, the evidence from science, history, archaeology and fulfilled prophecy make a compelling case that the Bible is the true word of God.  So we would be wise to know what it says about the future.

Jesus said that he would return in power and judgment in the last days. When Jesus left Earth after his resurrection, two angels reminded his disciples of that future promise.

They said, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing here looking into the sky? Jesus, whom you saw taken up from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you saw him go.”¹ [Read more…]

Did the Old Testament Accurately Predict Jesus as the Messiah?

Reading the Old Testament, it becomes clear that Someone is coming. Bible scholar Ray Stedman says that “Someone” is God’s promised Messiah:

From the very beginning of the Old Testament, there is a sense of hope and expectation, like the sound of approaching footsteps: Someone is coming!… That hope increases…as prophet after prophet declares yet another tantalizing hint: Someone is coming!¹

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Does the Bible Foretell Future Events Accurately?

The Bible contains hundreds of prophecies predicting future events. Imagine knowing in advance who will be the next Prime Minister of Great Britain or the President of the United States in 2050. Or, what the greatest invention of the 25th century will be. Or what the stock market will do next year. Or the winning number of the next Powerball lottery! [Read more…]

Can the New Testament Accounts Be Trusted?

How can we trace our New Testaments today back to the originals? How do we know that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John wrote the gospels? How do we know that Paul and Peter wrote the letters that have their names attached?

Skeptics say we can’t know. In fact, they say the New Testament books weren’t written by eyewitnesses at all. They cite 19th century German critics, who argued that unknown authors wrote the New Testament 100-200 years after Christ.

For example, Ferdinand Christian Baur contended that John’s Gospel was not written until about AD 160. This, if true, would not only undermine John’s Gospel, it would cast suspicion on the entire New Testament as well. [Read more…]

Is the Bible’s Portrayal of People, Places and Events Accurate?

If the Bible is true, it must be historically reliable. In other words, its portrayal of people, places and events must be accurate, or how could we trust what it says about God, Jesus Christ and our purpose of existence?

Many skeptics argue that the Old Testament stories are based upon imaginary people, and the New Testament accounts were written years after any eyewitnesses would have been alive to verify their truthfulness.

Let’s briefly look at the first of these two major arguments skeptics use against the Bible’s historical reliability, and see what the latest evidence tells us.

Did the key Old Testament characters of Moses and David exist?

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Is the Bible Historically Reliable?

We have seen how the Bible demonstrates divine authorship and how it is consistent with science. But if the Bible is true, it must also be historically reliable. In other words, its portrayal of people, places and events must be accurate.

Many skeptics argue that the Bible as we know it has changed over the years, and therefore isn’t reliable. For example, how do we know its characters such as Abraham, Moses, David and Jesus Christ actually existed? [Read more…]

Is the Bible Consistent with Science?

Last time we studied the Bible’s rational, unified themes which would be expected if it is truly God’s Word. That is our first line of evidence that the Bible at least could be God’s special message to us. Let’s look at how other evidence lines up.  Our next question is:  Is the Bible Consistent with Science?

Many people don’t believe in the Bible because they think it contradicts science. But new scientific evidence has changed that thinking, even for many agnostics. In fact, many scientists have radically changed their minds about the Bible, and are now talking openly about “God” or a Creator behind our universe. (See http://www.y-origins.com/index.php?p=quotes)

While many scientists remain skeptical of the Bible, others admit that they’ve been wrong by saying it contradicts science. Stunning new scientific discoveries have changed their minds. Let’s look at this new evidence. [Read more…]

Too Old for Fairy Tales?

Once again this year, the American Atheists have launched a Christmastime campaign baselessly claiming that Jesus is no more than a mythical character. This year’s campaign is placing billboards in the Bible belt, in the states of Tennessee and Arkansas.  The ads show a young girl writing a letter to Santa, which says, “Dear Santa, All I want for Christmas is to skip church! I’m too old for fairy tales.”

The billboard speaks of Jesus as mythical, but no leading scholar, Christian or secular, believes Jesus didn’t exist. In fact, his life has influenced our planet more than any other person. [Read more…]

Does Evidence Support the Bible?

Isaac Newton was the scientist famous for discovering gravity. Called by many as the greatest scientific mind prior to Einstein, Newton began investigating the Bible to determine whether or not it is authentic. Applying his brilliant mind to the evidence, Newton concluded,

“There are more sure marks of authenticity in the Bible than in any profane history.”¹

But wait a minute! Newton lived over 300 years ago. What are scientists and other scholars today saying about the Bible, and are the “sure marks of authenticity” that convinced him still valid today? [Read more…]

The Lost Gospel: Truth or Fiction?

Did Jesus and Mary Magdalene marry and have two children?

According to a widely publicized new book, The Lost Gospel, he did! Authors Simcha Jacobovici and Barrie Wilson begin their book with this sensational claim:

What the Vatican feared—and what Dan Brown only suspected—has come true![1]

How could that be? Such a sensational claim totally contradicts the four gospel accounts of Jesus in the New Testament, which portray Jesus ascending to heaven forty days after his resurrection.

So is this just another non-factual conspiracy about Jesus like Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code, or is there really evidence to support it? This latest attack on the truth of the Christian message has become a major news story—just in time for Christmas!

The British tabloid, The Daily Mail, reports,

If true, this would make it the greatest revelation into the life of Jesus in nearly 2,000 years.[2]

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What Is God’s Name?

Three thousand years ago on a dark moonlit night in Israel, the psalmist David looked up in awe at an endless stream of sparkling stars. Struck by the greatness of creation in light of his own insignificance, he later recalled,

O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!
Your glory is higher than the heavens.

What did David mean by God’s “name?” David addressed God as Yehovah Adoneynu” (Jehovah Adonai).1 The God of the Bible frequently used different names in revealing Himself to His people. His names in the Bible reveal an unfolding portrait of who He is and how He deals with us, conveying much deeper meanings than mere labels. [Read more…]

Is Jesus the God Who Spoke to Moses?

Who is Jesus Christ? Some believe He was just a man. Few people think of Jesus as the God of the Old Testament, the One who created the universe.

But is it possible that Jesus Christ is the very One who spoke to Moses—the One who had no beginning and no end—the One who is all powerful, all knowing, and infinite? [Read more…]

Is Heaven Real?

Have you ever wondered if heaven is a real place? If so, you are not alone.

The subject seems to be on millions of peoples’ minds. Several people claiming to have died and seen God, have popularized the topic of heaven by writing about “after-death” accounts in their best-selling books. If we are to believe their stories, heaven is for real. [Read more…]

What Did Jesus Say About Hell?

Rob Bell’s best-selling book, Love Wins, argues that God is too loving to send people to eternal damnation. His book has caused a stirring debate, even among Christians. He views God somewhat like a child views Santa Claus–a benevolent giver of good things.

In the end, Bell writes, God’s love overpowers his judgment. And he says that Hell isn’t biblical.

So, where did the idea of Hell come from, and is it truly biblical? [Read more…]

How Would We Be Able to Detect Intelligent Design in Nature If It Actually Exists?

The folks at SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) have done some thinking along the lines of what constitutes signs of intelligence. They are searching for extraterrestrial life, as opposed to God, but they have to deal with the same problem set. How would they recognize communication from outer space if they saw or heard it? [Read more…]

Jesus’ Death and Resurrection. Copied from Other Ancient Deities?

Was Jesus’ Death and Resurrection Copied?

Zeitgeist claims that Christianity copied the death and resurrection of Jesus from the ancient deities Horus, Osiris, Attis, Adonis and Mithras. But are these mythological accounts really similar to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ? Furthermore, are they before or after Jesus’ death and resurrection?

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Does Christianity Have Pagan Roots?

The widely watched YouTube documentary, Zeitgeist, blatantly asserts,

The reality is, Jesus was…a mythical figure….Christianity, along with all other theistic belief systems, is the fraud of the age.¹

Millions have watched Zeitgeist, in which its author Peter Joseph cites dates, doctrines and symbols supposedly “copied” by Christianity from other ancient religions—including its central person, Jesus Christ. [Read more…]

Do Christians Have to Rely on the Bible Alone to Prove Jesus’ Existence?

Another argument used by people who claim that Christ is only a myth is that secular historians make no mention of Jesus Christ. Their point is that if Jesus had really existed, he would have been written about by virtually all contemporary historians.

On the surface, that seems like a logical point to make. [Read more…]