Saturday, August 9, 2008

Evidence that Demands a Verdict: Chapter 8, part 1

"The great proposition - if God became man, what would He be like?" Since my family is into the applesauce-making days and our trees are bearing much fruit, and this chapter is almost 30 pages long, I am breaking it up.

We would expect...

1. An unusual entrance into human life.
a. Testimony about the virgin birth.
- Concept: Genesis 3:15 (woman's, not man's, seed). Also see Isaiah 7:14.
- Reliability: based on the Gospels' historical accuracy.
- Agreement vs. discrepancy: all four agree on * time frame * conception by the Holy Spirit * virgin mother * betrothed to Joseph * of David's line * at Bethlehem * named Jesus by divine command * called Savior * Joseph's integrity and courage * visions * living in Nazareth. Genealogies: Matthew follows Joseph, Luke follows Mary. John, Mark, and Paul testify about the virgin birth as well.
b. Historical evidence.
- Time - not enough to create a myth.
- Church fathers - e.g. Ignatius and Irenaeus.
- Jewish witness - made up a soldier story (unneeded unless His birth was indeed unusual).
- Quran: Jesus son of Mary, created by God. Sura (chapter) Maryam, ayah (verse) 20.
c. Writers such as W. H. Griffith Thomas and Henry Morris.
2. Sinlessness.
a. Self-witness - see John 8:29, 46.
b. Witness of friends: aware of their own sin; were with Him about 3 years; never mentioned a sin in His life, especially Peter and John.
c. Witness of enemies agrees! Luke 23:22, 41, 47, etc.
d. Witness of history. Too many historians to list; Quran Maryam v. 19.
e. Witness of skeptics - Rosseau, Mill, Emerson, Strauss, Ramm.
3. Miracles manifesting the supernatural.
a. Biblical witness - miracles of physical healing, natural objects (e.g. Cana; walking on water), and resurrections.
b. Jewish witness: histories; Julian the Apostate.
c. Miracles are visible; therefore, they count as testimonies if there were eyewitnesses. Not 'natural' events, but rather God stepping in.

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