Physical Evidence Jesus Existed

Interior - St. Peter's BasilicaInterior – St. Peter’s Basilica as painted by Giovanni Paolo Panini
Claims that there is no evidence that Jesus ever existed are simply untrue. Here’s why.

In the companion article, Is Faith Rational, I note that many atheists claim:

In fact, there’s really no evidence that Jesus ever existed or had followers…There is no historical or archaeological evidence to support the existence of Jesus.1

You’ll find this objection from bloggers and authors2 alike among other skeptics. In response,  I pointed out 4 items that are historical or archaeological evidence of the existence of Jesus to silence this claim. They are:

1. St Peter’s Basilica; Cathedrals and Churches all over the world.
2. Nails From the Cross of Jesus
3. The Spear of Destiny (The Spear that pierced Jesus’ side)
4. The Shroud of Turin

In the companion article there was not space to discuss these issues, so here is that discussion.

Physical Evidences of Jesus’ Existence:

First, please note these are presented as evidences not proofs. It’s very difficult to “prove” anything that happened in the past. However what we do have left from events in the past is evidences that the event occurred. The following are evidences that Jesus existed.

1. St Peter’s Basilica; Cathedrals and Churches all over the world.
Pictured above is a view inside the great St Peter’s Basilica, the centerpiece of the Vatican, named  after the apostle Peter, a follower of Jesus who is  regarded by Catholics as the first Pope. For someone who never existed, Jesus somehow managed to get multiple people to write down the names of his first followers (the apostles), and managed to get churches, cathedrals and this basilica built to honor and worship him. Unlike mythical deities, such honor and worship continues to this day.  An amazing feat for someone who never existed.
Note: while the Basilica itself is prima facie evidence of the existence of Jesus, it also contains items that also prove the existence of Jesus. (See item three.)

Before moving on – wait – I hear an atheist saying, based on that logic every pagan god for which a temple was built must also exist. Nice try. Let’s consider a pagan temple the Bible mentions – the temple of Artemis (Roman name: Diana) in the city of  Ephesus. (Acts 19.27) and compare how people treat a mythical god with how they treat  Jesus:

– Is Artemis worshipped in any significant way today? Does she have thousands of temples/churches?
(In contrast Jesus is worshipped around the world today)

– When swearing or cursing, does anyone swear by Artemis? Or use Artemis as an expletive?
(As a corollary, why do you suppose that people only use the name of Jesus as an expletive, and not other deities? After all according to atheists all deities are the same – nonexistent. What’s the significance of using Jesus’ name?)

– Does anyone claim Artemis loved mankind enough to become incarnate, live on earth and redeem mankind from his own sin and folly?

– Is time divided before and after the coming of Artemis?
(Critics who want to point to days devoted to pagan gods like Thor’s day; Saturn’s day etc. should consider that such days do not point to anything meaningful. The division of BC/AD (before Christ/in the year of our Lord [Jesus]) locates for the world when the son of God became man for our benefit, and as such is very meaningful and significant. What does Thursday represent besides the fourth day after Sunday?)

– Does Artemis have an animal marked on its body with her symbol that carried her in triumph as Jesus does? (John 12.12-15) Has her symbol inspired kings and armies like the Chi Rho did Constantine and his army?

– Did Artemis prophesy anything that was fulfilled?
(In addition to his resurrection, Jesus predicted the destruction of the second Jerusalem temple which was fulfilled in 70 AD by the Roman General Titus.)

Whether you love Jesus and revere him or despise him and use his name as an expletive, clearly the responses to Jesus has always been, and always will be  qualitatively and quantitatively different from any other so called god. This makes both the worship of Jesus and his places of worship also qualitatively different.  There is an entire fabric of evidences that St Peter’s Basilica becomes part of strengthening the entire case for the existence of Jesus.  The temple of Artemis [or substitute any false god – Zeus,  whatever] is a single thread that simply reminds man of his tendency to idolatry and folly.  So please, don’t bother with the comparisons to other fallen temples.

2. Nails From the the Cross of Jesus
In 1990, construction workers digging to build the foundation for what is now the Peace Park in Jerusalem stumbled upon the tomb of Caiaphas, the high priest who questioned Jesus (John 18.19) and with the elders convicted him and sent him to the Roman governor for execution (Matt 27.1-2).   (Incidentally, this is yet another discovery that verifies a historical fact recorded in the Bible – in this case the existence of Caiaphas.  Such verifications are not possible with myths – which some skeptics believe the bible to be.)

While this find is helpful, what’s even more interesting is this: archeologist Simcha Jacobovici, noted that in the grave of the Caiaphas  were two nails.  He believes he has found the very nails used to affix Jesus to the cross, stating he has made: Continue Reading

Atheists – Willfully Ignorant in their Looking Glass World


The white hare, Alice, the dodo, Tweedledee & Tweedledum examining the Oraculum as depicted in the Oraculum
Only in the  looking glass world of Wonderland do atheistic explanations make sense


“I know what you’re thinking about,” said Tweedledum; “but it isn’t so, nohow.”
“Contrariwise,” continued Tweedledee, “If it was so, it might be; and if it were so,  it would be;  but as it isn’t, it ain’t. That’s logic.”1
— Tweedledum & Tweedledee

 

In the Looking Glass world of Alice in Wonderland, Tweedledee’s “logic” makes perfect sense.  In the real world –  it’s nonsense – or to be more precise – suffers from both a formal and a non-formal logical fallacy.2  Yet it makes perfect sense to Tweedledee and Tweedledum.

In the same manner, the logic of atheists makes perfect sense to them in their looking glass world where they protect themselves from the truth; they can’t see anything wrong with it – yet it is clear to others it is as fallacious as the flawed  logic of Tweedledee and Tweedledum.

When difficult questions are put to atheists about the nature of reality for which the atheistic worldview has no answer, atheists (and evolutionists alike) throw out fine sounding arguments. And like the Looking Glass characters,  their answers have the form of validity, but upon close examination it is apparent their arguments are as fallacious as the logic used by the Tweedles. Let me give a couple of examples.

Consider the question – Why is there something rather than nothing? For the Christian, there’s an easy answer: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth (Gen 1.1).  For philosophers, it is a very deep philosophical question. In fact Martin Rees, cosmologist, astrophysicist and astronomer royal calls it the “preeminent mystery.”3   Such a formulation does not affirm the Christian worldview, but neither is it overtly antagonistic.  But for particle physicist, skeptic (of the supernatural)  and atheist Victor Stenger that question is:

 “…often the last resort of the theist who seeks to argue for the existence of God from science and finds all his other arguments fail.4


Stengel is clearly antagonistic toward Christianity and is trying to deflect the illuminating power of this question. In his article Why is there Something Rather than Nothing Stenger winds up comparing “nothingness” to an unstable, simple system. What he does not seem to realize is that is an invalid comparison because a system – however simple –  is something; while nothingness is – well  nothingness. Or as famous former atheist turned theist Anthony Flew put it:

Continue Reading

GULO and other Irrational Atheist Arguments – Part 2

7 Popular, but Fallacious Arguments by Atheists

Evolution uses circular arguments to support the supposition that dinosaurs became extinct 65 million years ago.
More arguments used by atheists that upon inspection are clearly wrong and fail to support atheistic or
evolutionary doctrine.
 
In Part 1 of this article I discussed problems 1 and 2: GULO and LUCA respectively and why they are irrational arguments. In closing the discussion  on LUCA I noted that evolutionists and atheists are blind to evidence of intelligent design. This leads into our next irrational
argument:

3. “There’s no evidence”
Atheists and Evolutionists alike tend to use this argument for anything they don’t believe. They don’t believe in God, so they say there’s no evidence of God. They don’t believe in intelligent design, so they say there’s no evidence for it. They don’t believe in miracles, so they say there’s no evidence of them. This argument is particularly common in the twitter world:


 

Notice the above person states no “verifiable” evidence. This means there is no evidence you can present that will meet his standard for “verifiable.” (An illicit shifting of the burden of proof.) The problem with saying “there’s no evidence” is you must then explain away  all the sites with evidence – like this one,  or creation.com or answersingenesis.org or a host of other sites and books (including the Bible) which provide the evidence against evolution and for God and intelligent design which they claim doesn’t  exist.  Brian Auten provides a list of such sites on his  Apologetics315  here.  In light of the  overwhelming evidence, one is tempted to say they’re simply  lying. After all, it’s one thing to say the evidence is misunderstood; quite another to say that none exists. But there are at least two other dynamics likely at play here.
First, in an attempt to strengthen the case for evolution and atheism they could simply be attempting to suppress the evidence, but really – that is just using the language  of logic as another way of saying they’re being deceptive (read – lying) .  A second real and likely option is that they are so brainwashed by evolutionary propaganda that they have become blinded to the truth and actually can’t see the  evidence – even when looking right at it. As scripture says:

The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of
Christ, who is the image of God.

2 Cor 2.4

Part of the light of the gospel is the fact that God exists and God created. The god of this age – Satan – doesn’t want you to believe that; so those following atheistic or evolutionary beliefs have unwittingly fallen for yet  another lie of the father of the lies, which keeps them captive to false philosophies. We must pray for such people in hopes that  “they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.” (2 Tim 2.26)

 

4. “Dinosaur fossils are millions of years old

“Everyone knows what wiped out the dinosaurs. Sixty five million years ago it came from outer space.” So begins a documentary entitled “What really killed the dinosaurs?” It perpetuates the supposed date which scientists have settled on as the date for when the dinosaurs became extinct: 65 million years ago. Scientists also use fossils to verify that date – a date which supports an old earth theory of earth history instead of a young one. But as Kent Hovind is fond of pointing out the fossil evidence argument is a circular one. He relates the story of a visit he took with his daughter to the School of Mines & Technology Museum of Geology, Rapid City S.D. His daughter asks the tour guide” Continue Reading

GULO and other Irrational Atheist Arguments – Part 1

7 Popular, but Fallacious Arguments used by Atheists


Evolutionists believe glowing eyes evolved multiple times independently.
Arguments that are demonstrably wrong yet still believed demonstrate the irrational nature of atheist and evolutionist belief.


The Biblical book of Acts recounts an event where a demon possessed girl who made a business for her masters from telling fortunes took to following around the Apostle Paul, shouting:

“…These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.”  She kept this up  for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.1

For those wondering why the apostle cast out a demon providing free advertisement for him, the answer is simple: God’s people are forbidden from having anything to do with demons2 – even if what they do is initially helpful. The amazing thing to Christians is that Paul put up so long with it. I mention it because I likewise feel troubled by the recurring contention of Atheists that the pseudo-gene known as GULO or GLO proves common descent. So let me
cast out this demon and be done with this irrational contention once and for all.  And while I’m at at it I’ll address 6 other irrational atheist arguments as well.  (I use irrational in the sense that these arguments are easily demonstrated to be fallacious.) So following are 7 arguments used by evolutionists and atheists alike which are logically fallacious – and thus those who continue to use them – having read this – are showing themselves to be irrational in their anti-Christian beliefs.


To understand the atheists’ and evolutionists’ contention for these first two items that they present as evidence – GULO and LUCA – one must first understand one of the core theories of evolution – common descent. I say one component because according to the well respected late evolutionist Ernst Mayr, there are 5 basic components that make up the theory of evolution.3 The theory of Common Descent states that all creatures – from the worm in the ground to your cat and dog to you and your family are all descendant from a single common ancestor. That’s why they talk of the evolutionary “tree of life.” The common ancestor is at the trunk of the tree, and all other species make up the limbs and leaves. This concept is key to the next two items.

1. “GULO proves Evolution”

What is GULO and how does it supposedly prove evolution?


GULO and the implications for evolution

L-gulonolactone oxidase – commonly known as GULO – is a gene designed to synthesize vitamin C from glucose or galactose, but in some groups of animals, the GULO gene does function in that manner, and so it is given the label of “pseudogene.”4

Additionally, the gene is “broken” reportedly in the same place in multiple species resulting in a loss of the ability to synthesize vitamin C.  Humans are not able to synthesize vitamin C. Neither are guinea pigs, chimpanzees and several species of monkeys along with some species of birds, bats and fish. Evolutionists look at these facts and conclude that the only way the gene could have broken in the sample place is if the gene of a common ancestor became broken, and that same broken gene was then inherited by subsequent descendants.  Thus to their way of thinking the only way this broken gene would show up in multiple species is if it started in a common ancestor.

Recent evidence refutes this conclusion, and the attempts by evolutionists to salvage their conclusion makes matters worse – Continue Reading

Detecting the Doctrines of Demons


A member of an alien species transfigured on Star Trek: The Next Generation
An impossible lie disguised as entertainment is still an impossible lie. This one is from the father of lies.

Honest atheists will tell you there is no purpose or meaning to life, no hope of an after life and all your thoughts, feelings and desires are merely the result of the electro-chemical reactions in your brain and thus are ultimately meaningless. As one such honest atheist put it:

But make no mistake: all our dreams, loves, opinions, and desires are figments of our primordial imagination1

Or as Cornell University atheist William Provine famously stated:

Let me summarize my views on what modern evolutionary biology tells us loud and clear — and these are basically  Darwin’s views. There are no gods, no purposes, and no goal-directed forces of any kind. There is no life after death. When I die, I am absolutely
certain that I am going to be dead. That’s the end of me. There is no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning in life, and no free will  for humans, either.2


Yet in spite of their profession that everything is meaningless (including they themselves), and that there is no hope of an afterlife;  yet still you see their glimmers of hope poking out from behind their denials like Kilroy’s head poking over the fence.

Knowing that the atheistic worldview can not support any sort of future meaning, hope or purpose does not stop some of  them from trying to inject these into atheistic life and thought through any number of means. One such means is entertainment. Case in point – an episode of Star Trek: the Next Generation, titled “Transfigurations” which posits that man may be able to evolve into a higher spiritual state. Here’s how the guest character explains it:

“Captain, my species is on the verge of a wonderful evolutionary change. A transmutation beyond our physical being. I am the first of my kind to approach this metamorphosis.  They tried to convince us that it was a sickness we’d never survive.  They destroyed anyone who exhibited the signs of the transfiguration.”3

Thus the decidedly atheistic Star Trek series displays a curiously messianic figure who has been exhibiting messianic attributes (like healing) just before he is seen completing another messianic miracle: the transfiguration.

For those not familiar with the biblical account from which this is clearly drawn, here is the salient portion:

17:1 After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.  2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.  3 Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.
Matthew 17.1-3

One is left to ponder – what is an atheistic series like Star Trek: the Next Generation doing displaying an episode with Christian themes? The answer lies in the explanation given – “a wonderful evolutionary change.” There it is – the atheistic hope. So once again, it is the theory of evolution that comes to the rescue. Just as it has rescued atheists from having absolutely no explanation for the origin of  life, now they are hoping it will provide them with hope for a spiritual future for mankind; a hope that professor Provine has explained and clearly stated that atheists have no business expecting or hoping for.

And while it may seem curious for an atheistic series like Star Trek  to focus on such overtly Christian themes, once you hear the explanation, it’s supposed to all make sense. But there’s still a problem – a problem that becomes obvious – once you understand the recurring lie of the enemy. Before going there, a word on the historical account.
Continue Reading

Does where you’re born determine what you believe?

Is Your Faith a determined by where you're born? Is your faith merely a product of your location and culture?


Here’s a conceit that atheists allow themselves that would be amusing if it weren’t so utterly false and insulting to everyone who’s not an atheist. It goes something like this:

If you believe in God, you’re a slave to beliefs  imposed upon you in your youth. You’re a slave to the beliefs from the area of the world and culture you grew up with. On the other hand if you’re an atheist, you’re not subject to such imposition, and have freed yourself of such beliefs.  Of course they don’t put it that way, they usually phrase it something like this:


Did you catch the conceit? Apparently, atheists believe they are  somehow superior and they and only they have the power to choose what they  believe. They thereby implicitly state that theists are weak and  ignorant; and explicitly state theists are slaves to whatever belief was  imposed upon them while they were growing up. What remains unanswered is  for atheists who grew up in a family with theistic beliefs, why they too didn’t remain a slave to such beliefs?

Others1 have  addressed this topic, but let me try to succinctly add some glaring issues with this argument:

First off it’s logically fallacious, falling to the logical fallacy of  Special Pleading -where the arguer finds fault with a particular  proposition or situation; yet they themselves fit the proposition or  situation.  Nonetheless they believe their conclusion does not  apply to them – and provide no reason for believing themselves to be the exception. This is a classic case of irrational special pleading.

Secondly, many atheists continue to believe that Continue Reading

Enraging the Dragon

A woman, clothed with the sun, with the moon at her feet - another sign - an enormous red dragon
Is using the Big Bang to support creation a good idea? No – Better to enrage the dragon, than God 
A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun…
…Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon Rev 12.1,3
 

I’ve noticed a number of Christians – including some well known defenders of the faith[1] – like to use the Big Bang as a way to ease a  scientifically minded culture into belief in God since the Big Bang theory requires you believe that 1) the universe began 2) a  finite amount of time ago, at a point in time, 3) out of nothing – just like the bible says.  That leaves a perfect opening to  present the Kalam cosmological argument which, briefly stated, says:

1. Anything that begins to exist has a creator
2. The Universe began to exist
3. Therefore the universe had a creator

The Christian apologists then endeavor to show why the required creator is the God of the Judeo-Christian bible. So it’s easy to see the appeal of the argument, but it’s always seemed to me like a bad idea. Initially, I  was going to use this article to go through the various reasons why the big bang is untenable, and Christians especially shouldn’t  be relying on it to persuade people. Things like a required belief in 1) Cosmic Inflation, 2) a 13.9 billion year old universe 3)  The scientific belief in a self caused “singularity” that defies the laws of physics. But I’ll save a discussion over those issues for another time.[2]

Instead, I’ll give two reasons why using such an approach is a bad idea for Christians.

Why using the Big Bang to “prove” God’s existence is a bad idea.
Continue Reading

Denying the Obvious

Boeing 747 Intercontinental

Boeing 747 Intercontinental

Those who can’t see the design behind clearly designed things such as a 747 or a human cell are denying the obvious.

In his critique of Stephen Hawking’s “Grand Design”, John Lennox writes:

“…after disparaging philosophy, he then proceeds to engage in it. For, insofar as he is interpreting and applying science to ultimate questions  like the existence of God, Hawking is doing metaphysics. Now, let us be clear, I do not fault him for doing that; I shall be engaging in metaphysics  all through this book. My concern is that he does not seem to recognize this.”1

Stephen Hawking is not the only atheist who doesn’t realize he’s engaging in metaphysics by dealing with questions of God. And  that is not the only truth atheists fail to recognize. As I demonstrate below, many have a problem acknowledging that they are working not from scientific  fact, but from deeply held belief. Lennox is not the first to point out obvious errors to someone who refuses to acknowledge it.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” (Mat 7:3 NIV)    

With these words Jesus advises careful and close self examination to avoid not only the charge of  hypocrisy, but this current  issue of self denial. After all one can hardly miss a “plank” or “beam” in the eye unless one is  intentionally refusing to acknowledge it. That’s denial. And while some may find it questionable to poke the bear by  appealing to a historical figure that some atheists deny, what is undeniable is the logic and wisdom of the advice.  I mention it because one of the  reasons for this blog is to point out errors, blind spots and logical inconsistencies that atheists tend to be either unaware of, or attempt to avoid by refusing to address. As a creationist attempting to point out such errors and inconsistencies,  I find I keep running into the same kinds of  invalid (and often irrational) arguments from atheists, such as:

  • – Intentionally missing the point, or avoidance of the point being made
  • – Factual errors in their arguments which they refuse to acknowledge or address
  • – Engaging in illicit arguments – based on their beliefs

Often, when you point out these errors, they are not addressed, not because the objection is not understood, but because there  simply is no  reasonable answer to the objection. So instead of acknowledging a problem with their world view, typically the response from atheists or agnostics will be show their inability to address the issue by to changing the subject and/or  launching ad hominem attacks. But in refusing to address a glaring problem in their argument or logic by attempting to side step it, it leads one to an inescapable conclusion:

Many who hold to an atheistic world view and belief system are in denial about the fact that what they consider a “scientific” rational for supporting a “scientific theory” is  actually nothing more than a deeply held, but irrational belief.

By irrational I mean untrue, or in the case of an argument, invalid for any of a number of reasons. By refusing to acknowledge or address such blatant errors what they are actually communicating is – Continue Reading

Can you be A Christian and Believe in Evolution?


Is Evolutions a Fact?
What atheists have noticed that many Happy Thinking Christians have not


Christian Evangelist and defender of the Gospel Ravi Zacharias talks about how to reach the “Happy  Thinking Pagan.” He describes their thought process this way:

“I don’t believe anything but I’m very happy. What does it matter?” And of course, it was also along the time of slogans such as “If it feels good, do it” and “Don’t worry, be happy.”1

I mention it because it is becoming increasing clear to me that when it comes to the creation /  evolution debate, there is a large number of Christians who are walking in the thought process of the happy thinking pagan – namely
“What does it matter?” and “Aren’t they compatible, so why worry about it? Be happy.”  It seems that many Christians are as ignorant of the harm to the faith caused by evolutionary thought as happy thinking pagans are to the reality of God.

Interestingly enough, thoughtful atheists have noticed the incompatibility between evolution and the Christian faith.  Evolutionary evangelist Richard Dawkins has commented:

“I think the evangelical Christians have really sort of got it right in a way, in seeing  evolution as the enemy. Whereas the more, what shall we say, sophisticated theologians are quite happy to live with evolution, I  think they are deluded. I think the evangelicals have got it right, in that there is a deep incompatibility between evolution
and Christianity…”2

In fact, so many atheists have begun proclaiming the incompatibility between Christianity and  Evolution that one blogger Continue Reading

Evolution – A Faith Commitment

Trilobite fossil from Chengjiang, ChinaThough they’ll never admit it, most evolutionists adhere to evolution as followers in any other religion adhere to their faith.

 

In what was intended to be the first article I posted on this site –
What is Rational Faith, Part 1
1 – I
mentioned that those who believe in the godless theory of Evolution (which includes most atheists and materialistic scientists)  – adhere to it as one adheres to and follows a religious faith. In other words it has taken on the significance of religion in their lives. Most evolutionists would deny this, as would atheists who think that because they define their atheism as a lack of faith/belief in God, they therefore think themselves immune to the common banalities (as they might describe it) of being a follower of a faith. Yet when you look at the impact of evolution on their lives, and how it changes their thoughts and behaviors, one can only conclude that for those who thoroughly understand the theory, it has taken the place of God in their lives2. Now you’ll note I’ve qualified the statement by the phrase “those who thoroughly understand the theory.”  I do so to distinguish the true adherents from those who follow it without thinking because it’s the “in” thing to do; it’s the majority belief, and they don’t want to be out of the main stream or worse – appear ignorant, or as John C. Lennox puts it, they

“…don’t wish to appear scientifically illiterate…”3

Those who know little about evolution apart from the fact that it supposedly tells us where we came from and it’s what scientists believe, should read articles like Reclaiming The Intellectual and Moral High Ground – which will inform them both on claims made regarding evolution – and why they’re incorrect. If they  still believe in evolution, then they appear to have a faith commitment as do other adherents to the Evolutionary faith.

So now that we understand about whom I’m speaking the question becomes how can I defend such a claim? Simply – by the fact that those believe in evolution exhibit the same signs and behaviors as those who follow any other religious faith. As the saying goes, if it looks like a duck, and walks like a duck, a quacks like a duck – it’s probably a duck.  There are a number of such tell tale signs, let me just give you a few off the top of my head: Continue Reading