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

Bombs, design and Spiritual Blindness

Where is the outrage over hundreds of bombs raining down on Israeli cities, and the oft stated intentions of Muslim  radicals to wipe Israel off the face of the earth?

How long would the United States tolerate terrorists bombing its capital Washington DC, or its financial center New York City? Well we  already know the answer don’t we? When terrorists attacked the US on September 11, 2001 the US response was swift. On September  20, 2001 President George W. Bush declared a “War on Terror” and later vowed to capture the mastermind Osama bin Laden “dead or  alive.”1 That sentiment resonated with the American voters and helped win him a second term. That was after one attack on a single day with four targets.

What would the response be if terrorists were raining down bombs by the hundreds over months and years?2 What if they  regularly made statements to totally eradicate every last American? I submit the answer is obvious.  Americans wouldn’t tolerate it, and would  demand swift, decisive military action to eliminate the threat – as President Bush initiated against the war on terror. There would be no tolerance for hiding in bomb shelters  nor a felt need to moderate the force used against the terrorists.

Why then does anyone have a problem with Israel’s actions to defend itself? Why the continued calls for Israel to back down on  their defensese? Why the sympathetic articles towards the terrorist group Hamas by liberal papers like the The Washington Post? Why is the world, (not to mention her ally the United States), not rallying behind Israel supporting her 150%,? The answer is easy: As one Israeli Christian put it,

“…it is the very height of hypocrisy that the West, which sheds crocodile tears over the horrors faced by Christians in Iraq and Syria, then  turns around and condemns Israel for defending its people against the very same horrors.”3

But why the hypocrisy? Another easy answer: Spiritual Blindness. The type of blindness that prevented the Pharisees from acknowledging that Jesus had  healed a man born blind in fulfillment of prophecy and thus both demonstrating and asserting that he is the messiah.4

It’s the same type of spiritual blindness that keeps evolutionists from seeing all the evidences of design in God’s creation; that keeps big bang supporters from  recognizing that you can not get a universe out of nothing; and the same type of blindness that keeps atheists who are angry with God from seeing that  anger or disappointment over some evil in the world does not mean that God does not exist.

Scripture records Jesus reaction on one occasion to the stubbornness and  spiritual blindness of  those who refuse to answer even a simple a question lest their error and hypocrisy be revealed:

He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts…
Mark 3.5

If you deny Israel’s right of self defense, or obvious things like the fact that universes don’t pop out of nothing, don’t be surprised to get this reaction from a Christian.

Let me close with a reminder to Christians:

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May those who love you be secure.
Ps 122.6

Duane Caldwell | posted 7/31/2014 | Print format


 

Bush pledges to get bin Laden, dead or alive USAToday 12/14/2001 
http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/sept11/2001/12/14/bush-binladen.htm

2  Hamas has showed Israel with hundreds of  bombs with the intent to kill as many as possible – regarless of whether civilian, women or children and have targeted the capital  Jerusalem, and the financial center Tel Aviv.

Hamas rockets reach Jerusalem and Tel Aviv Jerusalem Post 7/8/2014http://www.jpost.com/Operation-Protective-Edge/Iron-Dome-intercepts-second-rocket-over-greater-Tel-Aviv-361994

This tweet puts the number of rockets fired by Hamas at Israel at 3034 since the start of Operation Protective Edge
https://twitter.com/israelunderfire/statuses/495544304723451904

Israeli Christian Spokesman: Enough With Western Hypocrisy! Israel Today 7/30/2014
http://www.israeltoday.co.il/Default.aspx?tabid=178&nid=24801

4   John 9.1-41;  Isaiah 42.1-7

A Resurrection Day Response

 The Holy Bible

I was asked by multiple atheists – what if some other religious book were true? Here is the response.

In the song “Nada One” Heart’s Nancy Wilson sings about an ephemeral,  nocturnal  love who has glowing, night creature eyes that frequents her dreams. This mysterious love seems to appear only in dreams where no one can see him. For even when wandering through streets, she describes this scene:

“Nobody seein’ where I’ve been
Nobody feels what I’ve done
Nada One”

With such descriptions, one questions the reality of his existence. Indeed she herself seems to harbor a doubt or two since she must  reminder herself “you are as real as I feel.” The one thing that’s not mysterious in this song,  is what she means by “nada one.”  Clearly “nada one” is a play on the  sound of the phrase “not a one,”  yet still, one must  wonder – since it is always  capitalized –  if she’s using it as a proper noun – speaking or referring to a being named “Nada One.” The Wilson sisters were purposefully ambiguous for artistic purposes. But as we’ll see God is purposefully clear and unambiguous to eliminate doubt and nurture faith.

I was reminded of this song as I awaited responses to a question I had posed.  Let me step back  and explain.  I saw the below tweet that informed people that last Thursday was “National Ask an Atheist Day.”

 

This seemed like  a perfect opportunity to re-query the unbelieving regarding a  question I had asked in a  Continue Reading