“I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.” Jesus, as quoted in the Gospel of John, 8:12.
“A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell.
“You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse.” – C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity.
There are those who insist Jesus didn’t really die on the cross. If that’s true, then everything else claimed about the life and significance of His life is cast into doubt.
But is it the most reasonable conclusion that Jesus was not dead when His body was taken down from the cross, based upon the available evidence? Former NBC “Dateline” cold-case expert J. Warner Wallace doesn’t think so and he makes a compelling case in the following video.
Before you click on the video, though, ask yourself if you have ever touched a dead body. Odds are most of you reading this will say no. It’s not the common experience for regular folks. But it’s a VIP question, as Wallace explains:
In many ways the first of the modern Christian apologists to breakthrough to mass media audiences, Ravi Zacharias passed away earlier today. He was 74. He founded RZIM — Ravi Zacharias International Ministries — in 1984.
His daughter, Sarah Davis, tells us that earlier this year — just before he received the news his cancer was beyond treatment — Zacharias shared this 17th century poem written by Richard Baxter:
“Lord, it belongs not to my care
Whether I die or live;
To love and serve Thee is my share,
And this Thy grace must give.
If life be long, I will be glad,
That I may long obey;
If short, yet why should I be sad
To welcome endless day?
Christ leads me through no darker rooms
Than He went through before;
He that unto God’s kingdom comes
Must enter by this door.
Come Lord, when grace hath made me meet
Thy blessed face to see;
For if Thy work on earth be sweet
What will thy glory be!
Then I shall end my sad complaints
And weary sinful days,
And join with the triumphant saints
That sing my Savior’s praise.
My knowledge of that life is small,
The eye of faith is dim;
But ‘tis enough that Christ knows all,
And I shall be with Him.”
Today, he is. Rest in peace.
Zacharias delivered this presentation on God’s purposes for each of our lives around the same time as he was thinking about Baxter’s poem:
Can somebody who doesn’t believe in God still do good things, that is, act morally? The answer to that question is “yes, of course.” But when the issue is the existence of God, asking if an atheist can be moral leads the discussion down a rabbit hole.
The question should be this: How can there be objectively true and universally applicable moral laws if there is no God? If there are such objective moral laws, then there must be a God. We know there are such laws the instant we realize it is always and everywhere wrong to, for example, torture children.
Why is this important, especially if you work on Capitol Hill and are thus part of the process by which America debates and establishes its laws? The answer to that question is in the following video from philosopher William Lane Craig’s Reasonable Faith:
Go to an art museum and you will see dozens of illustrations of the common sense truth that design requires a designer. Regardless if you see a classic Rembrandt or some weird post-modern existential scream, there was an artist behind it (i.e. a designer).
It’s the same in nature generally and specifically in that part of nature studied as the field of biology. In the following video, Cold-Case Christianity’s J. Warner Wallace, the NBC “Dateline” detective extraordinaire, walks us through eight signs he sees in biology of design.
So, you’re jawing with a friend on the cell and happen to mention that you had a really odd dream the other night during which you were driving a sporty Tesla Model S through Hollywood.
Then your friend says, “right, it was a red convertible and we had the top down.” Would that freak you out? What if the next thing he said was “the blonde was in the back seat with me and the redhead was up there with you” and he was right!?!? (Yes, I know Tesla doesn’t make a convertible Model S, but work with me here, ok?)
Now you’re really freaked out because two people just don’t independently have the same dream like that. But, as Cold-Case Christianity’s J. Warner Wallace (the Tesla illustration was actually his, not mine) explains in this video, something like it did happen after Jesus was resurrected. And that makes all the difference in the world for all of us:
What is the most basic question of all? How about “why is there something rather than nothing?” That’s even more basic than “why am I here” or “what is the purpose of my life?”
Philosopher Gottfried Leibniz (1646-1716) was a German polymath (i.e. extraordinarily smart person) and logician who said the most fundamental question of all was precisely that, why is there something rather than nothing.
His conclusion was that the answer to the question brings us face-to-face with the absolute necessity for the existence of God. Otherwise, nothing else, including us, would exist. It’s what philosophers and theologians today refer to as “The Contingency Argument.”
The following video from reasonablefaith.org provides an entertaining and thoughtfully accessible explanation of the how and why:
Did you know Buddha didn’t believe in God? Or that Hinduism’s chief character likely never existed? How about that a leading Islam apologist agreed Muhammed was 600 years too late to be credible on Jesus’ death? And what do we make of the 1,000 year range in which Zoroaster may have been born?
All good questions, especially when compared with the historical evidence for the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, according to scholars Gary Habermas and Benjamin C.F. Shaw, writing in the latest edition of Southern Equip:
“It is far from surprising that world religious adherents typically claim that their faith is unique in several regards. Christians are no different here. These are quite natural assertions, as everyone wants to believe that something so crucial to them is both different and well as exceptional.
It’s an oft-heard tale these days that Jesus was just a “copy-cat” god, thanks to multiple characteristics of existing pagan deities of His day that the fabricators of the Christian myth allegedly “borrowed.”
Such claims have a whisk of credibility, thanks to the apparent depth of historical knowledge wielded by those making them. Probe just a little deeper into the historical facts, however, and the claims’ flaws soon become clear.
I’m guessing you made a decision on what to eat for breakfast this morning. You also made a decision about the clothes you are wearing as you read this post. In fact, you made all kinds of decisions about a hundred different “little” things as you went about your morning. So did I. So do we all.
But think about this: If the universe is nothing but matter in motion, atoms bumping into atoms and then away only to bump into others, where does your will enter into the picture? What about the fact you have consciousness?
J. Warner Wallace, the NBC “Dateline” cold-case detective, explains in the following video how the fact we all have the capacity to make decisions on our own volition makes a compelling argument for the existence of God. Have a Super Sunday!
Virtually any time somebody who believes the universe was created by God debates another person who denies that claim, odds are good the latter will accuse the former of advocating the “God of the gaps” theory.
That theory is a rhetorical device lobbed by the speaker using it at the other person to claim they are simply inventing “God” to fill in the gaps of their knowledge created by the present lack of a purely materialistic or scientific explanation. The often unstated assumption is that given enough time, such an explanation will be found.
Cross-examined.org’s Dr. Frank Turek addresses the “God of the gaps” theory in the following video and, at least in my humble opinion, makes it crystal clear why it is nothing more than a rhetorical device:
Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary” found an empty, open grave this morning. They saw no Roman guards there but they claim they saw Jesus Christ, alive.
Do you believe them? Here are eight solid reasons you should indeed believe:
The first witnesses to the empty tomb and the living Jesus were women:It’s a sad reality, but women only counted as half as reliable witnesses as men. So the fact all four of the Gospels present women as the first witnesses to the Risen Jesus is a strong indicator Matthew, Mark, Luke and John reported the facts, not what they thought would be the most credible claims.
It’s Saturday, the day after they crucified Jesus Christ to death on a bloody cross and buried Him in a borrowed grave, guarded by a crack detachment of the all-conquering Roman Legion.
The guard was to ensure nobody tried to steal His body and claim He was resurrected, as those who killed Him knew He had promised He would be tomorrow, Sunday.
Should you believe that Jesus was resurrected from the dead? If it’s true, it’s the most important fact of all history. If it’s a lie, then Christians are, as Paul said, the most foolish people on Earth. One-Minute Apologist Bobby Conway explains why you should:
It’s Easter week, the most important seven days on the calendar for the billions of people around this Earth who call themselves Christians. That’s because the single most important event in history happened during this period.
That event is the central claim underlying their faith — that Jesus was crucified dead and buried on Friday, then rose again on Sunday and appeared to hundreds of people in the following days before ascending back to Heaven from whence He came. He will return some day and every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord and Savior.
But how can someone who is genuinely open to hearing all of the evidence for and against this central claim of Christianity know what to accept as logical and true and what to reject as baseless claims? Every day this week on HillFaith we will consider this question from a variety of angles, beginning today with the following video produced by the Impact360 Institute: