RE: Essay about errancy

From: Dick Fischer <>
Date: Mon Feb 02 2004 - 22:15:57 EST

Josh Gough wrote:

>Matthew was written after Mark and Mark does not mention many saints
>rising from the dead and being seen by many. He also does not mention an
>earthquake at the tomb. Also, Paul was not at the empty tomb, but he still
>talks about Jesus, so your argument fails there.

Others have already made some replies. Let me give you my two
cents. Mark, we believe, was John Mark. It is thought that the last
supper was in his mother's house.

"And there followed him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast
about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him," (Mark
14:51). This is thought to be a description of himself. If so, Mark was
an eyewitness.

Spurred on by Mark's account, Matthew the tax collector and disciple for
Christ, added his personal knowledge using the gospel of Mark as a skeleton
to which he added flesh. Paul in all likelihood had not seen Jesus during
his earthly ministry. Paul had an encounter with the risen Christ on the
road to Damascus. Paul was given the doctrine of Christianity personally
by Christ after His conversion. That is his testimony.

>Why does he not talk about many other people who came back from the dead
>after the resurrection to bolster his account? If his goal is to persuade
>others to believe as he does, then certainly he would use such evidence,
>or the Holy Spirit would reveal it to him, would it not? Applying the same
>standard of evidence to these accounts, one would logically conclude that
>the stories were embellished without any other presuppositions (such as
>the Bible being a reliable witness to the divinity of Christ)
>As an example, suppose in 30 years someone writes an account of the WTC
>atrocity and they say jets full of terrorists flew into them and took them
>down. A few days later, it is claimed that a prominent CEO who was seen
>dead has come back from the dead to rally his comrades.

You are all over the map. The gospels were received by followers who knew
the authors. They were revered and read in small groups and transcribed to
send to others. Paul wrote personal letters hand delivered by his personal
messengers to churches he founded.

>Now, suppose some years go by, and another account (almost word for word)
>is written about the towers crumbling, but this one says that at the
>moment the towers crumbled, many CEOs rose out of the rubble and then
>after the prominent CEO rose, they walked around Manhattan and were seen
>by many people.
>50 days after the prominent CEO ascends to heaven, one of his comrades
>gives a speech to give hope and bring people together under this CEO's
>name, but he does not mention many CEOs being raised from the dead and
>being seen by many people in Manhattan.
>By applying a standard of evidence that we would all apply in any field of
>reasoning, including evaluating the claims of other religions and claims
>of fantastic nature, what is the reasonable thing to conclude? I would say
>it is more reasonable to conclude that the writer of the secondary account
>has embellished his account to make it sound more momentous.
>If you would not reach this conclusion, please explain why and how, and
>point me to solid reasoning and historical evidence of an incredible event
>involving many dead people coming back from the dead in ancient Jerusalem.

You need much more than I can say in quick response. Jesus raised
Lazarus. But the story about the further life of Lazarus isn't
recorded. The NT authors wrote their accounts not to persuade you, but
simply to give account pertaining to Christ. Note the testimony of the
blind man when asked who it was who healed him - was he (Jesus) a
sinner? "Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that,
whereas I was blind, now I see" (John 9:25). And that's all the testimony
any of us can give. Christ now lives in me. That may not persuade you,
but that isn't my problem. As a believer, I am required to bear
testimony. But only the Holy Spirit can move you.

>Some questions are left unanswered still however:
>1. Do demons heal people? (From the false religions)

I don't know of any bona fide healing by a certified demon. If anybody
knows of one, speak up.

>2. If God uses the Holy Spirit to guide, and truly wants all mankind
>to come to redemption through his Son, why does the Holy Spirit take so
>long to reveal miraculous account information to human authors?

Hey, I've got why questions too. Why did God create Satan when in His
foreknowledge he must have know Satan would be His erstwhile
adversary? Why didn't God step in and warn Eve when the serpent tempted
her? You want more? We all have questions, Josh. But Paul (under the
unction of the Holy Spirit) saw this would happen, and said, "For now we
see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but
then shall I know even as also I am known" (1 Cor.13:12). Paul didn't have
all the answers either.

>3. Simply put, is the resurrection of many dead saints seen by many
>not a more spectacular event than the resurrection of one man seen by a
>dozen or more?

You use the word "resurrection" inadvisably. Christ was resurrected from
the dead and ascended to heaven in bodily form. Those who were raised from
the dead at that time eventually died again.

>4. Lastly, why is credibility given to the supernatural accounts of
>one particular group of people who lived in a time of rampant superstition
>over other groups, and why is credibility not given to groups of today?

Christ was totally unique. His coming was prophesied in the Old Testament,
His ministry of healing and performing miracles was witnessed, and those
who witnessed bore testimony. Then we have His words. Read what He
said. Find fault with His teaching. And, of course, the resurrection
which He foretold. And Paul. A man who sought to destroy Christianity
because he believed it was heresy, and yet he became the greatest apologist
for Christ. What a dramatic turnaround. Read Paul: Apostle of the Heart
Set Free. If you study Paul, you will see the one he followed. Or just
keep asking questions ... Your choice.

Dick Fischer - Genesis Proclaimed Association
Finding Harmony in Bible, Science, and History
Received on Mon Feb 2 22:18:20 2004

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