Welcome to The Reasons to Believe podcast, episode #158. My name is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International.
Our Reasons to Believe Scripture Passage for today is John 20:24-27. It reads, “But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.”
Our Reasons to Believe quote for today is from Gary Habermas. He said, “There is an important difference between the apostle martyrs and those who die for their beliefs today. Modern martyrs act solely out of their trust in beliefs that others have taught them. The apostles died for holding to their own testimony that they had personally seen the risen Jesus. Contemporary martyrs die for what they believe to be true. The disciples of Jesus died for what they knew to be either true or false.”
Our Reason to Believe powerpoint today is titled “The Resurrection, Part 11” from “The Handbook of Christian Apologetics” by Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli.
The authors continue with the fifth part of this chapter subtitled, “Refutation of the Conspiracy Theory: Seven Arguments.”
4. There could be no possible motive for such a lie. Lies are always told for some selfish advantage. What advantage did the “conspirators” derive from their “lie”? They were hated, scorned, persecuted, excommunicated, imprisoned, tortured, exiled, crucified, boiled alive, roasted, beheaded, disemboweled and fed to lions—hardly a catalog of perks!
5. If the resurrection was a lie, the Jews would have produced the corpse and nipped this feared superstition in the bud. All they had to do was go down to the tomb and get it. The Roman soldiers and their leaders were on their side, not the Christians’. And if the Jews couldn’t get the body because the disciples stole it, how did they do that? The arguments against the swoon theory hold here too: unarmed peasants could not have overpowered Roman soldiers or rolled away a great stone while they slept on duty.
6. The disciples could not have gotten away with proclaiming the resurrection in Jerusalem—same time, same place, full of eyewitnesses—if it had been a lie. As William Craig says,
The Gospels were written in such temporal and geographical proximity to the events they record that it would have been almost impossible to fabricate events…. The fact that the disciples were able to proclaim the resurrection in Jerusalem in the face of their enemies a few weeks after the crucifixion shows that what the proclaimed was true, for they could never have proclaimed the resurrection (and been believed) under such circumstances had it not occurred. (Knowing the Truth About the Resurrection, chap. 6)
7. “If there had been a conspiracy, it would certainly have been unearthed by the disciples’ adversaries, who had both the interest and the power to expose any fraud. Common experience shows that such intrigues are inevitably exposed” (Craig, ibid.).
In conclusion, if the resurrection was a concocted, conspired lie, it violated all known historical and psychological laws of lying. It is, then, as unscientific, as unrepeatable, unique and untestable as the resurrection itself. But unlike the resurrection, it is also contradicted by things we do know (the above points).
Lord willing, we will continue this topic in our next episode.
Now, if you are listening today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, allow me to show you how.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Until next time, my friend, please keep in mind these reasons to believe. God bless!