Session Notes

What We Will Learn Today

  1. "How do we know anything at all?"
  2. Analytic Philosophy
  3. The Historical-Legal Apologetic Approach
  4. The Integrity of the New Testament
  5. Today's Difficulty with Miracles


Approaching the Historical or ‘Evidential’ Apologetic

  • Many examples in John Warwick Montgomery, C.S. Lewis, and Richard Whatley

Most people describe our world as the ‘Postmodern’ world

  • Postmodern: Criticism of ‘Modernity’
  • Modernity: “We can know with absolute certainty so many things about our world, including metaphysical things and natural things”

Dr. Francisco's definition of Postmodernity: A skepticism towards certainty

The questions of postmodernity are rooted in the questions of the ancient philosophers

  • “How do we know anything at all?”
  • Example: Plato’s Phaedo
  • Simmia’s response to Socrates, we cannot know things for certain unless of course we have a revelation outside of us

Much of the debate of the Western revolves around the question: Do we have a word from God?

Modern answer: Maybe?

Ludwig Wittgenstein, one of the most influential philosophers of the 20th century argued that we can only make sense of the world in probabilistic terms

  • If we want certainty, it has to come from outside of us (revealed)

Analytical Philosophy and their 3 Types of Statements
When it comes to our statements about the world, there are three types of propositions:

  1. Meaningless (i.e. “Blue runs faster than Tuesday”)
  2. Analytical (i.e. “All bachelors are unmarried males”)
  3. Synthetic (i.e. “Jesus resurrected from the dead”)

Important Elements of the Historical Apologetic Approach

  • Inductive; anyone can inspect the evidence
  • Positive; there are reliable sources to inspect
  • Probabilistic; in principle, the resurrection is falsifiable
  • Approachable through common historical and legal methods

There are very few religions that are open to ‘testing’ divine claims

  • Christianity is unique because it can be proven false
  • Christianity is dependent on a unique revelation through Jesus Christ and his resurrection
If Christ did not rise from the dead, we are the most to be pitied
1 Corinthians 15:16-19

Like most religions, Christianity claims that it has a word from God but it rests on factual claims

Christian Claim #1:

God has revealed himself in very special and discreet ways, first and foremost, in and through the person and work of his son Jesus Christ

Christian Claim #2:

The Old and New Testament documents are special revelation. They are the very word of God.

Response #1:

We ask: Are the Gospels reliable historical documents?

The Integrity of the New Testament

  • Well-preserved
  • Provide eye-witness accounts

Claims of Christ in all of the Gospels

  • Jesus says ‘I and the Father are one.’
  • Referred to as the ‘Son of Man’
  • Uses Miracles as evidence

Jesus’ response to skeptics in the Gospels

  • If you want a sign, consider the sign of Jonah: Just as Jonah was in the belly of a fish for three days, so will the son of man
  • “I will tear down this temple and in three days rebuild it”
  • Everything is pointing to the Resurrection

Difficulty with ‘Miracles’ Today

  • Due to David Hume’s line of thinking, there is a naturalistic bias that says ‘miracles don’t happen’
    • This is highly presumptuous though, especially when it’s only based on a hunch
  • And when we acknowledge that we live in a post-einsteinian world

Ruling out something ‘a priori’ is unscientific

  • We need inspect each miracle, case by case
  • Contrary to common historical methods

What happens when we look at the evidence

The evidence aligns with the Resurrection

  • All four Gospel accounts attest that Jesus rose from the dead
  • Jesus appeared to the women and the his Apostles
  • Jesus appeared to over 500 people after the resurrection

If they were making up their accounts...

  • They wouldn’t have chosen women as the first to see Jesus, due to the cultural view of women at the time
  • They wouldn’t have made themselves look so doubtful

If Jesus is did, in fact, rise from the dead, he is the best source of objective truth

He calls the Old Testament ‘the very word of God’

What about the New Testament?

John 14:26: The Holy Spirit causes the disciples to remember everything Jesus taught

Thinking Inductively, there is a factual case that Jesus was God’s very son, and that God has communicated his will through the Old and New Testament

Review of the Historical Argument, Book Recommendations

C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity

John Warwick Montgomery History, Law, and Christianity