The fundamental question that must be asked regarding whether or not God exists, is what kind of evidence there is to validate such an assertion?
I have spent more than forty years seeking, examining, and documenting the evidence for God. It is my professional opinion as a researcher, and critical author, that the evidence for the existence of a singular, transcendent, unlimited Being, is substantial, empirical, and conclusive. Those who present an argument that there is no evidence for God are simply misinformed or willfully ignorant. It is impossible to maintain this position due to the massive amount of evidence that resides within the reach of any interested person.
Many people ignore the Biblical or religious records that speak of God, due to their religious nature; concluding that any religious text cannot be reliable. To the surprise of many, we do not need the Bible or any other religious document to prove that God exists. We can fully validate the existence of God from secular literature, empirical science and the ancient texts of hostile witnesses.
During a specific period of mankind’s history on the earth, there is a great deal of preserved documentation about a man who is known as “Crestus,” “Yeshu,” and other uncomplimentary descriptions. This is the same person that is referred to by the Greek Scriptures of the first century, who is known as “Jesus of Nazareth.”
I find it interesting that the entire life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, can be validated from these secular, non-biblical sources from antiquity. The records of the Roman Senate, The writing of the Jewish Talmud, and various other Roman, Greek, and Latin writers, describe Jesus in grossly negative terms.
If you were to write a story about a person that you loathed in order to discredit them or bring disrepute to their life, there would be no interest in attributing anything beneficial to these persons.. You would not want this person to be recognized, complimented, or preserved in history. You would rather that their name be forgotten and any reference to their life would simply disappear and never be heard from again. The people who wrote their objections, hatred, and aversions to Jesus of Nazareth, were communicating with government leaders, Emperors, and other non religious officials. They wrote in opposition to Jesus and communicated details of the difficulties and unrest that they felt He caused their communities and institutions.
Without realizing, their objections and arguments against Jesus, preserved a record of Him in the Chronicles of history.
For this reason, it is impossible to remove Jesus from history, or to accurately assert that He is a myth, legend, or fanciful creation of men. The writings of non religious sources makes it clear that Jesus did exist during the period of time that the New Testament Scriptures place Him there.
It is likely that the prolific, non Christian, Jewish writer, Josephus, had personally read Matthew’s account of the resurrection and this text was undoubtably a source for his own description of the followers of Jesus, who testified that He had risen from the dead. Josephus was a historian. He was born in Jerusalem around 37 A.D., and lived until approximately 100 A.D. He recorded events that took place during the same period of time when Matthew recorded his gospel of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
During the interval in which Josephus wrote “The Wars of the Jews” and the “Antiquities of the Jews,” Paul was also writing his letters to the seven churches in Asia, which were widely read by many Jews and Gentiles during the same period. It is probable that Josephus had read portions of Paul’s letters, as they were distributed over a wide area during the life of Josephus. Paul’s credibility as a Biblical scholar of that day, was surpassed only by his teacher; Gamaliel. There is no doubt that Josephus had extreme regard for Paul and the miraculous change which occurred in his life.
All of Israel knew that Paul had carried letters to ensure the death of many Christians. When Paul began to write that he had seen the risen Jesus and that he was now one of His followers, Josephus was undoubtably effected by this news.
Finally, there is great evidence that Flavius Josephus is in fact, Joseph ben Gurion, the brother of Nicodemus ben Gurion, the Nicodemus who came to Jesus late one night in the Gospel of John, chapter 3. According to Scholar Mary Ellen Snodgrass, Flavius Josephus was born Joseph ben Mattathias during the time when Jerusalem was occupied by the Roman army. He is the son of Matthias ben Gurion, a priest at the temple in Jerusalem, who instructed Josephus in the Hebrew and Greek languages. In 56 A.D., Flavius Josephus became a member of the Pharisees and served the Emperor Nero in A.D. 64. After a prophecy by Josephus in 69 A.D., Emperor Vespasian granted Josephus his Roman citizenship.
As a matter of fact, Nicodemus was a secret follower of Jesus. It is certain that knowledge of Jesus resurrection was conveyed to his brother, Josephus. The facts of Jesus’ death and resurrection were undoubtably communicated to Josephus by Nicodemus and remained a part of his understanding of who Jesus was. Though it is clear that Josephus was not a believer in Jesus, nevertheless, in his account of Jesus’ death by crucifixion under Pontius Pilate, it is certain that his text was greatly influenced by the first hand testimony of his brother, Nicodemus.
In a companion article to this, I list 121 non religious sources for Jesus in the historical record. This enumeration of sources which portray Jesus in negative terms, comes from a variety of writers. Each describe Jesus in hostile terms—all refuting Him as a good man and teacher of truth. We are aware that people who hate others, never view any of the words or works of those they hate as positive, helpful, or good. The fact that these men write in opposition to Jesus and seek to discredit Him in so many ways, gives us tremendous confidence in the reliability of these ancient sources as genuine accounts. There is no testimony that is as credible as that of a hostile witness. These records are empirical evidence for Jesus existence as a real person of history.
The fact that these non religious writers speak of Jesus crucifixion under Pontius Pilate, during the reign of Tiberius, with rumors of Jesus resurrection on the third day, are incredible validations of the actual events that the New Testament describes.
Once we realize that history has accurately recorded that Jesus did live in Israel during the time that the New Testament describes Him, we can go on to examine the words and works of his life.
We find that Jesus was very careful to state that He and God are one and the same:
“My Father and I are One and the same.” —John 10:28 (RCR)
“Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father” —John 14:9
The writers of the New Testament who were recording the incredible events that they were seeing and hearing, also stated emphatically that they believed that Jesus is God.
“For by Jesus all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.” —Colossians 1:16
“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power…” —Hebrews 1:1-3
How could these men write that they believed that Jesus is God, unless they had empirical evidence that would have led them to this conclusion? They had seen Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead after he had been dead for four days. They had seen Jesus walk across the surface of the water. They had seen him touch the eyes of a man born blind and give him sight. They listened as Jesus told a disabled man that his sins were forgiven, a right that only God has. When the religious leaders objected to Jesus using the power to forgive sin that belongs to God, alone, Jesus said that He understood their apprehension. For this reason, Jesus also commanded the disabled man to stand up and walk, which He did. Jesus said that although no one can see whether or not Jesus really had the power to forgive sins, for no one can see if this really took place, they can see a man who cannot walk, stand up at Jesus command and walk away. If Jesus can speak to a man and make him walk, He can most certainly forgive sins and they are forgiven, These are qualities that only God could posses.
It is clear by the record of history that God has revealed Himself to the world, through Jesus Christ, whom the Bible describes as the Creator of all that exists.
There is absolutely no reason that any person should continue in doubt that God exists, for He has forever given us proof that He is alive and has created us for a purpose. God loves the world that He made, but it fell into disrepair by its willing opposition to Him, Jesus came to earth as God to give us all a second chance to apprehend the perfect and eternal life that God created for us to enjoy.
This world is in the catastrophic condition that it is in because each one of us have chosen to go our own way and ignore God or pretend that He does not exist. The facts of history do not lie. Jesus existed in Jerusalem during the time that the Bible places Him there. This certainty is supported by 121 non biblical, hostile witnesses who wrote in opposition to Jesus and preserved a totally non-biased record that Jesus most certainly did exist. How is it that these men could described the alleged crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, if it never happened?
The world has all the proof that it needs today. Jesus did live and He died upon a Roman Cross. He was raised from the dead on the third day and He promised the forgiveness of all sins and eternal life to anyone who trusts in Him. God exists in the person of Jesus, the Christ, who came into the world to prove to us that God is real and He has sent His Son to die for us so that we might all live forever through Him.
See the following articles for more information on this subject:
The Ease Of Proving God Exists From Empirical Evidence
121 Non Biblical Sources For Jesus in the Historical Record
Is the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Supported by Reliable Evidence?
The Overwhelming Empirical Evidence for Jesus Death and Resurrection
All Time and History Itself is Marked By Jesus Life, Death, and Resurrection
Empirical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ
The Certainty of the Resurrection
The Hope of Resurrection and the Despair of Atheism
Historical Evidence For Jesus Resurrection
 Encyclopedia of the Literature of Empire, By Mary Ellen Snodgrass, Pages 156-157.
Categories: "No proof for Jesus Resurrection", Agnostics and Skeptics, Empirical Evidence for the Resurrection, From Creator To The Cross, Jesus is God, The Existence of God, The Historical Jesus, The Resurrection of Jesus