evidence that demands a verdict main points


Douglas Geivett explains the difference between these two versions of the argument. 24 Arnold D. Weigel, “A Critique of Bertrand Russell’s Religious Position,” in Christianity for the Tough-minded, ed. This conclusion was not reached easily. Have you ever wondered how you would answer someone who pointed to the Gnostic gospels as evidence that the Bible isn’t reliable? “God cannot be impersonal, personal, transcendent, polytheistic, pantheistic, monotheistic, able to beget, not able to beget, relevant, and irrelevant all at the same time. In Defense of Miracles: A Comprehensive Case for God’s Action in History. The Messiah was to be a Jew who brought light to the Gentiles (Isaiah 42:6-7; 49:5-6). Evidence That Demands a Verdict provides expansive defense of Christianity's core truths and thoughtful responses to the Bible's most difficult and extraordinary passages. Bloom identifies four criteria that need to be satisfied in order to conclude that a genuine prophecy has been given. 4. 44 The expression “convergence of independent probabilities” comes from Montgomery, who in turn attributes it to Cardinal John Henry Newman; see Beckwith, “History and Miracles,” in In Defense of Miracles, ed. This objection has the following form: God must have a morally sufficient reason for allowing any evil that he allows; but there is much evil in the world for which we can imagine no morally sufficient reason, such that it is highly unlikely that God exists (61).38. For example, the swoon theory, which holds that Jesus merely passed out on the cross and was revived after being left for dead in the tomb, attempts to overturn the fact of Jesus’ death. They argue that a much more difficult version of the problem still remains to be addressed. Moreover, if on the basis of the evidence we conclude that God probably does exist, then, given that God is good and all-powerful, we may conclude that God is justified in permitting evil even if we do not know what his reason or reasons may be (61). Although most scientists admit that the universe had a beginning, many try to remain agnostic as to its cause. For example, Francis Beckwith objects to the Baha’i teaching that all the world’s major religions were inspired by God. . (2) We must know that it was given before the event. As we saw in Part Two, classical apologists have responded at great length to “the problem of evil.” As traditionally defined, this is a logical, or deductive, problem that presents a seeming contradiction in the theistic worldview. The bibliographical test seeks to determine whether the existing or extant copies of a document are reliable reproductions of the wording of the original document. Geivett and Habermas, 217-21. . 16 (Lewiston, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen Press, 1989); Knowing the Truth about the Resurrection (Ann Arbor: Servant, 1991); Reasonable Faith (1994), 255-98; “Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?” in Jesus Under Fire, ed. I am thrilled for the updated and expanded edition of this landmark resource to reach the hearts and minds of a rising generation, and I … The Resurrection appearances are shown to be authentic history for similar reasons.52 Again, the accounts of the appearances, especially in 1 Corinthians 15:6-8, are too early to have arisen as myths or legends. (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor, 1994), 90-99. Beckwith defines the term miracle inductively or empirically rather than deductively: “A miracle is a divine intervention which occurs contrary to the regular course of nature within a significant historical-religious context” (7). Theists, in my experience, usually agree with atheists that the amount of evil in the world makes it harder to believe in a good God. 6. This is the inductive or evidential problem of evil. ... Newman points out various paradoxical features of Old Testament messianic prophecies that find their natural and obvious fulfillment in Jesus. All these considerations are brought together by evidentialists to constitute a cumulative case showing that the Resurrection is the most probable, reasonable explanation of the facts. And, of course, if the miracles of religion A and religion B are evidentially equal, and religion A claims to be ordained by the true God because the leader has the ability to instantaneously heal patterned baldness, while religion B appeals to the resurrection of its founder, then religion B has a qualitatively better miracle. Paul’s writings claim to be written by Paul, and the Gospels, especially Luke and John, claim to be recording history based on eyewitness testimony (29-30). 46 Gary R. Habermas, The Resurrection of Jesus: An Apologetic (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1980); “The Resurrection Appearances of Jesus,” in In Defense of Miracles, edited by Geivett and Habermas, 262-275; Habermas and Antony G. N. Flew, Did Jesus Rise from the Dead? Free delivery on qualified orders. In the early 1970s, the publication of Josh McDowell’s “Evidence That Demands a Verdict” caused a sensation. According to evidentialism, the historical evidence for God’s intervention in space and time is sufficient of itself to establish God’s existence. William Lane Craig and Mark S. McLeod, Problems in Contemporary Philosophy, vol. “PROLOGUE: A Theistic Universe” – Twenty-one pages are dedicated here to shaking the foundations of skeptical assumptions even further, such as naturalism and metaphysical naturalism. Parenthetical references in this section are to the former work by Beckwith; emphasis is in the original. Only at this point does Beckwith discuss God’s existence. . 7 Bernard Ramm, Protestant Christian Evidences (Chicago: Moody Press, 1953), 85. It rests solely upon historical method, the kind of method all of us have to use in analyzing historical data, whether Christians, rationalists, agnostics or Tibetan monks” (44). The two leading apologists writing on the Resurrection in the past twenty years or so have been Gary Habermas46 and William Lane Craig.47 Although Craig is a classical apologist, his position is in many ways compatible with evidentialism. Evidence that Demands a Verdict has been a staple of any Christian apologetics library for over forty years. Whereas classical apologists tend to argue that one must first establish the existence of God in order to render miracles credible, evidentialists argue that miracles can actually serve as evidence for the existence of God. Sources: College head coach quits after opening game. This assumes, of course, that we have already concluded that the event occurred at all. Specifically, the theory that God exists helps explain the existence of the world (the cosmological argument), its order and basic beauty (the teleological argument), as well as human consciousness (the argument from mind) and morality (the moral argument).25, Likewise, William Lane Craig has developed the cosmological and teleological proofs into complex arguments combining philosophical reasoning with scientific evidence. Josh McDowell and Sean McDowell. . Evidence that Demands a Verdict (Thomas Nelson, 2017). The chapters cover the “nature” of truth (ch. Beckwith also criticizes the argument that, even granting the occurrence of a miracle, one could not fairly infer the religious significance attributed to it, and answers this argument with a thinly veiled, abstract reference to the Resurrection: Suppose that a purported miracle-worker, C, says that he is God’s chosen and that he will perform a miracle, R, a resurrection, at time t in order to confirm God’s approval of his mission. “Even if the cause of the origin of the physical universe is not directly and empirically accessible, theoreticians fail in their capacity as scientists if they resist the conclusion to which the evidence leads, for the ideal objective of science is to explain all phenomena.”31, The teleological argument has also been reworked into an evidentialist argument, and in fact has enjoyed something of a renewed respect in the past fifteen years or so. Evidence That Demands a Verdict is an easy-to-read, front-line defense for Christians facing the tough questions of critics and skeptics. To assure his readers he is employing an unbiased method of treating the historical reliability of the New Testament, Montgomery chooses tests of reliability drawn from a textbook on English literary history by a military historian.3 These are the bibliographical, internal, and external tests (26). Suppose this person had claimed that he would do this and had offered a theological explanation for it, and suppose further that he claimed to be the culmination of his culture’s theological expectations and prophetic predictions. The same material is found in Montgomery, Where Is History Going, 37-52. Montgomery, Faith Founded on Fact, 55. That is, they do not examine the evidence for particular miracles per se, but dispense with miracles in general prior to the examination of the evidence” (121). 42 The inclusion of levitation is odd, but Beckwith likely had the Ascension in mind. By Josh and Sean McDowell. (62-63). Below I’m going to list the sections in the book and a brief synopsis of each. . These explanations typically function as alternatives to one or more of the generally accepted facts adduced by Craig and Habermas. First, Habermas and Craig develop a set of “core” facts that are rarely denied by modern biblical scholars or historians writing on the subject and for which good evidence exists. If the above sections were not enough to get you sold on this, this section alone should be the deal-maker. Here Montgomery and other evidentialists insist “that the benefit of the doubt is to be given to the document itself, not arrogated by the critic to himself” (29). Evidence That Demands A Verdict: An Overview. This depends, first, on how probable it is that God exists anyway. This model holds that there may be a number of reasonable explanations for a body of evidence, and that one is to choose from this pool of live options that explanation which is the best, that is, which most successfully meets such criteria as having explanatory power, explanatory scope, and not being ad hoc. This new problem is not whether God and evil both exist, but “how both can exist” (64). (1998). Apologists of a more classical orientation have also used this threefold test, including one of the present authors; see Ken Boa and Larry Moody, I’m Glad You Asked, 2d ed. : Rowman & Littlefield, 1993). It is a bold statement, but untrue. The logical problem of evil asks, Is it logically possible that God and evil coexist? As we saw in Part Two, classical apologists generally approach this question by analyzing the worldviews of the major non-Christian religions. (4) Stroll engages in groundless historical speculation when he suggests that the Christian view of Jesus was the product of “messianic fever” in first-century Judaism (21-22). As Habermas and Licona observe, Jesus’ life “created a context in which his resurrection from the dead would not be a surprise. These and other observations have led the vast majority of scientists working in the field to embrace some form of big bang cosmology, according to which the universe had a beginning. Now, if you aren’t blown away by the amount of material the McDowells have packed into this book, you should be! Craig makes the same point in somewhat more developed fashion: . Some of the groundwork is laid for the evidence for theism which truly sets up the rest of the book. Montgomery makes this point in connection with an illustration used by the philosopher Antony Flew (who at the time was an atheist36). With the original Evidence That Demands a Verdict, bestselling author Josh McDowell gave Christian readers the answers they needed to defend their faith against the harshest critics and sceptics. . See also Boa and Moody, I’m Glad You Asked, 64-66. 3. Scientists often operate by the ideal that everything can and should eventually be explained scientifically, and the big bang presents an apparent dead end to this ideal. Collins, Steven. I believe that this approach retains a healthy Humean skepticism by taking into consideration the improbability of a miraculous event, but I also believe that it resists a dogmatic skepticism by taking seriously the possibility that one may have evidence for a miracle. The external test asks whether the testimony of the biblical writings is corroborated or undermined by extrabiblical sources. 22), the writing of the first five biblical books (ch. Evidentialists confront the problem of religious pluralism on two levels. The argument is now commonly based on the so-called anthropic cosmological principle, or more simply the anthropic principle.32 This term refers to the observation that numerous factors inherent in the universe appear to be just right for sustaining a universe in which life, including humanity, has even the possibility of existing. 27 William Lane Craig, The Existence of God and the Beginning of the Universe (San Bernardino, Calif.: Here’s Life, 1979), 55-80; Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway, 1994), 100-116; and his debate book on the subject with Quentin Smith, Theism, Atheism, and Big Bang Cosmology (Oxford: Clarendon, 1993). Evidentialists, on the other hand, think the case for Christianity can be most effectively presented using evidences for creation, for the historicity of Jesus and especially his resurrection, and other evidences in one ‘cumulative case’ for Christian theism. Rather than developing an apologetic for theism as preparation for considering the specific claims of Christ to reveal God to us and to reconcile us to God, the evidentialist views Christ and the Bible, in which we learn about Christ, as the best source for a Christian apologetic. “How To Know God Personally” – A four page gospel presentation! However, subsequent publications, including the short introduction to a new edition of Flew’s classic atheist book God and Philosophy (Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 2005), suggest that Flew’s belief in a God was not yet a settled conviction. As we have already noted, the main difference is that classical apologetics builds the case for Christianity in two stages: first the evidence for God (theism), and second the evidence for Christianity. $19.49. Altizer’s mistake “stems from his general disrespect for historical facts: he will not allow a given religion to speak for itself. J. P. Moreland (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 1994), 141-72; and in several of his books. That is, the explanation will have the following form: x (evil) is to be explained by either a, b, c, or some other factor. “APPENDIX: Responding to the Challenges of Bart Ehrman” – A special section dealing with the (well-known at least in apologetic circles) skeptic Bart Ehrman who has made a career out of creating popular-level books casting doubt on Christianity. Click here for the lowest price! Quite the contrary: the Gardener entered his garden (the world) in the person of Jesus Christ, showing himself to be such ‘by many infallible proofs’ (Acts 1:3).”37. The second and third tests address the historical reliability of the contents of the biblical documents. Norman Geisler, for example, states plainly: “Fulfilled prophecy does not prove the existence of God, but it does show that unusual events predicted in his Name that come to pass are evidence of his special activity.”17. 10 Ibid., 179-86; Robert W. Manweiler, “The Destruction of Tyre,” and Elaine A. Phillips, “The Fall of Nineveh,” in The Evidence of Prophecy, ed. After surveying recent attempts to deal with the evidential problem of evil and deeming them all inadequate, Hare suggests that the only viable solution may be what he calls a “disjunctive explanation” (245). Evidence that Demands a Verdict is broken up into four main sections: Part One: Evidence for the Bible. I … This way you’ll know why it’s such a valuable resource and why it should be next on your purchase list. The Messiah was to be a Jew who brought light to the Gentiles (Isaiah 42:6-7; 49:5-6). To Hume’s argument that the miracle stories of differing religions cancel one another out, Beckwith replies that some miracle stories are of more profound significance than others, and that the most impressive and significant kind of miracle is resurrection from the dead. 20), the historical reliability of the nation of Israel under Kings like David (ch. Lastly, Craig and Habermas argue that the resurrection of Jesus in the context of his life and teachings verifies his claim to deity. He will be humble yet exalted (Daniel 7:13-14; Zechariah 9:9). Evidence That Demands a Verdict “I saw unequivocally that the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ is so overwhelming that it compels acceptance by proof which leave absolutely no room for doubt.” However, Flew still denied that God had revealed himself in Christianity or any other religion. 23), the writing of Isaiah (ch. 48 For example, Habermas and Flew, Did Jesus Rise from the Dead, 19-20; Craig and Crossan, Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up, 26-28; and especially Habermas and Licona, Case for the Resurrection of Jesus, 43-77. Jesus was publicly executed and died on a Roman cross. This is the so-called prior probability of the hypothesis. He was to be born a human son, yet he preexisted as God (Micah 5:2; Isaiah 9:6-7). Buy Evidence That Demands a Verdict: Vol 2 by McDowell, Josh (ISBN: 9780840743794) from Amazon's Book Store. If Professor Altizer would let the facts speak for themselves, he would have to give up any hope of blending Eastern and Western religion.”19, Other evidentialists make the same point in different ways. 2), archaeological evidence (ch. Securing belief in God is not considered a prerequisite to taking this first step; only clearing away any methodological or philosophical assumptions that prejudge the question of the truth of the biblical narratives is necessary. “To be skeptical of the resultant text of the New Testament books is to allow all of classical antiquity to slip into obscurity, for no documents of the ancient period are as well attested bibliographically as the New Testament” (29). That is, a miracle is (a) scientifically inexplicable, (b) religiously significant, and (c) supernaturally (or, divinely) caused. Paul, a persecutor of the Christians, converted to faith in Christ after an experience of seeing Jesus alive from the dead. Another evidentialist who analyzes the problem of evil along inductive lines is John Hare. The first step for evidentialists such as Montgomery, then, is to defend the biblical writings, not as infallible Scripture, but as historically credible and reliable documents. This type of miracle touches man at his deepest existential and personal level, and can be a source of hope, assurance, and peace of mind if the person who conquered death promises eternal life to those who follow his teachings. John Dominic Crossan’s theory that Jesus’ dead body was left in a ditch or shallow grave and eaten by dogs is meant to circumvent the claim that Jesus was buried in a tomb. Specifically, the (deductive) problem of evil asks whether it is logically possible for an all-good, all-powerful God to exist simultaneously with a world he created and yet has evil in it. . There is no evidence that demands a positive verdict from every reasonable person.” If significant evidence can be presented to show that it is highly likely that God exists, then the burden of proof is on the person who would argue that God’s existence is unlikely. Scientists have also discovered a faint background radiation in the cosmos such as was predicted to exist if the universe had exploded into existence from an original single point. Having cleared away these errors, Montgomery begins his positive case with this disclaimer: “We won’t naively assume the ‘inspiration’ or ‘infallibility’ of the New Testament records and then by circular reasoning attempt to prove what we have previously assumed. (New York: Harper, 1841). 9), the evidence for the resurrection (ch. This is because the scientific data includes information about the universe as a whole (e.g., the universe’s expansion rate, the universal forces of matter, gravity, and electromagnetism). These chapters deal with canonization (ch. One may wonder why, if the vast majority of biblical scholars acknowledge these facts, so many of them question the Resurrection. Amazon.in - Buy The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict, 1999 Edition: Fully Updated book online at best prices in India on Amazon.in. (18 pages!). He believes a miracle can be identified as such without first establishing God’s existence. Josh and Sean McDowell are releasing a book this week that is a foundational resource for apologetics in our time. Craig comments, “It may seem stupefying that while most New Testament critics who have written on these subjects accept the facts which, at least in my opinion, furnish inductive grounds for inferring the resurrection of Jesus, they do not themselves make that inference; but this is, in fact, the situation.”49 Craig himself bases his argument on facts admitted by this majority, “not because truth is determined by numbers, for it certainly is not; rather, it is precisely because . 7. 11 Robert C. Newman, “Israel’s History Written in Advance: A Neglected Evidence for the God of the Bible,” in Evidence for Faith, ed. Evidence That Demands a Verdict demonstrates that there is no reason to think that they offer a better and more accurate view of the historical Jesus than Mat- thew, Mark, Luke, and John. 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