"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof."Sounds logical. Sounds reasonable.
When discussing theology in general, and Christianity in specific, the modern proponent faces a contemporary philosophical mindset unknown even a few decades ago. A Christian speaker, debater, apologist, let's say, 50 years ago, could often quote and reference verses or incidents from within the pages of the Bible as supporting evidence to various teachings/events/issues---and most listeners accepted that at face value, at least in America. I am not saying that this situation was either good or bad. One could easily argue both ways. Let's just say that, when it came to what the Bible said, it was generally accepted as authoritative.
We live in a different world, here at the turning of the millennia. The Christian evangelist of the 21st century faces a formidable obstacle. Formidable, not in that it is difficult to overcome, but formidable in the sense that few are being prepared and trained in how to surmount these new obstacles to faith.
50 years ago, in most places in America, the Bible was known as the word of God. Today, it is relegated to a "sacred text," but perhaps only slightly more sacred than other "similar" writings throughout the world. The vast majority, having bought the secularists agenda, are not aware of the remarkable differences between the Bible and any other venerated or "holy" book. They are unaware of the amount of prophecy found in the Bible (nearly one third of the Bible is prophetic---compared to other "holy books", which typically contain less than 1% of prophecy)(here is a nice site about prophecy: http://www.reasons.org/fulfilled-prophecy-evidence-reliability-bible), it's authorship, it's historical veracity and verifiability through archaeology (not true of most other "holy books"), it's unity and continuity of message concerning the birth, death, and resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ, who is both God and man at the same time.
Most people are unaware of the reliability of the Biblical documents (meaning, how consistent are the copies we have today compared to the originals). To demonstrate how incredible the Bible is in terms of reliability, we have over 5000 Greek and Latin complete manuscripts (the New Testament was written in Greek) and over 14,000 partial manuscripts, with many dating within decades of the original documents. A thorough study of the manuscript evidence shows that the Bible we have today is approximately 99.5% textually accurate, meaning that, in all those multiplied-thousands of copies, they only vary less than one-half of one percent. And many of those differences are in the spelling of proper names and merely word order.
Here are some good links regarding reliability:
But, having said all that...
Many reject the Bible completely, and therefore, a new level of proof, of evidence, of authority must be established to bridge them from agnosticism to conviction of the truth of Christianity.
In this blog I would like to share what I consider to be 10 Compelling Non-Biblical Proofs of Christianity. These are evidences that provide independent confirmation of major teachings of Christianity--the "extraordinary proofs" that professor Truzzi demanded.
1. Known Universal Laws Require a Creator consistent with the type of God the Bible describes.
Scientific research, especially regarding cosmology (similar to astronomy), has blossomed over the past 80 years. Since the heydays of Hubble, Einstein, and Hoyle, our body of knowledge regarding the universe has expanded nearly as fast as "the big bang" event itself. From our discoveries, what have we really learned? Two of our most important revelations could be summed up as follows:
- The universe is expanding
- The universe is running out of usable energy (second law of thermodynamics)
Consider the first realization: The universe is expanding. Big deal you say? Oh, you're right, it is a very big deal. Since the days of Edwin Hubble, we have demonstrated that all the stars and all the galaxies are moving, and moving at some very high rate of speeds, and all racing outwards. Think about that for a minute. Well, what if you could go back in time? The further back in time you go, the closer together all of those galaxies would have been. Keep going back further in time, and eventually all the stars and all the galaxies would all come back to a single point! So, imagine that---all of the universe must have come into being from a single point, a singular creation event.
Now consider the second point: The universe is running out of usable energy (second law of thermodynamics). Are you reading this, or are you breathing, can you move around? Then guess what? That means there is still USABLE energy around, energy that can be used to drive things like computers, your lungs, or the motor in your refrigerator.
But the second law of thermodynamics has some bad news for us energy users, it states that, over time, the amount of USABLE energy will always go down. In fact, it clearly indicates, that given a certain amount of time, all of the usable energy will one day be used up, and the universe will die (what is called) a "heat death."
Even though the universe has tremendous reserves of energy, it is impossible for it to last forever, or anything even close to "forever." Let me illustrate: Imagine if you had a TRILLION dollars. And everyday you spent $1. Do you know how long it would take you to run out of money? One trillion days (that's just under 3 billion earth years). But guess what, on day one trillion and one, you would be out of money. Zero. Zilch. Nada.
The same thing is true about the amount of usable energy in the universe. Even with all the vast stores of energy found throughout the universe, there will come a day when it will all run out. Game Over.
But (here's the biggie)---we're not there yet.
Didn't anyone hear what I just said? Let me rephrase that---We're not there yet. (Ok, I didn't actually rephrase it)
Quit yawning, this is important stuff! Really. Here's why: since there is only a finite amount of energy in the universe, and yet, we still have usable energy, that means the universe cannot be infinitely old. If the universe had always existed (in other words, no need for a "god" or a Creator to make it) then we would have already run out of usable energy an infinite amount of time ago. Those who deny that God made the universe usually say that the universe has "just always existed." In fact, one of the most famous naturalists of the 20th century, Carl Sagan stated, "The Cosmos is all that is, or ever was, or ever will be."
But wait, not so fast, science says that that is simply not possible.
Follow me here:
(1) The universe exists and contains a finite amount of usable energy
(2) The universe is constantly consuming usable energy
(3) The universe still contains usable energy
(4) Therefore, the universe cannot be infinitely old, since it would have already run out of usable energy long before now.
The logic and the scientific process underlying this is sound and well-established. So much so that Einstein himself had to add in a fake "fudge factor" to his equations just to try to get around the idea of a finite universe. He wanted to believe the theory (as most cosmologists of his day) that the universe was infinite (eternal), that it had just always existed. Sorry folks, theories must give way to laws, and the second law does not allow for an infinite, eternal universe. Einstein later acknowledged this, he finally came to grips with it and said that his cosmic "fudge factor" was the greatest blunder of his life.
So what have we learned? The universe had to come into being at a single point in time (second law) and space (Hubble). This means that it has not always been here (it is not infinite or eternal). Many religions and philosophies consider the universe to be a part of God, or even, as in pantheism, that the universe itself, and everything in it, is God. But, unlike nearly all other religions, the Bible teaches about a Creator OUTSIDE of the universe, who is independent from it, who created it at a point in time, and gave it energy, and started it's motions.
So, our first bit of non-Biblical evidences pointing to the truth of Christianity stands as:
1. Known Universal Laws require a Creator consistent with the type of God the Bible describes.
To read part 2 of this 10 part series CLICK HERE