The Resurrection of Jesus as Empirical Evidence

COPYRIGHT WARNING

It is a fundamental principle of factual authenticity that no amount of evidence is ever sufficient to convince those who are predisposed to unbelief, that Jesus is a real person from history.

This author has been actively in pursuit of the facts of Jesus Resurrection, as well as the historicity of His existence, as a real person of antiquity, for nearly 40 years. During this time, the facts which fully validate Jesus as a real person of history have continue to pile up–while those who are presented with such facts continue to deny them as credible. The person who has determined in advance, the end result of any issue, cannot be persuaded by evidence—contrary to their predilection.

Only those who are genuinely interested in accuracy and willing to begin a search for truth—apart from bias, are able to discover the veritable facts that validate any subject of history.

A recent publication by Richard Carrier, entitled: “On the Historicity of Jesus,” fabricates a new theory that the Jesus who is alleged to have existed in the New Testament, was a sort of mystical being—not a physical entity.

This is similar to the atheist—theoretical physicists of late, who cannot explain the fine-tuning of our universe by any naturalistic cause. In an attempt to remove any possibility that an intelligent Being is responsible for the Cosmos, the newest hypothesis—described as the, “multiverse,” designates our universe as one of an infinite number of other parallel universes (which no one can see). If we have an unlimited number of universes, then we would certainly expect to find at least one like ours that is finely tuned for life.

Although cosmologists do not have the ability to see beyond our own universe to test this theory, nevertheless, this has become the newest explanation for why the universe appears to be designed for life. This allows the atheist to make the assertion that God is not necessary as the source of our universe, since in their view, it came into existence by itself.[1]

Much like the multiverse, which no one can see, Richard Carrier creates an ancient mystical Jesus, which no one could see, who was simply a figment of the imagination.

This premise ignores the vast evidence that exists from the Jewish Talmud. The ancient scribes of Israel who chronicled Jesus in their writings, had no interest in preserving any historical information about Him, nor Christianity. The Jews who recorded their commentary about Jesus in the Talmud, regarded Him and His followers as the latest of many cult religions of their day. These leaders of Israel had no desire to document the existence of Jesus, His crucifixion, nor those who followed Him—yet this is precisely what they accomplished by their adversarial comments regarding His arrest and execution. These records were written during the period of history in which Jesus is reported to have been in Israel, as described by the narrative of the New Testament scriptures.[2]

Regardless of how many inferences Richard Carrier makes in his book that the historical Jesus is a fabrication, we must understand that this publication exists—exclusively as a result of a large financial grant from an atheist organization. It should be obvious to those who read Mr. Carrier’s book, that his entire purpose for writing—to deny the historicity of Jesus, was because he was paid to refute the existence of Jesus Christ.[3]

In essence, Richard Carrier is a mercenary for the atheist cause, not a literary or historical scholar who has followed the evidence to a credible conclusion. The facts are, Mr. Carrier cannot refute the certainty of recorded history. Both the Jews and the Romans would rather that Jesus had not existed, yet they found themselves recording many of the events of His life and death—in their preserved records of history. The evidence of antiquity demands that Jesus existed as a real person in Palestine during the period of history in which the New Testament describes Him.

Most people are intelligent enough to understand that a person who has already determined what the end result will be, before he begins to write—cannot be objective in his conclusions.

In every discussion with today’s modern atheist who staunchly adheres to the position that the Bible is the compilation of men, and the person called Jesus Christ is  a myth, I have discovered that these individuals have rarely investigated the available evidence for themselves. It is a clear and reoccurring problem with most atheists that they do not care to investigate evidence, rather they seek to support their choice that God cannot exist and Jesus is not who the Bible says that He is. Upon many interviews with these persons, I have discovered that the positions of a majority of atheists regarding God, is a matter of choice rather than a matter of facts.

In this publication I present a brief example of historical evidence for the man described as Jesus of Nazareth—which has been a part of the historical record for over 2,000 years. Despite several attempts by critics, over more than 20 centuries, not a single piece of the New Testament narrative of Jesus has ever been impeached or found invalid. Even against vigorous opposition from adversaries who refuse to accept the written historical record, the evidence from secular sources of history has been full validated by hundreds of literary and historical scholars.

The facts of Jesus scourging and crucifixion are intricately attested to by the four Gospels of the New Testament. The certainty that these events took place, is firmly established in history as indisputable matters of fact.[1]

By the vast number of Old Testament prophecies, we have compelling evidence that the events of the Messiah’s scourging and His subsequent crucifixion, were well known and widely understood by the Old Testament scriptures. By the prophecies of Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22, we have 55 detailed predictions of every possible aspect of the crucifixion of the Messiah (see Prophecy 242).

When we arrive at the New Testament and discover that both the Bible and Secular history authenticate that Jesus of Nazareth was scourged and then crucified in stunning fulfillment of the many Old Testament references, we have great confidence that Jesus is the Messiah who is described by these prophecies.[2]

Today, the world’s leading scholars agree that the crucifixion of Jesus is an established fact that is based on empirical evidence.[3] As matters of history, the events of the scourging and crucifixion are described as ranking so high in certainty that they are considered by experts as impossible to deny. These facts are the very basis for a foundation that Jesus of Nazareth lived, died, and rose from the dead, in confirmation of the the New Testament narrative.[4] The reason that these facts are certain is that we have the corroboration of not only the Bible, but secular history. The orders of Pontius Pilate to have Jesus scourged and crucified is documented by one of the greatest Roman historians ever to write on this period, Tacitus.[5]

As early as the second century Tacitus writes in his “Annals” of the Roman Empire, 116 A.D, (Annals 15,44) that under Caesar Nero, Pilate ordered the execution of Jesus of Nazareth by crucifixion.[6]

“Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus…”

This record of Jesus execution by crucifixion under Pontius Pilate, written by Tacitus, is of immense value for the historicity of Jesus Christ. As an independent source from the Roman government, Tacitus authenticates the narrative of the four gospels that Jesus was scourged and crucified exactly as the Gospels describe.[7] Tacitus further describes the certainty that the Christians of this time believed that by drinking the blood and eating the body of Jesus of Nazareth, who was described as the “Christ”, those who believed could live forever.[8]

See a copy of the Tacitus second Medicean manuscript of Annals, Book 15, chapter 44, with the reference to Christians, in the chapter The Certainty of the Resurrection.[9]

The most credible scholars today have confirmed that this text from Tacitus is authentic and reliable.[10] Paul Rhodes Eddy and Gregory A. Boyd, in their masterpiece of critical assessment of the Gospels: “Jesus Outside the new Testament,” describe the verity of the Tacitus text as firmly establishing by extra-biblical sources—Jesus was crucified under the Roman government, during the reign of Tiberius Caesar, under Pontius Pilate; precisely as the New Testament Gospels describe.

“Tacitus provides us with independent, non-Christian confirmation of Jesus’s crucifixion, that it occurred during the reign of Tiberius (14– 37 CE) and under Pilate’s governorship (26– 36 CE). He also shows us that within three decades of Jesus’s death there was a strong Christian presence in some quarters of the Roman Empire—enough so that Nero could use them as a plausible scapegoat for political purposes. And he tells us that many of these Christians were willing to suffer and die for their faith.”[11]

John Meier, Professor of the New Testament and Biblical Scholar said this regarding the authenticity of the Tacitus manuscript:

“Despite some feeble attempts to show that this text is a Christian interpolation in Tacitus, the passage is obviously genuine.”[12]

Other Scholars which include Bruce Chilton, Craig Evans, Paul R. Eddy and Gregory A. Boyd also agree with John Meier’s statement.[13]

For in-depth information on the validity of Tacitus to confirm the crucifixion of Jesus under Pontius Pilate, see the chapter in this book: The Certainty of the Resurrection.

Academic experts confirm that the crucifixion of Jesus is an established event, equal to any other respected and confirmed event of antiquity.[14] Even those who are regarded as scholars who do not believe in the deity of Jesus Christ, consider Jesus scourging, and crucifixion as actual occurrences that can be proven from extra-biblical authorities.[15]

A surprising source for Jesus crucifixion comes from the Babylonian Talmud-Sanhedrin 43a, Soncino edition. This text confirms from the records of the Jews, the gospel narrative of the events that led up to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. [16]

“On the eve of the Passover Yeshu was hanged. For forty days before the execution took place, a herald went forth and cried, ‘He is going forth to be stoned because he has practised sorcery and enticed Israel to apostasy. Anyone who can say anything in his favour, let him come forward and plead on his behalf.’ But since nothing was brought forward in his favour he was hanged on the eve of the Passover!”

About 93 A.D., Renowned Jewish historian, Josephus wrote that Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate in the “Antiquities of the Jews”, 18.3.[17]

“Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, …. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles… And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross.”[18]

Josephus was born in 37 A.D. And died in 100 A.D. It is certain that he was aware of the writings of the the Gospels which described the scourging, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We know today that by recent discoveries of New Testament papyrus that have been dated during the period of time in which Matthew was still alive, that Matthew and Josephus were contemporaries.

If any of the events which Matthew recorded concerning the death and resurrection of Jesus were untrue, Josephus would have certainly rebutted these statements in his writings. Josephus was not a Christian, nor sympathetic to the Christian church. The fact of his silence in having any contradictory testimony regarding what the disciples wrote concerning Jesus—is in my opinion, substantial confirmation that Josephus did not have any facts in evidence to discredit the claim that Jesus was not only crucified, but also resurrected three days later.

For more information regarding the historical authenticity of this section of Josephus, see the chapter: The Certainty of the Resurrection.

A recent discovery, dates Matthew’s gospel at 28 years after Jesus death

One of the most stunning discoveries in the field of New Testament reliability, came from an Egyptologist in the late 19th century by the name of Charles B. Huleatt.[19] Three small fragments of papyrus from upper Egypt, found at Magdalen College, Oxford in 1901, contained twenty four lines from the gospel of Matthew, chapter 26:23 and 31. Dr. Carsten Peter Thiede, the director of the Institute of Basic Epistemological Research in Paderborn, Germany, discovered by a scanning laser microscope, that these fragments were certainly from the original gospel of Matthew that was written while Matthew was still alive, about 60 A.D.[20]

Jesus Papyrus[21]

The most important aspect of this discovery is that is came from physical evidence instead of the conventional method for dating ancient papyrus by literary or historical supposition.

On December 24, 1994, the Times of London reported on the front page of their newspaper that a German Biblical Scholar had discovered what was believed to be the oldest extant fragment of the New Testament ever found.

“It provides the first material evidence that the Gospel according to St. Matthew is an eyewitness account written by contemporaries of Christ.”[22]

“What separates Thiede from his academic predecessors, is that he has identified an artifact—albeit a tiny one—which seems to prove his point…”[23]

This discovery—considered by many—the greatest discovery since the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947, proves that the Gospel of Matthew that we have in our possession today was written by first hand accounts of a person who witnessed the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Papyrus was likely handled by some of the 500 eyewitnesses that Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 15:6, who saw with their own eyes, Jesus risen from the dead.

The gospels that are recorded in the New Testament are certainly no more tendentious than any other ancient documents in their declaration of facts of history. It is ludicrous to insist that because the New Testament is a religious book that it should not be taken seriously as an equally important historical document which contains facts of history. This was the very reason that the writers of the gospels and the Book of Acts set out to record these events. They were of such extraordinary value, that the whole world should have the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ preserved for all time.

Based on Dr. Thiede’s conclusions that the Jesus Papyrus dates Matthew’s gospel as written during the time these events occurred, this revelation brings a grand confirmation for the authenticity of Jesus Resurrection.

• Jesus was crucified on April 14, 32 A.D.
• Matthew’s gospel is confirmed at the latest, 60 A.D.

This means that Matthews’s eyewitness account of Jesus death and resurrection was written within 28 years after the events took place. The critical disqualification of the gospels as written at too great a distance from the actual events—asserted by adversaries of Jesus Christ, are simply wrong. Matthew wrote and recorded for all posterity, events of such profound magnitude that they have changed the entire course of human history. He wrote these events himself or dictated them to a scribe, on documents that we have in our possession today.

This is compelling evidence for the historical reliability of Matthew’s gospel as written originally by Him, as a true account of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. There remains no further speculation as the whether Matthew’s account is genuine. This disciple of Jesus lived and assisted Jesus during the three and one half years of His ministry here on earth. Matthew was present during the time Jesus was unjustly arrested at Gethsemane. He was present during Jesus scourging and crucifixion. Matthew repeatedly stated in his narrative that all of the actions and words of Jesus were direct fulfillments of the ancient Hebrew prophecies of the Old Testament.

Ten times, Matthew records the words: that it might be fulfilled.

Matthew 1:22-23 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” Predicted in Isaiah 7:14 Prophecy 164

Matthew 2:15 …and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.” Predicted in Hosea 11:1 Prophecy 315

Matthew 2:23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, “He shall be called a Nazarene.Predicted in Isaiah 11:1 Prophecy 180

Matthew 4:14-16 …that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles: The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned.Predicted in Isaiah 9:1 Prophecy 168

Matthew 8:17 …that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “He Himself took our infirmities And bore our sicknesses.” Predicted in Isaiah 53:4 Prophecy 240 and Prophecy 241

Matthew 12:17-21 …that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “Behold! My Servant whom I have chosen, My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased! I will put My Spirit upon Him, And He will declare justice to the Gentiles. He will not quarrel nor cry out, Nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench, Till He sends forth justice to victory; And in His name Gentiles will trust.” Predicted in Isaiah 42:1 Prophecy 201

Matthew 13:35 …that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: “I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world.Predicted in Psalm 78:2 Prophecy 125

Matthew 21:4-5 All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: “Tell the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your King is coming to you, Lowly, and sitting on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.’Predicted in Zechariah 9:9 Prophecy 333 also 334, 335, 336, 337,338

Matthew 26:56 But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled. Predicted in Zechariah 13:7 Prophecy 358

Matthew 27:35 Then they crucified Him, and divided His garments, casting lots, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet: “They divided My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.Predicted in Psalm 22:18 Prophecy 82

Clearly, Matthew understood that Jesus was the Messiah who is described by these many prophecies. He wanted to ensure that every generation of souls—all through time, would have adequate evidence to believe that Jesus is the only Savior of the world.

Certainly the firsthand evidence of Matthew’s gospel must be considered more reliable than the unsubstantiated claims which critics make today regarding hypothesis which cannot be proven conclusively. Assertions that the four gospels are not reliable and are merely artifacts of myths which were created to deceive, are absolutely false.

Since we have confirmation that the text in our possession today, which has Matthew’s autograph attached, was written by him within 28 years of Jesus death and Resurrection, our confidence in these statements must be high.

Paul Eddy and Gregory Boyd write:

“Christian scholars have long noted that a number of ancient non-Christian literary sources make mention of Jesus, including Josephus, Tacitus, Suetonius, Pliny the Younger, Thallus, Celsus, Lucian of Samosata, Mara bar Serapion, and certain Jewish rabbinic traditions. They have argued that not only do these sources attest to Jesus’s existence in history but also that some of them offer information that serves to corroborate certain aspects of Jesus’s life as recorded in the Gospels.”[24]

Dr. Thiede concluded that these three papyrus fragments must have been written between the time of the crucifixion at about 32 A.D, and the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus is 70 A. D. This places the date of the writing for Matthew’s gospel, at the time he was alive and witnessed the events recorded in his gospel account.

Prophecy as evidence

Prophecies which described the Messiah’s Crucifixion are anticipatory evidence of the events which Jesus accomplished. All the prophecies which Jesus fulfilled in the New Testament, were written by the Hebrew prophets—from 600 to 1,000 years before He was born.

Similar to Isaiah chapter 53, Psalm 22 contains the detailed description of an individaul who is being crucified. At the time that David wrote Psalm 22, Crucifixion had not been invented. It would be many hundreds of years into the future before the Persians would devise this vicious and brutal form of execution.[25] One thousand years after David wrote a vivid portrayal of the most horrible method of execution known to man. Jesus would be crucified and fulfill every point of this amazing prophecy from Psalm 22.

The Details of Jesus Crucifixion found in Psalm 22:

• He will be forsaken by God: Psalm 22:1 Prophecy 71
• He will die during the afternoon: Psalm 22:2 Prophecy 72
• He will be despised: Psalm 22:6 Prophecy 73
• Observers disgusted with Him: Psalm 22:7 Prophecy 74
• Observers will mock Him: Psalm 22:8 Prophecy 75
• He was Born to die: Psalm 22:9-10 Prophecy 76
• He will die from a ruptured heart: Psalm 22:13-17 Prophecy 77
• He will thirst: Psalm 22:13-17 Prophecy 78
• He will be hated and mocked Psalms 22:16a Prophecy 79
• His hands and feet will be pierced: Psalm 22:16 Prophecy 80
• He will be naked before the world: Psalm 22:17-18 Prophecy 81
• His clothing will be gambled for: Psalm 22:18 Prophecy 82
• He will commit Himself to God: Psalm 22:19-21 Prophecy 83
• He will destroy the works of the devil: Psalm 22:20-21 Prophecy 84
• The true meaning of love defined: Psalm 22:22 Prophecy 85
• His death wins Him Rulership: Psalm 22:27-29 Prophecy 86
• Eyewitnesses will record this event: Psalm 22:30-31 Prophecy 87

Isaiah adds a specific detail to the above crucifixion of Jesus: He will be scourged resulting in stripes upon His body.

The Scourge:

• The Scourge is better known to us as “The Whip” or “The Cat”.
• It could have 6, 9, or 12 leather tails attached to the handle.
• Pieces of broken glass, twisted metal, or broken bone were often fastened to the end of each strip of leather that was attached to the handle.
• Jesus was on His knees, His hands were tied to a post in front of Him.
• The Scourge was laid across His back and then pulled away suddenly, and violently.
• This action caused the flesh to be ripped and torn into ribbons.

the scourge[26]

The normal number of strikes by the Scourge, for a capital crime, was 40. Seeking to be seen as merciful, the Jews asked that Jesus sentence be reduced to 39.

The results of these 39 stripes upon Jesus body was to tear his flesh into ribbons and expose His internal organs, muscle and bone. Massive amounts of blood and fluid would be released from these wounds. The pain and suffering of such abuse upon a human body is unimaginable. A simple paper cut can cause amazing pain. Imagine having most of the flesh from your chest, stomach, and back torn to pieces. Many of those who were scourged died from the ensuing shock and massive blood loss that occurred as a result of the punishment inflicted upon their bodies.

The description of Isaiah’s 245th prophecy, portrays the suffering the Messiah experienced by scourging, for the express purpose of punishment for our sins. Every tearing of His flesh, every drop of blood that fell upon the ground, each searing arrow of pain that shot through Jesus body, was for the sins that you and I have committed. The judgment which Jesus endured while under the scourge and later while hanging upon the cross, was intended for us. Jesus was innocent of any sin. He had never committed any wrong, nor was He guilty of any offense. Despite His innocence, Jesus willingly allowed evil men to torture Him to death so that we would never have to endure judgement for our sins.

With each and every stripe placed upon Jesus body, Isaiah describes us as healed. All of His suffering, was for the express purpose of setting us free from our own future and eternal suffering.

For a detailed account describing what Jesus experienced during His arrest, scourging and crucifixion, see the chapter, The Crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

The cross and the scourging by which Jesus suffered, is meant to be an illustration of God’s love for us. Paul reminds us that our life is similar to a race that is being run. We are not spectators in this life, we are active participants. Therefore, we keep our eyes on Jesus and are reminded of the suffering He endured, as we also endure our own suffering during our life.

Because we are in a race, we should be seeking to throw off or lay aside anything that might slow us down. This is not limited to sin only, but anything that would hinder our ability to finish well.

Hebrews 12:1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us

The term: Lay aside every weight, is translated from the Greek word onkon, which is any weight or hindrance.[27] An athlete in the ancient Olympic games would often run their race completely naked in order to prevent even their own clothing from slowing them down. The implication for us here in this illustration is that we should travel as light as we can, maintaining a light touch on the things of the world. The more heavily we become entrenched in this world, the less we are able to accomplish the things the Lord has designed for us.

When I was a young man, I worked hard, purchased everything that my heart desired, and paid for those things by installments for many years. I was heavily weighed down during those early days of my youth.

Today I do not make use of installment loans or credit cards, because I would have to carry the weight of those burdens for many years. I live a very simple lifestyle, requiring little income, which allows me to run a race unencumbered by the weight of things that would serve to slow me down.

If there is anything in our life that is slowing us down in our race to finish well with Jesus, we should lay it aside.

A final important point of this 245th prophecy, is the fact of Jesus suffering under the scourge and by the cross, are an important illustration of His Sonship as a servant to the Father, on our behalf, for salvation. Jesus learned obedience by the things He suffered. In the same way, we are to have the privilege of learning obedience by our own suffering though the various trials we experience during our life.

Hebrews 5:8 though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.

Jesus thought so much of us that He thought so little of Himself. He suffered the scourge and the cross without regard to His own well being—so that today we might be free.

NEXT: See the following articles which continue your discover of the facts regarding Jesus of Nazareth and the certainty that He lived, died, and rose from the dead.

The Historical Record of Jesus Life from Secular Sources
Historical Evidence For Jesus Resurrection
The Overwhelming Empirical Evidence for Jesus Death and Resurrection
The New Testament Passes Every Literary Test of History
Empirical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ
Empirical Integrity of the New Testament


NOTES:

[1A] George Ellis, Ph.D., is a Mathematician and considered one of the world’s leading Cosmologist. Dr. ellis co-authored the famous “Large Scale Structure of Space-Time in 1973 with Stephen Hawking. He has emphatically stated that the entire purpose of those who seek to push forward the idea of the multi-verse universe is to explain away why our observable universe is fine-tuned. In his conclusions, Dr. Ellis said that the multi-verse is not a valid alternative at the current time in Cosmology because it cannot be tested or verified. Until it can be tested and verified, it should not be considered as a valid reason to exclude the fine-tuning of the universe as proof for creation.
The trouble is that no possible astronomical observations can ever see those other universes. The arguments are indirect at best. And even if the multiverse exists, it leaves the deep mysteries of nature unexplained.
All the parallel universes lie outside our horizon and remain beyond our capacity to see, now or ever, no matter how technology evolves. In fact, they are too far away to have had any influence on our universe whatsoever. That is why none of the claims made by multiverse enthusiasts can be directly substantiated.
Dr. Ellis believes that the attempts at passing the multi-verse theory off as a viable explanation for our finely tuned universe is not a viable theory because it is impossible to test, which is one of the first rules of science. For this reason, the multi-verse is not a theorem that should be considered as a possible candidate to eliminate the fact that our universe has been designed and finely tuned by an intelligent source.
A remarkable fact about our universe is that physical constants have just the right values needed to allow for complex structures, including living things. Steven Weinberg, Martin Rees, Leonard Susskind and others contend that an exotic multiverse provides a tidy explanation for this apparent coincidence: if all possible values occur in a large enough collection of universes, then viable ones for life will surely be found somewhere. This reasoning has been applied, in particular, to explaining the density of the dark energy that is speeding up the expansion of the universe today. I agree that the multiverse is a possible valid explanation for the value of this density; arguably, it is the only scientifically based option we have right now. But we have no hope of testing it observationally.
Proponents of the multiverse make one final argument: that there are no good alternatives. As distasteful as scientists might find the proliferation of parallel worlds, if it is the best explanation, we would be driven to accept it; conversely, if we are to give up the multiverse, we need a viable alternative. This exploration of alternatives depends on what kind of explanation we are prepared to accept. Physicists’ hope has always been that the laws of nature are inevitable — that things are the way they are because there is no other way they might have been—but we have been unable to show this is true. Other options exist, too. The universe might be pure happenstance—it just turned out that way. Or things might in some sense be meant to be the way they are—purpose or intent somehow underlies existence. Science cannot determine which is the case, because these are metaphysical issues. ”⁠1
“Amazing fine tuning occurs in the laws that make this [complexity] possible. Realization of the complexity of what is accomplished makes it very difficult not to use the word ‘miraculous’ without taking a stand as to the ontological status of the word.”⁠2
1 George F.R. Ellis, “Does the Multiverse Really Exist?,” Scientific American August, 2011
2 George Ellis (British astrophysicist) Ellis, G.F.R. 1993. The Anthropic Principle: Laws and Environments. The Anthropic Principle, F. Bertola and U.Curi, ed. New York, Cambridge University Press, p. 30
[1b] The following are specific references to Jesus of Nazareth, as found in the Talmud under passages on execution in Sanhedrin 43 a-b.⁠1
Herzog 1: On the eve of Passover, they hanged Jesus the Nazarene.
Vatican 130: He went and brought up Jesus the Nazarene.
Vatican 140: He went and brought up Jesus.
Munich 95: On the eve of the Passover, they hanged Jesus of Nazareth.
Firenze 11.1.8-9: On the Sabbath eve and the eve of Passover, they hanged Jesus the Nazarene.
Karisruhe 2: On the eve of Passover, they hanged Jesus the Nazarene.
Barco: On the eve of Passover, they hanged Jesus of Nazareth.
1 English translations of the Talmud from Peter Schäfer, pp 133–140
[1c A grant from Atheists United, as stated by Richard Carrier in the Preface of his book “On the Historicity of Jesus.”
[1d] 1. No credible Biblical scholar today believes that Jesus was not a real person of history. The evidence for His existence is so overwhelming, that to deny Jesus lived in Galilee at the time depicted in the New Testament would place any writer in a classification of incompetency
2. Robert E. Van Voorst Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence Eerdmans Publishing, 2000. ISBN 0-8028-4368-9 page 16 states: “biblical scholars and classical historians regard theories of non-existence of Jesus as effectively refuted”
James D. G. Dunn “Paul’s understanding of the death of Jesus” in Sacrifice and Redemption edited by S. W. Sykes (Dec 3, 2007) Cambridge University Press ISBN 052104460X pages 35-36 states that the theories of non-existence of Jesus are “a thoroughly dead thesis”
The Gospels and Jesus by Graham Stanton, 1989 ISBN 0192132415 Oxford University Press, page 145 states : “Today nearly all historians, whether Christians or not, accept that Jesus existed”.
[2] 1. 1. The certainty of Jesus’ existence and His life, death, crucifixion, and resurrection are established today by reliable historical records other than the Bible. The writings of Tacitus proves beyond any doubt that Jesus was a real man, who was crucified by Pontius Pilate under Roman authority
The fact that Tacitus and the history of the Roman government records the same events occurring during the same period of history that the four Gospels record these events of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection—should cause any serious historian to conclude they are authentic. There is no contradictory evidence in any of the writings of Tacitus that controverts the New Testament narrative of Jesus Christ.
Further writings of the Emperor Trajan, Pliny the Younger, and Josephus—all affirm the accounts, given by Tacitus, of the events that took place at Jesus’ crucifixion before Pontius Pilate
Tacitus displayed no favoritism nor sympathy towards Jesus or the new Christian church. The tone in which Tacitus describes Christians is both hostile and negative—so much so, any reader would never conclude that Tacitus was trying to record events to assist the Christian message, nor authenticate or validate Jesus as the Messiah, whom the Christian church claimed Him to be2. Eddy & Boyd (2007) The Jesus Legend: A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition Baker Academic, ISBN 0-8010-3114-1 page 127 states that it is now “firmly established” that there is non-Christian confirmation of the crucifixion of Jesus.
3. Pontius Pilate in History and Interpretation by Helen K. Bond 2004 ISBN 0-521-61620-4 page xi
4. Van Voorst, Robert E (2000). Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence. Eerdmans Publishing. ISBN 0-8028-4368-9 pages 30-32
The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament by Andreas J. Köstenberger, L. Scott Kellum 2009 ISBN 978-0-8054-4365-3 pages 109-110
Meier, John P., A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus, Doubleday: 1991. vol 1: p. 168-171
[3] 1.Jesus Remembered by James D. G. Dunn 2003 ISBN 0-8028-3931-2 page 339
J2.esus of Nazareth by Paul Verhoeven (Apr 6, 2010) ISBN 1583229051 page 39
[4] Jesus Remembered by James D. G. Dunn 2003 ISBN 0-8028-3931-2 page 339
[5] 1.Van Voorst, Robert E (2000). Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence Eerdmans Publishing ISBN 0-8028-4368-9 pages 39-42
2.Backgrounds of early Christianity by Everett Ferguson 2003 ISBN 0-8028-2221-5 page 116
3.A Brief Introduction to the New Testament by Bart D. Ehrman 2008 ISBN 0-19-536934-3 page 136
[6] 1.Theissen 1998, pp. 81-83
2.Green, Joel B. (1997). The Gospel of Luke : new international commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co.. p. 168. ISBN 0-8028-2315-7
[7] 1.Jesus as a figure in history: how modern historians view the man from Galilee by Mark Allan Powell 1998 ISBN 0-664-25703-8 page 33
2.Jesus and His Contemporaries: Comparative Studies by Craig A. Evans 2001 ISBN 0-391-04118-5 page 42
3.Ancient Rome by William E. Dunstan 2010 ISBN 0-7425-6833-4 page 293
4.Pontius Pilate in History and Interpretation by Helen K. Bond 2004 ISBN 0-521-61620-4 page xi
5.Van Voorst, Robert E (2000). Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence Eerdmans Publishing ISBN 0-8028-4368-9 pages 39-42
6.Eddy, Paul; Boyd, Gregory (2007). The Jesus Legend: A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition Baker Academic, ISBN 0-8010-3114-1 page 127
[8] Tacitus’ characterization of “Christian abominations” may have been based on the rumors in Rome that during the Eucharist rituals Christians ate the body and drank the blood of their God, interpreting the symbolic ritual as cannibalism by Christians. References: Ancient Rome by William E. Dunstan 2010 ISBN 0-7425-6833-4 page 293 and An introduction to the New Testament and the origins of Christianity by Delbert Royce Burkett 2002 ISBN 0-521-00720-8 page 485
[9] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tacitus_on_Christ
[10] Robert E. Van Voorst, Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence, Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2000. p 39- 53
Tradition and Incarnation: Foundations of Christian Theology by William L. Portier 1993 ISBN 0-8091-3467-5 page 263
[11] Eddy, Paul Rhodes; Boyd, Gregory A. (2007-08-01). Jesus Legend, The: A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition (Kindle Locations 3424-3428). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
[12] John Meier, Marginal Jew, 1: 90; see also Evans, “Jesus in Non-Christian Sources,” 465.
[13] Studying the historical Jesus: evaluations of the state of current research by Bruce Chilton, Craig A. Evans 1998 ISBN 90-04-11142-5 pages 465-466
The Jesus Legend: a case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition by Paul R. Eddy, Gregory A. Boyd 2007 ISBN 0-8010-3114-1 page 181
[14] Crossan, John Dominic (1995). Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography. HarperOne. p. 145. ISBN 0-06-061662-8. “That he was crucified is as sure as anything historical can ever be, since both Josephus and Tacitus…agree with the Christian accounts on at least that basic fact.”
[15] Eddy, Paul; Boyd, Gregory (2007). The Jesus Legend: A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition Baker Academic, ISBN 0-8010-3114-1 page 127
[16] 1.Jesus in the Talmud by Peter Schäfer (Aug 24, 2009) ISBN 0691143188 page 141 and 9
2.Van Voorst, Robert E. (2000). Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.. ISBN 0-8028-4368-9 pages 177-118
[17] Theissen 1998, pp. 81-83
[18] See Josephus, Antiquities, trans. L. H. Feldman, LCL (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1965), 48, 50.
[19] Thiede, Carsten Peter & D’Ancona, Matthew, The Jesus Papyrus, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 1996.
[20] Thiede, Carsten Peter & D’Ancona, Matthew, The Jesus Papyrus, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 1996
[21] “P064-Mat-26.7-8-26.10-26.14-15-II” by unknown writer in 3rd century – http://chrles.multiply.com/. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:P064-Mat-26.7-8-26.10-26.14-15-II.jpg#mediaviewer/File:P064-Mat-26.7-8-26.10-26.14-15-II.jpg
[22] The Times of London, December 24, 1994
[23] Ibid.
[24] Eddy, Paul Rhodes; Boyd, Gregory A. (2007-08-01). Jesus Legend, The: A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition (p. 166). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
[25] 1. Stavros, Scolops (σταῦρός, σκόλοψ). The cross; encyclopedia Hellinica
2. Translation by Aubrey de Selincourt. The original, “σανίδα προσπασσαλεύσαντες, ἀνεκρέμασαν … Τούτου δὲ τοῦ Ἀρταύκτεω τοῦ ἀνακρεμασθέντος …”, is translated by Henry Cary (Bohn’s Classical Library: Herodotus Literally Translated. London, G. Bell and Sons 1917, pp. 591–592) as: “They nailed him to a plank and hoisted him aloft … this Artayctes who was hoisted aloft”.
3. W.W. How and J. Wells, A Commentary on Herodotus (Clarendon Press, Oxford 1912), vol. 2, p. 336
[26] From Edwards WD, Gabel WJ, Hosmer FE. On the Physical death of Jesus Christ. JAMA 1986;255(11):1455-63. Used with permission of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, all rights reserved.
[27] From Strongs #3591, Greek Lexicon