One of the reasons so many skeptics give for not accepting God is that (so they claim) history does not confirm any of the Bible’s stories — especially the stories of events they consider ‘supernatural.’ The problem with this excuse – and that’s what it is: an excuse — the evidence they demand actually exists. It’s just that no one reports it or, if they do, the skeptic rejects it. But that is irrational. If the ‘secular’ record supports the Biblical account, then rejecting them both is a choice of rebellion, not a rational conclusion supported by the facts. So, on this Good Friday, I thought I would share something with you: skeptic and believer alike. Here is the ‘proof’ that the Bible’s account of the crucifixion is true and accurate:
The Bible claims that, while Christ was on the cross, the earth went dark and there was a great earthquake.
There is a record of a world history book written by an ancient historian named Thallus. He wrote the history in 52 A.D. His work has been lost, but a reference to it still exists. Julius Africanus, in about the year 221 A.D., referenced Thallus recording of an event in which “the world went dark.” Africaun says “Thallus, in the third book of his histories, explains away the darkness as an eclipse of the sun — unreasonably, as it seems to me.”
The point is not that there may have been an eclipse on the day of Christ’s crucifixion; the point is that Thallus admits there was a darkening of the earth at the time of the crucifixion.
In the 1968 book, “Pontius Pilot,” by Dr. Paul Maier, we have this report:
“This phenomenon, evidently, was visible in Rome, Athens, and other Mediterranean cities. According to Tertullian…it was a “cosmic” or “world event.” Phlegon, a Greek author from Caria writing chronology soon after 137 A.D., reported that in the fourth year of the 202nd Olypiad (i.e. 33 A.D.) there was “the greatest eclipse of the sun” and that “it became night in the sixth hour of the day [i.e. noon] so that the stars even appeared in the heavens. There was a great earthquake in Bithynia [Northern Turkey], and many things were overturned in Nicaea [North-West Asia].”
Understand what this means:
1 — It confirms an event of global darkness that could not have been an eclipse. First, it was Passover, which happens in conjunction with a full moon. You cannot have an eclipse during the full moon. But even if someone tries to argue for an eclipse, an eclipse only covers 150-300 miles of the earth’s surface, yet this event is recorded — by at least three separate sources — as covering most of the known world at that time. That is thousands of miles, not hundreds.
2 — We know that there was a record of a great shaking of the earth that stretched from at least Israel to the northern borders of Turkey.
3 — The time recorded — both day and hour — is precisely that reported by the Bible.
4 — If it were about any other subject, historians would accept these different accounts of the same events as proof-positive confirmation of that event. However, because it means there is confirmation of what is defined as a “supernatural event,” those who reject God also reject the evidence they demand.
If you look for it, you will find that there actually is evidence of this global darkness and that there was no eclipse on that day (remember, computers let us go backward to confirm this):
And there is evidence of the earthquake that the Bible reports. From Science on NBCNews.com:
[NOTE: you can find much better evidence of the earth quake, I just used this story because of the source. 😉 ]
So, what does this mean to believers? Not much. Our hope is in our faith. But it does help to strengthen that faith because it tells us we do not believe in a myth. However, this is important to those who either do not believe in or do not know whether they believe in God.
Another reason people give for rejecting God is that a loving God would not condemn people to hell. Well, consider this: if there is a universal law, and breaking that law will result in eternal damnation, then how can God be said to be unjust when He sent His only Son to die in your place? You ask for proof that this is true? The evidence affirming Biblical accounts exists. You just have to look for it. So, whether you look for and accept that evidence or not, it doesn’t matter. When it comes to comes to judgment, we have all been given every chance to accept God and His salvation through His Son’s sacrifice. This means that God does not condemn us; we condemn ourselves. It is like trying to blame your own father for whatever laws you may break. If your father is just – as God is – he will still love you, but – even though it will break his heart – he will allow the law to be executed. That is all that the Bible teaches us: God does not condemn us, He just executes His perfect law with perfect faithfulness.
But the good news is that you can escape the penalty. We all sin. None of us is perfect; we all deserve condemnation. But God loved us so much that He sent Jesus to take our place. All we have to do is accept Him and ask Him to come into our heart, cover us with His sacrifice and change our hearts. Do that, and do it sincerely, and you will be surprised at the changes you will experience in yourself and in your life. But, if you chose to reject Him and His Father, then understand that you chose that path – not God.
As for those who already accept Christ as their Lord and Savior, HE IS RISEN!