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The Truth of the Christian God
"This question goes right back to the earlier one. I think there are, again, lots of ways into this, lots of places to start. But I think that the resurrection cuts to the chase, because if Jesus Christ is who he said he was, then there is a God. That God is triune, because Jesus said he was God, and he also spoke of a Holy Spirit as God.
The scriptures are the word of God, because Jesus gave his authority to the Old Testament scriptures, even to the point of saying, 'God has said,' and then quoting a verse from the Old Testament. So for Jesus to say, 'Jeremiah said something,' was the equivalent to saying, 'God says this.'
When Satan comes to him in his temptation, Jesus says, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes out of the mouth of God,' and so he quotes Old Testament passages.
Well, what about the New Testament? Well, he authorized his apostles to speak for him, and said he would send his spirit to give his word, so that the spirit would take what belongs to him, and give it to them, and lead them into all truth. He said, 'Whoever receives you, receives me.' So, he authorized his apostles with that same authority that he gave to the prophets.
You find the apostles themselves realizing that that's what Jesus did when, for instance, Peter refers to Paul's writings as scripture. So, it's working inductively, from the arguments for the resurrection of Jesus Christ, starting, really with the less controversial. None of it's non-controversial, but the less controversial pieces. What Jews, Romans and early Christians all agreed happened.
You can establish, on the basis of the gospel reports themselves and external evidence, that they all agreed on really quite a number of points.
Then, to work out from that, the paths diverge at the empty tomb. They all agree up to the empty tomb. What happened? How do you explain the empty tomb on the third day? That's where there are divergences.
Then, I think, it's important to, again, go back to the gospels and ask yourself, 'Do these accounts have the ring of truth?' Here you have an example, not of a prophet who represents himself as having received the word of God all at once in one go, but of people who are searching out, people who are not sure of themselves. People like Peter, who denied Jesus three times, and yet is willing to be crucified, but not the way Jesus was, because he's not worthy, to be crucified upside down in Rome for his testimony to Christ's resurrection.
What accounts for this? How do you explain the explosion, not far away from Jerusalem, where big fish stories are supposed to happen, far away from the origin of the claim, but right smack dab in the middle of Jerusalem, where people have the means, the motive and the opportunity to disprove it, and couldn't. And, not only nearby geographically but nearby in terms of time. There just isn't enough time, and many scholars are agreed on this, now. There simply is not enough time between the original event and the reports that we have of those events, to constitute a fabrication. Something that the first Christians didn't actually themselves believe."