Often we argue that faith is blind, because even if God would exist, we could not prove his existence from our material world. While this is certainly true, my faith is not at all blind. Rather, my faith is built on the bible, a book that records historical events to which we can, to some extent, apply the scientific method. I will illustrate what I mean using three simple examples.
- What happened to the disciples? For starters some (historical) facts. We can easily check, that Jesus Christ was a real person who lived and that he died on the cross. Further, the disciples where all afraid when Jesus was captured, they all fled the scenes (this is reported by themselves, but who would put themselves in such a bad light if it didn’t actually happen. Have you ever read an autobiography where somebody deliberately belittles themselves?). Then something happened and the body of Jesus was not found anymore (importantly, the religious and political leaders of the time could not find the body). After this mysterious event, all but one of the disciples died because they claimed Jesus rose again. So the question is: What happened to the body? It can’t have been stolen by the leaders, thes would have shown Jesus to everybody to stop this madness. It’s unlikely to have been stolen by the disciples either, because why would you die for a lie? So whatever happened, I’m 100% sure, that the disciples believed that Jesus rose again, they even died for this.
- There are many prophecies in the old testament (written before 400 BC) about Jesus. Most specific is Psalm 22 verses 14-18, it very specifically describes a crucifixion, hundreds of years before crucifixions existed. It includes nails through hands and feet, the dislocation of bones, dehydration through blood loss and the crowds looking at the crucified. But even more so, it is not any crucifixion, but it talks about Jesus on the cross. He’s being mocked by the crowds for being godly, but God doesn’t help. It talks about how after this event many people (the nations) will find their way to God. It talks about how they gambled for Jesus clothes. I’m not the only to see this link, but Jesus himself was the first to make this link, as he cries out the first verse of this Psalm on the cross.
- Finally, there are other prophecies, not about Jesus, but about other historic events that we can check whether they are correct. A very illustrative example is the prophecy about Tyre. The bible predicts that Tyre, a city comparable to New York, will be attacked (likely), destroyed (slightly unlikely) and thrown into the sea (highly unlikely). And all this happened when Alexander the great attacked Tyre. There are about 3000 fulfilled prophesies in the bible, if we assigned a probability of even a 90% success rate, the probability for all of them being correct would be 10-138, or said otherwise, impossible.
These are simply three examples of scientifically verifiable passages of the Bible. Perhaps none of these examples alone are sufficient. But I find their combined strength overwhelming. There are many more examples for each of the categories I’ve shown you. Why did Paul, a well established scholar, throw everything he had away if he didn’t see what he claims to have seen, Jesus risen from the grave? Similar passages to Psalm 22 are in Isaiah 53 and similar stories to Tyre can be found about Sidon in Isaiah 23.