History In The New Testament
Ingersoll? What about secular historians?
HUMANIST'S CLAIM: Robert Ingersoll wondered why the first-century Jewish
historian Josephus, the best historian the Hebrews produced, said nothing
about the life or death of Christ; nothing about the massacre of the infants by
Herod; not one word about the wonderful star that visited the sky at the birth
of Christ; nothing about the darkness that fell upon the world for several hours
in the midst of day; and failed entirely to mention that hundreds of graves were
opened, and that multitudes of Jews rose from the dead, and visited the Holy City?
Ingersoll also asked, Is it not wonderful that no historian ever mentioned
any of these prodigies?
are even more forceful when one considers that there still exist at least some
of the works of more than 60 historians or chroniclers who lived in the period
from 10 C.E. to 100 CE Those writers were contemporaries of Jesus, if in fact
he ever lived.
Fallacy of Arguing From Silence
What we have is still
another person committing the fallacy of arguing from silence. Just because no
one -- except the Biblical writers -- wrote about a historical event, does not
mean it did not happen.
Humanists are intelligent people. They know that
are argument from silence is no argument at all. Historical silence may be interesting
to note, but it does not provide any proof at all. And besides, the historical
record IS NOT silent. We have multiple accounts of these events from the gospel
I've asked this question before, but in light of the humanists
continuing to argue from silence, it needs to be asked again: Why is it that if
just a single ancient historian, such as Julius Caesar in his Gallic Wars, for
example, mentions an event... that event is assumed to have happened? But if the
Bible records an event, even if it is recorded by several different writers in
the Bible, there must also be an additional, outside record of that event. Otherwise,
agnostics such as Robert Ingersoll conclude it did not happen. Why is that?
the Bible writers were biased? So is Julius Caesar in recording his victories
in his Gallic Wars. He wants to make himself appear as perfect and great as possible.
So is Josephus. He had to keep his Roman patrons happy. And it is VERY obvious
that the humanist who wrote the web page I've been debunking is VERY biased. So
why should you believe anything the humanist says?
Robert Ingersoll - Questions
page answered most of the questions raised by Robert Ingersoll. And although
his entire argument from silence has no validity, we can look at two of the claims
not covered on the previous page and find out if there is a reasonable explanation.
Because his are arguments from silence, if true, there is no way they can be refuted.
"Silence" means that nothing was recorded as being said about the questions
BTW, who was Robert Ingersoll? He was a a well-known orator in
the 19th century, nicknamed "The Great Agnostic," he was a lawyer who
dedicated his life to the defense of agnosticism.
The Bethlehem Star
- Why is it that only the "wise men" noticed the star?
know that they were the only ones to notices the star, which appears to likely
have been the conjunction of planets (planets appearing to come close together
in the sky). However, they were the only ones who noticed the star and took action
in a way that was noteworthy and worthwhile recording (in the gospel record).
were the Magi (wise men)? It is thought they were Chaldeans, descendants of
the Magi in Babylon in Daniel's day. Daniel was chief over the Magi and it is
thought he taught them about the prophecies in scripture -- it would have been
something they'd be very interested in learning. The prophecies Daniel taught
them remained a part of their "database" so that when their decedents
noticed the star, they made the connection with the prophecies and wanted to investigate...
and so they went to Jerusalem, the center of Daniel's religion and the place that
would most likely have information about the prophecies and the the prophesied
Everybody else probably noticed the star... "Wow! Cool. Look
at that bright star." and then went about their normal business.
About The Graves Opening And People Coming Out?
tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised;
and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city
and appeared to many. - Matthew 27:52-53
claim that "hundreds" came out of the grave. But, that's not what scripture
says. Scripture refers to "many." What number is that? We don't know
what specific number Matthew would consider as many. It could be five, ten or
Matthew is the only place this is recorded. Why is that?
Not many people have written about this. A good resource on this subject is an
article and video on the CreationToday
web site. Here is what they say:
why is Matthew the only one to talk about this event? Matthew clearly wrote his
Gospel to Jewish readers. He repeatedly emphasized the fulfillment of Old Testament
passages. In just the first two chapters of his book, he explains four events
occurred to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet(s) (Matthew 1:2223;
2:15, 17, 23). He knew his readers were very familiar with the Old Testament.
mentions it is that the Jews, with the exception of the Sadducees, believed that
people would physically rise from the dead. They looked forward to a future resurrection,
based on passages like Daniel 12:2
Clearly, first century
Jews believed in bodily resurrectionthey just thought it would happen at
the end of time. For Matthew to describe an event where multiple people were raised
in conjunction with Christs death, burial, and Resurrection would not be
a distraction to his readers. They might be surprised by the timing of such an
event, but they would not be appalled by the idea of people rising from the dead.
They might view the event as a foretaste of what is to come and confirmation that
Jesus was indeed who He claimed to be. Perhaps this is why so many priests eventually
came to believe in Him (Acts 6:7).
If this is accurate,
then why did the other Gospel writers fail to mention the event? I think the reason
is that they were writing to audiences consisting largely of Gentiles in a Hellenized
world. For the most part, the Greeks abhorred the idea of a bodily resurrection.
So while these writers needed to stress Christs Resurrection, bringing up
this event would be an unnecessary distraction for their readers.
So we see that the number of people who came out of the grave probably was not
a number noticeable among the general population of Jerusalem, but would be noticeable
among family and friends, as well as possibly some of the Jewish leaders. We also
see that this was something that would only be of interest to the Jews.