by J Warner Wallace
As a skeptic and new investigator of the Gospel accounts, my philosophical naturalism dictated what I was willing to accept from the Biblical authors. As I investigated the accounts, I recognized many of the locations and historical claims could be corroborated by archaeology, but this fact alone did not incline me to believe the Gospel accounts were true, especially when it came to their claims about the supernatural activities of Jesus (especially the Resurrection). The mere fact an account may be rooted in some form of true history doesn’t mean everything in the account is accurate or true. When Scottish novelist and playwright J. M. Barrie wrote the fictional story of Peter Pan, for example, he set the account in late Victorian London. A thousand years from now, archaeologists will certainly find archaeological evidence confirming the existence of London and may even find ancient accounts of other writers describing the Peter Pan story. But the
archaeological or manuscript support confirming a portion of Pan’s story would not guarantee the authenticity of the entire account. The true existence of London does not corroborate the true existence of Peter, Wendy, Tinker Bell or the Lost Boys. So even though I discovered archaeology support for many of the historical claims of the Gospels, I still rejected the supernatural elements. My investigation of the Gospels would require me to move beyond the simple archaeology to investigate the authors themselves as eyewitnesses. Once I was done, I realized the claims about Jesus were not the same as the claims about Peter Pan:
The Authors of the Gospels Claimed to Be Eyewitnesses
There is a difference between the authors of the Gospels and J. M. Barrie, the author of Peter Pan. Barrie never wrote his story as a true claim about history from the perspective of an eyewitness. Instead, he first introduced the character of Peter Pan in a small section of The Little White Bird, a 1902 novel. He later adapted the character into a stage play for children and eventually the character appeared in a separate publication. All the while, Barrie never claimed to be writing true history as an eyewitness. The authors of the Gospels, on the other hand, repeatedly identified themselves as eyewitnesses…
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