Why Didn’t Jesus Reveal Scientific Facts to Demonstrate His Deity?
by J Warner Wallace
Several years ago, I had the opportunity to defend the reliability of the New Testament Gospels to the students of San Jose State University. Jane Pantig (the director of the local Ratio Christi chapter) invited me, and I was delighted to come. I’ve been working with Ratio Christi across the country to defend the Christian worldview on college campuses. If you aren’t acquainted with the work of this growing apologetics movement, you really ought to familiarize yourself with Ratio Christi and find a way to support their efforts. At the end of my presentation, during the question and answer period, a polite young skeptic asked why Jesus didn’t reveal scientific facts in an effort to demonstrate His Deity. Why didn’t Jesus describe something well beyond the scope and knowledge of His contemporaries as a prophetic proof? He could easily have described the role of DNA, the proper organization of the Solar System, or the biological complexity of cellular structures. The questioner believed this sort of knowledge would have been persuasive to him as a 21st Century skeptic, and without it, he remained unconvinced.
I thought this was a great question, and one I often receive but seldom talk about on the podcast or here on the blog. There are a number of problems with this expectation of superior anachronistic scientific wisdom:
The Nature of the Gospel Accounts
The New Testament authors repeatedly referred to themselves as eyewitnesses. In the last chapter of John’s Gospel, John tells us he is testifying and his testimony is true. Language such as this presumes the author has seen something he is describing as an eyewitness. In addition, John and Peter identify themselves as eyewitnesses who directly observed Jesus, and were not inventing clever stories (1 John 1:1,3 and 2 Peter 1:16). While Luke clearly states he is not an eyewitness to the events in his gospel, he does tell us he is relying on the true eyewitnesses for his information (Luke 1:1).The gospel eyewitness accounts record the life and teaching of Jesus in the context of the 1st Century. They record Jesus’ ministry to 1st Century followers. The gospels are not unhistorical volumes containing proverbial wisdom statements; they are specific eyewitness accounts of Jesus’ historic interaction with a specific group in history…