Two Hidden Science Facts in the Passion Week

by J Warner Wallace

I’ve been on the road for several weeks, training Christians in churches (and at conferences) prior to the Easter holiday. Much of this training has been focused on the Gospel accounts of the Passion Week. Why should we trust these accounts, and how might we evaluate their reliability? As I first examined the Gospels, I found two pieces of hidden science lending credibility to the eyewitness accounts. The Gospel authors included two incredulous observations, even though they didn’t completely understand what they had seen (or what had been seen by others) at the time of the initial writings. Only years later, as our understanding of biology increased, did these observations make any sense. When a witness adamantly testifies to an incomprehensible observation, only to have that observation explained by someone else many years later, the credibility of the original eyewitness is strengthened.

Let me give you an example. I once had a case in which an eyewitness, Debbie, claimed her mother’s jewelry had been stolen by a burglar. She told the police she came home early from school and caught the burglar in her home. The thief ran out the back door, with Debbie chasing close behind. Debbie said he vanished, however, the minute he entered her back yard, and although Debbie checked the fences around her parent’s property, the

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thief seemed to disappear into thin air. The responding police officer doubted her story, given the fact Debbie had been in trouble with the law before. The officer assumed she stole the jewelry and was lying about the “vanishing burglar”. Weeks later, another burglary occurred in the neighborhood, however, and this time the burglar was apprehended by the police. He confessed to taking the jewelry in the first theft and told investigators he immediately jumped under the house (through an open vent in the foundation) when he was chased by the young woman who saw him. He hid under the house for several hours until the police had come and gone. He then carefully snuck out of the yard. The confession of the burglar now explained Debbie’s observations; she became credible once her seemingly incredulous testimony was explained.

Two of the Gospel eyewitnesses (Luke and John) provide details of the Passion Week incredulous to the first readers of their accounts. Centuries later, when our understanding of human biology improved, these observations finally made sense. Luke, for example, describes the scene in the Garden of Gethsemane in which Jesus prayed prior to being taken captive…

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Two Hidden Science Facts in the Passion Week | Cold Case Christianity

 

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