Tuesday, October 22, 2019

If The Four Gospels Were Not Written By Eyewitnesses, Then Does That Undermine Their Credibility?

        The four gospel narratives were written either by eyewitnesses themselves or from secondhand accounts of direct eyewitnesses. In regards to the writing timeline, they were all written within thirty years of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. That is a relatively short period of time in comparison to other ancient texts. It means that most of those who were eyewitnesses to the resurrection were still alive, even as Paul wrote (1 Corinthians 15:6).

       Even assuming that the four gospel accounts were not written by eyewitnesses, the conclusion that they are rubbish or inaccurate does not follow. A secondhand account (such as Luke) is not unreliable as long as the writer works closely with the original eyewitness. We do not doubt biographies that are carefully written. Eyewitness accounts are trusted on a daily basis in courtrooms.

        Moreover, the four gospels were written during a time when people committed to memory lengthy speeches upon hearing them. Consequently, it is not reasonable in this scenario to simply dismiss the memory of the eyewitnesses to the risen Christ as unreliable.

        Somebody might object that miraculous explanations are beyond the ability of the historian to verify. Such a premise would be valid only if we start with the presupposition that the miraculous is not a part of history. Even the disciples themselves were originally skeptical of Jesus’ resurrection. They were convinced of its truthfulness when they saw, heard, and touched Him in His glorified body (John 20:24-29; 2 Peter 1:16; 1 John 1:1-4).

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