“Before we approach the evidence for Jesus’ resurrection, let’s become familiar with some of the principles historians employ to determine whether a particular account in history is credible.” Habermas and Licona, p. 36
- Multiple, independent sources support historical claims.
- Attestation by an enemy supports historical claims.
- Embarrassing admissions support historical claims.
- Eyewitness testimony supports historical claims.
- Early testimony supports historical claims.
Gary: Habermas and Licona use the “traffic accident” analogy to give examples for each of these principles. Conservative Christians love the traffic accident analogy when discussing the Resurrection. Conservative Christians imagine that the disciples witnessed the Resurrection of Jesus in the same manner that eyewitnesses witness a traffic accident. For instance, the minor discrepancies in the four Gospel resurrection accounts are typical of what one would find in four statements by four different eyewitnesses to the same traffic accident.
But I see a couple of BIG problems with this analogy:
- No one in the four Gospels claims to have seen the actual “accident”(the moment of the Resurrection)!
- The four persons who have submitted “statements” (the Gospels) regarding the “accident” in question never claim to be eyewitnesses to the accident or to any other event detailed in their statements!* Most eyewitnesses state for the record that they are eyewitnesses.
Let’s see how Habermas and Licona address these issues (or fail to do so) in the subsequent chapters.
*I realize that some conservative Christians believe that the author of the Gospel of John claims that he was an eyewitness but most scholars do not believe that the author was making an eyewitness claim.