What would a world without Sin look like today? People would cooperate, share, and worship together. There would be no war or murder, hatred or violence. Lions would still hunt and kill zebras, but neither would be shot by poachers or poisoned by industrial waste. There would be some natural disasters such as storms, volcanoes, and earthquakes. Probably a few people would be hurt or would die in these calamities. But the numbers of victims would be much lower than they are now, because people would be free to live in safer places, they would warn others, they would take heed of the warnings and get out of the way, and they would care for displaced people as Jesus Himself would. God would be glorified as all people gave selflessly to help others in His name. Mankind would not fear the sting of physical death (1 Corinthians 15:54-56). Physical death would be viewed by all as a transition into eternal life with God (Acts 7:55-56). That world would not be heaven. But I would be willing to call that world without Sin "very good", because I believe God Himself did so in Genesis 1.
God chose a certain method to spread the Gospel message: Tell people, and then those people will tell other people, and so on. We humans could easily conclude that this method is cruel and inefficient by looking at human history. Jesus Himself was crucified for spreading the message this way. St. Stephen, St. Paul, and all the Apostles except for St. John are thought to have suffered violent deaths for spreading the Gospel message. We can see that this method is inefficient because 2,000 years later there are still people in the world who have not heard about Jesus. Some people have heard the message so poorly communicated that thay are not inclined to accept it. Yet we do not deny that God chose to use this method to spread the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ. Neither can we conclude that God did not use evolution because to us it seems cruel and inefficient.
That is why this 30-session Credo Course is focused solely on the historicity of the resurrection of Christ. There is not a more important event for Christians to know inside and out. The historicity of the resurrection is sure to tame any skeptic (outside and within), causing us all to fall on our face and worship the one true Lord, Jesus Christ.
In previous centuries, almost all Christians believed in miracles as described in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament). These included creation, the story of Adam and Eve, a talking serpent, the great flood of Noah, the drying up of the Red/Reed sea, a prophet riding on a talking ass, the sun stopping in the sky, etc. From the Christian Scriptures (New Testament), they believed in the virgin birth, the Christmas star, angels appearing to the shepherds, Jesus healing the sick, etc. Many, perhaps most, liberal Christians now believe that these stories are not to be interpreted literally as real events. Their faith has not been damaged by losing faith in the reality of these events. A growing number of liberals are now taking the final step by interpreting the stories of Jesus' resurrection and his appearances to his followers and to Paul as other than real events. Retired bishop John Shelby Spong commented:
I am surprised to have to admit it but this 30-lecture course by Gary Habermas has made me even more aware of the absolute centrality of the Resurrection of Jesus to Christianity. Clearly this ought to be obvious as the Apostle Paul teaches that if the Resurrection did not happen then our faith is in vain and we are to be pitied above all people. But Habermas shows that the Resurrection was also the subject of the first creeds (most notably the famous 1 Corinthians 15 creed), hymns and sermons from the very earliest days (months) after the Resurrection. The first sermon summaries of both Peter and Paul focus on the Resurrection in Acts 2 and 17. Habermas shows how it is the grounding of our apologetics, theology and ethics and how this was taught by the earliest Christians. No wonder crux has come to mean the decisive, central point of a matter.
Dr. Gary Habermas is Distinguished Research Professor of Apologetics and Philosophy at Liberty University. Dr. Habermas is the most respected scholar of the resurrection of Jesus in America and in this class he teaches you everything he’s learned.
It is unfortunate that the Christian Scriptures are arranged in the order Matthew toRevelation. Some publisher would do a great service to humanity by publishing a NewTestament in which the books are re-arranged in chronological order by the date in whichthey were written: i.e. I Thessalonians would be the first book. It would be followed byother epistles and gospels, perhaps in the order: Revelation, John, Jude, II Peter, Mark, Matthew, Luke, Acts, Hebrews,. Lastwould be group of Pastoral Epistles attributed to Paul but which were written decadesafter his death in the 2nd century . There is much debate among theologians about the absolute dates of eachof these books. There is greater agreement of the probable sequence in which they werewritten. A New Testament in chronological order would help the reader understand thedevelopment through time of various Christian beliefs, including that of the resurrection.
Habermas was well-known to me through the Lee Strobel books and his own lectures on his Minimal Facts argument for the Resurrection. This was his PhD dissertation and was developed by Habermas to argue before unbelievers in the very theologically liberal 1970. The case has three points that are accepted by over 90% of the experts on the Resurrection: Jesus’s death by Crucifixion; the experiences of the Disciples that they took to be the risen Christ; and Paul’s experience of Jesus on the Damascus Road. In William Lane Craig’s iteration of this case he also includes the Empty Tomb, which Habermas does not. He finds that the vast majority of scholars accept it (the neighbourhood of 70%) but for his case he would want that acceptance to be even higher. Habermas is also the scholar famous for surveying the relevant literature to come up with this count of how many experts accept these facts.
Paul seems to be unaware of the empty tomb, of the bodily resurrection, of thevisitation by one or more women, and other details of the resurrection story as waswritten later in the gospels. It is also doubtful that the story was known by otherChristians at that time. It is probable that the account was created after Paul's death.
In order to discuss why these are considered indisputable facts Habermas lays out the criteria that historians use in other subjects and as they apply to the facts of the Resurrection. By far Christianity has more support than any other ancient events by these criteria. They include the early attestation of a fact, the multiple attestation, the independence of the witnesses, the recorded testimony of eye witnesses, an aramaic substrata in the quotes, dissimilarity to other teachings, the use of embarrassing facts, and the agreement to the facts by enemies who would not report favourable facts unless they were true. Citing the most famous of the skeptical scholars today, Bart Ehrman, John Dominic Crossan, and Marcus Borg, Habermas shows that only untrained skeptics unfamiliar with the terrain would reject these facts. These scholars take absolutely for granted that Jesus really existed, was Crucified under Pontius Pilate, and was reported as risen early on by the Disciples. Habermas returns to Herman’s testimony often as he is the most famous skeptic in America and even accepts that Paul got his famous creed in 1 Corinthians from the eye witnesses within a few years of the Crucifixion.
In order to understand the meaning of the death and resurrection of Jesus it is imperative to comprehend the meaning of the Old Testament and the covenants that God made to Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David.