Has the Creator of the universe ever spoken to us?

Has God every reached out to humanity?
Has God every reached out to humanity?

People often ask the question, “why must I believe in Jesus and only Jesus in order to be rightly related to God?”

Indeed. Why should we care about the teachings of Jesus more than any other religious leader. Well, we know from scientific evidence that the universe had a beginning, and hence a Creator. We know from the fine-tuning argument that there is a Designer of the cosmos, as well. So the question becomes, has there ever been a human being who could give us accurate information about who the Creator and Designer is?

It turns that there is such a person, and we know it because we have evidence that this person rose from the dead – a feat only possible if the Creator and Designer wanted to draw attention to this person, and to his teachings. The account of this is recorded in a collection of ancient writings called the New Testament, which can be investigated using the ordinary rules of ancient historiography. Although much of what is written in the New Testament cannot be proven historical, a few facts that are reported there pass the mainstream historical tests. From those facts, we can infer that God was putting his stamp of approval on the teachings of a very important person.

The man who returned from the dead

Dr. Craig’s famous minimal facts case for the resurrection has been posted at the Christian Apologetics Alliance. He presents 4 facts admitted by the majority of New Testament historians, and then he supplies multiple pieces of evidence for each fact.

Here are the four facts:

  • FACT #1: After his crucifixion, Jesus was buried in a tomb by Joseph of Arimathea. 
  • FACT #2: On the Sunday following the crucifixion, Jesus’ tomb was found empty by a group of his women followers.
  • FACT #3: On multiple occasions and under various circumstances, different individuals and groups of people experienced appearances of Jesus alive from the dead.
  • FACT #4: The original disciples believed that Jesus was risen from the dead despite their having every predisposition to the contrary.

He shows how each fact is supported reasons which pass the standard historical rules used by ancient historians.

Here’s the detail on fact #3, the post-mortem appearances.

FACT #3: On multiple occasions and under various circumstances, different individuals and groups of people experienced appearances of Jesus alive from the dead.

This is a fact which is almost universally acknowledged among New Testament scholars, for the following reasons:

1. The list of eyewitnesses to Jesus’ resurrection appearances which is quoted by Paul in I Cor. 15. 5-7 guarantees that such appearances occurred. These included appearances to Peter (Cephas), the Twelve, the 500 brethren, and James.

2. The appearance traditions in the gospels provide multiple, independent attestation of these appearances. This is one of the most important marks of historicity. The appearance to Peter is independently attested by Luke, and the appearance to the Twelve by Luke and John. We also have independent witness to Galilean appearances in Mark, Matthew, and John, as well as to the women in Matthew and John.

3. Certain appearances have earmarks of historicity. For example, we have good evidence from the gospels that neither James nor any of Jesus’ younger brothers believed in him during his lifetime. There is no reason to think that the early church would generate fictitious stories concerning the unbelief of Jesus’ family had they been faithful followers all along. But it is indisputable that James and his brothers did become active Christian believers following Jesus’ death. James was considered an apostle and eventually rose to the position of leadership of the Jerusalem church. According to the first century Jewish historian Josephus, James was martyred for his faith in Christ in the late AD 60s. Now most of us have brothers. What would it take to convince you that your brother is the Lord, such that you would be ready to die for that belief? Can there be any doubt that this remarkable transformation in Jesus’ younger brother took place because, in Paul’s words, “then he appeared to James”?

Even Gert Ludemann, the leading German critic of the resurrection, himself admits, “It may be taken as historically certain that Peter and the disciples had experiences after Jesus’ death in which Jesus appeared to them as the risen Christ.”3

Yes, Gerd Ludemann is actually an atheist new Testament historian, and he has even debated Dr. Craig on the resurrection – not once, but twice. That’s the kind of evidence Dr. Craig uses in his case.

So, if you are undertaking an investigation to see if the God who creates and designs the universe has anything to say to you, a good place to start is seeing what this guy Jesus had to say to you. No faith required.

15 thoughts on “Has the Creator of the universe ever spoken to us?”

  1. Hi, Wintery Knight.

    A couple of years ago I commented on a post of yours regarding the emotional reasons that lead some people to atheism (I signed as JPV, my initials):

    https://winteryknight.wordpress.com/2012/11/11/why-do-famous-atheists-believe-that-god-does-not-exist/

    I just want to let you know that I very recently accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

    Although I recognize some atheists followed different paths from my own, I now see how I was blinded by arrogance and pride (and ignorance!) to realize that the surrender and faith proposed by Christians is not an act of weakness but an act of strength, humility and full trust in the Father.

    I was 100% convinced that people who believe in God do so because they are afraid of death, because they are mentally weak. I made the mistake of assuming that because the atheist perspective is so bleak, that it must necessarily be true. All else was wishful thinking, the way I saw it. But I was honestly not afraid of death, of disappearing completely, of life having no deep meaning. As a matter of fact, the very idea of an after-life (not even judgment) scared me to tears.

    What initially brought me closer to God was this utter refusal of mine to be a slave of Man. Even as a commited atheist, the apotheosis of Humanity that so many atheists engage in striked me as complete hubris. And disrespect. But disrespect towards what? Or Whom? At first I tried to say it was a disrespect towards the laws of nature, reality itself. But then I realized those were just codewords I was using for our Creator.

    If there is no God there is no Free Will. If there is no Free Will there is no Free Thought. How can we trust “our” thoughts if they’re not our own? Why should I abide to the laws of reason and logic if reason and logic informs me of their ultimate unreliability? I was running in circles. This is an inconsistency many “free thinkers” refuse to address honestly.

    Then I started reading the Bible. And I mean really(!) reading it. And I read the descriptions of The Fall… how Man will deny and mock God and try to supplant Him. I couldn’t run away from the Truth anymore. I just couldn’t.

    Either the Bible just gets SO MANY things right out of luck and coincidence, or there really was something divine about that collection of books.

    After more than a decade of full blown nihilism (I never engaged in the pretension of secular humanism) I finally see the Light.

    I want to thank you and the other commenters on that post for making me realize that logic and reason are not alien to the Pious. For making me start doubting my materialistic convictions. Well, it obviously wasn’t just you… but for some reason you were one of the first to make see there’s another perspective, another way of looking at things.

    Since I had no alliance to any particular sect of Christianity, I found myself learning from Catholics, Protestants and a number of Evangelicals. Vox Day, Fr. Barron, JP Moreland and literally hundreds more. I still have to learn more about Christianity to know where I stand – but one thing I know for sure: I am a Christian.

    My atheism was born out of an emotional response to the pain and confusion I felt, that I desperately tried (and “succeeded”) to back up with philosophical and scientific arguments. My surrender to God was a slow, very slow, process of learning, of genuine doubts instead of rethorical questions, of actually listening instead of just waiting for my chance to rebut. God has made His presence felt in my heart. God could have striked me down for all the times I cursed Him and tried to brought others away from the faith (even my late grandfather). But I was given a second chance. And faced with a choice, I had no choice but to accept God (pun intended).

    I looked for the myriad of reasons why smart theists believe in God, and I was humbled to the point of tears by my sheer lack of understanding. It was very hard to admit that the last 12 or so years of my life have been a COMPLETE mistake, riddled with disobedience, sociopathy, hatred and, above all, an unwarranted sense of arrogance.

    For all the other atheists out there who might be struggling the way I was, this is my advice: read and listen to stories of conversion. Realize that there are people who’ve been where you are and who managed to find the Light after years and years and years of genuinelly believing it was impossible, that the reason why you don’t find anything is because there’s nothing to be found.

    It is a lie. A lie that benefits wordly people with wordly endeavours.

    I know God will test me now. I have no illusions about that. I fear God as much as I love Him. Although God knows my heart, he will tempt me to see what kind of material I’m made of – and, quite possibly, I will fail. After all, I am a sinner. I lack the self-control and the tools most of my fellow Christians have learned throughout the years. But I won’t ever give up. And I most certainly won’t ever deny His existence again.

    Keep fighting the good fight, brother. And thank you again, from the bottom of my heart. JPV

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    1. Wow! Thank you for writing that! I am sort of stuck writing my 3 posts for tomorrow, and it’s late here. But I will reply soon. I am thankful for this e-mail, it shows that God is still working to draw people to him, and that people are still willing to respond.

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    2. Good show, JPV – all Glory be to God! That is QUITE the path – each one is different, but they all arrive at the same Place – ultimately. Congratulations on following the evidence where it led you, for choosing the correct Surgeon, and then placing your trust in Him. Indeed, there is a lot of CS Lewis in your road – your 2nd to last paragraph reminds me of one of his more interesting quotes:

      “What do people mean when they say, ‘I am not afraid of God because I know He is good’? Have they never even been to a dentist?” — CS Lewis, “A Grief Observed”

      God bless you, keep you, and continue to make you into a fine Truth Warrior!

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    3. JPV,

      That’s great news! Welcome to Christianity. I remember conversing with you about seeking truth. It’s wonderful to know that you’ve decided to follow Christ.

      I know it’s been a long road for you up to this point, but really, your journey is just beginning. Now you get to really know the Creator of the universe personally. There’s a lot to learn, but there’s also security knowing that you have God’s spirit inside you, helping you, and that it’s not about your efforts. You don’t have to earn your place in heaven. It’s a gift. The price has already been paid. So learn and grow and spread the word about God, but do it because you love Him.

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  2. JPV – May God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit uphold you, give you their strength, peace and understanding. We will be praying for you in everything.

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  3. JPV, your story is not unlike that of CS Lewis. You are in good company! :-)

    Lewis’s books has had a huge impact on my own life. If you haven’t already done so, I can recommend that you read “Surprised by Joy”.

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  4. Thanks for the suggestion. Will definitely read Lewis’ “Surprised by Joy” when I have the chance. I have the book in pdf, along with “Mere Christianity”.

    Chesterton’s “Orthodoxy” was fundamental to my conversion, by the way.

    I went to Church today and talked with the priest after Mass. I suppose the majority of you are protestants(?) and don’t see the Church with good eyes but I feel the Church provides me with a structure that Bible Alone doesn’t. Where I live there are no protestant or non-dem churches, so I have to choose between Catholic and Evangelical.

    Anyway, I am too green to have a proper opinion regarding this subject. I need to read and learn more.

    God bless.

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    1. If I recall, Lewis was also influenced by Chesterton:

      “In reading Chesterton, as in reading [George] MacDonald, I did not know what I was letting myself in for. A young man who wishes to remain a sound atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. There are traps everywhere — “Bibles laid open, millions of surprises,” as Herbert says, “fine nets and stratagems.” God is, if I may say it, very unscrupulous.”

      In “The Great Divorce”, Lewis places MacDonald in precisely that role that he’s played in his own life.

      Orthodoxy is one of my favourites too. I think he repeated many of his arguments there, arguments you will find in previous essays and books. I haven’t read “The Everlasting man” but I would not be surprised to find some overlap there.

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    2. Hey JPV, we are in common! “Orthodoxy” was one of my first reads right after my conversion, and I concur with your assessment. I also watch Chesterton on EWTN whenever I can. I am a Mere Christian (non-denom) who first attended a Bible Church (more like a seminary, praise God) post-conversion, but who now attends my wife’s conservative Catholic Church. I find the liturgy (Gloria, Nicene Creed, Lord’s Prayer, OT Reading, Responsorial Psalm, NT Reading, Gospel Reading) to be outstanding and almost entirely correct based on my 11 years of intensive Bible study. (I welcome rebukes and corrections on this assessment.)

      The Mass is a different story – I have lots of problems there. Also, the veneration of Mary and the Apostles, and a few minor things. But, I do think that the Catholic Church’s position on the Sanctity of Life and Marriage are outstanding, and arguably superior to most (but not all!) Protestant positions in this area. There is a reason that the Catholic Church is being attacked on these two issues, even here in America, and the past 6 years have turned me into a “We are all Catholic now” Christians. I serve on their missions team and pro-life group, and I get a lot of Bible questions, since the Catholic laity have not historically been strong in that regard. (But, they are fast improving.)

      So, I was pretty anti-Catholic right after my conversion, but, frankly, once Obama started attacking them, it seemed obvious to me that they must be doing something right. :-) And, for our government to go after the Sisters of the Poor is unconscionable. I work closely with nuns and the conservative ones walk the talk better than anyone I have met. So, you go after nuns, then I set aside, for the sake of fellowship in suffering, my objections to transubstantiation, and I defend them vigorously. “Nobody steps on a nun [church] in my town!” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7aW8oyTgA60

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