Jordan Peterson is now known to be aware of the strongest case for the resurrection, because he’s tweeted about it. Let’s see what he tweeted and what’s in the article.
It’s this article, written by Dr. Gary Habermas, which was published at The Stream:
Not too long ago I listed six of these events in a dialogue with an agnostic New Testament scholar. I used the historical facts that 1) Jesus died by crucifixion, 2) his early followers had experiences a short time later that they thought were appearances of Jesus, 3) and as a result, they were transformed to the point of being willing to die for this message. Further, two former unbelievers 4) James the brother of Jesus and 5) Saul of Tarsus (later the apostle Paul) both similarly thought that they had seen the risen Jesus, as well; and 6) This Gospel message of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ began to be taught very soon after these events.
Some might be surprised to hear that the agnostic scholar with whom I was dialoguing not only agreed with the historical nature of these six events, without exceptions, but he even added that each one was very well-recognized.
Perhaps the chief reason for the widespread agreement comes from recent critical recognition that the New Testament contains dozens of brief snippets of information from the earliest church teaching — preserved from the first 20 years before the first canonical books were written. Scholars call these “creedal texts” or traditions. The best known of them is 1 Corinthians 15:3-7 which scholars agree originated no later than the early to mid-30s AD, or within just five years of the life of Christ. There is also 1 Corinthians 8:6 and 11:23-25, Romans 1:3-4, 10:9, and Philippians 2:6-11. That’s not all of them. Among the many others are Luke 24:34 and the Acts sermon summaries. These texts actually predate by many years the works in which they appear.
Another avenue comes from the regular use of different tools and rules used by historians and others to recognize the occurrence of past historical facts. These are often called the criteria of authenticity. Here are six of these that help explain how scholars come to this kind of agreement:
- Some events are established by the reliable testimonies from people who were close to or who even participated in the events.
- Sometimes the witnesses reported these things very soon afterwards, rather than waiting years to do so.
- On other occasions, these events are attested by two or even more independent sources.
- Sometimes, enemies who actually oppose the occurrences and would have preferred that they had not happened, might agree that they nonetheless did so.
- Or the accounts may be told in a way that is so embarrassing to those telling it, or to their loved ones or their cause, that the best explanation for them saying it is simply that it’s the truth.
- Another test preferred by some scholars is the result of an event fitting well with or exhibiting similarities to other occurrences that are known to have occurred (coherence).
There are other historical tools and rules as well, but these are among the best-known ones. Often, two or even several of these additional reasons are present and endorse the same event from different angles. Once in a while, the list of confirmatory reasons can get quite lengthy. In such cases, it becomes more and more difficult to deny the factual nature of the reports. So actually, agreement among dissimilar scholars can be fairly common.
If you’ve ever seen debates with atheist scholars like James Crossley, Bart Ehrman, Gerd Ludemann, etc., you know that they agree with some or all of these “minimal facts”.
Now, this post is about Jordan Peterson. How come he is tweeting this argument? Well, I think part of the reason is that Peterson is a brilliant scholar, and he’s going to find out about pretty much everything that he sets out to investigate. I have been told that the New Testament is an area of interest for him. I can’t help but believe that his recent dialog with the venerable Christian scholar William Lane Craig might have put him on the right track.
Here is that dialog, in case you missed it:
I would like all my readers to pray for Jordan Peterson. Ask God to do what God does best – putting people into a time and place where they can find out something about him that leads to a relationship with himself.
If you want a place to start, read Acts 17:24-26 and then ask God to engineer Jordan Peterson’s life in such a way that he finds the answers to his questions from the people he meets and situations he finds himself in. God is a master architect and a brilliant general. Looking back on my life, I can clearly see how carefully he led me to know things about him, and then to know him. We just have to ask God to do what he does for Jordan Peterson. Asking is free. It might be a good idea to pray for wisdom for Dr. Peterson, as well.