But there are actually three established facts recognized by the majority of New Testament historians today which I believe are best explained by the resurrection of Jesus.
– William Lane Craig
One can imagine the impact on an untutored mind of a phrase as commanding as “established facts’ or the idea that to challenge these facts is to challenge the consensus of historians; one would have to be crazy to go against the mainstream findings of an academic discipline, setting aside Creationism for a moment. Unlike many of the arguments for the existence of God, which are essentially matters of pure philosophy and therefore, while I would prefer to preserve them for the experts, we are all on some level capable to engaging them, the Argument for the Existence of God from the Historicity of the Resurrection requires some skill as an historian to refute and one must have access to substantial library. Offering the Argument for the Existence of God from the Historicity of the Resurrection, however, requires almost no skill as an historian, which is not to suggest that only the unskilled offer it; I am reminded that nonsense is the one of the few things that is harder to destroy than it is to create.
I stopped into a library to see if I could put my hands on a book about the historicity of Jesus, his life, times, death, the near effects of this death, and possibly his resurrection, ‘possibly’ because I can predict that a certain level of skepticism might reject the proposition that history is capable of establishing the existence of a miracle. Charmingly, because it feels like it’s becoming antiquated, the library utilized the Dewey Decimal Classification (it’s no longer a system, as I remember being taught in elementary school) and I made my way to the 232s, putting my finger on The Historical Figure of Jesus by E.P. Sanders. Libraries, I have long believed, are sacred places, mausoleums, on the one hand, and full of life, on the other; it is here, after all, that we store the longest lasting effects of our species’ best minds, and here, inevitably, where we go to better our own. This particular library pleases me: it is small, which means the librarian has to take considerably more care in selected which books which fill the shelves, and, on a personal level, I sat on the committee which hired our current librarian.