Jesus Through Historicity and Science

February 24, 2022 0 Comments

Accounts of the birth, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ (c. 5 BC-AD 33), described in biblical prophesy (written between 1450-430 BC), the synoptic gospels (Luke, Matthew and Mark, written between AD 50-90), the Gospel of John (written c. post AD-90), Epistles of Paul of Tarsus (AD 5-67) (written between AD 50-60), and the Dead Sea Scrolls (written c. 335-100 BC), to name a few, have been the subject of historical and scientific intrigue for centuries. Since the so-called “Age of Enlightenment” (18th century) when skeptics began to question if Jesus had in fact even existed, historicity (based on archaeology and history) and science (based on biology, chemistry, and physics) have become more essential than ever to substantiate textual sources (e.g. sacred scripts, Gnostic writings). Consequently, four key areas must be explored: The “Historical” Jesus, the virgin birth, the crucifixion, and the resurrection.

The “Historical” Jesus:

Proving that Jesus had in fact existed is likely the easiest part because of the existence of accounts from diverse historical sources (e.g. Roman, Greek, and Jewish). Who is Jesus to you Per Discovery Channel’s David Balsiger (Senior Producer of the “Fabric of Time” documentary) “more than 20 non-Christian sources” referred to “Jesus of Nazareth as a historical figure” between AD 30-130, “twelve mention(ed) His death provid(ing) details (and) ten refer(red) to His resurrection.”

A sample of these historical, non-Christian sources, is listed below:

1. Talmud (c. AD 70-200): Sanhedrin 43a: “On the eve of Passover they hanged [crucified] Yeshu [Jesus].” – Jewish Source

2. Mara Bar-Serapion: Mentioned the “execution of Jesus [who was called a ‘King’]” when discussing the destruction of the Temple in AD 70. – Syrian Source

3. Cornelius Tacitus (c. AD 56-117), Historian: Annals, xv. 44: “Christus… was executed at the hands of the procurator Pontius Pilate.” – Roman Source

4. Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus (c. AD 69-140), Chief Secretary to Emperor Hadrian: The Lives of the Caesars (Claudius 5.25.4): “…the Jews constantly made disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he (Claudius) expelled them from Rome [in AD 49]. – Roman Source

5. Thallus: Third Book of History: Made mention of Jesus’ death in approximately AD 52 when discussing “the darkness over the land [and earthquake] after His death” referenced to by Sextus Julius Africanus in c. AD 221. – Samaritan Source

6. Flavius Josephus (c. AD 37-97), Court Historian for Emperor Vespasian: Antiquities of the Jews: Described Jesus’ crucifixion under Pontius Pilate in about AD 93/94. – Jewish Source

7. Pliny the Younger, Governor of Bithynia in Asia Minor (c. AD 61-112): Wrote a letter to Emperor Trajan in AD 112 for instructions how to deal with Christians, who… worshipped Christus. – Roman Source

8. Lucian of Samosata (c. AD 120-180), Writer and Rhetorician: The Death of Peregrine, 1113: “The Christians… worship a man to this day the distinguished parsonage who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on that account…” – Greek Source

Consequently, E.P. Sanders, in The Historical Figure of Jesus (Penguin, 1996) when using Alexander The Great (356-323 BC) as a paradigm concluded, “The sources for Jesus are better… than those that deal with Alexander” and “the superiority of evidence for Jesus is seen when we ask what He thought” such that “the quest for the Historical Jesus” can be better achieved than a “search for historical detail on Alexander.”

The Virgin Birth:

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” [Isaiah 7:14]

Although it appears highly improbable that a human virgin could bear a child, it is not scientifically impossible. Per Rich Deem, Is the Virgin Birth Scientifically Impossible? (15 December 2005), “it could be possible in humans for a [virgin] woman to give birth to a male… if the woman had both an X and Y chromosome, which occurs in 1 in 5 million women.” Such a male would likely be an XX male since the child’s DNA would come solely from his mother. Presently, 1 in 20,000 males are considered XX even though they had been conceived through male-female sexual intercourse.

When mathematics is utilized to determine the odds of a virgin female with a Y chromosome conceiving an XX male divided by (1 less the percentage of stillbirths), the probability of such a virgin birth is a minuscule but not impossible – 1 in 100.6711747 trillion. Consequently, if such a virgin birth occurred, which is not scientifically impossible and in fact plausible when considering the laws of physics discussed later in this article, it likely will remain unique in human history based on probability.

Based on DNA analysis performed on the only known historical artifacts specifically tied to Jesus – the Shroud of Turin (the cloth in which Jesus’ body was wrapped when He was interred in the tomb) and the Oviedo Cloth (the napkin that covered Jesus’ face when He was in the tomb) – His genetic composition was consistent with that of an XX male lending greater credence to His possible virgin origin.

Furthermore, when virgin birth or parthenogenesis (which per ‘Virgin Birth’ By Shark Confirmed: Second Case Ever (Science Daily, 11 October 2008) occurs when “the mother’s chromosomes split during egg development [and] pair with another copy of itself [instead of with chromosomes from sperm]”) is viewed in the context of nature, it is even more likely. To date, scientists have proven that parthenogenesis has occurred in some bony fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and single hammerhead and blacktip (female) shark species.

“Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him?” [Matthew 2:2]

Per F.J. Tipler, The Star of Bethlehem: a Type Ia/Ic Supernova in the Andromeda Galaxy (20 March, 2005) the star the magi saw was historically and scientifically real. It could have been Supernova (SN) 1885A in the Andromeda Galaxy whose center, based on calculations from the Babylon Observatory, was extremely close to Bethlehem, such that its “galactic halo” would have been visible in the town’s center or a comet “that was observed for over seventy days with no movement recorded” by Chinese and Korean astronomers per Colin Humphreys, The Star of Bethlehem (Science and Christian Belief, October 1995), both of which could be seen in and around Bethlehem in 5 BC.

Based on contemporary descriptions, historicity and science that indicate Jesus was born on a cold night when “shepherds [were] living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night” [Luke 2:8], “sheep [in the area] were usually put out to grass between March and November,” climactic data indicating that Bethlehem is usually “cold and very wet [from] December [though] February” and “the earliest date [the comet appeared based on] Chinese records” per Colin Humphreys, the birth date of Jesus can be calculated as March 9, 5 BC to further substantiate His historical existence.

 

 

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