SOME EXTRAORDINARY CLAIMS IN APOLOGETICS
A popular argument often used by Atheists and Skeptics is called the “Extraordinary Claim Argument.” It says that an extraordinary claim (like the resurrection of Christ) requires extraordinary evidence. It is a clever way of setting the bar so high that, no matter what kind of evidence the Christian presents, the Atheist does not even have to deal with it. You see, history cannot produce the kind of airtight proof that is demanded. It can only establish that the claims of the witnesses are generally credible.
Next time somebody tries this gambit on you, remind him that it cuts both ways. The idea that this wonderful, intricately designed, and finely tuned universe randomly popped into existence out of nothing for no reason and then proceeded to organize itself through random purposeless processes into DNA and intelligence—is that not an extraordinary claim? The notion that the Disciples were transformed from clueless wimps and cowards to people who turned the world upside down by what they knew to be a lie—is that not an extraordinary claim? And the idea that Atheists are the only ones who care about reason and evidence while Christians are the ones who believe absurdities out of blind faith—that may be the most extraordinary claim of all.
The Evidence Actually Does Demand a Verdict!
Alright, then, if we cannot just dismiss the evidence our of hand, what does it show about the resurrection?
Every theory but one of what happened to Jesus’ body has fatal problems in accounting for the facts. The only problem with the theory that God raised Him from the dead is that it requires us to believe in a miracle. OK, that takes some believing. But this is not some random anomaly allegedly happening to some miscellaneous dude. This event had been prepared for by Providence and predicted by Prophecy for two millennia. It was the climax of the life of a man whose friends were constantly asking, “What manner of man is this?” and finding themselves compelled to answer, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” It was the reassertion of the life of a man who had already shown Himself to be sovereign over life and death. If ever there was a man of whom we might believe such a thing, Jesus is that man. And Christians will tell you from personal experience that the transformation this event worked in His disciples continues in the lives of His followers to this day. All of that is why this theory has the greatest explanatory power by far of any that have been offered.
But this evidence doesn’t just tell us to believe in a theory. It tells us to trust in the Man.
Check out Dr. Williams’ latest books: Deeper Magic: The Theology behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis (Baltimore: Square Halo Books, 2016) and An Encouraging Thought: The Christian Worldview in the Writings of J. R. R. Tolkien (Cambridge, OH: Christian Publishing House, 2018).