Top Down Argument For Jesus’ Resurrection

In 2022 - The Power of His Resurrection, Lectureship by George Beals

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Well, thank you, John. And thank you, Brian. And good morning, everyone. As you can see on the slide, the resurrection of Jesus becoming current with resurrection scholarship. So part one, a top down argument for the resurrection of Jesus, and then part two, the bottom up argument for the resurrection of Jesus. Now the resurrection of Jesus Christ is central to biblical Christianity.

And this fact will be demonstrated at length by other speakers. This coming Wednesday from the Bible, the word call the world calls the resurrection of Jesus Easter. And this is a due, at least in part to a translation era in the king James at acts chapter 12, verse four, where the Greek word is for Passover a past sky in the Greek,

but translated in the old king James as Easter, apparently an old English word for the month of April scholars from the liberal to conservative spectrum recognize the centrality of Jesus’ resurrection. For example, Heinz Kuhn puts it like this quote, Christianity begins with Easter without Easter, there would be no gospel, not a single narrative, not a letter in the new Testament,

nor any church. End of quote, Gary R Habermas put it like this quote, most critical scholars, whether conservative or liberal agree that the resurrection of Jesus is the key to the Christian faith and regional H four made this observation quote, the resurrection of Jesus from the dead was the central claim of the church’s proclamation. End of quote. And so I’ve been asked as has been indicated already to examine with you the resurrection of Jesus from two perspectives.

One, what we call a top down argument and then a bottom up argument, the chop down being today’s presentation. And then the bottom up argument will occupy us God willing tomorrow as I present at the same time slot tomorrow. So why do we call this a top-down and why do we call it bottom up while the top-down establishes, this argument establishes the entire biblical belief system,

and then having done that it narrows down into the resurrection of Jesus and does so as a demonstration or deduction. And then the bottom up the bottom up is called that because it begins with specific data and then proceeds from there and builds up to the resurrection of Jesus as the best explanation of that data. Now, it is important to point out that the sequence that we’re employing today and then tomorrow is intended.

That is if in fact we can establish by demonstration that the resurrection of Jesus happened, then it would follow that any inductive or so-called abductive argument. That is any argument that proposes that the resurrection of Jesus is the best explanation of the data would also have to be consistent with the first argument that is to say then that if the resurrection of Jesus is demonstrated in the first argument,

then it also must be the best explanation as argued tomorrow. So then let’s focus our attention. Now on the top down argument for the resurrection of Jesus, I’m borrowing this from Thomas B, Warren, who was perhaps the greatest apologist Christian apologists in the brotherhood, I would say over the last half century and brother Warren died in the year 2000, but left us with a lot of good information and helpful,

helpful information. And on this particular matter, he developed an argument and many of us have been using that argument ever since I have noticed that in this environment at the Florida school of preaching and here in Lakeland and elsewhere, I’ve noticed that people do appeal fall that argument. And so let’s give credit where credit is due. This is coming out of the thinking and the observations of Thomas B. Warren

a I believe a sound argument and one worthy of duplication. So this argument has six steps steps, one through five, constitute the evidence or using a synonymous term by logicians premises. And then from those steps, the conclusion is drawn is step six, namely, that Jesus was raised from the dead. Let me give you the argument now in generic form.

And then I want to go back and take up each premise and examine each premise with you. So here is the argument premise, number one, if God exists and the Bible is the word of God and the Bible teaches that Jesus was raised from the dead, then it would follow indeed that Jesus was and was raised from the dead premise. Number two,

there is adequate evidence that shows that God exists. Notice that that second premise kicks up and focuses upon the first element after the word, if in premise number one, right, it says if God exists, et cetera. So on premise number two, we’re going to focus attention on the fact that God does exist. Premise number three, there is adequate evidence that shows that the Bible is the word of God.

This being the second element after the word, if of the first premise and then premise number four, there is adequate evidence that shows that the Bible teaches that Jesus was raised from the dead. And then therefore it would have to follow that by a logical move called conjunction, a valid argument move called conjunction. That which really combines premises two and three and four.

It would have to follow having established that God exists and that the Bible was the word of God. And that the Bible teaches the resurrection of Jesus. Then all three of those combined would have to be true and notice that all three of them combined is what we’re after in that first premise, we’re interested in affirming the three elements after the word, if in the first premise,

again, the first premise that if God exists and the Bible’s the word of God and the Bible teaches that Jesus was raised from the dead. If we can establish all three of those, which we’ve done up to this point in generic form, then God exists. And the Bible is the word of God. And the Bible teaches that Jesus raised from the dead and having affirmed that those three,

then it would follow that Jesus was indeed raised from the dead. So that’s the argument in generic form. Now let’s go back and examine each premise, showing that each is true. And that’s the burden of this presentation this morning. If God exists premise number one, and the Bible was the word of God. And the Bible teaches that Jesus was raised from the dead.

Then Jesus was raised from the dead. This has to be a true statement. Notice that the word, if is in the statement, this is not claiming that we have at this point established that the existence of God is the case and that the Bible is his word. And that the Bible teaches that Jesus was raised from the dead. Those three will be coming.

But right now we’re saying, if it is the case that those three are together true, then it would have to follow that Jesus was indeed raised from the dead. This is a true statement because if in fact God exists and the Bible is his word. That is, if the Bible is the word of a being who knows everything and never lies, and that word teaches a particular doctrine.

In this case, the resurrection of Jesus, then it would have to be a true statement. Jesus was raised from the dead. This is all that this premise is saying with the word, if in it and with the word, if in, at this stage, it is affirmed without doubt that this is a true statement. Now, number two, there is adequate evidence that shows that God exists.

Now we could, we could talk about this at some length. Obviously I’m not going to have time to develop all possible substantiations of that premise of that statement that God exists. We could look at the design argument, for example, for the existence of God, we could look at the cause and effect argument for his existence. We could look at the Kentwood is called the contingency argument for the existence of God,

the moral argument for the existence of God. We could even go on further and point a attention to the S what is called the aesthetic argument for the existence of God. But I’m just going to grab one of those firearms this morning and kind of run with it. So I’m going to focus our attention upon the design argument for his existence. And in particular,

I’m going to use William Paley’s formulation of the design argument. And I have made a graphic that expresses that, that argument. And so the graphic that you see is mine. And this is this captures William Paley’s argument, his designer argument. And let’s look at this particular illustration on the left-hand part, notice that we have an object under the letter, a we have an object and this object has parts that work together.

They mesh together to accomplish a useful and identifiable function. In other words, the parts that work together are the means evident in the object itself. And the end of those, of those parts working together has an identifiable purpose. If in fact, we can find such an object, then that would imply be that we have design. And in fact, if we have design,

then there must be a designer who both exists and has attributes that are at least capable of causing the design in question. And so this again is the, is Paley’s formulation of the designer argument. This was a famous formulation of the design argument put in graphical form for examples. Then let’s say that we have a watch and the watch has certain parts in it as we examine it.

And these work together, the thing works in other words, to accomplish an identifiable purpose in this case to tell time, and that in turn then implies that this thing must have been designed. And so, in other words, if I have such an object, then I’ve got design and if I’ve got designed and they had to have been a designer that exists,

or at least did exist, that whose attributes were such, that they were capable of producing such a design. So in other words, a walk then implies a watch maker. And then we say, well, what about the watch maker himself or herself? Does it have pirates that work together? Most definitely it does. So the watchmaker then must imply a designer,

at least capable of producing the watchmaker. We look also at a telescope and this implies the existence of a telescope maker, the human eye. What about that? Well, this is not manmade. And so then a careful examination of this looking it’s parents looking at its function, the overall end, et cetera, the wonderfulness of it, we then would say that this human eye also must have been designed by a being who has attributes at least equal to the task of causing the design.

So from here, then we want to examine nature and see if we can find an object in real life that does imply the existence of God using this argument from Paley. And I ask you to consider the honeybee. So we look around at nature and the honeybee, then the honeybee has three classes of bees or three subsets within it. In the hive.

We have the queen, which is a female and the drones that are males and the worker bees, undeveloped females, first as chill origins, the honeybee itself fits better with creation. Then macro evolution put on the table, for example, the inheritance of acquired idea. And as we examine this, we find that the honeybee presents an impact pass to macro evolution.

That is not so for the creation explanation. So only the drones and the queen produce new generations, but unfortunately for macro evolution, they don’t do any work. And then therefore it looks like they don’t learn anything new that they could pass on. On the other hand, the workers, the worker bees, they do a lot of work, but if they do learn anything new,

they don’t reproduce. And so then you can see how this constitutes as, as pointed out by creation of scientists and impasse for macro evolution, allowing the creation explanation to fit those facts better, but we’re not done. Let’s go on further with the honeybee. Honeybees find nectar in flowers, and they use it both as fuel for their locomotion and to make honey so two uses of nectar.

Now, how do they find the nectar? Well in the neck is as a lot of us know or out in flowers, out in the field, well, Scouts are sent out who searched for flowers and when found their bodies are so structured that they can gather samples of the nectar. They collect the nectar, they store it, and then they returned to the hive.

Then the whole hive gets all excited about the matter. But how far away is the field? How was this communicated to the rest of the hive? The worker bees, not the drones of the queen, but the worker bee is the other worker bees. The answer to this is what is called the waggle dance. W a G L E back in the hive,

the scout has discovered the field. She does a waggle, waggle dance. She moves her abdomen back and forth in a complex figure, eight pattern while the other workers surround her and observe the number of shakes in 15 seconds indicates the distance to the field. But the distance is indirectly proportional. That is fewer waggles for longer distance and a greater number of,

of, of waggles for shorter distance. Furthermore, these numbers are not in a linear relationship in the calculation, but are more complex. That is the, a logarithmic further, the direction that the scout travels through the center of the figure, eight relates to the location of the sun at that time of day and the location of the field. Now, if you were to measure that angle with the sun and follow it,

it would point you to the field. Now there’s more, when the bead traveled back from the field to the hive, she used some of the stored nectar as fuel. How does she know how much fuel is left? She measured, how much fuel was consumed in that trip. She factored this into the waggle dance. And this has done not in terms of feet or miles in terms,

but in terms of the fuel load consumption that was required in order for her to reach the field for the return trip. Another factor that was taken into account in the calculation was whether or not the wind helped her or hindered her in the fight. Now we’re not done. You can see by the way, the mathematical calculation inherent in that. And furthermore,

as a footnote, notice that the amount of intelligence that it took in order to accomplish these calculations exceeds the intelligence that is inherent in the bee itself, which is accurate and therefore for an external cause with an intelligence that at least as equal to the task of accomplishing those purposes. But as I, as I say, there’s more, we did not talk about the honeymoon of the honeycomb back with the hive.

The bees make each cell in the honeycomb six sided, and that is a hexagon. This structure is the most economical for its weight. Also, they make the honeycomb on its side and then they fill each cell with honey. There’s more, we did not talk about the anatomy of the honeybee, the parts that make up its body and how each contributes to the B’s overall functions.

For example, the fifth segment of its first leg has spines on it for clinging has an antenna cleaner to wipe off the pollen and also has an eye cleaner. There’s more. The second leg has a brush for cleaning the pollen off the wings. This leg also has a spur. So as to pry wax off of the abdomen, the third leg has three tools,

resident, one pollen baskets, next wax Pinker’s, and then Paulin Combs were not done. That was the honeybee. And much more can be said about the Honeyboy. Let me just go back and give you some quotations, some titles for that. If you want much more on the honeybee, I would advise that you look at the book by Noah Wilson, rich titled the be a Nat,

a natural history put out by Princeton press in 2014 and also Harold Clarke many years ago, put together a wonderful collection of data along these lines, titled evolution. And the Bible wicked his number eight in his series of eight. But as I say, we’re not done. That was just a honeybee. We did not talk about the lilies of the field. Jesus said,

consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They neither toil nor spin. And yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed in the Greek. This is Perry Bible clothe, not arrayed, not clothed with like one of these, this found in Matthew chapter six, verse 28, we did not talk about the birds of the air.

Jesus said, look at the birds of the air for they neither sow nor reap nor gather them into barns yet your heavenly father feeds them. This is an implication of theism. God exists Matthew 26, 26, and then down in Matthew, six verse 30, Jesus said that God clothes the grass of the field. Now of course we could go back and talk about the villi he does,

and we could talk about the birds and we could talk about the grass. There’s more, we did not talk about a scientific discipline called bio mimicry. This means imitating life people study natural processes and designs in nature in order. And I know this in order to mimic them for medical purposes, for example, a prosthetic limbs mimic human arms and fingers. There is research in the area of materials,

science Velcro, for example, mimics the natural object called a Burr. The gecko foot is being researched and hopes of copying it to produce super sticky adhesive. Do you ever wonder how a gecko, it can walk up a glass wall? What carefully at the microscopically at the structure of the feet, and there’s indication there as to why, and that perhaps could be duplicated.

The Avalon shall as being researched in hopes of copying its makeup, to produce fracture resistant ceramics and super strong textiles and ropes. What we’re doing here is duplicating or trying to duplicate imperfectly objects that are found in nature. Spider silk is to be powerful when all put together and it is being investigated for parachutes and medical sutures. Now, the, the thinking here barring now from the field of philosophy,

the apologetic argument that’s emerging here is called a. That is the idea of from less to greater the area human is this. If in fact, you look at these mimicked manmade objects, and if they in fact imply a designer in this case, human design, human intelligence, then on what basis would you reject the greater intelligence? That must be implied from the very,

the very thing that they are mimicking. So argument a 40 arrive. And so then again, we look at this argument that was originally, or maybe not a re not, not originally even philosophers in antiquity referred to the design argument, but put into a nice articulation by, by William Paley and illustrated with this, this, this graphic that I provided you.

Then in fact, as we do look at nature, there are objects that have parts that clearly work and function together to accomplish identifiable purposes. This implies design and the design, therefore must have been accomplished by a designer that exists and who has attributes at least equal to the task of causing such a design, honeybees, lilies, birds, grass, burrs,

gecko feet, Avalon Kells, spider silk, you MI space. He made the stars also Genesis one 16, all of this and more imply God objects in this natural world then confirm what Paul taught in Romans chapter one, namely disbelief in God is not due to a lack of evidence, but to a stubbornness of will. And if we do not talk about the,

we did not talk about the immaterial world on top of that. So far, we’ve been only talking about the material world that is objects in the material world that I discoverable. In addition to the material world, there is the world of ideas that is to say there are immaterial realities, such as the law of non-contradiction. The law of excluded middle, the law of identity,

the rules of inference logical principles. Where did these come from? These are not something dependent upon a particular culture or particular individual, but rather if you communicate with someone with translation over in China, speak, they speak Chinese. We speak English, English. We can make progress in our communication. These implicitly affirm logical principles that all of us are following,

even though we never had communication about them, one with another. And so then again, the immaterial world is worthy of conversation as well. And then what about the atheistic objection, based upon evil while we will bring that on, because we believe that we can show that such evil in this matter of fact, turns out to imply God in itself does so the top-down argument ban for the existence of God.

That is to say, including evidence for the existence of God, looking at such objects. Now I have one minute, one minute, premise, number three, you said I could go on a little further. Did your maybe not? Okay. Premise number three, the Bible is the word of God. There is an identifiable thread, a theme in the Bible.

It weaves its way through the Bible books from Genesis into the new Testament scriptures, the remaining text in each book attached to this thread. And notice what I’m saying here. You can identify a theme that is being developed, weaving it’s the way from the old Testament scriptures into the new Testament scriptures. And that theme is of such a nature that it could not possibly be explained by mere human intelligence.

That is to say it, it weaves over several human lifetimes and includes predictions whose fulfillment are beyond human ability to fulfill yet these add documented historically in the new Testament I’m talking about, of course, Jesus of Nazareth, and it all focuses on Jesus. And so then that theme is present. And then that also helps us then to show the inspiration or the,

the divine intelligence behind the other texts that I connected to that theme. And thus, we have the inspiration of the Bible human writers of the Bible books of living at different geographical locations in different times, spanning many human lifetimes and hundreds of years pick up this theme and continue. This thread of thought includes predictions beyond human ability to fulfill and documented fulfillment in the person of Jesus Christ.

And so then it has to do with a person and people, Jesus Christ, and you, and it is profound. All of this provides adequate evidence of an intelligence working out this theme who exceeds the abilities of the human writers, responsible for the Bibles composition. I have a figure here that we could examine more carefully, but I’m just going to let this go accept that.

I’ll call it to your attention again. If you were to go back into Genesis chapter 12 and read verses one to three, for example, you would find that there you have a threefold promise given, and this is a land of promise, a great nation promise. And then all nations of the earth will be blessed through the seed of Abraham promise. The old Testament scriptures documents,

the fulfillment of the land promised in the nation promise. That is to say the old Testament scriptures are about that promised nation and their activities in that promised land. In the midst of all of that, we have this theme continuing, however, a central, and we find that it includes predictions. Who’s fulfilling it fulfillment predicted in the old Testament. But as I say,

fulfilled in the new Testament scriptures, and this in essence comes down to Jesus Christ, being the fulfillment of those predictions, a good passage that summarizes off of that as Galatians chapter three, verses 26 through 29. Here, I have a side that develops like a, a Cain of passages where we could look at the great nation promise. We start with Genesis 12,

one to three, then go to Genesis 12 22, 16, 26, 1 to five, and et cetera, you come into the book of Exodus chapter one, verse seven, and now we have a great nation in existence. You could look at the land promise. You could pick it up from Genesis 12, one to three, then go to Joshua 23, verse 14, then to chat chapter 24,

verse 13. And you see the land promise, developing that the authors of these texts are making it a point to show how these predictions are being fulfilled. And then of course the wonderful promise all nations of the earth would be blessed through Abraham Genesis 49, 10 Psalm 22, Isaiah 53, come to Matthew capital one immediately in the new Testament scriptures. Matthew ties Jesus Christ back to Abraham.

And then over in Galatians 23, 26 and 27, we have the, the promise that was given to Abraham now inherited by people who have been baptized into Christ Galatians 3 26 through 29. And now premise number four, the Bible teaches the resurrection of Christ. So I’ve established that God exists. I’ve established that the Bible is the word of God. I now want to establish that.

In fact, the Bible teaches that Jesus was raised from the dead. The answer to this of course is found in several passages. This is quite easy to do. Just find a passage that so teaches this. And first Corinthians 15 one to eight. You’re not going to find one better, more clear, clearer, rather than that passage. And so then therefore God exists.

And the Bible is the word of God. And the Bible teaches that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead. And as we’ve indicated, if God exists in the Bible is the word of God. And the Bible teaches that Jesus was raised from the dead. Then Jesus was raised from the dead. If there is adequate evidence that shows that God exists, there is adequate evidence that shows that the Bible is his word.

There is adequate evidence showing that the Bible does teach that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ, the son of God. And he was raised from the dead and therefore all three of those together. And last we conclude, therefore Jesus was raised from the dead. And from first Corinthians, 15 Christ is risen from the dead is risen from the dead and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

Each one in his own order Christ the first fruits, fruits afterward, those who are Christ’s at his coming. And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly man. Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ, therefore verse 58, our first Corinthians 15, therefore my beloved brethren be steadfast immovable,

always abounding in the work of the Lord. Knowing, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. Thank you for your attention.


George Beals
Top Down Argument For Jesus’ Resurrection
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