The philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer stated there are four basic rules of philosophical argument or debate. These rules help govern debates through logical steps and conclusions. Here are the basic principles in simplified form:
- Everything that is, exists.
- Nothing can simultaneously be and not be.
- Each and every thing either is or is not.
- Of everything that is, it can be found why it is.
So, how do these rules of philosophical debate stack up when discussing who Jesus was and is? When conducting any investigation one must use facts as stated by reliable witnesses if the investigator is not an eyewitness to the events. So it is also with any debate or argument.
Everything that is, exists.
Over the years there have been attempts to prove Jesus of Nazareth never existed. These investigators come up, not surprisingly, short of concrete proof for the His non-existence. On the contrary, history is replete with factual evidence of Jesus’ existence so vast that it cannot be listed here. From the Bible to Josephus to early church fathers, the references are there. It begs the question: does He still exist like Christianity claims?
Nothing can simultaneously be and not be.
Many have said through the ages that Jesus was a good man or a good, moral teacher. He claimed of Himself to be the Son of God and the Savior of the World. C.S. Lewis and Josh McDowell stated Jesus was: a lunatic, a liar, or the Son of God. A lunatic could not, and would not have had the mental capacity to establish the ways, beliefs, or truths of Christianity. No liar could be a good man or moral. This leaves Him to be who He said he was: the Son of God and Savior of the World. He cannot be a lunatic, liar, and the Son of God simultaneously. He has to be one and not be the others.
Each and every thing either is or is not.
Jesus claimed to be the Son of God and in fact, God Himself. This same claim was, and is made of Him by Christians since His death and proclaimed resurrection from the dead. He either is what He says He is or He is not. He cannot be the Son of God and not be the Son of God. When speaking to the religious leaders of the day he stated the proofs of His deity: His miracles, His words, and the testimony of others to include: God the Father, John the Baptist, the Holy Scriptures, and those He had healed. These witnesses being reliable as they are, also provides evidence that He still exists today.
Of everything that is, it can be found why it is.
What of Jesus’ existence on earth? If He was, and is truly God, as He and His followers have stated, why was He here on earth? His mission is stated in John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (ESV) There is a thief who steals everything from man that can be stolen. This includes our joy, our purpose, our souls, and our lives. Just look around the world today and throughout history. Jesus came to stop the thief and give man back all he was designed by God to have. That starts with his life eternal. This is the difference between Christianity and all the world’s religions and belief systems. Man’s spirit is dead within him. Jesus creates that spirit to come to new life; a new creation. He offers and requires a spiritual renewal. The world religions and belief systems neither require, nor offer such renewal.
You Can Know
Those who would debate against the existence, mission, and validity of Jesus have not examined all the evidence. Rather they have taken the stance of “My mind is made up don’t confuse me with the facts.” Two great books filled with the evidences of Jesus and His mission is The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel and New Evidence That Demands a Verdict
by Josh McDowell. Examine the evidence and know Jesus existed. He was more than a moral teacher. He is who He says He is and He wants a deeper relationship with you. I invite you to start your relationship with Him today. Click on the link below to learn more.