Warren Christian Apologetics Center
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Sufficient Evidence Archive

Sufficient Evidence: A Journal of Christian Apologetics is devoted to setting forth evidence for the existence of God, the divine origin of the Bible, and the deity of Jesus Christ, and is published biannually (Spring and Fall).


FROM THE ARCHIVE

 

EVIDENCE FOR THE DEITY OF CHRIST FROM GOLGOTHA

The International Dictionary of the Bible gives the following derivation of Golgotha:

(From the Greek golgotha, from Aramaic, gulgalta’, skull). From the Hebrew gulgoleth, which implies a bald, round, skull-like mound of hillock. The Latin name, Calvarius (“bald skull”) has been retained in the form of Calvary (Luke 23:33). . . . Two explanations of the name are found (1) It was a place of execution and therefore abounded in skulls; (2) the place had the appearance of a skull when viewed from a short distance. (395)

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre and Gordan’s Calvary are suggested sites of Golgotha, but we cannot be sure of its location. The only certain information we have is that it was outside Jerusalem (John 19:17) and near the city (John 19:20; Hebrews 13:12-13).

 

Curse of the Cross

Crucifixion was considered one of the most cruel and shameful deaths that could be administered to a person. “The Romans reserved crucifixion, however, for slaves, robbers, assassins, and the like or for rebellious provincials. Only rarely were Roman citizens subjected to this kind of treatment (Cicero, In Ver. 1. 5. 66)” (Hawthorne 1038). Based on Deuteronomy 21:22-23, the Jews considered those accursed who were hanged on a stake. Jesus, the pure lamb of God, endured the shame of the cross (Hebrews 12:2) and became a curse for us (Galatians 3:13).

 

Forgiveness Only Through Deity

Golgotha is central to Christianity (1 Corinthians 2:1-2), for there Jesus’ crucifixion made forgiveness of sins available for all mankind, including all who lived before (Romans 3:24-26; Hebrews 9:15) and after the cross (1 Timothy 1:16, KJV). The only antidote for sin throughout the history of the world is not the blood of animals (Hebrews 10:4) or human accomplishment (Ephesians 2:8-9), but Jesus’ blood (Matthew 26:28; Hebrews 9:22; Revelation 1:5). One man would be able to bear the sins of only one other person, but the divine Son of God, who is more valuable and whose blood is more precious (1 Peter 1:18-19) than all humanity, through His one sacrifice can forgive the sins of the whole world (John 1:29; Hebrews 10:15-19).

 

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The Basic Argument for the Deity of Christ

There are as many different viewpoints about Jesus Christ as there are people. Some see Jesus as a great teacher. Some view Him as a moral leader. To some, Jesus is a revolutionary. To others, He is a great rabbi. To the Muslim world, Jesus is a prophet, even though, according to Islam, He is an inferior prophet to Mohammed. All of these viewpoints avoid the central question: Is Jesus Christ the Son of God? The question of Jesus’ deity is of the utmost importance. Either He is the Son of God, or He is not. When we use the phrase “Son of God,” we are not using it in the sense that every man is a son of God by virtue of creation. Rather, when we affirm that Jesus is the Son of God, we are declaring that Jesus Christ is in fact deity, the second person of the one triune Godhead, and that He shares that particular nature or quality only with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Is Jesus deity? We answer that question in the affirmative and propose to set out the basic argument for such. We insist that people have the right to examine the evidence thoroughly and that, having done so, will conclude that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

Even though there have been many variations on the basic argument, we are using the one first set forth by Thomas B. Warren in The Spiritual Sword (April 1970). The basic argument will be set out in the form of a three-line syllogism. The argument form is modus ponens and is therefore valid. If the premises are true, then the argument is sound. If the premises are true, then it necessitates the truthfulness of the conclusion (cf. Ruby 272-74).

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The Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53

One of the most perplexing questions pertaining to Old Testament studies is the question concerning what has been called the “greatest of all prophetic utterances” (Baron vi) — Isaiah 53. The question is, “Who is the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53?” Although this question directs attention to the chapter mentioned, this study will include the last three verses of Isaiah 52, since they form an integral part of the passage.

A study of the above question is most significant for various reasons: (1) scholars are greatly divided as to the identification of the Suffering Servant in Isaiah 53, (2) the New Testament writers make numerous reflections upon this prophecy, and (3) the issue remains as to whether or not Isaiah’s prophecy is one of true prediction.

Scholars have advanced various theories as solutions to the problem. Some have suggested the collective theory which states that the Servant is a group, the nation of Israel, or some ideal portion of it. Others have advanced the individual theory which says that the Servant is an individual of the past, present or future. Still others contend that the Servant is not to be identified with any chosen single group or individual but that the conception of the Servant is a fluid and shifting one (cf. Hyatt 79). Such a concept is suggested by Torrey when he says that the Servant is “the personified nation Israel, or Israel’s personal representative” (135). I am convinced that the Servant in Isaiah 53 is an individual, and Jesus Christ is the only one who could have fulfilled it.

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The Bible’s Thematic Unity as Evidence of Its Divine Origin

In his book, What Shall We Do with the Bible, Rubel Shelly sets forth a basic argument for the inspiration of the Bible formulated by the late Dr. Thomas B. Warren. The total argument may be stated as follows:

1. If it is the case that the Bible contains predictive prophecies which were clearly made in advance of their unquestioned fulfillment, is characterized by a humanly impossible unity, treats matters of science in a way which transcends human invention in the days when its various parts were written, has a view of reality otherwise unknown in human thought, has been confirmed by all the accepted means of historical research (e.g. archaeology), and is free from demonstrable error (as well as possessing other features which are beyond mere human wisdom or invention), then the Bible is the Word of God.

2. The Bible contains predictive prophecies which were clearly made in advance of their unquestioned fulfillment, is characterized by a humanly impossible unity, treats matters of science in a way which transcends human invention in the days when its various parts were written, has a view of reality otherwise unknown in human thought, has been confirmed by all the accepted means of historical research (e.g. archaeology), and is free from demonstrable error (as well as possessing other features which are beyond mere human wisdom or invention).

3. Therefore, the Bible is the Word of God. (ix-x) 

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Predictive Prophecy as Evidence of the Bible’s Divine Origin

A prophet (prophetes) is “one who speaks forth” (Thayer 553) or one who is “a proclaimer and interpreter of the divine revelation” (Arndt and Gingrich 730). Both writing and speaking prophets of the Old and New Testaments gave people God’s message about how they should live and act, but how were those people to know whether the prophet was speaking for himself or for God? Deuteronomy 18:21-22 answers,

And if you say in your heart, “How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?”— when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.

 [All Scripture references in this article will be from the 1992 New King James Version unless otherwise specified]. The test of a prophecy’s divine origin for us today is the same as when it was originally given: if a prophetic prediction happened or came true, we can know that it came from God. It is common for predictions of uninspired men to “fall to the ground,” but God caused the words of His inspired prophets to hold true (1 Samuel 3:19).

1 Kings 21:19-24. Many examples are found in the Old Testament of prophecies being fulfilled, some of them in a short time after being given, and some hundreds of years later. King Ahab of the northern kingdom of Israel wanted Naboth’s vineyard, so Ahab’s wife Jezebel had Naboth murdered to get it. God sent Elijah to predict the death of Ahab, the end of his dynasty, and the grisly fact that dogs would eat the body of Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel (1 Kings 21:23). Some years passed; then Ahab decided to attack Syria to try to regain Ramoth Gilead. He asked the prophet Micaiah if he should go to war, and Micaiah predicted disaster for Ahab, who was killed in the battle in fulfillment of the prophecy (1 Kings 22:23-38). Several years later Jehu had Jezebel thrown down from a window in the wall, where dogs literally ate all of Jezebel but her skull, feet, and hands (2 Kings 9:30-37). Thus two prophesies were fulfilled, one in a matter of hours and one in some 20 years and in specific, sickening detail.

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