The Presence of Corroborating Evidence

The presence of corroborating evidence is required to build a criminal case. Discovering details and listening to witness statements will eventually interlock the truth.

Police officers present evidence to a prosecutor hoping to gain convictions on those accused of violating the law. It’s what we do! We answer a series of questions in order to form opinions.

A single, uncorroborated statement will rarely hold weight to exonerate or condemn in a court of law.

But what about questions in life? Does God exist? What happens after death? Does the Christian worldview contain more than a single, uncorroborated statement?

Is the Bible based upon historical accuracy or mythology? Is anyone there when we pray? Why do we pray?

While I serve as the editor-in-chief for Law Enforcement Today, what you are about to read represents my individual thoughts, not LET as an organization. However, I share it today because these matters are vitally important.

Corroborating Evidence

Can we apply the principle of corroboration when evaluating religious writings? I believe so.

Let’s apply this standard to the Bible.

  • The Bible combines first hand witness accounts combined with divine revelation from God.
  • The Bible was written by at least 39, perhaps 40 authors, over a period of 1500 years.
  • The contents of the Bible are described by the word canon. The Greek word means “measuring rod.” Religious authorities canonized the Bible. The tests for canonization included authorship, agreement, usage, authenticity, authority, and dynamics. These “investigators” were completely unrelated to the authors. The Bible directs people to the triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The presence of corroboration is significant! Any religious writing that is authored or revealed to a single person, and never corroborated by another source, is false.

God requires obedience, but he’s supplied plenty of corroborating evidence.

For me, finding answers to my questions has always been important. While I live by the Christian worldview, I do not believe God has called us to blind followership. He has provided overwhelming evidence.

Resurrection

I get challenged in my faith frequently. People ask if I really believe that Jesus rose from the dead? “It seems pretty far fetched,” they tell me.

If the resurrection of Jesus did not occur, Christianity would fail to exist. Yet it was a highly educated antagonist, Saul of Tarsus, who later wrote, “Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, …” [1] This fact has so much historical documentation that it cannot be ignored.

For instance, there are more than 20,000 copies of New Testament manuscripts in existence. The Iliad, second to the New Testament in manuscript authority, has only 643 manuscripts in existence. And Aristotle, who would be unchallenged by any credible college professor, has only 49 manuscripts in existence. [2]

If 500 people saw the resurrected Christ, you need to believe:

  • The swoon theory—he never really died—which is medically unrealistic.
  • An imposter fooled everyone (So convincingly others were willing to die for the charade).
  • There were 500 people involved in a conspiracy (Not only laughable, but something that would have brought trouble your way.)

OR

  • Jesus is the Messiah.

There are more than 2.2 billion people willing to do what eleven disciples feared when Jesus was crucified—follow him. Those 11 were part of the 500, and that is why the figure now exceeds 2.2 billion.

Old Testament

Most people think the Old Testament in the Bible is out of touch, and certainly outdated. They usually take Scripture out of context and out of culture to argue their point. Or they point to sin in the Bible and incorrectly presume it’s appointed by God, therefore invalidating his divine authority.

Let’s see what is “outdated.”

Suspended in Space

The Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecies calculated that 27 percent of the entire Bible (or 3,856 verses) contains 1817 predictive prophecies. [3] This is true of no other book in the world, and it is a sure sign of its’ divine origin. Not one of these prophecies that has past its’ time to be fulfilled has failed to be spot on. That is what mathematicians call an anomaly.

Other religions have what they consider sacred writings, but the elements of proven prophecy are absent, while many of the biblical declarations were later proven by science. For instance, Job 26:7 says, “He stretches out the north over the void and hangs the earth on nothing.” Science did not make this discovery until 1650, but it was written a few centuries earlier in Scripture.

Want another? All right, everyone together; “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue!” His goal was to sail west to Asia, and eventually around the globe. He wanted to verify the world was round. Yet before Columbus, Aristotle suggested the world might be a sphere. But if we’d like to give credit where credit is due, Isaiah wrote, “It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, . . .” [4] about 300 years before Aristotle made the suggestion.

The Second Law of Thermodynamics

In 1850 Rudolph Clausius, the son of a protestant pastor, discovered the second law of thermodynamics, which states: “The total entropy of any thermodynamically isolated system tends to increase over time approaching a maximum value.” [5]

Isaac Asimov was an American author and professor of biochemistry at Boston University. This is how he explained Clausius’ discovery:

The universe is constantly getting more disorderly! Viewed that way, we can see the Second Law all about us. We have to work hard to straighten a room, but left to itself it becomes a mess again very quickly and very easily. Even if we never enter it, it becomes dusty and musty. How difficult to maintain houses, and machinery, and our own bodies in perfect working order; how easy to let them deteriorate. In fact, all we have to do is nothing, and everything deteriorates, collapses, breaks down, wears out, all by itself and that is what the Second Law is all about. [6]

In other words, everything in the universe is gradually deteriorating. Practically speaking, that means light bulbs burn out, batteries run down, cars rust, bodies wear out, and homes fall apart. Regardless of the pristine condition newness brings, everything has a “shelf life.”

Evolutionist argue against this, but they also believe order derived from disorder, yet entropy does not support this proposition. The second law of thermodynamics conflicts with evolution, but not the Bible.

The prophet Isaiah wrote about this approximately 2500 years before Clausius’ discovery:

Lift up your eyes to the heavens,

and look at the earth beneath;

for the heavens vanish like smoke,

the earth will wear out like a garment,

and they who dwell in it will die in like manner;

but my salvation will be forever,

and my righteousness will never be dismayed. [7]

Isaiah wasn’t alone. King David had a similar revelation from God when he wrote the following about 150 years later, and more than 2300 years before Clausius:

Of old you laid the foundation of the earth,

and the heavens are the work of your hands.

They will perish, but you will remain;

they will all wear out like a garment. [8]

Oceanography

Matthew Maury was a fascinating man and is considered the “Father of Oceanography.” His grandfather, Reverend James Maury, was an inspiring teacher to a future U.S. president, Thomas Jefferson.

The younger Maury took note of Psalm 8:8b (written 2800 years ago), which says, “[W]hatever passes along the paths of the seas.”

“If God said there are paths in the sea,” he told others, “I am going to find them.”

Inspired by the psalmist, Maury discovered the warm and cold continental currents. His research in oceanography has remained a staple on the subject and is still used in universities today. A Bible sits at his foot in one monument in particular. As a naval officer and scientist of profound magnitude, vessels and buildings bear his name.

The Hydrological Cycle

The Mississippi River dumps about 518 billion gallons of water every 24 hours into the Gulf of Mexico, and that is just one of thousands of rivers. Where does all the water go?

The answers lay in the hydrological cycle discovered by scientists Pierre Perrault, Edme Mariotte, Edmund Halley, and others in the seventeenth century. If a Creator did not make the world, then how could the following revelations be given to King Solomon, the author of Ecclesiastes, and Amos, a prophet of God?

King Solomon:

All streams run to the sea,

but the sea is not full;

to the place where the streams flow,

there they flow again. [9]

Amos:

[W]ho calls for the waters of the sea

and pours them out upon the surface of the earth—

the Lord is his name. [10]

The Old Testament book of Amos was written more than 2400 years before scientists made their discoveries, and Ecclesiastes nearly 2700 years prior. We look at their words now, and with contemporary knowledge, they do not appear that impressive. But when they were written, you have to conclude they were either coincidental postulations by ordinary men, or divinely inspired by the Master Creator.

Ship Building

In Genesis 6, God gave Noah the dimensions to build a 1.5 million cubic foot ark—at a time when flooding was unheard of. The dimensions were 300 cubits in length, 50 cubits in breadth, and 30 cubits in height.

Depending upon the ancient culture, a cubit could vary from approximately 17-22 inches in length.

The exact length of the cubit used by Noah is not as important as the pattern of 30:5:3. At Hoorn in Holland in the 1600’s, a ship was built using the same template (30:5:3) as the Ark. It revolutionized shipbuilding. This same scale became the rough dimensions of ocean going vessels for the next 300 years. By 1900 every large ship on the high seas was inclined toward these dimensions.

Studies conducted by a world-class ship research center, Korea Research Institute of Ships and Ocean Engineering (KRISO), analyzed the biblical ark. [11] Their research determined that an Ark with the proportions of 30:5:3 was optimal for:

  • Carrying Cargo.
  • Survivability (i.e., seaworthiness for horrific wave activity).
  • They also determined that a craft with dimensions of 450 feet by 75 feet by 45 (30:5:3) feet could easily withstand sustained wave activity of around 90 feet.
  • It would be nearly impossible for the boat to capsize.

So what is the big deal you ask? Well it is fascinating when you consider there were no engineers that offered Noah expert advice. For those who doubt the flood took place, it still does not erase the written documentation of Genesis with the template of 30:5:3 that could only have been given by divine inspiration as the first ship was built from gopher wood.

Keep in mind, experts built the Titanic, and it sunk. God revealed the plans to Noah, and the Ark survived terrible floods that had never before been seen.

Today people argue, where is God when evil prevails? In Noah’s day, God chose to eradicate evil with a flood. In the end, he will again judge evil, but he is also giving humanity a chance to respond to his love and mercy through his divine grace before judgments to come. (See the final book of the Bible—Revelation. It makes the flood look like a day at the lake.)

Yet people that resist God’s love are actually opposing his methods. Interestingly enough I’ve heard people argue that God is absent in the presence of evil, while also arguing he was unmerciful by orchestrating a world wide flood to judge malevolence. Which is it? You can’t have it both ways!

If God pulled our strings to make us fall in line, we’d gripe that he didn’t give us free will to choose or reject him. Fortunately, he did, we simply do not like the consequences of our collective choices. It has made the world an ugly mess! Does anyone disagree?

Sedimentary Rock Formations

Sedimentary rocks are the product of weathering preexisting rocks, transport of the weathering products, deposition of the material, followed by compaction, and cementation of the sediment to form a rock.

According to Science Daily, sedimentary rocks cover 75% of the Earth’s surface. [12] I’ve read other sources that have it as high as 85%, but I’ll use the conservative figure. Moreover, evidence abounds that sea creatures are fossilized high above sea level. One example is the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Sitting 7,000-8,000 feet above sea level is the Redwall Limestone, which commonly contains fossil brachiopods (a type of clam), corals, bryozoans (lace corals), crinoids (sea-lilies), bivalves (other types of clams), gastropods (marine snails), trilobites, cephalopods, and even fish teeth. [13]

If the great flood described in Genesis 7 did not occur, how did the earth become covered with so much sedimentary rock? If the flood was a fable, how did sea creatures become fossilized in the Grand Canyon? I’ve read other non-biblical explanations, but frankly, they do not make sense to me.

Origin of the Sexes

“Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” We’ve all heard this question, but can you answer it? Let’s notch it up a bit. If evolution is true, which came first, the male or female?

Almost all forms of complex life have both genders. Although modern science can reproduce life in the lab, it needs real contributions from each sex—to which there are two—male and female (regardless of social engineering going on in our culture). “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” [14]

If the male came first, how did he re-create female without a female participant, and vice versa? Or did they spontaneously, yet without supernatural intervention, evolve from primordial soup simultaneously and discover the procreation process before one or the other grew too old to participate?

If each sex were able to reproduce without the other, how and why would they have developed a complimentary reproductive system?

This is one example why I say evolutionists have more faith than Christians. Believing in the supernatural power of an omniscient God is easier for me to believe with reliability than the unrealistic mathematical calculations necessary to formulate the chances of a male and female evolving simultaneously in order to procreate.

Pascal’s Wager

Regardless of our belief, we are all betting we are right. Even inconclusive thought is a conclusion, it is simply incomplete.

The seventeenth-century philosopher, mathematician, and physicist Blaise Pascal hypothesized that humans bet with their lives that God either exists or does not.

In essence he concludes that if Christianity is indeed true, the one who follows Christ has nothing to lose if it’s false. Yet the one who does not believe it’s true has everything to lose if he is wrong.

Everyone roles the dice, but those who’ve placed their authentic faith in a Christian Worldview do so with mounds of corroborated evidence.

Sources:

  1. 1 Corinthians 15:6 (ESV)
  2. Josh and Sean McDowell, More Than a Carpenter, (Tyndale House Publishers, 2009), 72-74
  3. J. Barton Payne – Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecies, (Baker Book House Publishing, 1980), 674–75.
  4. Isaiah 40:22 (ESV)
  5. http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Rudolf_Clausius. (Accessed June 27, 2016)
  6. Isaac Asimov: “In the Game of Energy and Thermodynamics You Can’t Break Even,” Smithsonian Institute Journal, June, 1970, p. 10.
  7. Isaiah 51:6 (ESV)
  8. Psalm 102:25-26 (ESV)
  9. Ecclesiastes 1:7 (ESV)
  10. Amos 9:6b (ESV)
  11. http://www.iala-aism.org/about/membership/organisation/05310996/kriso—korea-research-institute-of-ships-and-ocean-engineering.html, (Accessed June 24, 2016)
  12. https://www.sciencedaily.com/terms/sedimentary_rock.htm, (Accessed June 24, 2016)
  13. S.S. Beus, “Redwall Limestone and Surprise Canyon Formation,” in S.S. Beus and M. Morales, eds., Grand Canyon Geology, 2nd edition (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, New York, 2003), p. 115–135.
  14. Genesis 1:27 (ESV)

Jim McNeff, editor-in-chief, Law Enforcement Today

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