View Full Version : Six Tests for Accepting a Historical Claim

03-28-2009, 01:50 PM
There are 5 reasons to believe in the historical Jesus by the primary core details: his trial, burial, empty tomb, post-mortem appearances, and the origin of disciples' belief.

In Reasonable Faith (pp. 295-8), William Lane Craig shows how Jesus raised from the dead meets C.B. McCullogh’s six tests (Justifying Historical Descriptions) historians use as a standard for accepting the best explanation for historical facts.

1. Great explanatory scope: why the tomb was found empty, why the post-mortem appearances, and why the Christian faith came into being.
2. Great explanatory power: why the body was gone, why people repeatedly saw Jesus alive after His death.
3. Plausibility: given Jesus' unparalleled claims about Himself, His resurrection is divine vindication of those claims.
4. Not ad hoc or contrived: requires one additional belief, that God exists.
5. In accord with accepted beliefs: people don't rise naturally from the dead; Jesus was raised by His own doing supernaturally.
6. Far outstrips rival hypothesis in meeting these conditions: rival theories presented throughout history don't fit the data such as the conspiracy theory, apparent death theory and hallucination theory. They have all been universally rejected by contemporary scholarship. No naturalistic hypothesis has attracted a great number of scholars.

The best explanation is the one the original disciples gave; namely, God raised Jesus from the dead. Amen.