Royal Professor of Law at Harvard, Simon Greenleaf, was considered to be the greatest expert of evidence the world had ever known. The Supreme Justice of the Supreme Court said that Greenleaf's testimony
is the most basic and compelling testimony that can be accepted in any English speaking court in the world. When Greenleaf spoke, that settled the matter. He was far and away the most knowledgeable person on evidence the world had ever known. The London Times said that more light on jurisprudence had come from Greenleaf than all the jurists of Europe combined.
Greenleaf had one inviolable principle in his classrooms at Harvard, and that was, you never make up your mind about any significant matter without first considering the evidence
. Greenleaf was not a Christian. When challenged by one of his students with this principle, he admitted that he had not considered the evidence. When he did, he became a Christian: believed in the deity, death and resurrection of Jesus.
After examining every thread of information he could find he said in his book, The Testimony of the Evangelists: The Gospels Examined for the Rules of Evidence
, that if any unbiased jury in the world considered the evidence for the resurrection of Christ, they would have to conclude that Jesus of Nazareth actually rose from the dead.
And so he became a believer that Jesus was God and was converted. He wrote, "In requiring this candor and simplicity of mind, and those who would investigate the truth of our religion..." He sees that Christianity is, in fact, the only evidential historical religion in the world, and the whole thing rests upon evidence which he finds so compelling and so overwhelming that any honest person with an open mind examining the evidence would be like himself inescapably drawn to accept it. And so he sets forth his first rule of legal evidence
and for any other ancient document.
"Every document apparently ancient coming from the proper repository or custody and bearing on its face no evident marks of forgery, the law presumes to be genuine and devolves on the opposing party the burden of proving
it to be otherwise."
"This ancient document, the Scripture, has come from the proper repository, that is, it is has been in the hands of the persons of the Church for 2000 years almost and it bears on its face no evident marks of forgery, and therefore the law presumes it to be genuine, and those who would presume otherwise upon them devolves the responsibility of proving it to be false. We don't have to prove it to be true. They have to prove it to be false. That's what the law says
(Simon Greenleaf, The Testimony of the Evangelists: The Gospels Examined for the Rules of Evidence)
"It was IMPOSSIBLE that the apostles could have persisted in affirming the truths they had narrated, had not JESUS CHRIST ACTUALLY RISEN FROM THE DEAD
, . . ."
(Simon Greenleaf, An Examination of the Testimony of the Four Evangelists by the Rules of Evidence Administered in the Courts of Justice, p.29.)