Matt wrote:Mr. Sluagh wrote:Are you referring to any "history" outside of the Bible? Because some would make similar arguments about divine providence in history using the explosive early expansion and prosperity of the Muslim caliphate, which is much better documented than any of the Bible stories you mentioned.
Absolutely, I am referring to history outside of the Bible. If the Muslims are able to subdue the world and eradicate Christianity, would that not suggest Allah is the true god? it might not prove it but it would suggest it. I am not absolutely certain about Muslim eschatology and where Muhammad said history was going, but if his claims come to pass, wouldn't that validate him as the prophet of Allah? I think it would.
So then, is Christianity not sufficiently credible until it subdues all the other religions? (I think this might actually be what you're saying, but could you please clarify?)
The problem with this reasoning is that you have to determine what God wants before you go looking for His hand in history because the criteria "the hand of God in history" is essentially "an inexplicable event that conforms to God's will". And even if you could find significant historical validity in the miracles you mentioned (which I don't think you can, but that's a slightly different argument), you'd still have to determine that God was telling the truth.
Absolutely. The religions make claims about what their gods can do, and the religions are evaluated by whether or not their gods can do those things. For instance, if Jesus prophesied the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple beforehand, and it was actually destroyed in 70 CE, that gives Jesus some credibility. If he claimed he would raise from the dead, and he didn't raise from the dead, it would ruin his credibility.
Just because a being is capable of raising the dead doesn't mean it tells the truth about its other powers. Resurrection is one thing, omnipotence is an another. You might as well believe that some "magician" can summon fire and lightning just because he can conjure a coin from behind your ear.
As for historical validation of miracles, I suggest N.T. Wright's The Resurrection of the Son of God. He approaches the resurrection from a historian's perspective and concludes that the Resurrection is "good history." It is the most significant New Testament book to come out this century so far.
Yeah, I do need to read up on Biblical historicity more. So far, I've found none of the arguments I've heard convincing. They never seem to take into account how much the apostles had to lose from the morale loss that might've resulted from Jesus' death, and how much they had to gain from convincing people that he was somehow still alive.
Matt wrote:What if YHVH is simply an ambitious tribal deity who subdued and conquered the other gods, rallying his mortal troops by succeeding where his enemies failed?
YHWH was viewed as a tribal deity by the other nations surrounding Israel. What set YHWH apart from the other gods was His claim to be the only true god. Later in history, YHWH made claims to be the god not only of Israel, but also of the whole world. So how do we know if YHWH is merely a tribal deity or the true God of the world? We know by whether or not He is able to accomplish what He said He could accomplish. Phase one of these accomplishments was the resurrection of Jesus.
There are many stories of gods performing miracles. Among them, Jesus' resurrection is relatively well-documented, but that doesn't make it any more plausible.
Phase 2 will be the return of Jesus, the resurrection of the righteous, and the consummation of the kingdom of God. When YHWH does those things in the future, he will be "proven" as the true god.
If he does, which he hasn't.