Tuesday, April 29, 2014
What an Investigative Detective Would Tell You
My shower-wet hair dries slowly. Dampness dissipates while jazz music plays. Espresso machines hum and hiss, strangers talk in muted tones, and business executives open briefcases, pull out laptops, and consult their phones.
I inhale my warm pain au chocolate ("chocolate croissant"), despite telling myself to slow down. Buttery flakes encase two strips of chocolate and, too soon, I'm savoring the last bite, sucking the last bits of flavor from my tongue.
In my Bible readings, I've culled the eyewitness reports and interviews that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John compiled from their years with Jesus. They recounted, reported, verified, and narrated the events leading up to Jesus' death and resurrection. Luke, the doctor, prefaced his account thus:
Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. Therefore since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught (Luke 1:1-4).
John, the quiet powerhouse from the side calmly stated,
These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name; adding, Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written (John 20:30-31, 21:25).
Policemen and detectives, trained in intelligence-gathering and suspect-interrogation, declare that the way these four Bible accounts are handled points to their veracity and reliability. Truthful witnesses' accounts of an event will support each other but have enough variances that illustrate their unique vantage points and memories of the event. Dishonest witnesses will have collaborated on their story, and the details will all match exactly -- unnaturally. Their arguments won't stand up to time and scrutiny.
Two thousand years later, the Bible consistently passes all tests of accuracy with unprecedented high scores, far surpassing all other historical texts. Atheists like C. S. Lewis, who set out to disprove the Bible, and investigative journalist Lee Strobel have since capitulated to its veracity and are now ardent fans.
I doff my cap to their prowess and pull the Bible closer across my coffee table. Turning to Acts chapter one, I am eager to see what happens next. Outside my window, raindrops turn to snow and fall faster.
(Photo credit: Snowshot, Creative Commons, cc license)