Sifting the Evidence Part 2
Last week, I wrote about how we cannot simply ignore the written eye-witness testimonies regarding Jesus of Nazareth, the miracles He performed, His resurrection from the dead, etc. As in today’s court system, such eye-witness accounts are, and should be, taken very seriously and are often cited as some of the most powerful evidence of any given case.
This week, let’s take a look at some of the actual physical evidence of the existence of God and the claims of Christ. Before we get into that, one huge piece of evidence that I will not get into is creation itself. While I agree with the Apostle Paul in the first chapter of Romans that this is evidence enough to show that God exists, I’d prefer to zero in on some other issues that perhaps we don’t hear bandied about as much today.
Perhaps the next most definitive bit of physical evidence besides the created universe is the incarnation of Jesus of Nazareth (Emmanuel, or “God with us”). There is a good deal of historical evidence that testifies that Jesus of Nazareth was, in fact, an actual person who walked the earth in the area around Jerusalem and Galilee approximately 2,000 years ago.
I wanted to address this physical evidence first because it seemed like a good segue from last week since this physical evidence relies heavily on written evidence. Stay with me, here. I’m not trying to dodge or weave. Last week, I referred to the written accounts as evidence of the existence of God and of the miracles worked by God and Jesus. That is distinct from evidence for the physical existence of a man called Jesus of Nazareth.
Still, I would point out the early writings of the disciples, including those that were later canonized into what we know as the New Testament. Once again, it is important to recognize that these were not considered to be scriptural writings at the time that they were written, therefore it is not necessary to provide “extra-biblical” evidence.
Extra-biblical evidence is, however, available. Mainly through the writings of the historian Josephus, but also through the Roman records of a man named Jesus who was crucified for claiming to be the King of the Jews. The number of historians, including secular, who do not accept the historicity of the person of Jesus is vastly out-numbered by the body of historians and archaeologists who accept the validity of the fact that this person did, in fact, exist at the time which we understand him to have existed.
This evidence, then, helps to lend weight to last weeks evidence of the Gospel accounts and the various letters written from Paul, John, Peter and James. If Jesus did not exist in history, he would not have been able to have taught a small group of disciples for three years, nor would he have been around to perform the miracles that these disciples claimed to be eye-witnesses of.
Now, to look at a bit more scientific evidence, an article published in a 1995 issue of the journal “Science” showed the following interesting information:
In 1995, the journal Science published the results of a study in which a segment of the human Y-chromosome from 38 men from different ethnic groups were analyzed for variation (Dorit, R.L., Akashi, H. and Gilbert, W. 1995. “Absence of polymorphism at the ZFY locus on the human Y chromosome.” Science 268:1183–1185). The segment of the Y-chromosome consisted of 729 base pairs. To their surprise, the researchers found no variation at all. Their conclusion was that the human race must have experienced a genetic bottleneck sometime in the not too distant past. Further research was done and it was determined that every man alive today actually descended from a single man who scientists now refer to as “Y-Chromosomal Adam.”
Mitochondrial Eve takes it a step further. While Y-chromosomes are only passed down from father to son, mitochondrial-DNA is passed down from mother to both daughter and son. Because mitochondrial-DNA is only passed on by the mother and never the father, mitochondrial-DNA lineage is the same as maternal lineage. Knowing this, scientists have found that every human alive today can trace their ancestry back to a single woman who they now refer to as “Mitochondrial Eve.” While Y-Chromosomal Adam is believed to be the ancestor of every living man, Mitochondrial Eve is believed to be the mother of all living humans, male and female.
You can read the entire article here.
The article goes on to state that this does not prove that this is the Adam and Eve from the account in Genesis, with which I would have to agree. This evidence alone certainly does not prove that to be an open and shut case. However, there is still some issue as to how to arrive at a date for when these ancestors of our existed. Many Christian scientists have already shown issues regarding how to date fossils, therefore, I’d be less than surprised to find that the secular dating process for these ancestors include a lot of assumptions as well.
Suffice to say, we Christians could have told everyone a long time ago (and did, actually) that we are all descended from one male and one female (yes, I understand that this article distinguishes that the males specifically are descended from one male and that all humans are descended from one female, so I recognize I’m making a leap there). It says so in Genesis. It has said so for quite some time. That has never, in the history of known biblical teaching, ever changed.
While science continues to make new discoveries, often which refute old discoveries, the Bible is still saying the same thing that it has said for millennia, that “In the beginning, God…”
Were you aware of this “Y-chromosomal Adam” and “Mitochondrial-Eve” discovery? Is this something that is a new discovery for you? Either way, how do you feel about it? How does it affect your belief or disbelief in the existence of God or the creation account in Genesis? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this.
Grace, love and peace.