Harvest House Publishers
Building Real Belief and Faith
How to “Move Mountains”
Questions for Building Faith
Emily sat down beside the brook and marveled at the harmony and serenity of her surroundings. Water bubbled and swirled around the rocks in a pattern whose beauty was far beyond that of any human art. Every shade of green appeared in the foliage of the banks of the stream and the fields beyond. Overhead the sun shone brightly, and the spring afternoon was scented with daffodils. Butterflies were everywhere. Bees buzzed.
She looked at her feet and a splash of red caught her eye. Nestled among some pure white daffodils was a rose. How odd, she thought. A single rose in all these daffodils. She reached down and picked it, fascinated by its color, its shape, its form. The vivid red petals framed the bright yellow pistils tucked at the core of the flower. Drops of water beaded on the leaves. How intricate and precise was the detail of the tiny parts of the inside of the rose. She wondered what everything was for. She wondered how the rose “worked.” Relaxing and enjoying its beauty, she closed her eyes and slowly raised it to her face. Its incredible softness touched her lips. Its fragrance kissed her nose.
Who would create such a thing? she wondered. Why? For what purpose? Could this be evidence of a loving Creator richly rewarding His creation with pleasure?
Science can now assume that the random origin of life is impossible. This is because
the molecular components necessary for the development of a living cell could not conceivably have come together in the manner required to allow it to work
there is no known mechanism to place life into non-life, even if the components could come together
Simply assembling the components to create the simplest kind of a cell would have about 1 chance in 10112,827 of randomly happening. Any mathematician would agree that these odds are virtually zero. The reason for this improbability is that many things are necessary for the key components of DNA and protein chains to work properly. First, the chirality (molecular orientation) must be perfect for both. Second, only life-specific amino acids must be used. Third, the amino acids must be put in the proper place. Fourth, the correct material must be put in the right place for the DNA molecule. Fifth, the sequencing of genes must be correct for the DNA molecule to function. All of these requirements must be fulfilled.
Further complicating the problem of proper assembly of the components of the first cell of life is the fact that time is limited. Even taking the largest scientific estimate of the age of the universe—fifteen billion years (1017 seconds)—there is not nearly enough time for such an improbable event to happen.
Finally, even if everything miraculously came together, life would still need to be added to non-living matter. We have never seen this happen, nor do we know how to make it happen.
The only alternative to the random “evolution”of the first living cell is special creation by a supernatural Source.
Early in the morning the women went to the tomb where Jesus’ body had been laid. They were heavily laden with spices to prepare His body, and were concerned about how they would enter the tomb because a large rock covered the entrance. No doubt their hearts pounded and their minds raced with thoughts at this last chance to see their master.
What shock upon their arrival! The Roman guards had disappeared, the stone had been rolled away, and Jesus was nowhere to be found! Where did He go? Who had moved Him?
That the tomb of Jesus was empty is, perhaps, the most important event in all of history. It is the foundation of Christianity—by far the largest and most influential organized movement of all time. Jesus had prophesied at least three times that He would rise from the dead in three days. And the true test of something being from God is perfect prophecy. This unique ability of God alone to know the end from the beginning is identified by the prophet Isaiah:
I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me.
I make known the end from the beginning,
from ancient times, what is still to come.
Of course it is the eyewitness accounts of the risen Christ that directly affirm Jesus’ fulfilled prophecy of His own resurrection. This prophetic affirmation also fulfills His claim to be God.
However, the empty tomb itself, with absolutely no corpse to be found, also affirms the resurrection. Both the Roman and Jewish authorities had every reason to produce a corpse of Jesus. It would have ended the rapid spread of Christianity once and for all. And there was certainly ample reason for the Roman and Jewish authorities to want to end Christianity. It was disrupting their political and religious control of the region. Within weeks it had spread to thousands of people. So alarmed were the religious leaders, that the apostles and early Christians were jailed and persecuted. Every attempt would have been made to locate the corpse of Jesus. And with the strength of the Roman government and influence of the religious leaders, there would have been extensive resources to conduct a vast manhunt for the corpse.
During the first century in Jerusalem, which was under Roman control, it would have been extremely difficult to obtain and hide the body of Jesus. First, very strict security precautions were carried out by arguably the greatest military machine ever assembled—the Roman army.
“Take a guard,”Pilate [the Roman governor] answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.”
The Roman guard, under strict orders to protect the corpse of Jesus, faced the threat of crucifixion if they failed in their job. Considering the threat of death, the odds of all 16 guards failing (16 was the number of guards typically assigned to such a political prisoner) are unimaginable. (More about this in reason 6.)
Second, the Jewish Sabbath, which prohibited work, would have made any action to steal the corpse from the tomb religiously unacceptable to the Jewish populace. Third, the city of Jerusalem was relatively small, making it difficult to take and conceal a body without detection.
Finally, the authorities would have used every method possible to determine
the actual fate of Jesus and the location of His corpse. This would have
included bribery and threats of torture. Certainly, if there was anyone with
information regarding a corpse of Jesus, someone would have “cracked”and
The evidence is clear and self-evident. The tomb of Jesus was empty, and nobody could produce a corpse to stop the rapid spread of Christianity. The authorities would have tried. The resurrection, the spread of Christianity, and its later rejection by the Jews all happened exactly as prophesied.
The empty tomb played an indispensable role in the start of Christianity, specifically helping verify that Jesus is God.
Excerpted from 101 Reasons You Can Believe By Ralph O. Muncaster. Copyright © 2004 by Harvest House Publishers. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.