Dr. Gary Habermas- Assessing the Pre-NT Christian Creeds

In this special episode, Dr. Gary Habermas, fresh from completing the Rough draft of his 5000 page+ magnum opus on the evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus, joins me to discuss the very latest research on the evidence from the early Christian Creeds that pre-date the NT writings and in some cases probably go back to the very year Christ was crucified!  

YouTube Video Link = https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2IA6i56Elc

Anchor Audio Link = https://anchor.fm/real-seeker-ministries/episodes/The-Latest-Research-on-the-Pre-NT-Christian-Creeds-with-Gary-Habermas-eh41i2

Recommended Sources (for further study);

a) Gary Habermas’ main website = http://garyhabermas.com/

b) Gary’s free E-Book on the Uniqueness of the Historical Evidence for Christianity vs. the Other World Religions = http://garyhabermas.com/Evidence2/Habermas-Uniqueness-of-Jesus-Christ-2016.pdf or (see attachment below)

c) Gary’s free E-Book on the Historical Evidence (including the Creeds) for Jesus’ Resurrection from the dead = http://garyhabermas.com/books/EvidenceBook/GaryHabermas_Evidence-for-the-historical-Jesus-Release_1point1.pdf  or (see attachment below)

d) Gary Habermas & Mike Licona’s PhD Dissertation on the Resurrection as well as Richard Swinburne’s book on Jesus’ Resurrection evidence (see attachments below)

e) Sources on the Creeds;

45-min Video by Gary Habermas on the Creeds = “The Early Creeds: Historical Facts About Jesus from 30 to 55 AD | Gary Habermas” 

Short 4 min video John Ankerberg on Why were the creedal statements so important to early Christianity?

EP 1 | What Did Christians Believe Within the First 24 Months of the Resurrection?

EP 2 | The Early Nature of the New Testament Creeds

Excellent Scholarly Article on the 1 Corinthians 15 Resurrection Creed (see attachment below)

6 thoughts on “Dr. Gary Habermas- Assessing the Pre-NT Christian Creeds

  1. Dale – really fascinating episode – Dr Habermas is great to listen to. I was unaware of the existence of these creeds, so found this topic very enlightening.

    I am curious as to why skeptics who accept the minimal facts are nevertheless still skeptics where Christianity is concerned. I am not convinced Dr Habermas’s marriage analogy holds for Bart Ehrman, because I understand he was previously a Christian. So I’d be curious to know why Dr Ehrman rejects Christianity.

    In light of the above, I’d like to know which books by both himself and Dr Ehrman would Dr Habermas recommend, particularly in relation to the evidence for the resurrection.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Tony,

      That is great, you just made my day knowing that helped introduce the amazing evidence from the Creeds via Gary’s research on that front, that’s literally why I do what I do here, so thank you for that- very gratifying 🙂

      Anyways, in terms of your questions for Gary, you’ll be happy to know I just emailed him and made him aware of your reply and so if he responds back, I will post up his response to you on here. Otherwise, if I don’t hear back in a few days (he is really busy lately in trying to get his 5000 page book out right now), then I will make some recommendations on the Resurrection books.

      I will however, answer your other questions now. So in my own research into the Resurrection evidence and the skeptical scholars who accept the “Minimal Facts” yet do not believe in the truth of Jesus’ Resurrection or Christianity as a whole comes into play at the level of an explanatory analysis of the various hypotheses/explanations in being able to adequately account for those facts. So, they may accept that Jesus died due to crucifixion, there was an empty tomb (not a “Min Fact” technically but you get the point) and the various individual and group appearances that the disciples believed were of the Risen Jesus, but then they would take issue with thinking postulating a supernatural resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the best explanation for that data.

      I myself, as a believing Christian, also think this way when assessing most of the “minimal facts” as I think there are “equally probable/possible” natural explanations for the empty tomb or appearance to Peter, Paul and the women for example; the only appearance I think we can use to warrant a supernatural Resurrection inference is the appearance to the “12” and possibly from looking at all the facts as part of cumulative explanation rather than each one in isolation. Of course even if facts are not useful in what I call “explanatory isolation” they could still be useful in helping to make a case based on explaining another minimal fact. For example the Empty tomb may easily be explained by saying an unknown disciple or necromancer who heard Jesus’ prophecy stole Jesus’ body on the third day and I can’t rule that out as being “equally probable” in isolation, but when trying to explain the appearance to the “12”, the fact of the empty tomb may be useful in helping to rule out some natural explanations for the appearance (i.e. they thought they were seeing a physically raised Jesus).

      Also, it may be the case that one can naturally explain the appearance to the women, the empty tomb and Paul, etc. when treated in isolation, but when one tries to explain the facts that there was an empty tomb AND an appearance to the women AND an appearance to Paul, etc. then it may be that natural explanations are improbable relative to the Rez hypothesis (Dr. William Lane Craig prefers to argue cumulatively in this way for example, whereas I’m a little ify on the cumulative argument and its success vs. a natural explanation- I’m not sure the conjunction alone in this case warrants saying it was probably supernatural but it might, I’m not certain/dogmatic either way at the moment).

      As to Dr. Bart Ehrman specifically there is no secret as to why he is no longer a Christian actually, he has said publically many times that even after all his doubts about the Bible and the historical evidence surrounding Jesus in the Gospels came to light and he accepted them, he was still a committed Christian (albeit a more liberal version rather than the Conservative fundamentalist he used to be). Believe it or not, what finally caused him to deconvert wasn’t something to do with history or bible scholarship at all but philosophy; namely the Problem of Evil/Suffering was just too much for him to believe in God anymore.

      Here are a couple of good debates he did on that subject-

      Ehrman vs. Richard Swinburne on the Problem of Evil = https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hrrcb1WcfzM

      Bart Ehrman vs. Michael Brown on Suffering = https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQOUa2-D224

      Debate: Pain, Suffering, and God’s Existence (Kyle Butt / Bart Ehrman)- this is a more recent debate that I haven’t heard myself yet) = https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36pR2KRMxDU

      A further thing to note about Dr. Bart Ehrman in regards to his disbelief in the Resurrection specifically, his main argument is similar to the outdated notions of David Hume against miracles. For Ehrman, he thinks that professional historians can never conclude that a miracle/Rez has happened because in their capacity as professional historians, they are methodologically constrained to considering only natural explanations/hypotheses. His debate with Dr. William Lane Craig from some years back really highlights this reason and Dr. Craig is able to expose the fallaciousness of this type of a priori reasoning, see here (bad video quality as it’s old but the content is well worth it imo) = https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MW5_nJYSKyk

      Hope that is helpful 🙂

      Dale

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Hey Tony,

      So haven’t heard anything from Gary, which means he is probably busy working on his book and not checking his emails frequently at this time. So, I want to give you some book recommendations.

      For Gary Habermas, I suggest you take a look at Gary’s Book page on his website here = http://garyhabermas.com/books/books.htm (he offers some books and chapters of his books for free on his site there). I like his books on the Rez called “The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus” and “The Risen Jesus and Future Hope”. One of my favorites is a more scholarly level book by Dr. Michael R. Licona that goes into a lot of detail on the Historical sources (like the Creeds) is “The Resurrection Of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach”- I actually posted the prior version of this book in his PhD Thesis format in the sources that you can access for free, but his book expands on this Thesis being about 700-800 pages as opposed to the 500 here.

      In terms of Gary’s recommendation for Bart Ehrman books, there is no question there, I can answer for him as there has been one book of Bart’s above all that Gary has mentioned to me in many of conversations and that is “Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth”- he loves how Ehrman refutes the Jesus Mythicists. I’ve also posted for free Bart’s newer book “How Jesus Became God” where chapter #4 & 5 explains what Ehrman thinks we can know and what we can’t know about Jesus’ Resurrection- see the Recommended Sources here = https://realseekerministries.wordpress.com/2020/06/30/is-trinity-monotheism-biblically-consistent-discussing-the-new-testament-with-dr-dale-tuggy/

      Hope these book recommendations help, I think it’s great that your branching out to buy books and seeking truth on the evidence for Jesus’ Resurrection, if you have any questions or need help at all, don’t hesitate to ask 🙂

      Dale

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks Dale, that’s really helpful. I recently bought and started reading the book by Dr Licona that you mention above. I’ll certainly take a look at the other books and resources you mention as well. Many thanks for the recommendations!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Tony,

      That’s great that you’ve started reading Licona’s book there, I truly think it is the best book on the Resurrection from the Christian side in print to date (though I think Gary’s new book once finally published will take the lead).

      You are more than welcome for the recommendations there, I’m happy to help you. Again feel free to reach out should you have any further questions as you read through Licona’s book 🙂

      Like

    2. Hey Tony,

      You are probably getting tired of hearing from me, but just wanted to send you Dr. Gary Habermas’ reply to your questions as he did manage to get back to me with a response today 🙂

      Gary said;

      “Dale: Here is my response to this fellow’s 2 questions.

      Of course, I do not know the reasons in Dr. Ehrman’s specific case. But in general, we can never, ever predicate the strength of historical or any other kind of evidence based on whether or not people believe or don’t believe those conclusions. There are many, many possible reasons why someone may not choose any particular option even if the evidence is greater for that view. Many examples could be given. It could be due to almost any sort or combination of concerns or personal interests. But it is never the case that everyone will agree to emotional issues even if they are the best supported ones, especially in the religious or political realms.

      Best books on the evidence for Jesus’ resurrection: Mike Licona, “The Resurrection of Jesus” (InterVarsity) and N.T. Wright, “The Resurrection of the Son of God” (Fortress)”.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.