Due to the curse of Daylight Savings Time tonight, I am doing the blog early.
One criticism raised along the lines of the laws of nature and miracles is that the ancients were gullible. They’d readily believe all of these miracle stories. If they were told that Jesus walked on water, why, they’d believe it. Since this was the case, it’s not a shock that Christianity was readily believed.
It’s hard to imagine how people think such things.
For one thing, the Christian faith was not readily believed. Even in the gospels you see this happening. When the empty tomb is discovered, people are not running off shouting “He’s alive! He’s alive!” In Mark at the Transfiguration, the disciples do not know what is meant by the Son of Man rising from the dead. (I mention Mark since it is often considered the earliest. I’m not saying I hold to that, but this is just going with popular opinion on the gospels.)
In Matthew, we read that Jesus was there about to give the Great Commission, but some doubted. In Luke, Jesus has to eat before them so they will know that he is not just a ghost. In John, Thomas isn’t even convinced by the record of his fellow apostles. He has to see and touch for himself.
In Acts, the Bereans are held in high esteem because they tested all things to see if they were true. This was the advice Paul gave to the Thessalonian church in 1 Thessalonians. Glenn Miller of the Christian-thinktank even points out that in Luke’s writing of the visit of Paul to the Lycean’s, he is actually having some fun at how they were too quick to believe something false.
Let’s consider this though. Why did the Christian message not get ready welcome in the Roman Empire since surely God revealing himself and giving salvation would want to be believed by all.
Simple reason. The Romans didn’t believe it. Why? They knew what the Greeks knew at Mars Hill. Dead people stay dead.
What about the Matthew 27 incident with the graves being opened and some of the dead coming out. Why didn’t any witnesses outside of Jerusalem record this?
Simple reason again. They knew dead people stay dead and would not have considered that a serious event.
There is one idea that never seems to cross the mind of the modern man when saying the ancients were gullible.
Maybe, just maybe, these miracles actually happened?
If they did, then we cannot say the disciples and early Christians were gullible. Instead, they were quite rational in believing what they had good reason to believe. If anything, it is the modern man who is gullible in that he is willing to believe any theory just so long as it is not a miracle. If a man will not believe the truth, he will believe anything else.
Were the ancients gullible? No. The jury is still out on the moderns.