Just a Thought - No. 4
The Only Visitor From Outer Space
by Ernest O'Neill
Deep in Space
Is there such a thing as superhuman life? Is there any kind of life that is higher than the creaturely existence you and I have here on earth? Or are we imprisoned here on this planet with no hints of where it came from or how we got here? Have any of us succeeded in getting sufficiently deep into space that we can tell what, if anything, lies beyond this physical universe?
The answer is bluntly “No.” Not even the great religious leaders like Buddha or Isaiah claim ever to have got off the earth and remained conscious. BUT in the whole history of the world there has been one visitor from Outer Space who has been able to tell us that there is a superhuman life behind the physical universe. He existed about 1990 years ago and he demonstrated his ability to leave the earth and return to it at will.
Such a claim as this requires almost superhuman substantiation because this kind of fantasy has been imagined by human authors for generations. Does this evidence for a visitor from Outer Space exist? Yes – though it seems too good to be true, the historicity of this person’s life on earth is more firmly established than almost any other human being of that era.
First, this man’s life has been recorded by eye-witnesses like Peter and John who were well-known figures in Palestine in the first century. Their own existence is confirmed in many contemporary history books unconnected with the Bible which contains their writings.
Secondly, their accounts of this man’s life are corroborated by other contemporary historians like Pliny, Josephus, Tertullian, Porphyry, and Celsus who make this kind of comment: “Tiberius accordingly, in whose days the Christian name made its entry into the world, having himself received intelligence from Palestine of events which had clearly shown the truth of Christ’s divinity, brought the matter before the senate, with his own decision in favor of Christ. The senate, because it had not given the approval itself, rejected this proposal. Caesar held to this opinion, threatening death against all the accusers of the Christians.”
Reality of the Eye-witnesses
But this seems incredible – unbelievable! Is it not more probable that these followers were so deeply impressed by this remarkable leader that they allowed their admiration to get the better of their love of truth, and they exaggerated his power over death? This might happen if their story about the resurrection resulted in their fame and fortune. But it did not! If they had just spread his teaching they could have lived long and respected lives. What they insisted on claiming was that this man rose from the dead – this is why they were persecuted by the Jewish and Roman authorities. This fact was the cause of their early deaths and the deaths of their wives and children.
Will Men Die For a Lie?
Now men will die for something they think is true but which later turns out to be a lie. BUT men will not create a lie or exaggeration that not only they but their families have to die for. Such an event is an ethical and psychological impossibility!
Historical Accounts Read by Contemporaries
However, there is an even greater reason for accepting with absolute certainty the historicity of this unique life that occurred on our planet at the beginning of this era. The first written accounts (which we have today) were read by hundreds of people who had themselves seen Jesus’ life and death. They only had to laugh at these written records and tell what really had happened, and these accounts would never have survived the first century as history – let alone the twenty-first.
One of the letters that recount this unique life was written to people who lived in the Roman province of Galatia in 48 A.D. Obviously there were many people alive in 48 A.D. who had seen Jesus crucified in 29 A.D. Even a man of 20 at the crucifixion would be barely 40 when this account was circulating. The population in that small area of the globe was not large, and the written reports were being read far and wide. In such a situation, historians have to write it “like it was” – otherwise their histories will be exposed as fantasies. There was no such scandal! There was no such outcry! Incredible though this unique man, Jesus, was, the evidence that he existed is stronger and more detailed than the evidence for Julius Caesar or Alexander the Great. If this man did not live in our world, then history does not exist!
TO BE CONTINUED.