Announcer: On today's episode of Maybe God, host Eric Huffman sits down with the world's greatest living Christian apologist, author, and philosopher, Dr. William Lane Craig. In front of a live audience at The Story Church in Houston, Texas, Dr. Craig shares his unexpected journey to Christianity, his most persuasive arguments for the existence of God, his thoughts on morality as it relates to faith in God, his latest somewhat controversial teachings on Adam and Eve, and of course, the case for the resurrection of Jesus. You can also watch and share this interview on Maybe God's YouTube channel today.
Eric Huffman: Now, without any further delay, would you help me welcome to the stage my hero, Dr. William Lane Craig?
Dr. William Craig: Thank you, Eric. Thank you.
Eric Huffman: Welcome, Dr. Craig.
Dr. William Craig: Thank you. Good to be with you.
Eric Huffman: Absolutely. I'm a little bit shaky right now, you guys. All right. I can't believe this is happening today. I've seen him so many times for so many hours on YouTube and read all of his books. To have you here it's truly an honor. Your wife, Jan, as well. To have you here, Jan is an honor. Thank you all for making the way all the way from Atlanta to join us in Houston. And thank you for all the good work.
Dr. William Craig: Our pleasure.
Eric Huffman: Thank you. So Dr. Craig, tell us a little about yourself, and we mentioned Jan, but about your family and kind of where you live and tell us about your life.
Dr. William Craig: Well, in terms of my life, I was raised in a nominally Christian home. Not even a church going home.
Eric Huffman: Really?
Dr. William Craig: Really. But as a high school student, I began to ask what I call the big questions in life: Why am I here? Who am I? Where am I going? And in the search for answers, I began to attend a large church in our community. But instead of answers, all I found was a sort of social country club where the dues were $1 a week in the offering plate. And the other high school students who pretended to be such good Christians on Sunday lived for their real god the rest of the week, which was popularity.
And that really bothered me because I thought, "Here I am living externally, at least, a more moral life than they are, and yet internally I felt so empty inside." So I began to grow very resentful, and bitter toward the institutional church for its hypocrisy and phoniness. And pretty soon that attitude spread toward everyone. I said, "Everybody is a phony and a fake. Nobody's genuine."
I became very hateful. I was on my way to becoming a very alienated young man. And yet in moments of honesty and introspection, as I looked into my own heart, I realized that deep down inside I really did want to love and to be loved by other people. And that therefore I was just as much a phony as they were. Because here I was putting on this brave face, "I don't need people, I don't want them," when deep down inside, I knew I really did.
And I don't know if you understand what this is like, but this kind of inner anger just eats away at your insides day after day, making every day miserable, another day to get through. And I remember one day I was feeling particularly crummy. I walked into my high school German class and I sat down behind a girl who was one of these types that is always so happy it just makes you sick.
I tapped her on the shoulder and she turned around, and I said to her, "Sandy, what are you always so happy about anyway?" And she said, "Well, Bill, it's because I'm saved." And I said, "You're what?" And she said, "I know Jesus Christ as my personal Savior." And I said, "Well, I go to church." And she said, "That's not enough, Bill. You've got to have Him really living in your heart." And I said, "Well, why do you want to do anything like that for?" And she said, "Because He loves you, Bill."
And that just hit me like a ton of bricks. Here I was so filled with anger and hatred inside and she said there was someone who really loved me. And who was it but the God of the universe? And that thought just staggered me to think that the God of the universe could love me, Bill Craig, that worm down there on a speck of dust called Planet Earth. I couldn't take it in.
Well, I went home that night, and for the first time in my life, I began to read the New Testament. I found a copy of the New Testament that had been given to us by the Gideons in the fifth grade.
Eric Huffman: Wow.
Dr. William Craig: And as I read the gospels, I was absolutely captivated by the person of Jesus of Nazareth. There was a wisdom about His teaching that I'd never encountered before. But especially there was an authenticity about His life that wasn't characteristic of those people who claim to be His followers in that local church I was attending. And I realized that I couldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater.
Well, I went through about six months of the most intense soul-searching that I've ever been through. To just make a long story short, at the end of those six months, one, September evening, about eight o'clock at night, I just came to the end of my rope and just yielded my life to God. I cried out all of the anger, the bitterness that was inside of me, and I felt this tremendous infusion of joy, like a balloon being blown up and blown up until it was ready to pop.
I rushed outside—I remember it was a warm, Midwestern evening—and as I looked up at the sky, I could see the Milky Way from horizon to horizon. As I looked at the stars, I thought, "God, I've come to know God." And that moment changed my whole life because I realized that this was really the truth. That I could do nothing less than spend my entire life spreading this good news among mankind. So for me, my calling to Christian service was simultaneous with my conversion experience.
Subsequent to that, I have pursued advanced degrees in Philosophy and Education. I've been joined by my life's partner, Jan, to be with me in this ministry, and the Lord has abundantly blessed over the years.
Eric Huffman: Wow, that is so awesome. So what was the name of the student in the German class?
Dr. William Craig: Sandy Tiffan was her name.
Eric Huffman: I just want all of our students to hear the impact that Sandy Tiffan had on one man who subsequently has impacted many, many, many others, and will continue for who knows how long through his life's work. And so students pay attention. You never know the kind of impact you can make by being courageous enough. It did take courage to share the gospel with you in German class in a school, you know?
Dr. William Craig: Yeah.
Eric Huffman: It's not always a friendly environment in which to do that.
Dr. William Craig: I so admire and appreciate Sandy for her radiant Christian testimony and for her boldness, and speaking out to this snotty kid behind her.
Eric Huffman: You really had a low opinion of yourself, Bill. I understand so much of what you're saying and the joy that overcame you. I think I had a similar experience but later in life. I was 33 or 34, I can remember, when I came to faith in Christ. And I mentioned this earlier, just in Capernaum, just the same feeling overcoming me that day, the feeling of simultaneously like, "I've been wrong my whole life. And God, I'm sorry. But you're so good, and thank you." All at once. It's a beautiful experience.
And after that, I discovered His work and really began to reconstruct some of the things that I had been taught when I was young in church, but I did it as an act of faith and no longer as an act of religious duty or a thing I just had to do. Now I wanted to do it because I loved Him.
So you've devoted your life to something called Christian Apologetics. For those who may not know, what is apologetics, and why devote your life to it?
Dr. William Craig: Well, let me just correct one thing. I haven't devoted my life to apologetics.
Eric Huffman: I'm sorry.
Dr. William Craig: I devoted my life to Jesus Christ.
Eric Huffman: Making note for the next service. Okay. Yeah. Got it.
Dr. William Craig: And to serving Him. I would never myself say I've devoted my life to apologetics. That would be idolatry when you think about it.
Eric Huffman: That's all I've seen of you, Bill. Sorry. Yes.
Dr. William Craig: My Lord has given me a calling to fulfill that involves apologetics, which I do passionately pursue. And I think it's born out of the conviction that in our increasingly secular society, we need to speak to the whole man, not just to the emotions, but also to the intellect. Therefore, the Gospel can be presented in a way that appeals not only to the heart but also that the head by laying out the factual evidence for the existence of God and His self-revelation in Jesus and for the credibility of the Christian worldview. So that is the project that I have been embarked on for these many decades.
Eric Huffman: What do you think is at stake for churches? And why should churches spend time and investing resources and time in apologetics? Local churches.
Dr. William Craig: There are a number of reasons that could be given for this. But to cut to the simplest reason I think is, if we don't do this we're going to lose our youth. Our kids in high school and university are under a barrage of criticism, overwhelming naturalism, and secularism, combined with relativism about ethics and religion.
And quite honestly, if we do not, from a very young age, teach our children the rational foundations for faith, then increasingly they're going to walk away from it in high school and university. So for the sake of your own children, I would implore you to study apologetics and to teach it to your children simply at first and then with increasing depth as they grow older.
Eric Huffman: Amen. And a verse you alluded to often in your debates, and one that's been a lot to me is from 1 Peter 3. If you're ever looking for a reason biblically to learn how to offer a defense of your faith, this is it. I mean, 1 Peter says, "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect."
Dr. William Craig: And the word there for "answer" is apologia-
Eric Huffman: Is that right?
Dr. William Craig: ...which connotes a defense as in a court of law to present a case for the truth of the Christian worldview.
Eric Huffman: That's awesome. Dr. Craig has debated the world's leading atheist voices. I mean, that's where I became familiar with your work. I mean, when I was coming to faith in Christ, the New Atheist movement was on the rise from Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris and David Dennett-
Dr. William Craig: Daniel Dennett.
Eric Huffman: Daniel Dennett. That's right. And others. He's debated all of them and kind of had his way with all of them. To be honest with you, he was referred to by Sam Harris as the only Christian in the world that puts the fear of God in the New Atheists. I liked that. I liked that a lot. And there are reasons for it. We could have shown a whole highlight reel and taken up the whole 40-minute interview, but there are many things to love about his debates with these folks.
There was one clip that I wanted to share just from one debate that you had with a British biologist, whose name was Dr. Lewis Wolpert. This is Dr. Wolpert's response to what is commonly known as the Kalam Cosmological Argument, which is an argument that I'll ask you to explain in just a moment. But it's an argument for the idea that the universe must have had a beginning and therefore a beginner. Dr. Wolford argued in response that, well, that beginner doesn't need to be God. And this is what happened next. We have the clip.
[clip begins 00:13:06]
Dr. Wolpert: I was simply saying that this is not a mere matter of speculation. There's more than a tiny bit of evidence on the table.
Dr. Wolpert: Evidence for what?
Dr. William Craig: Evidence for a beginning of the universe.
Dr. Wolpert: We know that. Nobody is disputing that.
Dr. William Craig: Well, that's what I'm offering in this first argument is the evidence.
Dr. Wolpert: But the cause at the beginning doesn't imply a God.
Dr. William Craig: It does if the first premise is true, that whatever begins to exist has a cause, it logically follows that therefore-
Dr. Wolpert: But the cause doesn't have to be God.
Dr. William Craig: Well, remember I gave an argument for thinking that this cause is timeless, spaceless, immaterial, enormously powerful, and personal.
Dr. Wolpert: I think it's a computer.
Dr. William Craig: Well, computers are designed by people. I mean-
Dr. Wolpert: No, no, this is a self-designing computer.
Dr. Wolpert: Timeless.
Dr. William Craig: Well, that's a contradicting term.
Dr. Wolpert: What's contradictory about it?
Dr. William Craig: A computer has to function. It takes-
Dr. Wolpert: Oh, no, this is a special computer.
Dr. William Craig: Yeah, but it has to be logically coherent.
Dr. Wolpert: Oh, it's logically coherent.
Dr. William Craig: Yes. It has to be logically coherent.
Dr. Wolpert: Oh, no, this computer is amazing.
Dr. William Craig: No. Besides, it would have to be, as I said, a personal being-
Dr. Wolpert: No.
Dr. William Craig: A computer is a physical object.
Dr. Wolpert: Oh, no.
Dr. William Craig: See, what you're doing is you're actually... what you're calling a computer is really God, a non-physical... It's just this in other words if you rob it of all the attributes, it makes it a computer.
[clips ends 00:14:36]
Eric Huffman: Teach me your ways, Dr. Craig. So good. One of the important notes I have from watching you is that the last part of Peter's passage about this, it says, "Always with respect and gentleness." That's always your way. You're never disrespectful. You're always a good listener to your opponent in these debates, and that actually helps you to make your points more clearly.
One of the most, I would say, devastating arguments that you make, as far as the other side of the atheist argument being that there's no rhyme or reason to the universe, we're all just here out of nothing, or maybe the universe has always existed, whatever the case, there's no pattern to it, there's no reason or rationale or purpose. And you have argued sort of a refresh take of what I mentioned earlier, the Kalam Cosmological Argument, but it's the idea of the first cause and the three premises. Could you just sort of briefly walk us through that?
Dr. William Craig: Yes. It's very simple and easy to memorize and share with your non-believing friend. Premise one is whatever begins to exist has a cause. Things don't just pop into being out of nothing. Premise two is the universe began to exist. And here you can appeal to philosophical arguments and powerful scientific evidence from contemporary cosmology to show that the universe is not past eternal, but began to exist.
And from those two premises, it follows logically, therefore, the universe has a cause. And then you can deduce a number of theologically striking properties that a cause of the universe must have it, must be non-physical, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, enormously powerful, and I would argue personal as well. And that is a core concept of what we mean by God.
Eric Huffman: Right. I just want y'all to hear sort of this is the most fundamental argument that Dr. Craig makes. And there's a lot more where this comes from but a lot of people, including a lot of you probably don't know yet that there are these kinds of deeply rational philosophical arguments, these reasonings for the existence of God that allow you to take your faith toe to toe with anything the world has to offer without any shame or needing to cower, or you know, just to hide your faith in academic circles.
No, there are really good reasons for belief in God and in fact for a belief in the God of the Bible. So that is a fascinating argument. Thank you for that. Now, I don't know how much Netflix you get to watch.
Dr. William Craig: A little bit.
Eric Huffman: A little bit.
Dr. William Craig: I'm rather disenfranchised with contemporary films. There's some vulgar, profane, promiscuous. So it's just hard to find anything worth watching.
Eric Huffman: Are you sure you've seen Netflix? Because I'm pretty sure some of it is there. Be careful on Netflix is all I'm saying. It's everywhere. And you're right, profanity and just the promise, all of it, everywhere.
But there's a new show on Netflix about Jeffrey Dahmer-
Dr. William Craig: Oh, I've heard about it.
Eric Huffman: ...the serial killer who was killed in his cell I believe or killed in prison. I thought we got a woo for Dahmer. That was a baby, okay. I was worried for a second. Thought somebody went, "Woo." Okay. See me after the service. It's a baby.
So Dahmer said before he died in multiple interviews with very various media outlets that one of the things that made it easier for him to take lives in such a just an awful, heinous way, was his avid belief in a pure naturalism. Like the idea that all that exists is the natural world. There's nothing supernatural at all. And we are here purely because of what he would call Darwinian processes, unguided evolution. And so what is life really worth? What's anything really worth? He's not saying in those interviews that that's why he killed people but he said that made it easier for him to kill people.
And later he became a Christian in prison. I don't believe it was just jailhouse religion. I think he really converted. But what got him to faith in Christ was someone who met him on a rational ground and said, "Look, there's another way of seeing the beginnings of the universe and the reasons we have for being." I just wanted to ask you, do you think there's something there about the inherent dangers of a strictly naturalistic worldview?
Dr. William Craig: Oh, I do, Eric. I think that that's absolutely correct. I think in that sense, Dahmer did draw the logical conclusions of atheism and naturalism. When you study the atheistic worldview, it is very dark because there is no purpose for which we or the universe exist. Eventually, the universe will suffer a sort of thermodynamic heat death so that nothing we do makes any difference. We are headed on a path toward annihilation and oblivion, and really no nothing matters in the end. It always turns out the same. Moreover, without God, there isn't any sort of absolute standard for right and wrong, good and evil, in nature, whatever is, is right. So the world is ultimately valueless.
And then as well, it seems that the world is ultimately purposeless. There isn't any reason for which you exist. You're an accidental byproduct of environment and genetics. There's no reason for which the human race exists. There's no reason for which the universe exists. It's just the product of an accidental explosion that is destined to perish in 100 billion years or so. So it is a very dark view.
I think that it is only by living inconsistently with their worldview that contemporary atheists and agnostics are able to live happily in life. I do not think that anyone who lives consistently with an atheistic worldview will be happy. He will be in despair, as many French existentialist philosophers and others have expressed.
On the other end, if he does manage to live happily, it's only because he lives in consistently with a worldview. He takes a leap of faith and affirms objective moral values and duties, the objective meaning of his existence, and some sort of purpose to his life and the life of the universe, even though he has no right to those values in virtue of his worldview.
Eric Huffman: Right.
Dr. William Craig: I know in On Guard, the book that I mentioned earlier—I really like it—you quote Dostoevsky more than once in it. But one of the quotes from the author Dostoyevsky was, "If there is no immortality..." In other words, I guess another way of saying that would be if there is no God, if there is no supernatural realm, then all things are permitted. So I want to know what did he mean by that? And also, I want to make sure that we're all hearing you right. Because you're not necessarily saying that atheists and agnostics are incapable of morality.
Dr. William Craig: No, not at all.
Eric Huffman: But there's something to be said there. So what are you suggesting?
Dr. William Craig: This is extremely important. The claim is not that in order to live a moral life you have to believe in God. That's evidently false. Rather, the claim is that if there is no God, then there is no absolute standard for moral values or moral duties and that therefore, it's all relative.
So what is needed for an objective moral life is not the belief in God. It's God Himself is a foundation for these. And that was what Dostoyevsky saw. In the novel, The Brothers Karamazov, this saying expresses the worldview of Yvonne Karamazov, the atheistic of the brothers. Dostoyevsky's point in that magnificent novel is to show the unlivability of this point of view.
One of the brothers murders their father. And when Yvonne protests, his brother said, "But you're the one who said that there is no God, and therefore nothing matters. And therefore how can you condemn me for patricide? It's your own worldview that leads to this." And Yvonne is unable to live with the logical consequences of his own view and suffers a mental collapse.
So Dostoyevsky just so brilliantly portrays the unlivability of this atheistic, naturalistic worldview, and then contrasts it with the life of the Christian brother, Ali Vyacheslav, who is a Russian Orthodox priest, who experiences suffering, affirms suffering, and finds deep meaning in a relationship with God and with Jesus Christ.
Eric Huffman: Wow. I just want to make sure everyone here it's possible for Christians to live immorally and it's possible for atheists and agnostics to live morally. But the question isn't the living out of morality. The question is the reasoning for the morality in the first place, like what's the standard.
Dr. William Craig: Yes, that's right. Are they consistent with their worldview in living morally or are they rather contradicting their own moral worldview by the way they live? And I think, frankly, that it's impossible to live consistently and happily as though life is without meaning, value, or purpose. And so we'll practically find no one who manages to live consistently and happily with an atheistic worldview.
Eric Huffman: Right. Fascinating. So Dr. Craig has never stopped working in his life, I don't think. He is still writing. One of his most recent books, maybe the most recent book is In Quest of the Historical Adam, A-D-A-M. Like the first man. That's a really courageous book to write. So I wanted to talk to you a little bit about that book. I wish I had a copy with me. I had to buy the eBook for this one.
No bookstores are carrying it locally for some reason. Either that or they're sold out. Now, let's say that. They're sold out, and it makes me feel better. Barnes and Nobles like... no one... I couldn't find it anywhere so I just got the eBook. And y'all can as well. But this was a risky undertaking for you. As an academic, I'll tell y'all why. Maybe you're aware already, but the idea of a historical Adam and Eve, the idea that all humanity goes back to two historical people who were the first human beings and we all share that common ancestor is not a common or popular idea at all in most academic circles. But Dr. Craig and a few others are starting to really bring that back.
At the same time, I know you said this is a book that you're bound to catch a lot of heat from both polarities of the theological spectrum. Because you're not a young earth creationist.
Dr. William Craig: No.
Eric Huffman: ...on the one hand, and you're obviously not, you know, sort of liberal secularists on the other. So why do you anticipate catching flak from both sides of that?
Dr. William Craig: Well, I so appreciate talking to you, Pastor Eric, about this because you were educated in seminary in the more liberal perspective, which deny the historicity of Adam and Eve.
Eric Huffman: Or Genesis 1 through 11 we were told was just pure mythology, mostly borrowed from older cultures and it's never meant to be read historically in any way, shape, or form. It's just archetypal sort of mythology.
Dr. William Craig: Exactly. So you appreciate the position I'm taking this book is actually a pretty robust orthodox defense of the historicity of Adam and Eve at some point in the past. Whereas people who are more literalist, and on the far right look at my book, and because I interpret much of Genesis 1 to 11 figuratively, rather than literally, think that this is a compromise, it's moving in the direction of liberalism. And I think they do not understand what you understand having once been on that other side.
Eric Huffman: The poetry of it and some of the artistry.
Dr. William Craig: So what I argue in the book is that the idea that there was a founding human pair from which all humanity has descended is perfectly consistent with the modern evidence of paleoanthropology and genetics, so long as we date that human pair to have lived around 750,000 years ago.
Eric Huffman: Wow.
Dr. William Craig: And that requires us to read some of Genesis 1 to 11 in a figurative rather than a literal way. You can't just count up the years and say, "Oh, well, Adam lived 10,000 to 20,000 years ago." I think that so long as you are willing to interpret those passages in a more figurative way, then there's no problem with having a founding pair that lived around 750,000 years ago.
So I think that Adam and Eve were probably members of the species homo heidelbergensis, which was the last common ancestor of both Neanderthals and Homo sapiens. And part of my work that was so fascinating to me was discovering the really full humanity of Neanderthals. They were different in some ways from Homo sapiens. But these were intelligent human beings, our cousins, probably language users like early Homo sapiens.
I think we're also descended from Adam and Eve, and we'll see some of them in heaven. I hope God [inaudible 00:29:11]. The only thing to be added to this is that my interpreting some of Genesis 1 to 11 figuratively is not arbitrary. It's not, and I mean this as earnest as I can, it is not motivated by trying to make Genesis 1 to 11 consistent with modern science.
Rather, it is based upon a literary analysis of the text itself, which suggests that this text is not meant to be read with a sort of wooden literalness. And in that sense, it's much like other portions of the Bible. The Bible has so many kinds of literature in it. For example, the book of Revelation is Jewish apocalyptic literature. And it's not meant to be read literally. These beasts and dragons that come and take over the world aren't animals. They're meant to be symbols of nation-states and alliances. Everybody knows that.
The psalms are poetry. So when the psalmist says, "Let the trees of the wood clap their hands before the Lord," he's not teaching botany. He doesn't think have hands. It's poetry. And similarly, I think that Genesis 1 to 11 belongs to a literary genre that you can show doesn't need to be interpreted with a sort of wooden literalism. And that gives room then for thinking that Adam and Eve could have lived much, much further back in the past than just 10,000, 20,000 years ago.
Eric Huffman: I really appreciate the approach that you take there because at least what I'm hearing is, like, if you don't, or can't, for whatever reason, take the Bible literally across the board in Genesis 1 through 11, let's say, the alternative that is out there, the only other alternative most people think is out there is just throw the whole Bible out. Or, you know, this kind of ultra-liberal approach to Scripture that just says, well, it's all sort of mythological and we should all just read it the whole thing that way.
But I think, Dr. Craig, you're inviting us into a more discerning approach to Scripture that recognizes genre.
Dr. William Craig: The point that you just mentioned is extremely naive. When you look at the literary type that Genesis 1 to 11 is, I think that you can make a very good case for what I just said. And in the book as well, I argue extensively that you can show that Genesis 1 to 11 are not derived from ancient Egyptian or Mesopotamian myths as has been claimed. But they are utterly of a different type in their portrayal of a monotheistic, transcendent God, and what I call a desacralization of nature. The moon and the stars, the animals, they're not gods. They're just things, natural things that God has made. And that God Himself transcends the world, and in the beginning, created the heavens and the earth.
Eric Huffman: Powerful. The book is called In Quest of Historical Adam. I want to talk about Jesus before we run out of time. We're almost out of time. I hate that I left Jesus for the very end. My bad, Jesus. So my faith came alive when I understood the historical, actual physical reasons for believing in Jesus. And your explanation of the reasonable, rational approach to understanding the resurrection and the reasons for believing in the resurrection really took my heart by storm. So I just would like to hear you talk through what reasons a skeptic has to consider believe in the empty tomb of Jesus.
Dr. William Craig: I did my doctoral work in theology at the University of Munich in Germany on the historicity of Jesus resurrection. And although at that time, as a Christian, I believed Jesus rose from the dead, I frankly had no idea of how firm the historical credentials for that event are.
There are five facts that are widely agreed upon by the majority of New Testament historians today, whether conservative or liberal, Christian or non-Christian. And these would include that Jesus of Nazareth died by Roman crucifixion for claiming to be King of the Jews. Secondly, that His body was then interred in a tomb by a delegate of the Jewish Sanhedrin whose name we have, Joseph of Arimathea. That that tomb was then discovered empty on the first day of the week by a group of Jesus female disciples.
That thereafter, the various individuals and groups experienced appearances of Jesus alive after His death. And finally, that the original disciple suddenly and sincerely came to believe that God had raised Jesus from the dead despite having every predisposition to the contrary.
Now, in support of each of those five facts, there are multiple lines of evidence that I lay out in the book. So that the vast majority of New Testament historians today are convinced that those are factual historical. The question then is how do you best explain them? And here are various hypotheses have been proposed: the conspiracy hypothesis, the hallucination hypothesis, the wrong tomb apotheosis, and what I call the resurrection hypothesis—that God raised Him from the dead.
And I think that when you assess these alternative historical hypotheses using the standard criteria for weighing historical explanations like explanatory power, explanatory scope, plausibility, degree of adhocness, or artificiality, and so forth, that the resurrection hypothesis emerges head and shoulders above any of these naturalistic alternatives. And therefore by far the best explanation of the evidence is the one that these original disciples gave—God raised Him from the dead.
Eric Huffman: Wow. So all of the five facts are historically attested and many of them not just in the Bible, or by the scriptures. These facts are attested by other historical ancient sources that coincide with the scriptural attestations of Jesus, these events of His death and burial and resurrection.
And the point Dr. Craig makes, oh, profoundly is that if all these five things are historically attested, then they must be explained. And the hallucination theory you didn't mention, but that's my favorite explanation. It's sort of ridiculous explanation of folks that really get backed into a corner with those five facts because Jesus really died on Roman Cross.
Dr. William Craig: These naturalistic explanations are so bad-
Eric Huffman: They're so bad.
Dr. William Craig: ...that you will typically find that those who do not believe in the resurrection of Jesus don't propound any of these naturalistic alternatives. Instead, they just remain agnostic. They just say, "Something incredible happened that Easter morning, and we don't know what it is." So they simply have no explanation.
Eric Huffman: So Dr. Craig, we are just about out of time. We're a church where skeptics know they're welcome, and a lot of folks are getting wrapped around some axle of doubt and just can't quite get free from that. What would your final word be to someone who's here today who's just on the fence, sort of not quite certain about what to do with this doubt?
A lot of them, for example, would say, "I like what I hear about Christianity, it's just the Christians I've experienced that I can't take."
Dr. William Craig: Oh boy.
Eric Huffman: "I don't want to be one of them." What would you say to someone who's in that place?
Dr. William Craig: Well, Sandy gave me very good advice at that time. She said, "Don't look at other people, Bill. Look at Jesus. Who is He?" So I would encourage folks who are on the fence to look at the person of Jesus of Nazareth. That involves reading the New Testament for yourself so that you can familiarize yourself firsthand with this man's life and teachings.
And then I would also remind them that the quest to find God is not just an intellectual exercise. This is a deeply spiritual quest because it involves coming to God with all your sinfulness and all your evil in humility and repentance and saying, "God, I need your forgiveness. I'm sorry for what I've done." And that's a lot different than just arriving at some intellectual conclusion.
This involves a sort of self-abasement or self-denial, by saying, "I was wrong. I need to be cleansed and forgiven." And so I would encourage folks to seek intellectually. Yes, you will find good reasons to believe. But also be involved in that spiritual quest as well. Open to God. Open your heart to Him and seek Him in humility.
Eric Huffman: Wow. Thank God for you, Dr. Craig. Can we thank Dr. Craig for being here today?