Jesus says to Peter in the Garden of Gethsemane: “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelves legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?” (Mt. 26:53-54).
The first Christian disciples have to physically see and speak with…to personally interact with…the resurrected Jesus.
Their message to the world…then and now…is that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead…that Jesus is the Messiah…the Savior…and that He has the keys to hell and death.
Their bold and uninhibited message is that Jesus has defeated death and sin…having successfully made a full atonement…payment-in-full…for mankind’s sins as the Passover Lamb of God sacrifice…Himself being sinless and blemish-free.
The free offer of God is a full pardon…amnesty…for our rebellion-in-sin apart from God…obtained through looking to Christ and His sacrifice on the cross.
For this salvation to be completely free and un-coerced…to be a willing and voluntary coming to God by exercising faith in Christ…the critical element of a delicate balance between belief and unbelief must be in-place and functioning…otherwise the commendable and admirable feature of exercising faith in God has no meaning…has no independent value.
The vehicle that God has invented whereby we can get to know Him personally…must be on His terms…and not a human invention.
That vehicle is a walk…a journey…an adventure of faith…patterned for us in the biblical narrative stories of faith.
This divine blend of the physical appearances of the resurrected Jesus to the first Christian disciples…on the one hand…with Jesus the first week after His resurrection not walking down Main Street and into the Temple in Jerusalem…on the other hand…is a reality too complex…too highly-specified, and too coherently integrated within the biblical Old and New Testaments…to be the inventive product of human literary imagination.
Atheists and skeptics…over the past three to four hundred years…have used the immerging field of science to question the validity of the miracles and the supernatural in the Bible.
An equally important and valid question in support of the Bible…is where and how would the delicate balance between belief and unbelief come from…other than from God?
An even larger and more profound question in support of the Bible…is the WHY of its existence?
In my opinion, one reason for this delicate balance is that it enables a high-level type and quality of faith…defined succinctly in Hebrews 11:1 and 11:6…that creates the context…the free-will environment…for the development of a personal relationship with God…based primarily upon faith, trust, and mutual love (Jn. 20:29, 21:15-17)…which rises far above the mere acknowledgment of empirically observed facts.
The biblical narrative stories of faith of Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, David, Ruth, Elijah, Elisha, Esther and Mordecai, Daniel, Peter, and Paul…are not just exciting bed-time stories for children. They are a real pattern for a life of faith with the living God.
The question here is not whether the Bible contains supernatural communications between God and people…like the calling of Abraham to go to Canaan or the appearance of Jesus to Saul/Paul on the road to Damascus…or miraculous events like the parting of the Red Sea or Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.
The critical question here…from the standpoint of a compelling apologetic evidence for the defense of the Bible and of Christianity…is how and why this delicate balance between belief and unbelief…clearly discernable in the biblical narrative stories in the Old and New Testaments…could or would plausibly be the product of human literary invention…as a universal through-line skillfully moderated in the Bible…from beginning to end?
The dawn of modern-quality literature…arguably begins with Shakespeare in the early 1600’s A.D. The composition of the “Joseph novella” (Gen. 37-50) is dated by conservative biblical scholars at around 1,450 B.C. Some biblical scholars will date its composition to around 1,250 B.C.
This story of Joseph and his uniquely unconventional rise to power to become governor of Egypt during a widespread famine…is considered to be one of the great short stories of literature…ever written…in any time period.
With a composition date of 1,450 B.C. the Joseph novella predates Shakespeare by about 3,000 years…with nothing of equally comparable high-quality in-between.
Regardless of whatever date we assign in the past for the writing of the biblical Old and New Testaments…conservative or liberal…articulated within God-composed adventure of faith life-scripts like the story of Joseph…this unique feature of the delicate balance between belief and unbelief…has no parallel in any other system of human experience, religion, philosophy, or worldview.
It is utterly and completely unique to the Bible…subtly interwoven into the biblical narrative stories of faith…in such a skillful and innovative way as to be undetectable and hidden to those people who choose to live in unbelief (1 Cor. 2:6-10)…charting their own life-course through self-sovereignty…rather than a journey of faith following the living God…after the biblical pattern.
From A Popular Defense of the Bible and Christianity.