Extraordinary Claims with Extraordinary Evidence

March 29, 2023
5 min read

“For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—then He said to the paralytic, “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house (Matthew 9:5-6, NKJV).”

In 1979, Carl Sagan made his famous statement, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” Since then, this statement has been leveled at Christians as a challenge to “prove” our faith. The atheist rationalizes that the burden of proof lies squarely on the Christian because we are the ones proposing the extraordinary claim that everyone should have faith in an invisible God. Science, on the other hand, is based on observational evidence and facts which the atheist declares are more concrete than the “myths” found in the Bible.

As bold and disagreeable as some of this sounds, what the atheist correctly argues is that the Bible does make extraordinary claims. Some of these claims, made by Jesus Himself, caused strong opposition and hostility to rise from the most powerful sect in His time.

Jesus’ own extraordinary claim to be Messiah came supported with extraordinary evidence, in the form of miraculous healings and raising people from the dead. This evidence was so powerful that even His detractors (the Pharisees and Sadducees) could not deny it. And yet, extraordinary evidence was not enough to cause some of them to accept Jesus’ extraordinary claim.

Why is this? It might be surprising to you that this same issue crosses over into the realm of science.

Scientists Recognize Evidence of the Bible’s Claims

Just as Jesus displayed strong proofs for His claim to deity, God continues to provide strong proofs in the natural world for His existence and His character as revealed in the Bible. In fact, most branches of modern science were founded by scientists who recognized the Creator in His creation, and who held the Bible in the highest regard, including famous scientists like Louis Pasteur, Gregor Mendel, Robert Boyle, and Isaac Newton.

Even in the modern era, there are many scientists that have taken on this mantle. Take, for example, Nobel laureate Dr. Arno Penzias who spent his career studying the cosmos. Although Dr. Penzias’ most famous discovery, cosmic microwave background radiation, ended up being used to support the Big Bang theory, the evidence he collected didn’t diminish his faith. Rather, it supported his trust in the Word of God. He made this famous declaration:

“The best data we have are exactly what I would have predicted had I nothing to go on but the first five books of Moses, the Psalms and the Bible as a whole.”

Or consider Dr. Nelson Glueck, an American archeologist, who spent his 4-decade long career studying archeology in the Holy Land. Dr. Glueck’s vast accomplishments landed him on the cover of Time Magazine in 1963, which celebrated him as an American cultural hero. Dr. Glueck describes his career this way:

“I have excavated for thirty years with a Bible in one hand and a trowel in the other, and in matters of historical perspective I have never found the Bible to be in error.”

I could mention many, many more scientists who hold the Bible in the same high regard.

Atheists Recognize Evidence of the Bible’s Extraordinary Claims

We can also learn from the candid responses of atheists, such as Sir Fred Hoyle, who began his career trying to destroy people’s religious beliefs, saying that religion was a desperate form of escapism and an illusion. However, after a long scientific career, which included a knighthood, the most amazing discovery Fred Hoyle made didn’t destroy theism but destroyed his atheism. He made this famous statement:

“A common sense interpretation of the facts suggest that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.”

Despite acknowledging a higher power, Sir Hoyle, as far as we know, never took the step of faith in Jesus.

Even one of the most staunch atheists, Richard Dawkins, publicly acknowledges, in the 2008 film Expelled, that evolutionary biologists don’t know how life originated. He even speculated that DNA might represent a “signature of some kind of designer.”  Richard Dawkins, as of yet, has not given up on his atheism.

Do you see that atheists are willing, within their own paradigm, to acknowledge a “superintellect” or “designer”? In fact, they are compelled by the evidence to make this acknowledgement.

If this is the case, why do they exhibit such hostility towards the Christian faith?

Rejecting the Evidence is Rejecting Jesus

Just like atheists today, in Jesus’ day, it was not the evidence that compelled the religious elites to refuse His extraordinary claim. Rather, the claim itself was too hard to swallow regardless of the evidence.

Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, “Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?” The Jews answered Him, saying, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God (John 10:31-33, NKJV).”

It ultimately comes down to lordship. You cannot serve two masters. These Jewish people were unable to yield the throne of their lives over to Jesus, and ignored the evidence in order to reject Jesus’ claims.

Why is history repeating itself again with the modern atheist? Because the cost to follow Jesus is just as high today as it was back then.

Jesus continues to be the gatekeeper and the door to salvation, and He must be the center of our lives. Denying our Lord has caused the atheist to take on a schizophrenic mindset, causing them to make strange admissions to a cosmic intelligence while simultaneously denying its very existence.

Be encouraged, Christian, that the statement “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” was fulfilled by Jesus! Our faith is not a blind faith. The evidence is plain to see.


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