by Bill Nugent
Epistemology is the branch of philosophy which deals with knowledge. Epistemology is the analysis of the certainty of what we claim as truth. Many brilliant philosophers have spent lengthy careers defining knowledge and certainty.
How can you be sure of what you believe? What is really, actually, literally true? Your beliefs, in a sense, rule you. Why not make truth your belief rather than belief your truth?
All religions make truth claims, yet all religions contradict each other. Which religion is true above all others? The one true religion is the religion with the most rational evidence backing up its truth claims.
Epistemology is how we escape from the feel good but wrong headed claim that all ideologies are equally true. But how can we be certain about anything in an uncertain, postmodern, relativistic culture?
Christianity’s holy book, the Bible, offers evidence from the supernatural that gives certainty to its claims. The truth claims of Christianity, its epistemology, is backed up by predictive prophecies and miracles.
Some would say that Christianity is a matter of faith and not evidence. I agree that Christianity is a faith but it’s not a blind faith. It is not a freestanding truth claim like so many of the world’s religions and philosophies. God gave us evidence and I think we should look at the evidence.
The New Testament in Acts 1:3 says that Jesus proved that He had risen from the dead by “many convincing proofs” (NAS). These proofs gave the disciples a strong epistemological basis for belief in Christ. They would go on to spread the message of the Gospel at great personal sacrifice and many of them were eventually tortured to death for their faith.
Sacred writings of other faiths have very few or no predictive prophecies at all. There are some alleged prophecies contained in the Koran. The Koran’s prophecies are very few in number and vague in content. The Hindu Vedas contain no predictive prophecies at all to my knowledge.
The Bible, by contrast, contains thousands of predictive prophecies that have been fulfilled down through history and some are being fulfilled in our own day. The prophecies and their fulfillments prove that God inspired the writing of the Bible. The prophecies are like God’s signature on His holy book. This divinely inspired book, the Bible, contains the doctrines of the Christian faith.
Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled over 300 messianic biblical prophecies (including 62 major prophecies) in His first coming. These prophecies that predicted details of the life of Christ were written in the Old Testament hundreds of years before His birth. No other figure in all of world history can make anything like this claim! No king or priest or president or conqueror or philosopher or ancient or modern celebrity fulfilled 300 plus predictive prophecies!
Some would argue that many of the messianic prophecies are vague or ambivalent. But I would point out that though some may seem vague, many are stunningly specific and taken together they give a compelling portrait of Jesus as Messiah. (The words “Messiah” and “Christ” have the same meaning and I use them interchangeably.)
The 53rd chapter of Isaiah goes into repetitive detail of how He would die for the sins of the people. Psalm 118:22-23 predicted that the elders (builders) of Israel would reject Him. Zechariah 12:10 describes how Israel shall look at the one “whom they have pierced” and will mourn for Him and there will be a national embrace of the Messiah by Israel at His second coming.
In short, the biblical Christian faith has better fulfilled prophecies than any other of the world’s religions. The religion with the best supernatural witness is the religion with the strongest truth claim.
Then there are the miracles. The fact that Jesus performed miracles in ancient Israel is recorded in four eyewitness accounts which are the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the New Testament. Many miracles continue to be performed in Jesus’s name even to this day.
I recently met Ralph Anderson who was miraculously healed of severe cerebral palsy. He was healed through the ministry of what the world would dismissively call a “faith healer” but whom I would regard as a faithful minister of Jesus Christ. He was healed under the ministry of Kathryn Kuhlman, a well known healing evangelist of a generation ago.
The epistemological foundation of Christianity which includes both predictive prophecies and miracles, is the most rational and logical of any faith. There is no religion, cult, political ideology or philosophy that has anything that even remotely compares with the evidence that God has given us to prove the truth of Christianity.
Every religion offers evidence to support its truth claims. Why not believe in the religion with the best evidence? Why not call upon the name of Jesus Christ today!