Are The Gospels Simply Legends?

According to available evidence, the Gospels were written between the years 41 and 98 C.E. Jesus died in the year 33 C.E. This means that the accounts of his life were put together in a comparatively short time after his ministry ended. This poses a tremendous obstacle to the argument that the Gospel narratives are mere legends. Time is needed for legends to develop. Take, for example, the Iliad and the Odyssey by the ancient Greek poet Homer. Some hold that the text of those two epic legends developed and became stabilized over hundreds of years. What about the Gospels?

In his book Caesar and Christ, historian Will Durant writes: “That a few simple men should . . . have invented so powerful and appealing a personality, so lofty an ethic and so inspiring a vision of human brotherhood, would be a miracle far more incredible than any recorded in the Gospels. After two centuries of Higher Criticism the outlines of the life, character, and teaching of Christ, remain reasonably clear, and constitute the most fascinating feature in the history of Western man.”

Most notably, when asked, “You accept the historical Jesus?”, Albert Einstein replied, “Unquestionably! No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life.”   –Albert Einstein, from an interview with the Saturday Evening Post
maxximiliann maxximiliann
36-40, M
1 Response Sep 22, 2012

Those dates are all speculation based on how long the writings might have taken to reach areas where they are then referred to in other historical writings, the earliest of which is from the middle of the 2nd century. These claims are not made by unbiased researchers but by apologists trying to prove the validity of their beliefs.

So when atheist apologists make claims trying to prove the validity of evolution these too should also be ignored, correct? :)

no, because we base ourselves in science and verifiable fact. that would be the difference. Don't get me wrong, I love to speculate about history and extrapolate things from literature, but I don't try to base a religion on it or tell people how to live their lives based on writings of unknown authorship from 2000 years ago. I could just as easily base my life choices on Beowulf or the writings of Homer.

Verifiable fact you say? Tell me, how do you and all the other evolutionists know it takes millions and millions and millions and millions of years for a particular animal to metamorphosize into a completely different kind?

Radiocarbon dating, the fossil record, observable natural selection, the presence of vestigial bones and organs, and genetic tracing of human origins.

Ahhh, the fossil record. Many paleontologists have scoured the earth in search of the missing link between man and animal. Tell me, after more than a century or so of searching and after digging up tens of millions - if not hundreds of millions - of fossils, have they finally found evidence for this purported series of infinitesimally gradual changes from one being to another?

Archaeopteryx, Ambulocetus natans
Australopithecus afarensis, Australopithecus africanus, Homo habilis, Homo erectus, Homo neanderthalensis

the fossil record is not in any way suggestive of the idea of sudden generation of all life. There is no way to look at the fossil record and interpret the evidence as pointing towards anything other than evolution. Despite the gaps in the record and in our understanding, evolution and common descent are the only conclusions that are supported by the full spectrum of evidence.

How do you explain the evidence for evolution if you believe all life was created by the snap of god's finger? How do you deny carbon dating and fossil record? Simply by shaking your head and saying, "well, you have a few gaps, so it can't be true?" If the mona lisa were missing 15-25% of itself, we would still recognize it was a painting of a woman. The conditions neccessary to create a fossil are specific and rare which is why there are gaps and will probably always be gaps. That does not negate the evidence in existance. Before you mock the fossil record some more, I suggest you read some of the thousands of peer-reviewed articles that go into extreme detail about what fossils have been found.

Do a smattering of fossils make a series of infinitesimally gradual changes from one being to another? If evolution were true there would be an overwhelming number of fossils showing this. Instead, we have the complete opposite - the sudden emergence of new species out of nowhere, fully complete with all their characteristics and not changing over time. So here we have a case where 90% - 95% of the Mona Lisa is missing. How can anyone recognize it as a painting of a woman?

No need to take my word for it though, here's what some better trained and more learned than I on the subject have concluded -

“The known fossil record fails to document a single example of phyletic (gradual) evolution accomplishing a major morphologic transition and hence offers no evidence that the gradualistic model can be valid.”

―Steven Stanley, Microevolution


“Despite the tremendous increase in geological activity in every corner of the globe and despite the discovery of many strange and hitherto unknown forms, the infinitude of connecting links has still not been discovered and the fossil record is about as discontinuous as it was when Darwin was writing the Origin. The intermediates have remained as elusive as ever and their absence remains, a century later, one of the most striking characteristics of the fossil record. . . .There is no doubt that as it stands today the fossil record provides a tremendous challenge to the notion of organic evolution, because to close the very considerable gaps which at present separate the known groups would necessarily have required great numbers of transitional forms.”

―Michael Denton, M.D., Evolution: A Theory In Crisis

“If it is not the fossil record which is incomplete, then it must be the theory!”

―Professor Niles Eldredge (of the American Natural History Museum)

“Herein lies a powerful tautology, a circular argument. The assumption of evolution is the basis upon which index fossils are used to date the rocks; and these same fossils are supposed to provide the main evidence for evolution. The fossil record, itself based on the assumption of evolution, is interpreted to teach evolution. By this sort of reckoning, the main evidence for evolution is the assumption of evolution.”

―Michael Pitman, (instructor of biology at Cambridge), Adam and Evolution

Speaking of peer reviewed tell me something: Were the theories regarding the existence of the planet Vulcan, Spontaneous Generation, The Expanding Earth, Phlogiston, the Martian Canals, Luminiferous Aether, Phrenology, Einstein’s Static Universe and Cold Fusion peer reviewed? :)

For the record, "Adam and Evolution" was written in 1984. The Professor Eldredge quote is from 1978. "Evolution: A Theory in Crisis" was published in 1986.

Professor Stanley's book was published in 1980 and does not infact dispute evolution, but it posits a hypothesis for punctuated equilibrium as opposed gradualism - both methods by which evolution may have occured.

Science never stops moving forwards. Medical science is leaps and bounds beyond where it was 25 years ago. So is evolutionary science.

As I said in my other post, you are welcome to believe whatever you like. You can believe that the sky is green if you want. I am interested in scientific inquiry and truth and will continue to study and educate myself.

You say you are interested in truth, yet, you accept as fact a theory that has no basis in the fossil record. Again, it doesn't show that life was thrown together or that animals experienced a gradual metamorphosis from one being into another. It shows clearly that all matter of life came out of nowhere, fully formed and that they remained static. This is as true today as it was all the way back to Darwin's day over a century ago.

This is glaring evidence for the existence of a Creator yet you would instead choose to ignore all this and insist on believing the myth that life was the result of a happy accident. How is that intellectual honesty? How does that demonstrate pursuit of truth? :)

you have "facepalmed" several of my comments, but you only want to see your own beliefs. there is no glaring evidence for a creator and there is no clear evidence that all matter came from no where. That was the basis of my previous comments. Fossil evidence shows progression between species and changing of creatures over time.
You have not put forth any evidence supporting your views and yet you accuse me of not being intellectually honest.

Unless you actually have some evidence you want to present (and by evidence, I mean current, peer-reviewed scientific research), then I don't have anything else to discuss.

P.S. Stop with the little smiley faces. They are condescending.

It's interesting that you highlight this because 'computers have shown that when the characteristics of different living things are encoded in numerical form and the computer is asked to sort them into sequences based on their similarities and differences, the computer can find any number of ways of doing so that have just as much support in the data as those drawn up by scientists to fit an evolutionary tree. The data say "no evolution" just as loudly as they say "evolution".' - http://bit.ly/PhY4AE

ok, i asked for current, peer-reviewed articles, and you gave me a single article by someone of unknown credentials written 11 years ago and published on an obviously pro-creationism website. And, he is using a book published in 1986 as his main source. As I said before, scientific research has moved on from there.

“Herein lies a powerful tautology, a circular argument. The assumption of evolution is the basis upon which index fossils are used to date the rocks; and these same fossils are supposed to provide the main evidence for evolution. The fossil record, itself based on the assumption of evolution, is interpreted to teach evolution. By this sort of reckoning, the main evidence for evolution is the assumption of evolution.”

―Michael Pitman, (instructor of biology at Cambridge), Adam and Evolution

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