The Sacred Scriptures, are defined and authorised by Christ’s Church which teaches that: “Since therefore all that the inspired authors or sacred writers affirm should be regarded as affirmed by the Holy Spirit, we must acknowledge that the books of Scripture firmly, faithfully, and without error teach the truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the Sacred Scriptures.” Dei Verbum, Vatican II, #11].
When the Gospels were written, as Fr William G Most points out, many people who had seen and heard Jesus himself would have been alive at that time. And Quadratus, an early apologist writing about 123 A.D., tells us that in his day there were still persons around who had been cured or raised from the dead by Jesus – prime witnesses.
The Gospel writers had the opportunity to get the facts. And we know that they would be careful and honest, for their own eternity depended on facts, not on fancy. As St. Paul told the Corinthians, “If Christ is not risen, your faith is vain” (1, 15:17).
Essentially we know things that the original spectators could easily observe and accurately report:
Fact 1: There was a man called Jesus.
Fact 2: He claimed to be a messenger sent from God.
Fact 3: He did enough to prove that He was such a messenger.
Fact 4: Crowds followed Jesus and He had an inner circle to whom he spoke much more.
Fact 5: He commissioned His followers to continue His teaching and founded His Church.
Fact 6: Jesus affirmed that God would protect that teaching.
The writings of these facts – the Gospels – are comparable with other ancient documents from writers such as Caesar, Tacitus, Thucydides and others, they are all reliable as history.
Historically, they prove that the messenger sent from God worked many miracles to support His mission and teaching to the extent of forgiving sins. God as Truth cannot provide such power to prove falsehood, so the claims of Jesus are true, culminating in the fact of His resurrection from the dead.
So from the reliability of the Gospels as history, we now know that:
- An infallible Church was founded by the Son of God
- That infallible Church teaches that the Bible, as She has given us, is the inspired Word of God.