Maybe God LIVE: The Case for Christ (feat. Lee Strobel)

On this episode of Maybe God Live, host Eric Huffman sits down with New York Times bestselling author Lee Strobel to hear the evidence that convinced this former investigative journalist and hardcore atheist that Jesus is real and the Bible is trustworthy and true. Members of our live audience at The Story Church ask Lee their toughest questions.

Featured Books

The Case for Christ, Lee Strobel
The Case for Miracles, Lee Strobel

Read Full Transcript

(Movie Trailer, "The Case for Christ")
Eric Huffman:
Today on Maybe God live, the man behind the 2017 hit movie, The Case for Christ, which was based on his best-selling book by the same name. We'll hear the evidence that convinced this investigative journalist and hardcore atheist, that Jesus is real and that the Bible is trustworthy and true.
(MGP intro)
Eric Huffman:
Last March of 2020, almost a year ago now, we were gearing up for another season of Maybe God. We planned on kicking off that season with a live recording at my church in front of 150 Maybe God fans. We invited a guest speaker who I'd looked up to for years. It was a great event, a truly memorable night, but within just a few days after, COVID-19 brought our lives to a screeching halt. So for several reasons, it didn't feel right to start off Maybe God's new season with a jam packed event like this one. So we stored it on a shelf until now.
Eric Huffman:
It's been almost a year, but this conversation is no less important than the day we recorded it. In fact, I can see now the beauty and the timing of this Maybe God live episode. As the whole world has seemed to be going off the deep end for all of 2020 and in the first few weeks of 202, more people than ever have been searching for something real, something true to hold onto.
Eric Huffman:
After I went from near atheism to belief in the Christian God almost overnight back in 2013, I started reading books on Christian apologetics to flesh out this faith that I'd found. That's when I picked up Lee Strobel's first book, The Case for Christ for the first time. Lee was an atheist and an award-winning investigative journalist for the Chicago Tribune. When he set out to debunk Christianity in a selfish effort to save his marriage, his wife, Leslie had just shocked him with the news several years into their marriage that she'd converted to Christianity. But after a two-year investigation, Lee couldn't ignore his findings, that Jesus was exactly who he claimed to be.
Eric Huffman:
There were some similarities between Lee's story and my own. We both despised Christianity for a time in our lives. We both wanted to believe only in the things we could see with our eyes and prove with science. But when we were both forced to wrestle with our deepest doubts about Christianity, that journey led us straight to Jesus. That's why we created this podcast to encourage you all to tackle your doubts because as Lee and I know firsthand, asking questions will only strengthen your faith.
Eric Huffman:
In this live recording, we'll hear the evidence behind the resurrection of Jesus, the science behind God and so much more. And I'd like you to promise me something. After listening, if you still have questions that are holding you back from giving Jesus a real chance in your life, I want to hear them and I promise to respond to each one of them. So just email me your questions to producers@maybegodpod.com. So here we go. Lee Strobel, live at The Story Church.
Lee Strobel:
Thanks Eric.
Eric Huffman:
Welcome. [crosstalk 00:04:57]. Thank you.

Lee Strobel:
Thank you.
Eric Huffman:
Have a seat.
Lee Strobel:
Thank you. Thanks.
Eric Huffman:
All right, welcome.
Lee Strobel:
Thank you.
Eric Huffman:
How are you doing?
Lee Strobel:
I'm doing great. Great to be here.
Eric Huffman:
We're really glad to have you here. And if you know me, or if we're friends, you probably know that one of my favorite pastimes is deciding which Hollywood actor would play all my friends in movie. Truly, I play this game constantly and I've already decided who's mine. Obviously I'm Chris Pratt. I mean that didn't even have to be said, really.
Lee Strobel:
I want a Jack Black to play me.
Eric Huffman:
[crosstalk 00:05:31] workout, yeah. Set that bar of expectation low. Jack Black's very talented however.
Lee Strobel:
He is. That's true.
Eric Huffman:
Yeah. Now did you get to choose the guy who played you?
Lee Strobel:
No, I got to choose the screenwriter, which was important, which I chose a guy who'd written 17 movies. He was a good friend of mine. I knew he would protect our story. But the studio would come up with proposed actors and actresses and they would run them passed Leslie and me, and we'd kind of give thumbs up or thumbs down. So we had a little bit of input with it.
Eric Huffman:
Well, Mike Volvo is a pretty handsome guy.
Lee Strobel:
He's a great guy. It's interesting. Mike had actually, when he was in high school had kind of lost his faith and he read The Case for Christ and it really brought him back into his faith.
Eric Huffman:
Is that right?
Lee Strobel:
And years later, he ends up playing me in the movie.
Eric Huffman:
How bizarre. And you got to meet him in hear his story?
Lee Strobel:
Yeah. We were on the set for a lot of the filming and great people.
Eric Huffman:
That's really cool. So when you see this picture of young Lee Strobel, can you remember who that guy was?
Lee Strobel:
Yeah. In fact, I was in Chicago not long ago and they were doing some coverage of some older things that have happened in the city. And they showed a famous crime syndicate hitman in Chicago who murdered a bunch of people. And as they showed him coming out of the courthouse, there I was right behind him with my microphone trying to get a comment from him. And looking at their face and looking at my eyes, I really remembered those days where I was a very immoral living, drunken, profane, narcissist, living a self-destructive kind of a life. What people saw was me winning awards for investigative reporting, but they didn't see the other side, which was me literally drunk in the snow in an alley on Saturday night.
Eric Huffman:
Really? Now, at what point, I mean, a lot of folks are immoral in their living or partying and they still believe in God. But at some point you became anti-God. At what point did that happen and why?
Lee Strobel:
It was really three steps. The first step was when I was in middle school, junior high school. And I started asking all those questions that middle schoolers like to ask, like, how can there be a loving God if there's so much pain in the world? How can a loving God send people to hell? And nobody wanted to engage with that. And so I thought, Oh, I get it. They don't want to talk about it because there's no good answer. So that was my first step.
Lee Strobel:
Second step was in high school when I took biology and I was taught that Neo Darwinist explains the origin and diversity of life, and so God's out of a job. And then at the University of Missouri, I took a course on the historical Jesus from a atheist who convinced me you can't trust what the gospels tell you about Jesus. So those were kind of three steps that really led me into atheism.
Eric Huffman:
I watched the movie again last night on Netflix. Something hit me last night. It didn't hit me in prior viewings and that was the stuff about your father. Can you talk about that a little bit and about-
Lee Strobel:
Yeah. I had a very difficult relationship with my dad. My dad looked at me on the eve of my high school graduation and said, "I don't have enough love for you to fill my little finger." So we had a very difficult relationship.
Lee Strobel:
And it's interesting when you study famous atheist of history, Camus, Nietzsche, Freud, Voltaire, Wells, Feuerbach, O'Hare, every single one of them either had a father who died when they were young, divorced their mother when they were young or with whom they had a very, very difficult relationship. And Freud talked about this, the implication is that if your earthly father has hurt you or disappointed you, you don't want to know a heavenly father because you think he's just going to be a magnified version of your earthly father. And so was that a contributor to me becoming an atheist? I think it was. I think it was.
Eric Huffman:
At what point did you meet your wife Leslie?
Lee Strobel:
We met at age 14.
Eric Huffman:
All right. Leslie's here tonight. There she is. Hi, Leslie. Welcome. Thank you for being here. And so you met at 14-
Lee Strobel:
Yeah. Got married. She was 19, I was 20.
Eric Huffman:
Lee married Leslie after his sophomore year of college. By their late 20s, the couple lived in Chicago with two young children. His daughter only five years old at the time, still remembers Lee coming home drunk and angry, once even kicking a hole in a wall out of frustration. So you can imagine how he reacted when Leslie told them that there was another man in her life, that she'd become a Christian and accepted Jesus as her savior.
Eric Huffman:
How did that change your life? How did that feel when she came home and said I'm Christian?
Lee Strobel:
Well, the first word that went through my mind was the divorce.
Eric Huffman:
Really?
Lee Strobel:
In fact, she had just planted a flower bed outside with all these flowers. And I was so mad that I went out and I mowed down all the flowers that she had [crosstalk 00:10:17] planted.
Eric Huffman:
No.
Lee Strobel:
Very mature of me, I got to admit.
Eric Huffman:
You were indeed.
Lee Strobel:
I could look ahead in our marriage and all I saw resulting from this was conflict. How do you raise the children? How do you spend your money? How do you spend your weekends? All of a sudden our values are different. What we consider important different, for the first time. We'd always been on the same page. Now, all of a sudden our marriage was diverging this way. So it was a very, very difficult era of our marriage.
Eric Huffman:
How many years did that go on?
Lee Strobel:
About two years.

Eric Huffman:
Okay. And somewhere in that time is when you started to probe around and figure it out.
Lee Strobel:
It was about six months after she became a believer that I decided that maybe I could use my journalism and legal training to disprove the resurrection, which I knew was a linchpin of the Christian faith and rescue her from this cult that she got involved in.
Eric Huffman:
This cult. I love it.
Lee Strobel:
But, I wanted the old Lesley back-
Eric Huffman:
Of course.
Lee Strobel:
... And I thought if I can just disprove this, then that kind of solves everything.
Eric Huffman:
What did you expect to find when you start to investigate the core claims?
Lee Strobel:
I honestly thought as a journalist, I mean, I'd seen a lot of dead bodies. I've never seen any of them come back to life, especially after three days. And so I thought I could disprove the resurrection in a weekend. I studied at Yale Law School. I understand what evidence is. I know how you go about finding loopholes and finding holes in a case. I honestly thought two or three days, I could figure this out.
Eric Huffman:
But you didn't.
Lee Strobel:
It took, well a year and nine months ultimately.
Eric Huffman:
Did it really?
Lee Strobel:
Yeah.
Eric Huffman:
The whole process. So could you give us just like the cliff notes version of where you started and what hoops you had to jump through to do your investigation?
Lee Strobel:
Because this was my profession was investigating things, it was very natural for me to do this. So I remember getting on the telephone and calling up an expert on Ignatius, who was a early church father. And, I'd call up say "I'm Lee Strobel from the Chicago Tribune." I didn't tell him I wasn't working on a story for the Tribune, I just said, I'm Lee Strobel form Chicago Tribune-
Eric Huffman:
It wasn't a lie.
Lee Strobel:
Yeah, "I got a couple of questions for you." "Oh sure." It was very easy for me to connect with people and begin to pursue answers.

Eric Huffman:
At some point you're collecting evidence, solid evidence for the Christian Case. And at some point you have to decide I guess. When did that point come for you, and we kind of know what decision you made, but why did you make that decision?
Lee Strobel:
As a journalist and I'm old school in journalism, I graduated from the University of Missouri, which is the oldest and-
Eric Huffman:
Prestigious.
Lee Strobel:
Yeah, it's a great journalism school. It was in the old days when we believed in telling both sides and in masking our own beliefs when we write stories. So when I would write a story in the Chicago Tribune-
Eric Huffman:
They're trying to contain themselves.
Lee Strobel:
I mean, you couldn't tell where I stood on an issue that I covered for the Tribune. So when I went into this, yes, it was my ultimate hope that I could disprove the resurrection. But I went in saying, "I'm going to be like an umpire in a baseball game. I'm going to call a ball, a ball and a strike, a strike. I'm going to have an open heart and open mind." I actually prayed a prayer even as an atheist. I call it the skeptics prayer.
Eric Huffman:
Really?
Lee Strobel:
Yeah. And the prayer was, "God, I don't believe you're there. In fact, I'm sure you're not. But if you are, I'd like to meet you." And I figured, what have I got to lose? 15 seconds of my life to pray that? And if it's true, who knows? And so after two years nearly, of investigating the evidence, it all came down to a Sunday afternoon. And Leslie and I had gone to church that morning because I would go during this process with her to church periodically. Came home and looked at all my evidence. I mean, I had stacks of documents and files and books and all this stuff. And I said to myself, "A good juror reaches a verdict." And I thought the evidence is in. After two years, I didn't think I was going to find anything else that was going to change stuff.
Lee Strobel:
So what I did is I just kind of perused everything one last time and I kind of evaluated it all. And then I kind of sat back and I said, "In light of this avalanche of evidence that points so powerfully toward the truth of Christianity, I realized it would take more faith to maintain my atheism than to become a Christian."
Eric Huffman:
Really?
Lee Strobel:
in other words, I would have to take a leap of faith against the current of evidence flowing the other direction to maintain my atheism. And it was clear to me that the verdict is that the evidence is clear and convincing that Jesus didn't just claim to be the son of God, But he backed up that claim by returning from the dead.
Eric Huffman:
Wow. So, what specific evidence are you talking about when you say it was so convincing compelling?
Lee Strobel:
The reason I investigated the resurrection is because that is the linchpin of Christianity. I mean, Jesus, in a variety of different ways made transcendent and messianic and divine claims about himself. And he said, "I and the father are one." And the audience got it. They picked up stones to kill him, says, "You, you're just a man. You're claiming to be God." So Jesus claimed to be God but so what? I could claim to be God. Well, maybe not you, but...
Lee Strobel:
Anybody anybody virtually could claim to be God.
Eric Huffman:
That was a good one.
Lee Strobel:
Just kidding. But the question is, if he claimed to be God and then was resurrected after three days, that's pretty good evidence he's telling the truth.
Lee Strobel:
So like the apostle Paul says in I Corinthians 15:17, "If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile. You're still in your sins." In other words, this is the ballgame. So I like to summarize the evidence using four words that begin with the letter E. The first E stands for execution. Was Jesus dead after being crucified? And the answer is absolutely yes. There is no record anywhere of anybody ever surviving a full Roman crucifixion. Even the journal of the American medical association, which is a secular peer reviewed scientific medical journal, carried an investigation into the medical and historical evidence for the death of Jesus and said, there was a quote, "Clearly the weight of the historical and medical evidence indicates that Jesus was dead even before the wound to his side was inflicted."
Lee Strobel:
And one of the reasons I found that it's so universally agreed by historians, that he was dead is that when you study ancient history, we're lucky if we have one or two sources to confirm a fact. But for the death of Jesus, we not only have multiple early first century accounts in the documents of the new Testament, we've also got five inches sources outside the Bible, confirming or corroborating that he died.
Lee Strobel:
Josephus, first century Jewish historian to work for the Romans, even the Jewish Talmud admits he was dead. So the first he is execution, Jesus was [crosstalk 00:17:21]
Eric Huffman:
Right.
Lee Strobel:
Second is the most interesting. Stands for early. We have early accounts that Jesus rose from the dead. Why is that important? Because I used to think like a lot of skeptics that the resurrection was a legend, and I know it took time for legend to develop in the ancient world. So I figured a 100, 150 years after the death of Jesus, legends developed, stories were invented and that's where the idea of the resurrection came from. But what I have learned, I think decimates the claim that the resurrection is a legend, and here's why.
Lee Strobel:
We have preserved for us a creed of the earliest Christians, a statement of conviction based on eyewitness accounts that the earliest Christians would rally around based on facts that they knew to be true. So this creed contains the essence of Christianity, says Jesus died. Why? For our sins. He was buried. On the third day he rose from the dead. And then it mentioned some specific names of eyewitnesses to whom he appeared including 500 people at once. And then it says paranthetically, by the way, a lot of those folks are still around. So if you don't believe me go-
Eric Huffman:
Go ask them.
Lee Strobel:
Go out and talk to them yourself. They're around. You can question them.
Lee Strobel:
Now, this creed has been dated back by scholars to within months of the death of Jesus. How do we know? Well, the apostle Paul preserved it for us. He wrote a letter to the church in Corinth about 21 to 25 years after the death of Jesus. He recounts this creed and he indicates past tense. I already gave you this creed earlier.
Lee Strobel:
So, we could stop there and that'd be very impressive when you consider the first two biographies of Alexander The Great written 400 years after his life, and they're generally considered reliable. So within 20 years is really good, but we can go back earlier because we know that Paul used to be Saul of Tarsus, a hater of Christians. One to three years after the death of Jesus, boom, he has this encounter with the risen Christ, he becomes the apostle Paul. Immediately, he goes into Damascus and he meets with some apostle. Now many scholars believe this is when he was given the creed that he later writes in the letter. But others say, "Wait, might've been three years later."
Lee Strobel:
Three years later, Paul goes to Jerusalem and he meets with two eye witnesses to the resurrection who are specifically named in the creed, Peter and James. And the Greek word that Paul uses in Galatians to describe this meeting suggests that this was an investigative inquiry. There were checking each other out. What do you know, what do you experience? And some scholars believe this is when he was given the creed. But either way, this means within one to six years after the death of Jesus, this creed is already in existence, and therefore the beliefs that make up that creed go back earlier virtually to the cross itself.
Lee Strobel:
Probably the greatest scholar in this area, Dr. James D.G Dunn says, "We can be entirely confident, was formulated as a creed, as tradition within months of the death of Jesus. Within months" That is far too quick to write it off as a legend. So Jesus was dead execution, early accounts, which I believe discounts the possibility that this is a legend.
Lee Strobel:
Third E is for empty tomb. And there's lots of reasons why we believe the tomb is empty. But I think the most convincing reason is that even the opponents of Jesus implicitly admitted that it was empty. When the disciples began proclaiming that had risen, we know there's some sources inside and outside the New Testament. Disciples, "Jesus is risen." Opponents, "Oh, well, the disciples stole the body." They're implicitly admitting the tomb is empty. They're trying to explain how it got empty. So everybody's admitting the tomb is empty. That's not the issue. The issue is how did it get empty?
Lee Strobel:
And then the fourth E stands for eyewitnesses. Not only was Jesus' tomb discovered empty, but over a period of time, he appears alive in a dozen different instances to more than 515 people. To skeptics and doubters, to men, to women, to groups, to individuals, indoors, outdoors, daytime, nighttime, the disciples talked to him, they ate with them, they touched him.
Lee Strobel:
But here's what's interesting about the eyewitnesses. Remember I said earlier in ancient history, we're lucky if we have one or two sources to confirm a fact. Well, for the conviction of the disciples that they encountered the resurrected Jesus, we have no fewer than nine ancient sources inside and outside the New Testament, confirming and corroborating the conviction of the disciples that they encountered the resurrected Jesus. That is an avalanche of historical data.
Eric Huffman:
It's convincing because as you mentioned in the book, he talks about how the disciples later gave their lives for these claims. And the pushback you got of course was, well, people die for lies all the time, which is true, but people don't die for things they know to be lies. And I've repeated that so many times, I got it from him-
Lee Strobel:
Absolutely.
Eric Huffman:
When we talk about the two being empty, well, the disciples stole the body. What's the problem with that claim is that they wouldn't have then given their lives for a lie. If they stole the body, they would have known and they would have given up at some point and just gone on about their lives. But they didn't, they pressed on.
Lee Strobel:
And we have seven ancient sources, six of them outside the Bible that tell us that the disciples live lives of deprivation and suffering as a result of their proclamation, that Jesus has arisen. And that is established beyond any doubt by the ancient record.
Lee Strobel:
And you're absolutely right. That was one of the final blocks that went into the case.
Eric Huffman:
Was it?
Lee Strobel:
Yeah. Because I thought, well, golly, there are all kinds of religious fanatics who will die for what they believe is true. Kamikaze pilots in world war II would crash their planes because they believe spiritually if they died this way, they'd go to heaven. Terrorists will die. Why are they willing to die? Because they believe it to the core of their being. If they die this way, they'll go to heaven. But they can't know that for a fact, they just believe it.
Lee Strobel:
The contrast is the disciples were in a unique position to know for a fact, whether this is true or whether it's a lie. They talked to the resurrected Jesus, they touched him, they ate with him, they knew the truth.
Eric Huffman:
Amazing.
Lee Strobel:
Now some people say, and this is one of my counterarguments that I came up with. One was that these were visions or hallucinations. That the disciples didn't really encounter Jesus, they hallucinated. It's interesting that one of the most famous atheist New Testament scholars, Gerd L├╝demann said it is historically certain that Peter and the other disciples had experiences after Jesus' death, in which Jesus appeared to them as the risen Christ. That's the atheist talking. Well, why is he still an atheist? Because he believes these were visions. These were hallucinations.
Lee Strobel:
So I went to an expert on the human mind, PhD in psychology, professor of psychology for 20 years at a major Midwestern university. He was a president of a National Association of Psychologists. And I laid out all the historical data. And I said, "Now, Dr. Collins, wouldn't you admit to me, these disciples didn't encounter the resurrected Jesus, they just had hallucinations?" And he looked at me and said, "That's not possible." And he said, "You got to understand something about the nature of hallucinations. Hallucinations are like dreams. They happen in individual minds. They don't spread like the common cold. It's not like you can wake your wife up in the middle of the night and say, honey, honey, I'm having a dream about a vacation to Maui. Let's both go back to sleep. We'll have the same dream. We'll save all the airfare. We'll save all the hotel costs."
Lee Strobel:
It may be great if we could do that, but why can't we do that? Because dreams happen in individual minds and that's the same with a hallucination. In fact, he looked at me and he said, "Lee, your earliest account says that 500 people encountered the resurrected Jesus at one time." He said, "Lee, 500 people having the same hallucination at the same time would be a bigger miracle than the resurrection." And then I said, "Well, what if it's something more subtle? What if it's visions that..." And this is a known psychological phenomenon that people want something so much. If they're primed for it, they can actually see things that aren't there.
Lee Strobel:
They miss Jesus so much. He was their leader. They loved him. "Oh, John, can't you see him? He's back." Well, there's a problem with that. James, the half brother of Jesus was a skeptic about Jesus during Jesus' lifetime. He wasn't psychologically primed to have a vision of his brother returning from the dead, and yet Jesus appeared to him. What happened to him? He became a leader of the church proclaiming that his brother had risen and he was murdered for his faith.
Lee Strobel:
And then the apostle Paul hated Christians. He wasn't psychologically primed for a resurrection, which by the way, was totally against the teachings of Judaism of the day. That there would be one resurrection in the end. And yet, he had this encounter with Christ.
Eric Huffman:
That's another little piece that we don't talk about a lot, evidence against the legend theory that the resurrection of Jesus was a legend. Because, legends must fulfill some preconceived expectation. And the resurrection of Jesus as it happened was not expected by anyone, not even the most Orthodox of Jewish folks at the time expected there to be one man who would be resurrected first before all the rest of us are later. And so-
Lee Strobel:
Even the disciples. They had been trained [crosstalk 00:27:05] but they didn't expect it.
Eric Huffman:
They didn't even know what was happening after he resurrected. He's there in front of them like, hey guys, and they're doubting him. As it says, they worshiped him and some doubted at the same time. And Jesus is like, "What else do I have to do to prove this to you guys?"
Eric Huffman:
That's another reason why we value doubting here. It's because it's a tradition as old as Christianity itself, but it has to be doubts directed toward Jesus instead of in isolation away from him.
Eric Huffman:
It's interesting to hear your story. I share a lot of similarities and you helped me get to a place where I was an outspoken Christian again. I ran from Jesus. I was angry at Christians. I really despised conservative Christians especially, and I became this kind of leftist activist in my 20s. And, sometimes I think the whole atheist to pastor thing it's a little tired sometimes, but maybe it's because God does this. And some of us that have the deepest doubts end up with the strongest faith, or at least some of the best stories to tell.
Lee Strobel:
I agree. I agree. And untested faith is not as strong as one that's been tested.
Eric Huffman:
Right. You know what did it for me was I visited Capernaum. I was in the Holy land for the first time. And for me it was the divinity of Christ. It was a very big deal because I thought it was a later concoction that was politically expedient. And then I came across that house in Capernaum that has the graffiti on the inside of it from the first Christians that's dated to the first half of the first century that says, "Lord Jesus Christ," or "Have mercy Jesus," or the other etchings in Nazareth that call Mary, the mother of God. There are people that knew Jesus personally. And they, as Jewish people are calling him their God, which just doesn't happen. It was not on the radar at all for Jews-
Lee Strobel:
They figured their soul would be damned if they [crosstalk 00:28:56]-
Eric Huffman:
Yeah. And so the fact that people that knew him called him God after the death and resurrection, for me, that was the linchpin where I turned it all around.
Eric Huffman:
So your latest book is called the case for miracles. And if we could just shift slightly and talk specifically about miracles-
Lee Strobel:
Sure. And of course the resurrection is [crosstalk 00:29:16]-
Eric Huffman:
Exactly. It's kind of the miracle of miracles.
Lee Strobel:
Yeah.
Eric Huffman:
But I think if we were to survey everybody, miracles is probably near the top of the list in terms of doubts and questions in the room. And especially not just believing in the miracles that happened in the Bible times, some of us don't have a problem with that, but believing that miracles happen at all today. And what did you find in your search for truth about miracles?
Lee Strobel:
I was sorta like that. I came to believe the miracles of the gospels are true because, first of all, the opponents of Jesus generally didn't even dispute them. They just got mad that he did them on the Sabbath. So I can believe those, but I investigated a few supposed miracles in my time as a journalist and show they were fraud or show that they were hyped up. And so, I really wanted to know, is God still in the miracle business? So I spent two years to investigate the topic of miracles and really opened my eyes-
Eric Huffman:
Really.
Lee Strobel:
... And convinced me that, yes, God is still in the miracle business. I think miracles happen a lot more frequently than people think. And we have a lot better documented miracles than skeptics suppose. In fact, I hired a public opinion polling firm to do a scientific poll of American adults. And I asked the question, "Have you ever had at least one instance in your life that you can only explain as a miracle of God?" And, 38% of American adults said, "Yes?" How many of you here would say that yeah .... Yeah, look, that's more than 38%. That's probably why you're here right?
Lee Strobel:
Now, if you extrapolate that number, that would mean there'd be 92 million miracles in America. But let's say 99% of people who think they had a miracle are wrong. Let's say it's just an incredible coincidence. We still have almost a million miracles. So I think they're more common than people think. And I documented some that absolutely blew my mind.
Lee Strobel:
What I looked at was first of all, are miracles impossible because they violate the laws of nature? And I said, no, because if I take this book and I would have drop it, the law of gravity says it's going to hit the ground. But if I drop this book and you reach in and grab it before it hits the ground, you haven't violated law of gravity. You've just intervened. And if God created the universe and the laws of nature, it would be child's play for him to intervene in the laws of nature that he himself created. And so I think that the philosophical objection got set aside pretty quickly.
Lee Strobel:
But then, what I tried to look at are instances in which we've got no naturalistic explanation for what occurred. We have multiple eye witnesses who have no motive to deceive. This happens in the context of prayer or some kind of spiritual environment. And what kind of external verification do we have?
Eric Huffman:
If you could pinpoint one story, what would you tell us what that would be? Like the one story you came across that-
Lee Strobel:
Yeah, [crosstalk 00:32:17] Dwayne. It is a local story here from Houston. Y'all know where Brenham is, right? There was a pastor there of First Baptist Church Brennan. His name was Duane Miller. Wonderful, wonderful pastor, loved to preach the word of God. He had a beautiful singing voice as well. One day he contracted virus and it paralyzed vocal chords. So, when he talked, he sounded like this.
Lee Strobel:
Well, after a couple of years, they couldn't keep him on as pastor anymore. He couldn't preach and you went through a couple of years of depression and tough times financially trying to make ends meet. He went to 63 physicians, including a Swiss symposium of voice experts who examined him and said, "There is zero prognosis that your voice is going to come back." Your vocal cords are paralyzed and sorry."
Lee Strobel:
So, one day, his all Sunday school class come said, "Duane, we miss you. We love you. Would you just come and teach us from the Bible one more time?"
Lee Strobel:
[inaudible 00:33:26] you know, it's really annoying to listen to me. Say, "Yeah, we know it's annoying to listen to you, but we love you and we'll put a microphone on you so we can hear you and just come and do it." So he said, okay.
Lee Strobel:
So he comes to this class and he opens the Bible to Psalm 103. The topic there at the beginning of Psalm 103 is that God heals our illnesses. And so he's thinking to himself, okay, it says here that God heals all my diseases. Why not me? And he gets the next verse that says, God rescues us from the pit. And he said, "You have had and I have had in times past pit experiences." And as soon as he said the word pit, God healed his voice. They recorded the class. So we have a real time audio tape when that healing took place. And so we're going to play it right?
Eric Huffman:
Yeah, let's listen in.
Duane Miller:
So when the Psalmist writes, "and he heals all of my diseases," let me say to you that I believe God still heals. That hasn't ended. That is not over. So the Psalmist says, "I'm excited. Bless the Lord Oh, my soul." One of his benefits is he heals all of my diseases. And in verse four, he says, "and he redeems my life from the pit." Now I like that verse just a whole lot. I have had and you have had in times past pit experiences. We've both had, we've all had times when our life seemed to be in a pit, in a grave. And we didn't have an answer for the pit we find our selves in. And I don't understand this right now. I'm a bit overwhelmed at the moment. I'm not quite sure what to say or do. I'm... Sounds funny to say I'm a loss for words. Thank you, Lord.
Eric Huffman:
Wow. That is awesome.
Lee Strobel:
Isn't it great?
Lee Strobel:
He went to his doctors to be examined, and his doctors said, "There is no medical explanation for what has taken place." And one doctor said, "Even if I could explain how your voice came back, which I can't," he said, "I could never explain what happened to the scar tissue." The scar tissue was gone. He said, "Your voice looks like a pristine voice of a child. Just perfect."
Lee Strobel:
Now, he is a pastor again, up in the Dallas area. And guess what else he does? He's got a radio show. Using his voice to tell people about this God that-
Eric Huffman:
That was too good.
Lee Strobel:
... does amazing things.
Eric Huffman:
An I will be honest, I am such a jerk. Most of the time that I look at videos and I'm like, "How can I pick this apart?" Working from my skeptical days, I'm still like, how can I show this as fake? I'm a skeptical at heart, and this video got me y'all. There's no way I could just explain this away. He's just teaching a Sunday school class. And when you hear his family and friends rejoicing in the background-
Lee Strobel:
His wife was on the front row, she burst into tears. Beautiful. It's just an amazing story, but that's just one of... I might tell the story of Barbara Snyder, who was instantly cured of multiple sclerosis in an extraordinary way after 450 Christians began praying for and instantaneously, her muscle tone returned so she could walk. Hadn't walked in seven years.
Eric Huffman:
Your contention is that these things happen all the time. We don't see them so we don't know about them or we move on. I was thinking about this, how many times I've witnessed something I described as miraculous. And then a month later, I'm just living a normal life again, as though nothing happened.
Lee Strobel:
That's true.
Eric Huffman:
When something bad happens, you'll spend the rest of your life blaming God. When something great happens, maybe a month.
Lee Strobel:
It's true.
Eric Huffman:
Will you be thinking about it. Isn't it? I think that's human nature.
Eric Huffman:
Now, to be totally upfront about this and honest about the issue of miracles, we have to talk about ones that don't happen.
Lee Strobel:
It's so important. Many of us pray for miracles that don't take place. My wife, Leslie has a medical condition that has her in pain every single day. And she'll be in pain every day for the rest of her life unless God does a miracle and heals her of this incurable condition. He has not done that even though we've asked him to.

Lee Strobel:
My older brother, Ray just had surgery last week and we prayed for his recovery and he was doing good and then he got the flu. And last Thursday morning, he died from the flu. We had prayed that God would speed his recovery and it didn't happen.
Lee Strobel:
We've all had instances like that. And I knew I couldn't write a book on miracles without dealing with this issue. So, I went to an expert who had two qualifications to talk about this topic. Number one, he was a brilliant philosopher with a PhD from a major secular university. He'd written a 714 page book summarizing the evidence for the existence of God and the truth of Christianity. So he had the mental firepower to be able to wrestle with this issue. But secondly, his wife was dying at the time of a rare brain condition. They prayed for her healing. It didn't come. And so I interviewed him about this topic. It was the most profound interview I've ever had in my years as a journalist and author. I'll give you the nub of what he said, the short answer.
Lee Strobel:
"Yes, it is true, God will heal all of his followers as we leave this life into the next. But, God doesn't always answer our prayers the way we want in this world when we want those prayers to be answered. He sees things differently than we do. He has a perspective we don't have. We have very finite, small slice of understanding reality, he has the big picture. And it's also important to understand that miracles were not automatic even in new Testament days."
Lee Strobel:
Matthew says that Jesus didn't do many miracles in Nazareth. It says that Paul didn't heal everybody. This mysterious thorn in the flesh that Paul talks about having was apparently never healed in this lifetime.
Lee Strobel:
If you look at the Psalms, the Psalms, many of them are laments, they are about God, where are you? Why aren't you doing what I want you to do? And I think we have to trust that he has the big picture. Someday in heaven we'll be able to raise our hands and get the complete answer, but I don't shy away from doing what the Bible says, which is to pray for the desires of your heart. So I pray for Leslie's healing and we pray for other people and we've seen miraculous things take place, but not every time.
Eric Huffman:
Yeah. It really is about trusting him.
Lee Strobel:
It is.
Eric Huffman:
Praying in good times and bad and giving him the desires of our hearts.
Lee Strobel:
And, we like to throw this around like it's a cliche, but the truth is Romans 8:28 is in the word of God. It is true. When the Bible says, "God can take all things that happen and create good out of them for those who follow him and are called according to his purpose." Doesn't say when he's going to do that or how he's going to do it, I think it's important to understand God is not the author of good and evil and suffering. And people say, "Why didn't he create the world good?" He did. But then he gave us free will to make choices to love God or not and love others are not. And we've chosen the path of sin far too often, and it's introduced suffering in the world and...
Eric Huffman:
In the interest of time, I want to move us forward just a little bit. And I'm going to have the question from my friend, Phil. Phil is a doctor here in Houston, a very thoughtful young man. And he submitted this question via audio.
Phil:
How can I be okay with believing that all non-believers such as Muslim, atheist or even friends and family who don't follow Jesus are going to hell if they don't repent or follow Christ?
Eric Huffman:
Did you get that?
Lee Strobel:
Yes. So, what is the fate of those who don't believe?
Eric Huffman:
Yeah. How can you sleep at night thinking I'm secure, but man, all those other people that aren't Christian, they're done for. How does that work?
Lee Strobel:
I think my brother who just died on Thursday was an atheist. I can't imagine that he didn't in those final moments of his life, knowing he was going to die, reach out to the Lord. We don't know what happens in the microseconds, in the moments before a loved one dies who may be a denier of God, an atheist, a skeptic. You don't know what happens in those final moments. My brother, I believe and I hope that he reached out to God in those last moments. And I know in God's grace, if he did that, God would bring him to be eternity with him in heaven.
Lee Strobel:
I believe based on scripture that, Deuteronomy is right when it says, "will not the judge of all the world do what's fair." Nobody is going to walk away from being judged by God and be able to shake their fist and legitimately say that was unfair. We will all see the ultimate fairness of God. But I believe that anyone anywhere in any culture at any time who responds to the understanding they have and reaches out to the one true God, God will find some way of helping them to respond to the Gospel in this world.
Lee Strobel:
I have a whole chapter in my book, The Case for Miracles about this phenomenon, that's happening around the world in closed countries, Muslim countries, where again, it's illegal to share the gospel where God is reaching people through dreams.
Eric Huffman:
I've heard this.
Lee Strobel:
And not only that, but there is external verification to these dreams, and people are coming to faith. God's not playing hide and seek. He's not trying to make it hard for us to know him. The Bible says that he wants us all to come to faith, none to perish. And so his heart is for us.
Eric Huffman:
I do appreciate the question. Because, I remember it was one of the biggest bones to pick I had with Christians was just this smug certainty Christians had about being the saved ones. And it almost felt like they were taking delight in others not being in their camp, whether that was real or just my smart aleck interpretation. I'm leaving room for that possibility. That's how it felt. And so I know the heart of the question, but I really appreciate your response that God's going to do everything, everything possible.
Lee Strobel:
Exactly. And when you look at the credentials of Christ, Jesus said, "I'm the way, I'm the truth. I'm the life. No one comes to the father, but through me." Well, anybody could say that, but my goodness, he died and was resurrected. He's probably telling the truth.
Eric Huffman:
Awesome. All right, we've got a few minutes for questions now. We've got Steve Mayo. Steve, are you in the house tonight?
Steve Mayo:
I'm here.
Eric Huffman:
Hey, Steve, you're close to the mic. That's great.
Steve Mayo:
I just want to start off by saying, I believe God does use us and, I want to thank your wife for bringing you to Christ. I'm a great fan of yours.
Lee Strobel:
Thank you.
Steve Mayo:
One of the things that was strong with me is the science that you brought in. As a scientist, when I was speaking my testimony, I got laughed down a lot and you made it so succinct.
Lee Strobel:
Well, thank you.
Steve Mayo:
So I'd like for you to go through some of those God of the universe things-
Lee Strobel:
Yes, absolutely. I'm glad you brought that.. How much time do I have?
Eric Huffman:
You have 30 seconds. Trying to get to some others.
Lee Strobel:
I'll hit the highlights in just a couple minutes. Three areas of science I found particularly compelling. There were a bunch of them, but three I'll mention quickly. One is cosmology, the origin of the universe. Whatever begins to exist has a cause. Every scientist virtually on the planet now believes the universe began to exist at some point in the past. Therefore there must be a cause behind the universe. What kind of a cause can bring a universe into existence? It must be uncaused cause he can't have an infinite regress of causes. It must be transcendent, because it is separate from creation. It must be timeless or eternal because it existed before physical time came into being. It must be spirit or immaterial because it existed before the physical world came into being. It must be smart given the precision of the creation event. It must be powerful given the immensity of the creation event. It must be carrying because it created this incredible habitat for us to live in. It must be amazingly creative. I mean, just look at the universe, and, Occam's razor would tell us it would be just one creator.

Lee Strobel:
So you go through that list, that's a picture of the God of the Bible. And so I think this argument, which has led so many scientists to faith, I think that is a powerful argument for the assistance of a creator.
Lee Strobel:
Second area is physics. Physics are the numbers that govern the operation of the universe. If you were to go out at night and look at the sky and instead of seen stars, if you saw 50 to a 100 giant dials in the sky, and each one had the potential of being calibrated to one of trillions of different settings, but each of these dials is exactly set at the precise place so the universe could exist. That is the picture that modern physics tells us of our universe.
Lee Strobel:
Our universe exists on a razor's edge so that life can exist. It is perfectly calibrate. I'll give you a couple of quick examples. The force of gravity. If you imagine a ruler that went across the entire known universe, 30 billion light years, broken down in one inch increments, that represents plausibly the range along which the force of gravity could have been set, but it happens to be set at the exact right place so that life can exist. What if we were to change it one inch compared to the 30 billion light year with the universe, one inch, intelligent life would be impossible anywhere in the universe. That's just one of those dials.
Lee Strobel:
My favorite one is the ratio between the electromagnetic force and the gravitational force. It is finely tuned so precisely that the only illustration you can use to explain the precision is to say this, imagine a billion continents the size of North America, and of those continents are piled with dimes 238,000 miles high to the moon. And you pick out one diamond at random and spray paint it red and mix it up among all these dimes. And you pick one person at random blindfold you and say, "You can reach in to all of these times 238,000 miles on a billion continents, you can pick out one dime. What are the odds it would be that dime that had been painted red?
Lee Strobel:
The same odds that the electromagnetic force, the ratio between that and the gravitational force would be set exactly where it is. It is absolutely mind blowing. And the only way atheists have around this is to say, "Well, what if there's an infinite number of universes and you spin the dials in an infinite number of universes, we just happened to be the lucky ones, we hit the cosmic lottery, that's why we're here.
Lee Strobel:
Problem with that is there is zero physical evidence. In fact, in principle, there never couldn't be any evidence that there are an infinite number of other universes. And as Richard Swinburne, a philosopher at Oxford said, "It's the height of irrationality to propose the existence of a trillion trillion invisible universes, rather than accept the explanation of one creator."
Lee Strobel:
So we have cosmology of physics, but then DNA. You have a hundred trillion cells in your body. If you were to open up just one cell and unwind the helix of DNA, it would be six feet tall. And embedded in that DNA is a four letter chemical alphabet that spells out the precise assembly instructions for every protein out of what your body is made.
Lee Strobel:
Where does information come from? Carl Sagan, the famous atheist as he pointed radio telescopes to the sky said, "If we just get one message, one sentence from space, we'll know there's intelligent life out there." Why? Because whenever we see information, whether it's a computer code, a book, a painting on a cave wall, there is always an intelligence behind it. Inside every cell in your body, this four-letter chemical alphabet, there is enough words in every cell in your body to equal all of the words in 200 years of the Sunday New York times. If you were to read the genetic code in just one cell in your body at the rate of three characters a second, and you did it night and day, it would take you 31 years to read the genetic code inside of just one cell.
Lee Strobel:
Where does that come from? Nature can produce patterns, but it can't produce information. In other words, if you're going down to Galveston and you walk along the beach and there's wet sand, and you see ripple marks in the wet sand, that's a pattern and it will be logical for you to conclude based on that evidence that the waves left the ripple marks in the sand. But if you walk on the sand and in the wet sand, you see John loves Mary with a heart around it and an arrow through it, you would not surmise that the waves created that. Why? Because it's information. It's a message with content.
Lee Strobel:
What is the DNA in your body? It is information. It is a message with content. Bill Clinton said, one of the truest things ever uttered. When he announced that the human genome had been mapped, he said, "Today we are learning the language in which God created life." That is exactly what it is. It is language and, language always has intelligence.
Eric Huffman:
Amen. Evangelical Christians in the house. I just want to hear the Christians admit Bill Clinton was right about something.
Lee Strobel:
Yeah.
Eric Huffman:
All right. We have one more question tonight from our live audience. So Daniel V. My boy Daniel, come on down.
Daniel:
My question, I think it's pretty straight forward. Basically. Let's assume that God exists and let's assume that he's finally tuned the universe. Why should we believe that God is the God of the Bible and not the God of another faith or the God of deism?or something like that?
Lee Strobel:
That's a great question. Great question. When I did my investigation, that was one of the foundational questions I asked. I always tell the short version of my testimony, which is the evidence from Christianity that convinced me. But I looked at all of these other religions as well.
Lee Strobel:
Number one, the evidence of cosmology as I went through the creator must be transcendent, powerful, smart, immaterial, eternal, that points toward the God of the Bible. Not all other religions would that be true of. Eastern religions for instance, where, God is co-existent with creation, science would not support that. So they kind of narrowed down Christianity there.

Lee Strobel:
I've investigated Islam. I have friends who were Muslims and I thought, well, maybe Islam is true. So I read the Koran and I got to Surah 4 verse 156, and it says Jesus was not killed on the cross. He was not crucified. And I read on and it says, God does not have a son. It says one cannot bear the transgressions of another. I see all these things that contradict Christianity. But I say, wait a second. And I had a good Muslim friend and we were barbecuing. And I said, "Set aside religion. Let's just talk evidence. I've got all of this evidence from the first century, multiple sources, many of them non-Christian sources that we've talked about earlier that point toward the fact that Jesus was crucified and was dead."
Lee Strobel:
I said, "Honestly, what have you got? You've got a guy 600 years later who says an angel told them in a cave it's not true." Let's just weigh the evidence. So in my view, none of them had the same credentials that Christianity does. Because of the New Testament being written so close to the time of the events they describe, the streams of the gospels go right back to the original people. There's proximity, there's archeological verification. There's 110 facts about the life teachings, miracles, death, and resurrection of Jesus from ancient sources outside the Bible. I just find a proliferation of evidence for Christianity that I just don't find for other faiths.
Eric Huffman:
And you're not even touching the moralistic arguments and things like that about you have one God who is love. You have a lot of other gods who are a lot of other things. If you have one God who is love and so committed to love that he would lay down his own life for the sake of those he loves. I think we all know, and the stories we tell, the movies we watch and the myths and things we love really do tell the truth about our hearts. We long for a God like this. We long for a story like this. There is no better story than a God who loves so richly that he would give his own life for those he loves. And we know it deep in our hearts the story of love.
Eric Huffman:
Guys, what an amazing night we've been able to have. Can we thank Lee for being with us?
Lee Strobel:
Thank you.
Eric Huffman:
Believe it or not, we only skimmed the surface of Lee's incredible body of work. Head to your favorite bookseller to pick up The Case for Christ, or his latest book, The Case for Miracles. And please remember, doubt is not the enemy of faith. Fear is. Doubt is just one of the many steps along the path toward a deeper faith. God can handle every question you've got.
Eric Huffman:
If you really want the truth, and if you're willing to let the truth change your life, God will never be offended or stumped by even your deepest doubts. So don't be ashamed of your questions, ask them. And not just on Google, ask them to God. Take your questions to friends or family members that you trust or, to your church if you have one. And don't forget to email me at producers@maybegodpod.com with your biggest questions about God or your deepest struggles with the Bible.
Eric Huffman:
Be sure to visit MaybeGodpod.com, where you can subscribe to our e-newsletter and receive all the latest Maybe God news. And of course, we'd love to have as many five star reviews on Apple Podcasts as possible, so that even more people can find us there. Thank you in advance for those reviews and as always, thank you for listening to Maybe God.
Eric Huffman:
This episode of Maybe God was produced by Andrea Gentle, Julie Mirlicourtois, and Eric and Geovanna Huffman. Our phenomenal editors are Shannon Stefan and Justin Mayer. Maybe God's photographer and social media guru is Kat Brough. Thanks for listening everybody.

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