As a lawyer, I am keenly aware of the central importance of eyewitnesses to getting at the truth of any matter. There is no better proof in the law than eyewitness testimony. The rules of law allow hearsay testimony (the testimony of what someone else said) only in extreme and limited circumstances because eyewitness testimony is considered inherently much more reliable.
Eyewitness testimony is light years more reliable than secondhand testimony, but even eyewitness testimony needs to be carefully considered along with the credibility of the eyewitnesses. People aren’t always good at observing details accurately. People sometimes fill in the gaps in understanding of what happened with details that are assumed, but which aren’t accurate. People do this consciously and unconsciously.
Eyewitnesses can also be influenced by subconscious biases and influences. Sometimes eyewitnesses even lie about what they have seen.
Because eyewitness testimony isn’t foolproof, we always compare eye witness testimony with other eye testimony and look for other evidence that will either corroborate or contradict the eyewitness testimony.
Still, most cases are built on eyewitness testimony. A case can be built on the testimony of a single, good eyewitness, but multiple eyewitnesses is always better. The more eyewitnesses that agree with each other on key facts (they will never agree on all details), and the more evidence that corroborates that testimony, the stronger a case is.
We see this principle at work in the narrative accounts contained in the Bible that we call the Gospels. The Bible expressly focuses on the testimony of eyewitnesses. Following is a summary of the eyewitness testimony that runs throughout the New Testament.Continue reading “The Case for Jesus Christ Rests on the Evidence of Eyewitnesses”