This is a follow-up to my previous question.

Thomas had received the message from his fellow disciples that Jesus had risen from the dead. Being the skeptic that he is, he then rejected their testimony saying that he would not believe until he had seen Jesus for himself. (John 20:25)

This puts us, modern day readers of the gospel, in an awkward situation. Thomas' evidence was vastly superior to ours. Not only did he have evidence from direct eye-witness accounts, he could even interact with these witnesses and ask them questions about their testimony. On top of that, Thomas had previously met Jesus personally and had witnessed other miracles of his doing.

Everything taken into account, Thomas did not hold this as vindication of the resurrection, and Jesus being considerate of that decided to live up to Thomas' standards by manifesting himself directly.

Our sources on the other hand are accounts written after the time of Jesus, none written by eye-witness accounts (unless you consider Matthew and John traditions to be reliable, which most scholars believe to be anonymous) and most of the gospels, the synoptic gospels, are thought to have been based on a common written source rather than be independent testimonies of Jesus' ministry.)

Regarding Paul, we read that he was a Pharisee and a persecuter of the early disciples, whom he deemed as blasphemers. Paul came to believe in Jesus only after his revelation on the road to Damascus where Jesus directly manifested himself to him.

So if Thomas would not put up with evidence that is infinitely more valuable to what we have today, if Paul would not accept the testimony preached by the early disciples, why should we accept the resurrection, as related in the gospels? The common denominator of both is that they set their senses as their standard for truth, either by their sight, hearing, or touch. Can such a person who does not receive a revelation of this sort be faulted for disbelieving?

  • The Gospels are, at best, trying to encourage their readers to be(come) Christian, but certainly not automatically expecting them to, if that's what you mean.
    – user46876
    Aug 16, 2020 at 10:46
  • @Lucian Well, they encourage us to become Christians by showing us the evidence, but if such evidence is deemed insufficient by the reader as deemed by Thomas, how is one then to become a Christian?
    – RandomUser
    Aug 16, 2020 at 11:00
  • Thomas does not speak for everyone; just because he personally did not believe based merely on indirect evidence does not mean that everybody else shares his choice; after all, many others didn't, as can be seen from the aforementioned chapter, and its equivalent in the other Gospels.
    – user46876
    Aug 16, 2020 at 11:06
  • @RandomUser My answer to your other question actually covers this question as well. I highly recommend reading books by Craig Blomberg, a specialist in historical reliability of the Gospels. If one can reasonably certain that the gospel account is trustworthy, then we can easily take the next step of trusting Thomas as someone who has actually see, hear, and touch the resurrected Jesus, don't you think? For intro, see this paper Aug 23, 2020 at 19:04

1 Answer 1


The answers to your previous question establish that even Jesus considered Thomas' standards too high. But what's the right standard?

John actually answers this question for us in his gospel. He provides the incident with Thomas, presumably to raise exactly the questions you have raised. However, there is an extra sentence missing from the account you presented in your question.

Then Jesus told [Thomas], “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. John 20:29-31 (emphasis mine)

John shows us that Thomas was demanding too much evidence, but John believes he has provided just the right amount of evidence to enable belief. In fact, so much so, that he didn't include many miracles that he could have done.

Luke says much the same thing in his gospel.

Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught. Luke 1:1-4 (emphasis mine)

Often in a scientific paper, the author will comment "further research is needed" to show that they, the expert, believe their evidence is not sufficient. A doctor may call for a second opinion. The gospel writers make no such claim, and believe that they, the experts, have recorded exactly what they need to in order to allow for genuine belief.

  • 'Demanding too much evidence.' Yes, indeed +1. If they believe not Moses and the prophets nor will they believe, though a man rose from the dead. Unbelief will never believe, however much the evidence piles up and piles up. Unbelief still shakes its head and demands more. The word is not 'mixed with faith' in the heart. The word, alone, is not enough. Who hath believed our report ? . . . . And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed ? Isaiah 53.
    – Nigel J
    Aug 16, 2020 at 9:55
  • 1
    @Nigel J It's not that I outright reject the possibility of the resurrection and the exodus, it is that I deem the written accounts to be insufficient. I am a doubting Thomas. As long as I don't see such things with my own eyes or hear with my own ears or feel with my own flesh then I will remain unconvinced. Not because I am picky, but because I am sincerely unconvinced.
    – RandomUser
    Aug 16, 2020 at 11:09
  • 1
    @Nigel J But again, it's not that I am deliberately unconvinced. I could declare with my mouth that I believe in Jesus but in truth my mind would remain unconvinced, because my reasoning dictates that word of mouth is not enough to prove the resurrection. I believe that if Jesus is real and that if he cares about me enough to save me then he would show himself to me as he did with Thomas.
    – RandomUser
    Aug 16, 2020 at 13:02
  • @RandomUser Yes, exactly. He will show himself at the end of time, in the Day of Judgment. Then . . . 'at the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow'. You will be convinced then. Yes, everyone will. All the earth will then be convinced. But there are those who believe on Him now. And they love him and they serve him. And they will be rewarded. They saw him with the eye of faith.
    – Nigel J
    Aug 16, 2020 at 13:17
  • The fact that the Bible is preserved and available for us to read today in 1000’s of languages is evidence that it’s message is one that God wants all to hear. Since it has thus been preserved it is reliable. Would God preserve the message in inaccurate or untruthful form?
    – User 14
    Aug 16, 2020 at 15:11

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