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The stories of the miracles of Jesus have survived 2000 years through written records by multiple witnesses. These records were compiled into a collection called "The Bible", which has been reproduced more than any other book on the planet. Early reproduction theoretically makes modification less possible, as any discrepancies would stand out when compared to other reproductions.

Today however, 2000 years later, many people don't believe that the miracles ever happened.

If Jesus performed miracles today, how could we more convincingly document them so that a society 2000 years from now would believe that they actually happened?

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    $\begingroup$ Related question about Jesus and proof. $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Aug 28 '15 at 21:52
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    $\begingroup$ Youtube videos, obviously. $\endgroup$ – Oldcat Aug 28 '15 at 22:29
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    $\begingroup$ "Early reproduction theoretically makes modification less possible, as any discrepancies would stand out when compared to other reproductions." There are many versions of the bible, and the current compilation of stories is a selection for political reasons (definition of Jesus as son of god, he wasn't for the first centuries of christianity) and internally with a lot of contradictions. Still some people believe in it. Doesn't look like the quality and consistency of the documents has a lot to do with getting devoted believers, otherwise there wouldn't be many. $\endgroup$ – his Aug 29 '15 at 4:58
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    $\begingroup$ None of the accounts of Jesus' life were written by witnesses. Not one. $\endgroup$ – Wad Cheber Aug 31 '15 at 5:53
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    $\begingroup$ @his where can I find/read these "many versions"? I tried searching, but all I found was other translations of the same version. $\endgroup$ – adamdport Aug 31 '15 at 15:13

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Henry's answer makes a good point: a miracle of prophesy could not only avoid the CGI issue with documenting events, but continue to convince future audiences.

Someone active today could easily leave terabytes of information as computer files. This could be replicated and seen to exist by many, and not be switchable like a magician's envelope because everyone has an independent copy.

It could include annual predictions that are unlocked by keys derived from data received from distant quasars, or cracked once the technology has progressed or time spent brute-forcing.

The annual file opened might refer to current events and use file formats of the day, and include a renewal of any message to impart.

This would convince people that time travel or reverse causalty is possible, anyway.

How about a durable supernatural artifact that would still be inspected and studied in that far future? It would convince people that known physics is not all there is. It could be designed to cut to the heart of the most fundamental principles, so it can't be explained as just another as-yet-unknown thing. It could have continuing subtitles that freshly astound generations with greater depths of understanding of normal physics.

But why is ordinary evidence needed? The show Stargate SG1 had a sequel movie called Ark of Truth that would simply convince anyone exposed to it.

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    $\begingroup$ The prophecy solution expires though, right? The original Jesus' legitimacy is based on this principle, but now that the prophecies are fulfilled, they've ceased to function as evidence. $\endgroup$ – adamdport Sep 2 '15 at 22:03
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    $\begingroup$ The point is to have people keep the content but not be able to read it until it's revealed. Knowing what someone prophesized already and then doing that is not the same thing. Also show knowledge of details of people not yet born, and astronomical events, not personal to-do list. $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Sep 3 '15 at 1:34
  • $\begingroup$ I'm just saying that he couldn't make infinite "content". Eventually, all that he prophesied would have been revealed, and we'd be in the same predicament. I concede that this DOES answer the question, as the people of 4000 AD could be convinced, just maybe not 5000AD too :) $\endgroup$ – adamdport Sep 3 '15 at 14:24
  • $\begingroup$ @adamdport: A few TB worth of prophesy could extend to the end of the world. $\endgroup$ – Joshua May 1 '17 at 1:11
  • $\begingroup$ 10 megabytes is a lot of text, able to explain the year’s events in some detail. Multiply by 5000 years and you get 50 gigabytes. I suggested terabytes, so you’re not rationing to worry about running out of space in a few thousand years. $\endgroup$ – JDługosz May 1 '17 at 1:15
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Do something that is (semi-)easily verifiable to have occured, but shown to be impossible using the technology of the time.

The thing you do must completely defy the natural way things happen, so that you can rule out "freak chance occurance", be impossible to cover up by humans, and be such a display of power that it cannot possibly be done by a human at that level of technology.

Here's a simple example that is in fitting with most forms of theology (which seem strongly linked to astrology):

Create a new star

It takes more energy than the human race can output (even a few hundred years in the future), it's easy to check that it wasn't there before (with records of stars going back centuries already), you can measure the star to collect things like age statistics and it will continue to shine for millions of years as a reminder of what you did.

If you put it in a good place, close enough that it's really visible (preferably the brighest star in the night sky) then it will be pretty hard to deny that something miraculous has happened. If you pull all of the necessary fuel from nearby clouds in such a way that it could not have happened naturally then it becomes fairly hard to deny that something unexplainable happened.

If your prophet told everyone (around the world) to gather around and look up, and snapped his fingers at the exact moment that the star became visible, then it will be fairly hard to deny that he did it. And impossible to deny that it was a miracle.

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    $\begingroup$ Doesn't this just shift focus onto the veracity of the centuries-old records of stars? $\endgroup$ – adamdport Aug 31 '15 at 14:48
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    $\begingroup$ Not if you can still measure that the star is only a few thousand years old, tops. It's also nearly impossible to fake thousands of years of independant observation. The main problem with myths is that they usually only have one source, or a bunch of interconnected sources. That's not a problem with stars. $\endgroup$ – Erik Aug 31 '15 at 16:53
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    $\begingroup$ There is a problem here though, and that is that 2000 years is a long time. It might be easy to convince people in 100 years that the incident happened 100 years ago, or even be fairly convincing 500 years from now, but in 2000 years, even with video evidence - which will have to be copies of copies of copies, multiple eye-witness accounts, and special non-volatile records (do we have recording technology that can last 2000 years?), it will be difficult to convince people for certain that it took place. Maybe the star just hadn't been discovered yet? $\endgroup$ – colmde Aug 31 '15 at 17:00
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    $\begingroup$ You just have to measure the trails of gasses and the way the star acts and you can see that most of its mass was pulled from nearby nebula a really short (astronomically speaking) time ago, which is something that simply doesn't happen naturally. With that really weird scientific reading combined with hundreds of sources that all agree with each other that this happened when some guy snapped his fingers, you have one of the strongest miracles you can perform. $\endgroup$ – Erik Aug 31 '15 at 18:29
  • $\begingroup$ +1 I think this is a good answer. But I also think it needs to be complemented with other activities. People would begin to investigate how the star happened to be formed in a way that wasn't supernatural; a phenomenon that we just don't know about yet. Future people would assume we couldn't observe correctly. Your prophet may have just been privy to a phenomenon, or may have been lucky, or the story of him doing it (over years, even with videos) is shady. If someone said they will do this, how many people would flock to film it? 10? 15? $\endgroup$ – Mikey Sep 1 '15 at 19:42
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If Jesus performed miracles today, you would have great difficulty even convincing people of TODAY that they happened. Even if you video taped them, skeptics would just conclude that the video had been post edited.

Even recently, somebody addressed the UN with his testimony that he had been miraculously healed. Obviously, they don't give crack-pots a microphone at the UN unless they are backed up by independent medical investigations. So this is 'proof' of miracles. So what? Nobody is listening. Nobody wants to know.

http://www.cnsnews.com/blog/penny-starr/christian-pastor-dead-45-minutes-tells-un-god-has-totally-raised-me-dead

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  • $\begingroup$ Got a link for that? Why address the UN? If he had a case he should go after the Randi prize. $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Aug 29 '15 at 3:34
  • $\begingroup$ I included a link. Although, I think I remember seeing a longer cut of this speech originally. $\endgroup$ – Lorry Laurence mcLarry Aug 29 '15 at 3:58
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    $\begingroup$ "“The answer, your excellencies, to the violence of our day and to the human atrocities of our day is Jesus,” he said." I'm sure that will stop the Muslims in there tracks, and give Jews a warm welcome feeling. The answer to violence "some of which is caused by idiology" is more of the same, he would have us believe. $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Aug 29 '15 at 4:04
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    $\begingroup$ Why does my post make it appear that I was offended? How is it a correct answer, when it's really a comment and does not answer the question at all? $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Aug 29 '15 at 17:15
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    $\begingroup$ This website is not Quora. If people are having an argument, they can take it to chat. $\endgroup$ – Obie 2.0 Sep 2 '15 at 6:30
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Let's take as a given that the Bible is an accurate record of the events 2000 years ago (as your question implies).

Some witnesses of the miracles do not believe in Jesus.

Act 4:16 Saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it.

So the Jewish high priest and friends clearly says the miracle was obvious and we cannot deny it, yet their actions clearly show that this did not matter to them, they were not going to follow Jesus or recognize him as the messiah.

This was a miracle of the apostles, but the raising of Lazarus by Jesus has similar elements.

John 11:45-53 Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him. But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done. Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation. And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad. Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death.

There was 2 different outcomes to the miracle, some saw and believed in Jesus, others saw, admitted the miracle and set about to kill him.

Perhaps the best evidence of the truthfulness of the miracles is perhaps that the witnesses were willing to die instead of recanting their belief.

No matter what time in history that real miracles are performed, there would be believers and unbelievers in those miracle. Even the Bible itself recognizes this.

John 20:30-31 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

Notice the word choice of the translators, that you "might believe".

If you believe in the miracles of Jesus, you are unlikely to believe in those of Mohammad, or Joseph Smith, or those of Zeus, etc. Belief in miracles is a matter of faith -- even when you are an eye-witness.

Thanks to Photoshop and CGI that we see in movies, there is no miracle that could be performed today that could not simply ve dismissed out of hand as computer generated by someone 2000 years from now. Sleight of hand is a further problem. With further technological advances, miracles become even harder to prove -- perhaps expressed in Clarke's Law: Any technology, sufficiently advanced, is indistinguishable from magic.

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  • $\begingroup$ There's a reason why the sign of a prophet is fulfilled prophesy. The minimum power required to forge it is just too great. $\endgroup$ – Joshua May 1 '17 at 1:15
  • $\begingroup$ You bring up an interesting point, not only about the ability to prove a miracle occurred, but how useful it would be in practice. Miracles are a nice way of gaining attention, but when the local religion has laws like Deuteronomy 13:1 (if a person comes and performs miracles and then says to worship other gods, kill them) then performing miracles won't really help your case. $\endgroup$ – IndigoFenix Jun 21 '18 at 6:46
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I believe this is outside the scope of mankind's abilities. Jesus though, being a manifestation of God and having or having access to omnipotent powers should have no problem.

Persistent Miracles / Create Divine Artifacts

So man says

Jesus, it is wonderful that you have performed these miracles and convinced us of your divinity. But what of future generations? It is beyond our abilities to prove that these miracles really happened because there will be skeptics who say the records are not authentic or your miracles were mere tricks. But you could perform a miracle that will last forever by creating a miraculous object, and thus proving for all time your Divinity.

What kind of miracles? Pretty much anything will do as long as it is inexplicable and defies all science. A perpetually burning object defying thermodynamics, a levitating object defying gravity, a "holographic" image of Jesus preaching, with visual and audio (generating photons and sound waves with no energy source), a thingy which transmutes water into wine, or lead into gold, or clones fish, in complete and fragrant violation of conservation of energy, there are so many possibilities.

Naturally, any such miraculous artifacts should be genuinely indestructible which fits well in the theme of violating natural laws as we know them. Detonate a nuke on them, they wont care, heck they wont even become radioactive, put then in the CERN particle accelerator bombard them with antiprotons and not an atom will be knocked loose. (Note: Jesus should insist that mankind regularly test the limits of these artifacts, and state clearly and repeatadly and insist that people write it down, that it is not blasphemy to drop the fish-cloning stick in a volcano)

They should have inexplicable and miraculous homing instinct, so that if some smartass tries to encase one in concrete or launch it into the Sun, it will break free from its predicament and migrate to it's place of creation or manifest itself to any suitable holy man/woman.

They should be made out of no element known to science, so that spectrographs and scanning electron microscopes say nothing of their composition (or they should appear perfectly ordinary, except having inexplicable powers and defying all efforts to destroy them). The artifacts must be so divine in nature, that they bamboozle not only 21st century science, but science for all time, no matter how technologically advanced.

Considering how momentous these artifacts will be they should leave a dramatic mark on history. Future historians should have little difficulty seeing that society changed dramatically (for example the sudden appearance of news reports about the latest tests of the indestructibility of the artifacts), and concluding that before a certain year (or at least decade) they weren't in the world, and after a certain year they were, and this should fit closely with the historical records claiming that Jesus was performing miracles at that time, and any alternative explanation for the origin of the divine artifacts will seem needlessly convoluted.

But what if Jesus wont co-operate?

He's probably a charlatan who doesn't really have omnipotent powers, he'll make up some excuse like "proof denies faith" or some other waffle, and seriously call into doubt whether the miracles were real at all. In fact, if Jesus isn't going to co-operate in documenting that his miracles are truly miraculous and not just magic tricks, then mankind is very much stuffed in proving they were real for future generations.

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  • $\begingroup$ "A perpetually burning object"–like the sun? This was allegedly created by god, but there are still non-believers. "Should be made out of no element known to science"–what about love? $\endgroup$ – adamdport Sep 2 '15 at 19:10
  • $\begingroup$ The sun is not perpetually burning and hence doesn't break thermodynamics. First the thermonuclear reaction that the sun undergoes is pretty dissimilar to combustion, second the sun won't last forever. $\endgroup$ – FraserOfSmeg Sep 10 '15 at 5:05
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    $\begingroup$ Interestingly, there are some theological principles that state that the only difference between a miracle and a physical law is that a physical law persists while a miracle is temporary - this would mean that a persistent miraculous artifact is a contradiction in terms. But perhaps a natural object that does not defy natural law by its existence, but could not have been made without a miracle, could work. $\endgroup$ – IndigoFenix Jun 21 '18 at 6:54
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Just speculation; no offense intended.

Separation from the Others

There was no shortage of claimants as the Messiah. Simon of Paraea comes to mind, as well I recall someone called The Egyption. The literal term is zealot (not in the offensive way). There are many people in the 2,000's who claim to be the next-big-thing. Even David Karesh claimed to be some kind of Gift of Prophecy in Christianity.

This new-Jesus' followers must establish a way to create her as 'different' than the nutjobs. They must document very well the kind of miracles (or even teachings) the new-Jesus undertakes.

I suggest your new-Jesus establish precedent in the following.

Fulfilling a Prophesy

Your new Jesus must fulfill a prophecy. Unfortunately many of the old-testament prophecies, have been taken by old-Jesus. Your new Jesus can predict the future, but luckily not all prophecies are the future; for example, the First Epistle to the Corinthians suggests that you can spot that the right Messiah benefits the Church and not the individual. Sticking to these charms would do your new-Jesus well: Prophecy doesn't necessarily mean future-predictions.

Liturgy

Your new-Jesus should establish liturgy whereby it is a public gathering in worship, not wholly private. I think in order for new-Jesus to last 2,000 years, her legacy should be very public and very well-accepted over time.

Reputation Management

It's very important that new-Jesus has a pretty clean social media record; in today's (and presumably the future's) time anything you do is well documented. Those videos of new-Jesus should be well documented, but crystal clean and completely altruistic.

Communication

The followers of new-Jesus must ensure that her legacy and information is conveyed in the latest-and-greatest technology. Today that is dissemination among film, television, phone, and most importantly, Internet. But this has to continue in the future. One of the first products of the Gutenberg's Printing Press was a copy of the Bible. Heck, Moses had clay tablets and Mohamed had his writings as well. Whatever the teachings of the new-Jesus are, they should be documented in the latest technology very well. This might mean a lot of blogs...

Conviction

Whatever cosmic powers new-Jesus has, it will be the hardest thing in today's world to get started, but it needs to be timeless. Politically, she needs to focus on supporting the 'underdog,' which should include.

  • Peace
  • Meek Shall Inherit the Earth
  • Altruism
  • Health & Safety for all

Timelessness

I have no idea what will be taboo in tomorrow's world, but in order to protect reputation, there should be well documented caveat's in new-Jesus' teaching that allows flexibility. Other religions that don't allow this might be popular today, but that is out of desperation and acting out. Convictions (not necessarily religious) that allow flexibility have and will last longer.

This question is a tough cookie.

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Well, there are two ways people seem to be answering this question: how ordinary mortals could convince the people of 2000 years in the future, and how a divine entity could convince those same people.

The way for humans to convince future humans of the veracity of some miracle is simply to agree on it, and provide various independent video evidence. There is a problem of storage media, but 2000 years is quite short, relatively speaking. For example, Milleniata and Hitachi have developed an optical drive that they claim will last for millenia. It hardly matters, though, because the data can simply be transferred from storage system to storage system as technology changes. If nearly all of humanity, in a relatively scientific age, is convinced of the veracity of any phenomenon due to direct personal observation, this will provide very strong evidence to future humanity. Combine that with millions of firsthand videos from multiple angles, all corroborating the same thing, and it becomes much more logical to assume that a supernatural agency is at work than to try to cook up a supposedly scientific explanation. Around a billion people currently believe the Bible, to one degree or another. If just one person had been able to take a video, it would probably be more like six billion. With extensive documentation, convincing future humans should be a piece of cake.

Suppose that future humanity is particularly close-minded, though, and that indirect evidence of anything does not satisfy them. After spending a lot of time reinventing the wheel, they will presumably have time to evaluate miracles. What could Jesus (or equivalent), do to convince them? Why not make someone from the earlier time immortal? Not merely not aging, but invulnerable, or constantly resurrecting like Jack Harkness. Besides providing a first hand account of the events that occurred previously, this individual would be a living proof of the miracle itself. Scientists could examine their cells and see nothing that differed from an ordinary human, yet the whole would be immortal. More to the point, such a person would constitute an ongoing phenomenon violating the generally applicable laws of nature, as opposed to a phenomenon whose creation would have been obviously miraculous, but whose continuing presence is less so.

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When you're looking at the Bible as authenticating data, remember a couple things. First, most of our current copies of Biblical writings are from centuries after Jesus died, and even the originals were likely written some time after Jesus died. Go ask your mom and dad about something that happened 20-30 years ago and see how different the stories are.

Second, the Bible was written by people who believed in Jesus, which means they are far more susceptible to deception by Jesus, to inflating the import of what Jesus did in their own minds, and to gross hyperbole when describing the already-exaggerated stories to others.

If the stories in the New Testament had been independently confirmed by the Caesar of Rome, the Emperor of the Han Dynasty, and some random Mayans who got lost at sea, it would be a lot more credible. But even then, it could just mean lots of powerful people got duped. And remember that magical thinking was pretty common back then, so duping people would have been somewhat easier.

The advantages we have today include real-time recording, a much higher degree of skepticism and capacity to call out the frauds, global data connections that mean the recordings could be in pretty much every country on the planet within seconds, and much better methods of preserving that data for long time periods.

However, this presumes Jesus2K is willing to do his miracles in front of scientists in controlled environments and let it be recorded. He'd probably be asked to wear all sorts of sciencey gizmos and so forth, and he might not like that.

And, of course, "we can't explain it" and/or "it's definitely far beyond the ken of contemporary humanity" are not remotely the same as "proof of the divine". Even if Jesus walked into my house right now and restored my neck to pre-cancer days or fixed my spinal damage with a touch of his finger, "he's an alien from another dimension", "time traveler from the future" or "the psychic energy from a critical mass of couch potatoes spontaneously created a spirit healer in my living room" aren't any crazier explanations than "avatar of a god". So depending on your definition of "miracle", it might be impossible to prove it to people from 4k even in 4k.

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If the goal is specifically to be recognized as miraculous by people twenty centuries from the current age, the child would have to ask his all-knowing father this exact question. That higher being, would know the scope and limits of his son's 4K audience, and could design each miracle to hint at truths just beyond their current knowledge.

To clarify what I mean by this, if 2000 years ago, Jesus had asked Dad for such design assistance, our Bible's miraculous accounts might demonstrate a harmony between quantum and macro-scale physics, leading us towards an as of yet unrevealed, unified field theory.

I know this doesn't really answer your question, but maybe it will help others provide more practical answers.

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He will have to live on for two thousand years - which may be a miracle in itself and convince the denizens of the future in person.

There are futurologists, philosophers and transhumanists that believe in some point we will reach what could be called a technological singularity - that is a point in history where technology evolves so fast, that much of the development that happens during that period will seem magical or miraculous to previous generations. There are some that believe this is happening right now.

We can't even fathom what the world will be like two thousand years from now, should technology keep evolving. Who knows? Maybe in the future we will have time machines. Maybe Jesus himself was a time traveling technomage, impressing people with holograms, using nanobots to keep afloat and to heal people...

The point being, whatever technology exists in the future will seem miraculous to us, so whatever seems miraculous to the future can't even be imagined right now.


It would be pretty cool if he could ressurect some dinosaurs and make them shoot lasers from their eyes. I see no way to do so with technology and I would totally worship someone who could do that.

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A convincing argument for something should provide evidence such that the something is the most likely explanation for the evidence. The more unlikely the claim, the harder it is for alternative explanations to be more likely. And the reliability of evidence depends on assumptions about the physical world. If things can pop into the universe without regard to physical laws, then loaves and fishes appearing out of nowhere is less likely than video of such appearing out of nowhere.

So it would be quite difficult to have an airtight case, but it would be possible to do much better than the Bible.

The stories of the miracles of Jesus have allegedly survived 2000 years through written records by multiple witnesses.

There is nothing to suggest that the Gospels were written by witnesses, or even by people who spoke with witnesses. It is generally accepted that the Gospels were written decades after the events they describe by anonymous writers. There are portions that quite clearly were not written by witnesses. I'm not going to list every single one of them, but for just one example, two of the Gospels provide genealogies for Jesus (which, BTW, are inconsistent). Unless the writers were thousands of years old, they couldn't have possibly be speaking from personal experience. And the writers make absolutely no effort to distinguish between different types of statements. What is legend? What did they personally witness? What did they hear directly from eye-witnesses? Who were those witnesses, what exactly did they see, and what corroboration did they have? All of these are questions that someone trying to convince future generations could at least try to answer. And of course, these days there is video and other records.

Early reproduction theoretically makes modification less possible, as any discrepancies would stand out when compared to other reproductions.

There were dozens of different versions of the Gospels. The Church simply declared four of them to be canon, and most people don't know about the rest.

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