Skeptics love to tell Christians that the Gospel stories developed over time, adding more mythological elements as they went along. Matthew and Luke copied Mark plus added more fables. And then you get John’s Gospel, which is total theological fan-fiction according to the critics.
But if that’s true, why do the Gospels have interlocking details that seem to be unlikely if they were just copied from each other or some other common source? The Gospels frequently add passing details that answer a question raised by the other in a way that fits together like a jigsaw puzzle. Fictions and forgeries don’t work that way. Some scholars call these undesigned coincidences. So what the heck is an undesigned coincidence anyway?
Philosopher Lydia McGrew defines an undesigned coincidence as “a notable connection between two or more accounts or texts that don’t seem to have been planned by the person giving the accounts.” The term was first coined by William Paley and popularized by JJ Blunt in the 19th-century.
Allow me to give you some examples of these from the Gospels. Mark that these all come from the passion and resurrection accounts — a big, fat target of the skeptics.
Erik is a Reasonable Faith Chapter Director located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He’s a former freelance baseball writer and the co-owner of a vintage and handmade decor business with his wife, Dawn. He is passionate about the intersection of apologetics and evangelism.