Documentation of facts and preservation of events for decades and centuries, this is what we need history for. Many histories can be told by one generation after another, whereas science is the way to prove that these events told by history are real.
In this article, we will be concerned about Jesus Christ Crucifixion, as an event that was the first and the last of its kind. Researchers have focused on the phenomena that manifested simultaneously with the Crucifixion. Some of them cannot be even explained by meteorology or astronomy. This is what pushed these researchers, even the nonbelievers, to assure that the person crucified at this time was not a normal person.
During the sixth hour of Jesus Christ Crucifixion day, many unexplained phenomena happened, as the darkness that came all over the land for almost three hours (from the sixth to the ninth hour) (Matthew 27:45). Science has proven that this darkness has taken place indeed at noon time (sixth hour) but failed to get an explanation for it. Moreover, the earth that did quake and the rocks that rent could not be explained, especially as they happened simultaneously with the darkness.
Evidences about Jesus Christ Crucifixion can fall under many categories, including the tools used for the crucifixion, specific people’s names like governors and rulers at crucifixion time, and unexplained natural phenomena accompanying the crucifixion.
First, the tools used for the crucifixion were the nails, the crown of thorns, and the cross itself.
The nails used in Jesus Christ crucifixion can be found in Rome (the Cross Church) and Paris (one nail in Sainte Denise Church and the other is in Saint-Germain-des-Prés). For the crown of thorns, it was preserved in the Cathedral of Paris. It is one of the most intact evidences of the tools used for Jesus Christ crucifixion.
Then most importantly is the cross itself. Scientists were able to get the exact weight and height of the cross. It weighs 90 kg and measures 180 million cubic millimeters. It has the regular cross shape +, with a horizontal part at two-thirds of its height. At its base, it also has a place for the person’s legs to be putted. Jesus Christ cross was divided into many portions and was spread around the world, in addition to two portions (one in Rome and the other in Constantinople).
Scientists were able to discover an old cave going back to the first century. Researchers found 53 boxes full of nails and human bones in this cave. One of these nails was found to be attached to a human heel, which means that while the nail was taken off, a part of the crucified person’s heel came out with it. This nail is 17 cm long. This is a proof that the Roman Empire used the nails for crucifixion during the first century. This is also why Jesus Christ asked Thomas when he appeared to him to touch the place of wounds caused by the nails in Jesus hands, so that he became sure that this is Jesus who was crucified and who appeared to him.
Second was the detailing in stating the rulers names during the time of crucifixion. For Pontius Pilate, the roman ruler who gave the order to crucify Jesus Christ, archeology has discovered a stone in an old Roman theater near to Jerusalem where Pontius Pilate name was graved. The stone said that Pontius Pilate is the ruler of Jerusalem. This is a fact that Pontius Pilate name stated in the bible (Luke 23:23) was a real person.
For Caiaphas, the chief priest, who decided that Jesus Christ is a blasphemous man and should be crucified (John 18:13), archeology found tombs full of human bones where it was written on one the name of Mariam (Caiaphas’ daughter) and another with Caiaphas name from the top and the side. That proves that Caiaphas was a real person during the time of Jesus Christ. Also Caiaphas name was mentioned by the Jewish historian Josephus, as the chief priest at the time of Jesus crucifixion.
Third is the supernatural phenomenon that happened during crucifixion. Julius Africanus (200-245) documented the testimony of two contemporary persons of the time of crucifixion: Phlegon and Thallus.
Phlegon documented that ‘’in the time of Tiberius Caesar, while it was full moon, there was a full eclipse of the sun from the sixth hour to the ninth hour.’’ While Thallus documented in his third book the darkness that happened during crucifixion day by saying: ‘’ I think what happened was an eclipse of the sun’’ without mentioning what is the reason behind that eclipse. Julius commented that the crucifixion took place the day before the day of the Passover of the Hebrews, which is on the 14th of the month (full moon), while eclipses can happen either on the last day of the month or the first day of the new month, not the 14th.
Another documentation was made by Tertullian the priest (140-220 C) From North Africa saying: ‘’The same time when Jesus gave his soul on the cross, the sun (while in full shininess) and the moon’s light disappear. And the Roman themselves have documented this miracle in their books.’’
The Roman documented these supernatural phenomena and related them to the Gods and believed in the Christianity based on the unnatural phenomena. Saint Donatus of Athens, who was atheist, was studying the astronomy in Egypt during the time of crucifixion. He watched the solar eclipse and found no reason for it. He said’’ it must be the God of nature is in pain, or the world is about to end.’’ Then when he went back to Athens and heard Saint Paul talking about the Crucifixion of Jesus and all the supernatural phenomena that appeared at this time, he linked it to what he saw when he was in Egypt. Then he believed in Christianity and documented all what he saw in his seventh letter and became the first Bishop of Athens.
Another evidence on the crucifixion is the report sent by Pontius Pilate to the Roman Emperor Tiberius Caesar explaining that the sun’s light disappeared at noon time, a complete darkness fall on the land, and the moon looked red like blood.
These were some evidences documented or said by people who were atheists and became Christians, or by the people who crucified Jesus Christ. This is why science and history, both together, had helped to document and preserve the fact of Jesus Christ crucifixion over the centuries.