Remarkably, Jesus made all of this impact as a result of just a three-year period of public ministry. If Jesus didn’t exist, one must wonder how a myth could so alter history. When world historian H. G. Wells was asked who has left the greatest legacy on history, he replied, “By this test Jesus stands first.”13
Documentary evidence and historical impact point to the fact that Jesus did exist. If Jesus did really exist, we also would expect to discover his footprints imprinted within the details of history. Myths don’t leave such confirming details.
One of the keys here for Durant and other scholars is the time factor. Myths and legends usually take hundreds of years to evolve—the story of George Washington never telling a lie was probably a lie, until two centuries turned it into legend. News of Christianity, on the other hand, spread too quickly to be attributed to a myth or legend. Had Jesus not existed, those who opposed Christianity would certainly have labeled him a myth from the outset. But they didn’t.
Such evidence, along with the early written accounts and the historical impact of Jesus Christ, convince even skeptical historians that the founder of Christianity was neither myth nor legend. But one expert on myths wasn’t so sure.
Oxford scholar C. S. Lewis was initially convinced that Jesus was nothing more than a myth. Lewis once stated, “All religions, that is, all mythologies … are merely man’s own invention—Christ as much as Loki.”15 (Loki is an old Norse god. Like Thor, but without the ponytail.)
Ten years after denouncing Jesus as a myth, Lewis discovered that historical details, including several eyewitness documents, verify his existence.
Jesus Christ has impacted history’s landscape like a massive earthquake. And this earthquake has left a trail wider than the Grand Canyon. It is this trail of evidence that convinces scholars that Jesus really did exist and really did impact our world 2,000 years ago.