The Greatest Men in History


To millions of persons,
Jesus is more than a man.
But a historian must disregard this fact.
He must adhere to the evidence
that would pass unchallenged if his book
were to be read in every nation under the sun.

Yet more than 1900 years later a historian
like myself who doesn’t even call himself a Christian
finds the picture centering irresistibly around the life
and character of this most significant man.

We sense the magnetism that induced men who had
seen him only once to leave their business and follow him.
He filled them with love and courage.
Weak and ailing people were heartened by his presence.
He spoke with a knowledge and authority
that baffled the wise.

But other teachers have done all this.
These talents alone would not have given him
the permanent place of power by virtue of the new
and profound ideas which he released.

His is one of the most revolutionary doctrines that
has ever been stirred and changed human thought.
No age has even yet understood fully
the tremendous challenge it carries . . .
But the world began to be a different world
from the day that doctrine was preached . . .

The historian’s test of an individual’s greatness is,
“Did he start men to think along fresh lines
with a vigor that persisted after him?”

By this test, Jesus stands first.

–H. G. Wells
Three Greatest Men in History

The Dominant Figure in History

christ-4-dJesus of Nazareth is easily the dominant figure in history. I am speaking of Him, of course, as a man. For I can see that the historian must treat Him as a man, just as the painter must paint Him as a man… To assume that He never lived and that the accounts of His life are inventions is more difficult and raises more problems in the path of the historian than to accept the essential elements of the Gospel stories as fact.

Of course, you and I live in countries where to millions of men and women Jesus is more than a man. But the historian must disregard that fact. He must adhere to the evidence which would pass unchallenged if His book were to be read in every nation under the sun.

Now, it is interesting and significant, isn’t it, that an historian setting forth in that spirit, without any theological bias whatsoever, should find that he simply cannot portray the progress of humanity honestly without giving the foremost place to a penniless teacher from Nazareth.

–H. G. Wells, (1866–1946)
Author, historian and outspoken critic of Christianity

A Materialist Reflects on God

HG Wells 5H.G. Wells was not a religious man; he was the apostle of scientific materialism and an enemy of organized faith. However, his study of history and his observation of human life led him to write the following words: “Religion is the first thing and the last thing, and until a man has found God and been found by God, he begins at no beginning, he works to no end. He may have his friendships, his partial loyalties, his scraps of honor. But all these things fall into place and life falls into place only with God.”

-Quoted from H. G. Well’s novel: Mr. Britling Sees It Through