by Barry Newton
Has science rendered God obsolete? Has God been reduced to a vanishingly small God-of-the gaps? Skeptics might assert this is so. Nothing could be further from the truth.
For a second let’s ignore a whole host of Creator friendly scientifically based evidence. Let’s disregard the appearance of Someone fine tuning our universe’s physical laws upon a razor’s edge to make life possible. Let’s pay no attention to the empirical research confirming mutational limitations.
Furthermore, overlook those scientific predictions from Intelligent Design theorists, which have now been verified, that “junk DNA” performs essential functions. Ignore such quandaries as the exquisitely engineered information and design within the living cell defying naturalistic explanations.
Instead, let’s pretend that the naturalistic imagination discovers plausible explanations for the origin of our universe, our life and every known physical force and process. What would be achieved? The most we could legitimately infer would be that God’s intervention would be unnecessary to account for their existence and their functioning.
Would we have gained reliable knowledge regarding whether a God exists, who is separate from the universe, who watches and knows everything? No. Plausibility determines neither history nor reality.
Just as a plausible scientific explanation for the origin of a dirt pile is incapable of denying either my existence or my responsibility in creating that mound of dirt through whatever means I might have chosen, so, too, scientific understanding is incapable of denying either God’s existence, God’s role in origins, or the possibility of God intervening in our world in marvelous ways. As hard as it might be to hear, science, as wonderful as it is, possesses limitations.
Hence, even if viable naturalistic explanations are discovered for everything (and we are a very long, long way from this), God could still be there watching everything, knowing everything. More importantly, each of us could still be facing God’s judgment after we die.
The questions, “Is there a God?” and “Will I face God after death?” are not resolved by discovering naturalistic explanations for origins and processes. Could another path exist?
If Christianity is false, God might or might not exist. However, if Jesus actually rose from death after three days, God must exist.
So what about the resurrection? We can not go back in time, whether to witness Jesus’ resurrection nor to watch a large rock fall into a lake if its fall was outside our field of vision. However, when we see concentric expanding waves, we can know something of an appropriate magnitude caused those ripples.
Since the Romans were experts in execution, what would be required to cause all of the following waves to break forth during the first century A.D.?
Unlike myth or legend that erupts after the eyewitnesses die, Jesus’ resurrection was quickly proclaimed.
Unlike propaganda, the Gospels contain embarrassing details regarding Jesus’ apostles and the first witnesses to the resurrection. The simplest explanation is the author merely recounted what happened.
Those offering eyewitness testimony preferred death over recanting.
Although the Jewish matrix regarded Jesus’ claims as blasphemous, something caused them to overcome this objection thus propelling Christianity’s rapid growth within their ranks.
Within a very short time, something transformed fearful disciples into bold proclaimers announcing, “He is risen.”
Something transformed a man who had the best of education, financial resources, social power and influence, and a sterling reputation by the status quo into willingly becoming a persecuted outsider. Saul of Tarsus, who later became the apostle Paul, attributed his abrupt change to having spoken with the risen Christ.
What can account for all of this? For you, where does the evidence point?