I recently read “The Myth of God Incarnate” edited by John Hick. If there was an argument that was supposed to be persuasive in there, I didn’t see it. It seems to be the idea in non-Christian literature to assume that not only is your opponent’s position completely false, but they have no arguments for it that are worth bringing up. Nowhere will you see the exegesis of John 1:1 or Jesus’s claims of deity even in Mark. I digress though. I wish to discuss another point.
In John Hick’s own essay in the book, he speaks of how the resurrection alone does not prove the deity of Christ. To that, I agree. It’s that Jesus claimed to be God and resurrected that matters. It is not that a resurrection happened but who was resurrected. The resurrection was the vindication of his claim in that they had put him to death as a blasphemer and God raised him showing their claim was wrong.
However, that is also not the point. In this section, Hick cites George Caird with an interesting situation and one point in it I really wish to discuss. Caird wants us to imagine that a good friend who we had good reason to believe was really dead turns out to have been seen to be alive again by reliable witnesses. Caird says in this “You would certainly feel compelled to revise some of your ideas about science.”
Where did we get this strange idea that miracles means you throw science out the window. Miracles are interactions within the laws of nature that happen to be by God. If I catch an apple falling from a tree, no one thinks that the laws of science need to be re-examined. Instead, they realize an outside interference has set in. Science does not deal with that. Science tells you what happens when there is no interference.
Now it could be that if dead people started consistently coming back to life, then we might have reason to re-examine our science. However, in this case, if we have reason to believe that God performed a miracle, then there is no need to re-examine science. A Christian doctor, for instance, could fully believe that one of his patients was healed in response to prayer, and still go on to the next one and prescribe medication. (If anything, it would change the doctor’s view of prayer and not his view of medicine.)
And in fact, if this kind of event happened, it would be our view of God that would be affected. Some of us would think “You know, God apparently does more miracles in our age than I thought he did.” This would not change many of our fundamental ideas however. We would scarcely doubt upon this happening that God was triune for instance.
Yet as I see an objection like this from Caird, it just leaves me puzzled. I believe a science teacher could see a miracle take place like a resurrection and still go to a class and teach that when people die, their bodies decay. (Granted, said teacher might need to take a few days off from work in order to get past the shock though.)
The fundamental position is then that the only kind of science that will have to be re-examined is a science that is based on a naturalistic worldview that says that such cannot happen. If you live in a world and you think that all that happens is the result of naturalistic processes alone and dead people don’t come back to life, then you most certainly have to re-examine your science. If, on the other hand, you believe in a God who is capable of raising the dead to new life, then there is no need to re-examine your science.
As a Christian, I realize the value of science, but I do not believe it is the ultimate ground of truth and there are objects that don’t work according to scientific processes strictly. While my body works according to them, my typing out these words right now I do not believe to be the result of scientific processes but the result of a free-will decision on my part. (One could argue that my fingers moving and hitting the keys are a result, but I trust that my readers understand the point being made.)
When God interferes, I also don’t see a need to abandon science. Because he happened to impregnate a virgin girl, I see no reason to throw out the idea that generally speaking, sex is essential for reproduction. (I seriously doubt Joseph did also seeing as they had other children. Chances are Joseph and Mary decided to use God’s technique for bringing new life into the world. They had no reason to abandon the belief that children came through sexual reproduction because a virgin birth had taken place in the family.)
It is my hope that good Christian scientists will rise up also who will present such a view to the atheistic community. They will show not only scientific reasons for believing in the existence of God, but just do good science. Their goal will be to point out to the world that they believe in God, but they also believed he created a world of order that can be studied and that does not go against the Christian faith in either way.
Time will tell if my request is answered or not.