Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth! We’ve been looking lately at atheist sound bites. These are ideas that are thrown around the water cooler, or in our case, the blogosphere, meant to stop Christians in their tracks. So far, not one has done so. What we are looking at tonight, is not one sound bite but a kind of genre of sound bites.
I was on Keith Parsons’s blog recently when I heard an atheist argue against the resurrection by saying how we know that dead people stay dead. When I see a statement like this, it is hard to believe that someone can seriously put that position forward as if it was an intellectual argument. Here’s why.
Let’s suppose for sake of argument that we lived in a universe where 10% of people who died came back to life again shortly afterwards and we did not know why. Jesus’s resurrection being accurately predicted could be something as he has a one-in-ten chance of getting it wrong, but it would not be something that would be considered miraculously.
Suppose also we lived in a universe where 100% of people who died came to life again and lived one year later. Again, a resurrection would not be miraculous. Instead, it would be the common state of affairs.
Now let’s suppose we live in our universe where someone dies and they stay dead. We know they stay dead so much so that we bury them. I realize this might be hard for some atheists to believe, but people long ago also buried their dead because they believed that they were staying dead.
It is in this universe that a resurrection can be seen as a miracle, that is, an act of God of bringing about an event that would not happen naturally, at least for a first-class miracle. In other words, the very reason for believing that the resurrection is a miracle is for the simple fact that dead people do stay dead.
The same can be said with events like the virgin birth or walking on the water. If someone says “We know these kinds of things don’t happen”, then you can just as easily say that the ancients knew that they didn’t happen as well. That’s why they were regarded as miracles.
For the person who says “Dead people stay dead” as if they were presenting some new kind of information to the debate, I have a few questions. Which scientist was it that discovered this? How did he prove it? Who were his colleagues that disagreed with his thesis that he had to convince? When did this happen?
People do not believe dead people stay dead because they are scientific. They believe that because that is what the evidence leads to and that is why all cultures have some practice of dealing with those corpses. The same applies with other miracles. More understanding of the laws of nature will not prove that miracles can’t happen. Quite the contrary, they should make those miracles all the more fantastic to you in that you should realize more how remarkable it is they are being intervened. However, your study of them will not be able to prove that no intervention can take place.
The argument is simply an argument to dismiss the ancients. Those dumb people back then might have believed that someone could come back from the dead, but we know better! No. Those people did know better. In fact, if anything, I would say the dumb people today are not the ones who know that dead people don’t naturally come back, but those who think ancient people were too dumb to know that.