4/8/2012—C.S. Lewis says that Christianity is one great miracle, meaning that no naturalistic or higher theology account is possible that will square the fundamental Christian claim with any scientific worldview—He is Risen.
In the Gospels, the nature of the resurrection is very strange and no one can say what it means literally that Jesus was resurrected. But as the Gospel of Mark makes clear, resurrection is not precisely the central Christian claim. There is no resurrection in Mark. There is only the empty tomb.
This is the heart of Christianity and it is why I cannot be a Christian. The dead body of the man Jesus was not in the tomb, nor by implication, anywhere else. This is a straightforward factual claim. If that body decomposed in the natural way anywhere on Earth, this Christian claim is false. Lunacy or lies, Lewis says. I would not be that harsh. The tomb could have been empty for some natural reason. I cannot say, any more than the Christian can explain how Mohammed could have written the entire Qur’an.
Although I have not read Lewis on miracles, it is my understanding that he claims that strict naturalism is in principle impossible since without some intervention from the outside, only determinism is permitted. All causes are internal to the system. Nothing new can happen.
While quantum theory may require that this argument be reformulated, Lewis is quite right that I just assume that a supernatural realm is impossible. It’s not that I reasoned my way there. The supernatural realm, with personality and will, is not plausible to me. I have never seen a miracle and don’t expect to.
And it is a refusal. After all, as I have made clear in my books, my prayers have been answered and not indirectly. My sins have been forgiven and I have been given help after appeals to God. Even to me, a refusal after all that appears to be ingratitude. But my experiences do not make the rejection of the laws of nature possible.
Nevertheless, no one can know. No one can be certain. So, to all Christians, Happy Easter. And since Christ died for the sins of all, Happy Easter to the rest of us too.
Sunday, April 8, 2012
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