There is a gap between the probable and the proved. How was I to cross it? If I were to stake my whole life on the risen Christ, I wanted proof. I wanted certainty. I wanted to see him eat a bit of fish. I wanted letters of fire across the sky. I got none of these.1
Recap. We last discussed a bit of what David Hume believed or did not believe about the occurrence of miracles. In this post, we will look at an opposing viewpoint to Hume's position. These posts are not exhaustive on this topic, nor are they intended to be. The purpose of these posts on Miracles is to cause us to ponder some thought provoking questions many have wrestled with over the years.
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An Objection. Thomas Sherlock, author of Tryal of Witnesses, presented a mock trial where the apostles are accused of hoaxing the resurrection of Jesus. During the trial it is argued that because the resurrection was a violation of nature, and therefore eyewitness testimony to the resurrection could not establish the resurrection as fact. The argument that the resurrection violated the law of nature in presented in Sherlock's work, mirrored the arguments of Hume. In summation, Sherlock held the view that it was absurd to believe that facts in question could not be proved by testimonial evidence. Further, Sherlock argued that the resurrection did not violate nature. Rather, Sherlock makes the argument that we as humans observe nature and how it has behaved for us in the past; to assume that it will continue behaving as it has in the past, originate with the "prejudices and imaginations of men."2
Parting Thought. Many contemporaries of Hume considered him a deist; that is, one who believes that God created the world but "denies his (God's) supernatural intervention in it on the grounds that the world operates by natural and self-sustaining laws of the Creator."3
If we believe that God created the world and formed it ex nihilo ('out of nothing") then why would we not believe or think the Creator could not or would not intervene with His creation? After all, wasn't creation a miracle in and of itself?
1 Alister E. McGrath, Intellectuals Don't Need God & Other Modern Myths [Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1993], 59.↩
2 William Lane Craig,Reasonable Faith [Illinois: Crossway, 2008], 254-255. ↩
3 Norman L. Geisler, Christian Apologetics [Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1976], 151.↩