Many who oppose the Christian faith and worldview openly oppose the possibility of miracles. Having embraced a naturalistic worldview that rejects the spiritual and affirms that only what we see around us is real, miracles are simply a figment of the imagination. This kind of mentality is common among those who do not accept Christianity (though new forms of spirituality that do accept the reality of the spiritual and supernatural continue to rise).
This certainly creates a problem for Christians, since the Bible is chalked full of stories about God doing supernatural, miraculous things. He turns a river into blood, parts a sea, makes city walls fall down, keeps a man alive in a fish for three days, sends fire down from heaven, etc… The Bible is a book that records miraculous events. And since they are miraculous, they defy natural explanations and are impossible to explain naturally and scientifically.
How are Christians to defend the story the Bible tells? How are we to make a case for miracles?
The answer is actually rather simple. Just because one cannot explain miracles naturally doesn’t mean that there is no reason to believe in them. What one must do is show that there is no other rational, logical explanation for the event. If this is the case, then one must accept the reality of the miraculous.
And this case can be made for the greatest miracle that has ever been performed in human history: the resurrection.
The resurrection is the most irrefutable truth of the Christian faith. I will not make a lengthy case for the resurrection here. A previous blog entitled “What Christianity has Going For It #1” offers a fuller case for the truthfulness of Jesus’ bodily resurrection. But, to summarize, the only possible explanations for the resurrection other than the claim that it was the miraculous hand of God that raised Jesus back to life are simply poor. The most plausible is the stolen body theory. However, the only people that would have reason to steal the body would have been Jesus’ followers, and primarily the disciples. But they were in disarray after the crucifixion, scattered each their own direction. On top of that, they would have had to fight past a significant group of Roman soldiers guarding the tomb. Finally, there would have been no reason for the disciples to have become bold and courageous, even to death, for a hoax. Their martyrdom and passionate proclamation of Jesus’ teachings make this highly unlikely. The swoon theory is another possibility, proposing that Jesus never really died, but simply went unconscious and then later awoke. First, Romans were well trained in how to kill people, particularly one who it was claimed was a possible Jewish king. Second, Jesus would have had to wake up, move the stone covering the tomb, sneak past the guards, and then walk a series of miles to where His followers were staying. And again, seeing this Jesus would have never inspired the disciples and others to follow Jesus even to death. Third is the hallucination theory. Jesus’ followers all just saw a hallucination of Jesus. This borders on the moronic really. Hallucination studies reveal that multiple people simply do not have the same hallucinations, and Jesus was seen by the Twelve on multiple occasions and by as many as 500 people at one time in the months prior to His ascension.
The only logical, reasonable explanation that really makes any sense at all is that Jesus did in fact come back to life. And if this is indeed the case, then the miraculous is absolutely possible. This does not necessarily prove that the various miracles in the Bible did in fact happen that way, but it does open the possibility that they did. Thus a worldview that rejects the possibility of the miraculous is found to be false. If even one miracle can be shown to be miraculous, then the possibility of other miraculous events has to be accepted. Only one such miracle is necessary to open the door.
The resurrection is the foundation of much for Christianity. It is the ground of our hope for life after death. It is the heart of the gospel. It has immense apologetic value for defending the truthfulness of Jesus’ claim to be God. And it defends the reality of miracles.
This, I believe, is an irrefutable proof for the authenticity of miracles.