Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Choose Your Miracle, But Choose a Miracle You Must
Matthew 28:11-15 (ESV) While they were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place.  And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sufficient sum of money to the soldiers  and said, "Tell people, 'His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.'  And if this comes to the governor's ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble."  So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story has been spread among the Jews to this day. “Tell people, ;His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.” So we have the problem. The tomb is empty, this cannot be disputed. So what happened to the body? There are two alternative explanations, He rose from the dead, or his body was stolen. If you go with the latter, you have to ask yourself, who? One has to wonder why the disciples would do this. They weren’t expecting a resurrection. The women were going to embalm the body, well something similar to that anyway, give it a proper preparation for burial. The Romans would not have done it. The elders would not have done it. They had no reason to. It would have been contrary to everything they stood for to do that. So you are left with the disciples. But why? And if they did, then they knew it. Yet after several cross examinations, after torture, after trial after trial, and a life of poverty, they died for their belief that he rose from the dead. Now it is often said that, a person won’t die for a lie. This is about half true. Really it is they won’t die for what they know to be a lie. The “know” part here is the crucial part. People die for their faith all the time, lie or not. People die for what others know to be a lie. But if one is lying, it is generally not hard to expose this in a court of law, or cross examination, and people under torture will admit to things they have never done, and are normally very quick to give up a lie, but the disciples under torture would not deny that Christ rose from the dead. It would in fact be a psychological miracle for the disciples to have not given up the lie. Even Antony Flew in his days as a hardboiled atheist was left to regard it as a psychological miracle that the disciples would have been able to do this. He posits that “Christians merely favor the prospects of a physical miracle, (the actual resurrection) over a psychological one, (the disciples, all of them, able to hold to a lie and not crack under pressure and cross examination).” And that brings up another point, even if one were to think it feasible that 1 of the disciples held to a lie that he knew to be a lie through all this pressure, you have now 11 disciples, a late coming apostle (who was so dead set against the notion of resurrection that at first he persecuted the church for teaching it) and over 500 other eye witnesses, all claiming the same thing. It is rather bizarre to think even the 11 would be able to keep it together. It only takes one to crack and a domino effect happens indicting them all. This is a “psychological miracle” breaking all records of probability. In effect, you have a conundrum, you have Hume’s circular argument against miracles begging for mercy, because now, one way or another, a miracle has occurred. Either Jesus rose from the dead, a physical miracle, or you have the psychological miracle of the disciples not breaking and fessing to a lie. Hume wants to say there is uniform experience against miracles, therefore they do not happen. How he knows what the uniform experience of the universe is, is another problem. I mean really, today evolutionists are trying to posit that given an infinite amount of time, it is possible for anything to happen, which is the only way they can rationalize why there is life and not nothing. Though, they tend not to wrestle with that problem near as well as Aristotle, who in the end realized infinity was not the answer to that question. Sure, given infinity, there is an infinite chance anything will happen, there is also an infinite chance nothing will happen. In any case though, Hume is out on this one right there, the universe speaks, one way or another, of many truly unique events happening, whether creation or a monkey giving birth to a fish. But here with the resurrection there are only two alternatives, both of which are at the stature of miracles. One way or another, miracles happen.