Science and Faith: Friendly Allies, Not Hostile Enemies - page 4


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From the Winter 2015 issue of Knowing & Doing:  

Science and Faith: Friendly Allies, Not Hostile Enemies

by John Lennox Ph.D.
Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford and Emeritus Fellow in Mathematics and the Philosophy of Science at Green Templeton College

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 But doesn’t this go against the grain of the science I was praising earlier? Aren’t such miracles impossible because they violate the laws of nature?
 I disagree. To use an illustration based on one offered by C.S. Lewis, on each of two nights, if I put ten pounds (British currency) into my drawer, the laws of arithmetic tell me I have twenty pounds. If, however, on waking up I find only five pounds in the drawer I don’t conclude that the laws of arithmetic have been broken but possibly the laws of England.4 The laws of nature describe to us the regularities on which the universe normally runs. God, who created the universe with those laws, is no more their prisoner than the thief is prisoner of the laws of arithmetic. Like my room, the universe is not a closed system, as the secularist maintains. God can, if He wills, do something special, like raise Jesus from the dead.
 Note that my knowledge of the laws of arithmetic tells me that a thief has stolen the money. Similarly, if we did not know the law of nature that dead people normally remain in their tombs, we should never recognize a resurrection. We could certainly say that it is a law of nature that no one rises from the dead by natural processes. But Christians do not claim that Jesus rose by natural processes, but by supernatural power. The laws of nature cannot rule out that possibility.
  Philosopher David Hume said that you must reject a miracle as false, unless believing in its falsity would have such inexplicable implications that you would need an even bigger miracle to explain them. That is one good reason to believe in the resurrection of Jesus. The evidence of the empty tomb, the character of the witnesses, the explosion of Christianity out of Judaism, and the testimony of millions today are inexplicable without the resurrection. As Holmes said to Watson: “How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?” As Russian Christians say at Easter: “Khristos Voskryes. Voiistinu Voskryes! Christ is risen. He is risen indeed!” 

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