THE DRUNK UNDER THE STREETLIGHT
(I write stories, and sometimes stories say it better. But first consider this. Emphasis on last line is mine.)
Existentialist theologian John Macquarrie has said, “Science proceeds on the assumption that whatever events occur in the world can be accounted for in terms of other events…just as immanent and this-worldly. [So] …Miracle is irreconcilable with our modern understanding of both science and history.”
Is this just common sense, or is there a hidden agenda here that disposes of traditional Christian belief? (If you need more, open the DOOR)
History and science first and foremost must consider natural causes and effects because those are the only things their methodology is designed to address. (Some would strongly insist on “only” instead of my words in boldface.) However, to insist that all that’s been observed must obey natural law is to commit a logical blunder.
Christian philosopher Alvin Plantinga describes what’s going on this way: “Macquarrie perhaps means to suggest that the very practice of science requires that one reject the idea (e.g.) of God raising someone from the dead….[This] argument…is like the drunk who insisted on looking for his lost car keys under only the streetlight on the grounds that the light was better there. In fact, it would go the drunk one better: it would insist that because the keys would be hard to find in the dark, they must be under the light.“
And the logical blunder I mentioned above? There’s no experimental model for testing the statement: “There’s no possible supernatural cause for any natural phenomenon.” Yet the inability to find, describe, and measure the supernatural is no proof that it does not exist. However, that does not forbid people (even those skilled in scientific and historical research) from making that assumption when “this-worldly” explanations prove inadequate.
It would be interesting to read a first century professional report of “modern-trained” historians and scientists (and journalists) on the scene of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
[The sources for the quotations above, and much of the narrative are from The Reason for God by Timothy Keller (Riverhead Books–Penguin, 2008. The Macquarrie quotation, reprinted in Keller, is from John Macquarrie’s Principles of Christian Theology (Scribner,1977, p.248, quoted in Plantinga’s Warrented Christian Belief , p.394. Plantinga’s quotation was also from Warrented Christian Belief, p.406.]