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  • Writer's pictureDan Arsenault

Miracles, Science, and a Drunk Man's Keys

Updated: Sep 27, 2019

One of the major obstacles to belief in the Bible is its report of miracles. The realm of the miraculous seems to be in direct opposition to scientific knowledge. Even many Biblical scholars feel compelled to reinterpret the context of Scripture on this basis when miracles are reported. The question is, “How has science shown that miracles are impossible, and thus never happened (other than finding a parking space on campus)?”

Science has never proclaimed a miracle as the explanation for any phenomenon.

Is that because miracles are impossible, or because science is just not equipped to test for metaphysical causes (Ghostbusters notwithstanding)?

In his book, Principles of Christian Theology, John Macquarrie explains, “Science proceeds from the assumption that whatever events occur in the world can be accounted for in terms of other events ... So ... Miracle is irreconcilable with our modern understanding of both science and history.” Many people will agree.

But isn’t that saying that since science cannot discern or test for supernatural causes, it assumes those causes do not exist? This is the philosophy called scientism, i.e. that nothing can be known outside of science.

But that philosophy is self defeating. Its very premise is not a scientific statement.

Philosopher Alvin Plantinga (Google him) replies that it seems that Macquarrie means that the practice of science requires an a priori rejection of the possibility of God, and for example, God raising the dead. But that is circular reasoning, as the case of the drunk who insists on looking for his lost car keys under the streetlight because the light is better there. But the circularity of Macquarrie’s statement goes even further. By Macquarrie’s reasoning, the drunk would insist that since the light is better there, that is where the keys must necessarily be.

I can think of at least two events that are best explained as miracles...a universe from nothing and a resurrection from the dead.

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