Greetings once again, O fellow castaways, and thanks again for your patience.
This week, the third and final part of The Question.
We need to start at one point, and this is critical to understand: NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE. That is just as important to understand as the fact that "Old Marley was dead as a doornail." Anyone who tells you anything is impossible, knows nothing. Now, according to science, you say, some things are impossible. Iron does not float. You can't leap to the moon. Politicians always tell the truth. Dead men don't get up and live again. Science is fact, and science does not lie. Science, in fact by its nature, cannot lie.
Well, science cannot lie, and that's a fact. Science can't; scientists can, and do. But that's another issue. Back to science itself: C.S. Lewis (not a scientist, in acknowledgement to an argument put forth by one person in particular) said, "Science studies nature." Science has become very adept at predicting certain results and phenomena under certain conditions. For example, iron doesn't float. Well, that's not entirely true. Huge ships weighing several thousand tons are made of iron, and yet they float quite easily. Now, you say, that's cheating. Of course, if you distribute the mass of iron over a sufficient area such that it displaces a volume of water equal to its mass, it follows that iron can float. What about a cannonball?
Here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rm5D47nG9k4 (I never said anything about what liquid in which the metal could float, now did I?)
What about the leap to the moon? Okay, give us rockets. That's one hell of a leap accelerator. The politician thing, no one has an answer for yet. I'll grant you that one.
Now, here's the other shoe: As I said above, Science studies nature. Science has become very adept at predicting certain results and phenomena under certain conditions. Those "conditions" also assume that no outside forces are acting upon the result. Hence the term "supernatural," as in "acting or behaving in a way that supersedes nature."
NOW we have a game-changer. We also have something that will NOT be duplicated in a controlled environment. Let's say we go bowling. You roll a ball for a perfect strike, right down the lane. Perfect trajectory, perfect momentum, perfect spin. Your release is flawless, and the ball rolls happily down the lane on its way. But then the lane attendant hits a button, and the bar comes down in front of the pins. The ball gets deflected by this outside force, introduced at someone else's caprice, and the strike never occurs. "Stop that!" you yell, and he nods and waves as the gate rises once more into its place above the lane. So you roll again, and just to be contrary, the attendant hits the button again. This "outside force" is unpredictable and uncontrollable, and has a direct effect on the outcome of the sequence of events.
Let's apply this factor to the question of miracles. Point 1.) Is it possible to prove a negative? In other words, can one say with certainty there is no God? Remember, I said, nothing is impossible. Therefore, by my own argument, it should be possible to prove the nonexistence of God, and I'm not talking philosophically. I mean in a real, scientific way. I might say one could, and here's how: Star with a box of finite dimensions. Make it as big as you want. Let's start with 10 feet on a side. Now climb inside your box and close it off. You are now the only living thing in that box, right? Wrong. There is you, and all the bacteria and dust mites and whatnot that live on you, as well. But is God in that box with you? Maybe, maybe not. The only way to tell would be determined by your awareness of all things in that box, in every corner, on every side, at once. That way, God can't dodge away and hide somewhere behind a flap or something when your focus is somewhere else.
Now, make that box as big as you want: a mile on every side, a hundred miles, a thousand miles, a million light-years, it doesn't make a difference. The only way you could prove beyond doubt that there is no God, is to know and be aware of every single point in the universe simultaneously. That would make you omniscient and omnipresent. Why, to do that, you would have to be omnipotent Hey, aren't those the attributes of God? That could be some dangerous territory, Bruce Almighty.
So I think you owe me this: 1.) There is a possibility that there is a God. 2.) It follows, then, that if there is a God, that he could be omni-scient, omni-potent, and omni-present. 3.) It follows now that if there is a God, and this God person is omni-omni-omni, then this He/She/It just may choose to act, within His/Her/Its range of ability and judgement, to act upon certain situations for His/Her/Its own benefit or the benefit of others, am I correct?
Now, back to The Question: Jesus was a Jewish man from Galilee in Israel who lived in the first century of our current calendar era. He was put to death by Pontias Pilate in Jerusalem and laid in a stone tomb, where the body hung out for a period of time exceeding twenty-four hours. I say that because there are some who choose to pick nits over how long he stayed in the tomb. Let's stick to basics, folks.
Anyway, a guard contingent of armed men (most likely Romans, because crucifixion was reserved for political crimes against Rome, and so this was an execution under Roman jurisdiction) was posted to make sure he stayed put. By many accounts, on a certain morning, the tomb burst open from inside, and Jesus walked out, not only alive, but thriving. Statements from the time indicate that he was seen by up to five hundred people at once.
Of course, these are the biblical accounts. Now doubters would say his followers overcame the guards and stole the body, and claimed he rose from the dead. Okay, let's go with that for a while. These are not stupid people. If a dozen bikers started saying Papa Guardado was raised from the dead, what would any reasonable person do? How about say, "Let's see him!" "Well," they say, "He's not here right now. He just left." Yeah, right. So how did the Twelve convince anyone with a lick of sense that Jesus came out alive from the tomb? No risen Jesus, no resurrection.
Again, if there was no resurrection, why did no one search for the body or question his followers? No man would die for what they know to be a lie, especially when plied by a Roman lector with a scourge for any period of time. Why would they do that? So obviously, we have a dozen or so men at least, who were convinced as sure as I breathe, that Jesus was raised from the dead. They began to preach that as truth, and the matter began to catch momentum. If you torture ten men, one of them will talk. That's a plain fact. And at this point, everyone in that area had a vested interest in making sure Jesus stayed dead. The Romans wanted peace in their conquered province. The Jews wanted the Romans to leave them alone so they could live their lives. All they had to do was break one of the followers to show them where the body was taken.
So, a group of men and women claim they saw Jesus back from the dead. No one interrogates them? No one says, "Hey, here's his body; they lie!" What credibility could they possibly have had to influence history in such a long-reaching way? How about a risen Jesus?
That's why I believe. Not just because someone told me. I looked into it myself, and my questions were answered to my satisfaction. This of course didn't just jump up and bite me out of the blue. There was a series of supernatural events that led up to my final inward knowledge of "Yes, that was the way it happened."
The last part of The Question is this: What do you do with knowledge like that? For a lot of folks, it's changed their lives. I know it's changed mine.
So I guess that's it. You can do two things here: believe it yourself, or not. You're free to choose, and that's the beauty of it all. I'm not your judge, any more than you are mine. Next week, we'll be on to another point of discussion. Till then, be well.