Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Resurrection of Jesus and the Scientific Method

In his debate with William Lane Craig on the historicity of Jesus's resurrection, Bart Ehrman argues that the resurrection cannot be considered historical because the field of history only contains events that are repeatable.  We shouldn't misinterpret Ehrman as saying that in order to conclude Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon, he must be able to do so again.  Rather, what Ehrman means is that similar events must be possible.

The obvious problem with this criterion is that history, much like science, includes non-repeatable events.  In physics, one might look to the Big Bang.  The Big Bang occurred roughly fifteen billion years ago and is not something we can reproduce.  However, the Big Bang theory is also one of science's best attested hypotheses.  Craig reasons that the resurrection of Jesus is also very well-attested.  Since neither are repeatable, yet both are well-attested, I argue that something must be wrong with Ehrman's criterion.

1 comment:

  1. The bigger problem is that miracles DO happen. Also (a priori) that Jesus was unique in many ways, so that the prior probability of his resurrection was uniquely high: