I asked Craig what he thought about physicist Max Plank's prediction that faith in miracles would inevitably yield ground to the advance of science and biologist Richard Dawkin's remark that scientists would someday understand the workings of the universe and thus vanquish the need for miraculous explanations. Craig's reaction surprised me.
"I think they're right," he declared.
I looked up from my notes, thinking perhaps he had misunderstood my question. "Excuse me?" I said.
"Really," he insisted, "I think they're correct-insofar as some superstitious people use miracles as an excuse for ignorance and sort of punt to God every time they can't explain something. I think it's a good thing that science will squeeze out that kind of simplistic thinking.
"But those aren't the miracles I've been talking about. I'm referring to events by which, in a principled way, you could legitimately infer that there was a supernatural agent intervening in the process. Those miracles-real acts of God-won't be squeezed out by the advance of science, because they're not based on an appeal to ignorance. They're substantiated by the weight of the scientific and historical evidence.
"Michael Belie does this in his book Darwin's Black Box. Belie explores irreducible complexity' in nature-organisms that could not have evolved step-by-step by a gradual Darwinian process of natural selection and genetic mutation. Now, he's not saying that this is merely scientifically inexplicable. He's giving a principled inference to an Intelligent Designer based on what the evidence shows. This is rational. His conclusions are based on solid scientific analysis."
Craig's discussion of evidence for miracles prompted me to ask about another point that was made by Hume, the eighteenth-century Scottish skeptic and history's most famous doubter of the miraculous. "Hume said the evidence for the uniformity of nature is so conclusive that any evidence for miracles would never be able to overcome it," I pointed out. "For instance, look at the Resurrection. We have thousands of years of uniform evidence that dead people simply do not return from the dead. So Hume says no amount of evidence would be able to overcome that tremendous presumption."
Craig shook his head. "There's no contradiction between believing that men generally stay in their graves and that Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead. In fact, Christians believe both of these. The opposite of the statement that Jesus rose from the dead is not that all other men remained in their graves; it's that Jesus of Nazareth remained in his grave.
"In order to argue against the evidence for the Resurrection, you have to present evidence against the Resurrection itself, not evidence that everybody else has always remained in their grave. So I think his argument is simply fallacious.
"Now, I would agree with Hume that a natural resurrection of Jesus from the dead, without any sort of divine intervention, is enormously improbable. But that's not the hypothesis. The hypothesis is God raised Jesus from the dead. That doesn't say anything against the laws of nature, which say dead men don't come back to life naturally."
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