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  • Writer's picturePaul Coulter

Resurrection isn't Possible, but it Happened!

Resurrection is impossible! Perhaps that’s your objection to the Christian message.

People don’t just come back from the dead!

I get why you would say that.

I’ve viewed the lifeless bodies of loved ones in the days between death and burial.

As a pastor, I’ve conducted funerals and committed bodies to the grave.

And as a medical doctor, I’ve cared for people in their dying days and certified numerous deaths.

I know that once a body is truly dead there’s no way known to science to return life to it. In fact, like everything else in this universe, it will start to decay, just as science tells us.

In the natural run of things, resurrection does not and cannot happen.

So, if I heard someone had returned from the dead, I would probably dismiss it as fake news or fantasy.

Yet I believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. And I’m not talking about a ghostly apparition or a hallucination but a living, breathing body.

Have I just thrown all my education out the window? Doesn’t science prove miracles can’t happen?

No! Science does not and cannot disprove the possibility of miracles.

Science doesn’t tell us what is possible. It just tries to explain what we observe in nature. It does that really effectively.

But science can only tell us about physical things. It can’t tell us whether non-physical things, like God or the human soul, exist. It can tell us when a body is dead but it can’t tell us where the person has gone as we look at the empty shell. Indeed, I think nature and experience point beyond themselves to a Creator. Why would science work if no one designed order in nature or brains that can understand it?

And science cannot tell us if miracles are possible or if they have happened because it’s only good at studying what regularly happens in nature. By definition, miracles don’t happen regularly, aren’t normally predictable, and can’t be tested by experiments. If God, the creator of nature, exists, he could surely do supernatural things beyond nature as he decides.

So, science does not, and cannot, disprove the existence of God or the possibility of miracles.

And science does not and cannot, disprove the resurrection of Jesus.

We can’t go back in a time machine and observe what happened. Nor can we perform an experiment to see if he could have risen again because we can’t recreate the circumstances of Jesus’ life and death or manipulate God’s actions. If we want to decide whether Jesus rose again, science won’t help us, but the eyewitness accounts of the Bible can.

Those accounts say Jesus claimed to reveal the truth about non-physical realities. He claimed to come from God, to be one with God, and to be able to bring us to God. Those accounts also say Jesus performed miracles that amazed people just as they would amaze us – supernatural acts within nature that showed divine authority over nature.

His miracles were supernatural. They went beyond what naturally happens. But they didn’t fundamentally change nature. Even when Jesus brought his friend Lazarus back from the dead, he merely reversed decay and death temporarily. Lazarus’s soul returned to a mended body, but the normal rules of nature as described by science kept working. Lazarus eventually died again and his body decayed.

But the resurrection of Jesus was a greater kind of miracle. God didn’t simply override nature temporarily when he raised Jesus. Jesus’ resurrection body was physical, but it wasn’t subject to the normal workings of nature. It could be touched and eat food, but it could not die or decay. He still lives in that body outside nature and will return in it one day.

Christians believe Jesus’ resurrection was the beginning of a new creation free from the decay nature is subject to. A new creation that will be complete when he returns. If it really happened, the biggest question facing us now is how we can be part of that new creation. Jesus said we can only be part of it by trusting in Him – who died to free us from sin and death. He promised that those who believe in Him will be raised like Him to eternal life in the new creation when he returns.

Resurrection is not possible in nature as science describes it now. But it is possible by the supernatural power of God, who created nature, who rules over it and who has begun a new craeation with the resurrection of his Son from the dead. Jesus rose and we can rise if we trust in Him.

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