Can a Scientist Believe in the Resurrection? (Part 1)

(system) #1

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

(George Brooks) #2

Quoted from Dennis’ section:

**Dennis Venema (@DennisVenema) , professor of biology, Trinity Western University (member of BioLogos Voices) **

**None of this makes sense to me unless the disciples genuinely believed that they had seen Jesus in the flesh after his crucifixion. From there, it becomes a choice whether one accepts that their testimony is reliable—reliable enough to name Jesus as the true emperor and give him my allegiance. In my own experience—which I recognize is subjective, and not well suited to scientific investigation—I have found that when I do follow Jesus’s way I am at my best and most fully human. **

Loving God, loving others as myself, forgiving those who do me wrong, not returning evil for evil, and so on—these things do not come naturally to me. When I practice these counterintuitive practices, however, I experience such life and joy that I am convinced that they are sourced in a power that is not of this world.

Nice treatment ! It’s good to get a more comprehensive orientation to your “BioLogos” nature !

(Peaceful Science) #3

@DennisVenema thanks for making such a clear affirmation of the Resurrection. I will point people here the next time they unfairly attack you on this. I hope you also include it in the next edition of Adam and the Genome.

(Brad Kramer) #4

Wouldn’t it be nice if someday an openly Christian scientist who affirms evolution would not automatically attract doubts about his belief in the Resurrection.

(RiderOnTheClouds) #5

So far so good, I may eventually post some of my own personal doubts to see if I can get answers.

(Dennis Venema) #6

You know, I’ve not been attacked to my face on this, as far as I can recall. If you’ve seen or heard attacks of this nature, then I guess the persons involved were not willing to communicate their concerns to me directly. That’s unfortunate.

Hear, hear. It’s not like a biblical scholar has to affirm her belief in the Resurrection every time they write a commentary on Exodus or whatever…

(Peaceful Science) #7

The claim is that we do not coherently affirm the Resurrection, in that we are not grounded in doing so given our epistemology elsewhere. Your exposition of the reasons why is important. It builds trust, also it unsettles an account of origins overly reliant on science alone.

I do wonder, for example, how one could read Scripture after science regarding the Resurrection. Perhaps that should reframe our sense of origins too…

There are good historical reasons that will never change (see @TedDavis’s take on the modernists). I’m looking forward, instead, to the day when openly Christian scientist will also openly confess the Resurrection too, preemptively answering those questions.

(Peaceful Science) #8

I’ll also point to my confession of the same.

And that of one of my colleagues:

It is a good thing if and when we are asked what we think of Jesus and whether he rose from the dead.

(Brad Kramer) #9

Look for a great piece from @TedDavis later this week on this subject.

Maybe. I hope they will.

(RiderOnTheClouds) #10

The claim that Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead is firstly a historical claim. The evidence for it having happened is strong. The tomb was empty, despite being guarded by Roman soldiers. The risen Jesus was seen by many different eye-witnesses on different occasions, who touched him and ate a meal with him. This was no ghost. Had the body been stolen, it would have been relatively easy to locate the body, but that never happened. Unlike other great religious leaders in history, today there is no tomb of Jesus to which his followers make pilgrimage.

This is interesting stuff, but unfortunately he did not state any sources. If anyone could produce any that would be great.

(Peaceful Science) #11

I have many sources:

(Peaceful Science) #12

I suppose I see this the opposite way. Wouldn’t it be good if biblical scholars affirmed their belief in the Resurrection as the cornerstone of their faith? That would certainly undercut quite a bit of YEC scholarship.

Moreover, I’m glad I’m asked about this all the time. It’s just another opportunity to confess Jesus in the public square. Why would we want the questions to stop?

(Brad Kramer) #13

Pretty sure all of the biblical scholars associated with BioLogos have publicly affirmed the Resurrection. The first guy you see on the “people” menu on the top of our site is N.T. Wright, who has written more about the Resurrection than any biblical scholar alive today. Hasn’t stopped Ken Ham from calling them wolves in sheep’s clothing.

(Peaceful Science) #14

Of course, but wouldn’t it be great if the YEC scholars did that too? How then could they plausibly claim that Genesis is the cornerstone. Is not Jesus the cornerstone?

(Brad Kramer) #15

@Swamidass I think that’s a misreading of the YEC perspective, but I don’t want to derail the conversation further. If you want to start another thread on the subject, I’d be happy to chime in.

(RiderOnTheClouds) #16

I listened to a podcast by Tim O’Neill once where he countered this claim by saying that we don’t know if all the disciples held this belief until death, and that some of them believed in a spiritual resurrection. How would you counter this?

(Peaceful Science) #17

I’d point to NT Wright’s scholarship regarding the “spiritual resurrection” claim. I strongly encourage getting his book on the Resurrection.

Failing that, this is a partial summary:

And this video of Sean Kelly (Harvard phil) and NT Wright covers some of the key points too:

Regarding the claim about the disciples, I’d point to the book by Sean McDowell,

(Peaceful Science) #18

I’d also remind you of a pattern you have already picked up on. Atheists have a proclivity for pseudohistory regarding religion.

The same hermeneutics you’ve grown accustomed to in studying Genesis leads us to a confident affirmation of the Ressurection. The details of Adam become less clear, but Jesus becomes more clear.

(RiderOnTheClouds) #19

You don’t know ‘who’ you’re talking about

(Peaceful Science) #20

You @Reggie_O_Donoghue. You’ve mentioned this before in past posts. A great example of this is the mythical conflict thesis.