Quick Challenge Answer: You Can’t Prove Miracles from History

The Christian case hinges on a number of miraculous events in history. Even as Christians try to make a good case for something like the resurrection of Jesus, these miracles come under more and more skepticism. Not only will skeptics claim the miracles to be legends added much later to the text, but they have begun to shift the view of miracles entirely. Men like Bart Ehrman will say things like, “A miracle is by definition the least likely event. So even if we don’t have any good explanations to something like the resurrection without miracles, those other explanations are still more likely than a miracle.” Put another way, You can’t prove miracles from history.

1. Don’t Try to Prove It

First, as always, be careful when throwing the word proof around. What seems like undeniable proof to you might seem insufficient to someone else. Leading with the claim that you can prove miracles is likely setting up the other person to be overly skeptical with your claims, and be more likely to reject them out of hand. It’s okay to settle for possible and reliable.

2. The Assumed Naturalism

This is similar to the “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence,” argument. While true, we don’t want to necessarily jump to a supernatural explanation for every mystery, this does not mean we must reject the possibility entirely. Especially when we have positive evidence for a particular miracle. Nobody is claiming that miracles are common occurrences. If they were, they wouldn’t be miracles. But to claim that they have never happened, and will never happen, requires heavier support than they have shown. This challenge shows a bias against anything supernatural, which you can probe them on. Their views on miracles are not based on science or history, but on a philosophical view called naturalism.

3. Not So Extraordinary Evidence

Further, extraordinary evidence is not necessary. To show that a resurrection occurred in history does not require a divine voice from the skies. All it requires is sufficient evidence for two things. Evidence that someone died and was later seen alive again. If both of those are verified, you have provided evidence for the extraordinary. Evidence from history, which can be done just as well, probably better, by a historian than a layman like myself. If historians are not able to look for miracles in history, it is an arbitrary limitation of their own doing, not a necessary rule of conduct. While you might not be able to prove miracles from history, you can certainly make a good case for one.

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