BioLogos, Evolution, and the Resurrection of Jesus

As I’ve noted before, BioLogos is dogmatic about evolution and flexible about everything else. What happens when that approach is applied to the Resurrection? Michael Ruse, a contributor at BioLogos, writes about how to reconcile evolution with Christianity. While he is not a believer, he does believe that evolution and Christianity are compatible. In his book, Darwinism and Its Discontents, Ruse discusses how the Resurrection of Christ can be reconciled with a naturalistic worldview:

The Christian believes that humans can be saved by the death of Christ on the Cross and his subsequent Resurrection. The Christian believes that this salvation will come after death — or at the Second Coming. On these matters, Darwinism is silent. But what about the Resurrection, and indeed all of the other miracles surrounding the Christian story? What about the feeding of the five thousand and Christ walking on water? What about the subsequent miracles of the Apostles, or the miracles supposedly still occurring — the marks the Catholic Church seeks for admission to sainthood? Some supposed miracles are by their very nature put beyond the bounds of science. The appearance of souls — whether it occurred just once and then was transmitted, or occurs for each individual — is something about which science can say nothing. The same is true of transubstantiation, the miracle that occurs in the Catholic mass, when the water and wine is turned into the body and blood of Christ. No amount of microscopic examination of the host is going to reveal red corpuscles. It is just not that sort of miracle.

But what about rising from the dead and turning water into wine? Darwinism is a scientific theory, and scientific theories exclude miracles — that is what they are all about, working through laws. There are two (traditional) approaches one can take. The first, stemming from Saint Augustine, interprets miracles for their spiritual meaning rather than seeing them as violations of law. Thus, to take the miracle at Cana (water into wine), the real miracle was not some jiggery pokery that was shortcutting the fermenting process, but the fact that the man throwing the party supplied his guests fully, even bringing out his very best wine when they had no reason to expect it. Jesus filled him with such love that he went against his usual nature. (Can any one of my readers deny having brought out the cheap plonk when the guests were well lubricated?) Even the miracle of the Resurrection can be treated this way. The real miracle was not some reversal of life-death processes, but that, on the third day, the disciples who were downcast and lonely suddenly felt a great lift and that life was meaningful for them — that Jesus had left a message and example that they wanted to promulgate. If some psychologist explains this in terms of mass hysteria or whatever, so be it. There will always be a natural explanation. This leaves the meaning of the event untouched. (Michael Ruse, Darwinism and Its Discontents, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006, 280)

3 thoughts on “BioLogos, Evolution, and the Resurrection of Jesus

  1. reformedsinger says:

    Wow.
    First, we have an unbeliever who is an accepted and acknowledged contributor to what is purported to be a Christian organization. Do they not see a problem with this?
    Second, his reconciliation of the miracles of the Bible with “modern science” is a denial of the actual existence of said miracles. In his view, if the feelings or attitudes of the parties involved was changed, then that was the miracle, not the actual event itself.
    It is not surprising that an unbeliever would fail to believe in miracles or understand Christian doctrine and faith; after all, dead men don’t walk. What is both surprising and disappointing is that an organization that publishes and lends credence to heretical views would have a following among influential leaders in the church.

  2. sedgegrass says:

    Conclusion: cheap wine, served to large crowds, leading to euphoric mass hysteria= religion. I think he’s confused that with Woodstock. 🙂

  3. reformedsinger says:

    I posted this question elsewhere, but it bears repeating:
    Why are dead men leading the living?

    And we really need a “like” button for specific comments on this blog . . . good one, sedgegrass. 🙂

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