Our world’s skepticism over miracles is nothing new. Ever since David Hume, philosophers and scholars have been making the case against the possibility of miracles.
But, now things have shifted. Hume has been roundly (and decisively) rebutted and philosophers now realize that one cannot prove miracles are impossible. But, not to worry, now there’s a new argument. Now the argument is that miracles are simply improbable.
So improbable, in fact, that we should never prefer a miraculous explanation over a naturalistic one. Given how unlikely miracles are, it is always more likely that a miracle did not occur. Thus, it is argued, historians would have no reason to ever affirm that a miracle actually took place.
New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman, has made exactly this argument. Give the improbability of the resurrection, he insists that we must always choose another explanation: “Any other scenario [besides a miracle]—no matter how unlikely—is more likely than the one in which a great miracle occurred, since the miracle defies all probability (or else we wouldn’t call it a miracle)” (How Jesus Became God, 173).
Now, this sort of argument sounds persuasive at first glance. But, it runs into some serious problems. [Read more…]