SCIENCE AND THE RESURRECTION
Among the many cavils of criticism which are flaunted before us at the present time is one which says that we must neither insist upon the “physical resurrection” of Christ, nor upon the statement that such an occurrence took place on “the third day.” And some preachers and teachers, more desirous of accommodating themselves to modern thought than of standing in defence of the Holy Scripture, have seen their way to yield the point! They say in the Creed, “the third day He rose again from the dead,” but they do not believe anything of the kind. Their enlightened “conscience” does not allow them to admit the doctrine, but somehow it allows them to confess it in the Creed, and to repeat it continually. Strange!
What is there against the doctrine which is so plainly affirmed in Holy Scripture and so positively enunciated in the Creed? Just this - “physical science knows nothing of the resurrection of dead bodies.” But who said it did? We have never heard the thing hinted! As a fact (intimated in a preceding note) physical science is distinctly limited in its range of knowledge. It sums up human observation in regard to the process of nature. It knows nothing of things antecedent to those processes which Scripture speaks of as “the beginning” - Creation; it knows nothing of anything that may succeed or follow up those processes, if at any time superseded or terminated, which we speak of as “last things” - Eschatology; it knows nothing of anything that may intermit or transcend those processes, which at least must be regarded as possible. Yes, assuredly, physical science is strictly limited in its range; and in regard to things of which it knows nothing we may say with truth that it is not a competent witness. Thus it must not be asked to testify one way or the other, either regarding the (past) resurrection of Christ or the (future) resurrection of Christ’s people.
Of course, it is absurd to quote physical science on a subject of which, admittedly, it “knows nothing.” We, who believe in God (1) who has revealed Himself to mankind, and (2) who has intervened in human history in the person of His Son, have another ground of confidence; for among the miracles, wonders, and signs attending that revelation, that intervention, the resurrection of Christ, on the third day after His crucifixion, stands out as an event more strongly attested than a thousand historical occurrences which we all accept without question or dispute. Out of this event, made sure by “many infallible proofs,” grows the glorious hope that those who are “IN HIM” will in due time be raised; will “hear the voice of the Son of Man, and will come forth.”
Associated as it is with the Blessed Hope of the Appearing [in bodily form, i.e., with “flesh and bones” (Luke 24: 39, R.V.)] of our Lord, this doctrine of the Resurrection is among the elements of “things to come.” It has come to us from God and not from man; and as physical science has nothing to do with Divine Revelation, so it has no right to be consulted on this subject. For us the Word of God is enough; but in addition to that Word we have the pledge of Christ’s resurrection [out from amongst the dead] on “the third day.” Let us believe without wavering. “Let God be true, but every man a liar.”