Persuasion vs. Demonstration: Thoughts About Lee Strobel’s “The Case For Miracles”
by J. Brian Huffling
I have several of Lee Strobel’s books. I have greatly enjoyed reading them and was excited to see The Case for Miracles. I have had the great opportunity to briefly meet Lee and I can say he is an incredibly nice person. Further, his new book on miracles is very interesting. Many debates could rage from this book such as: Have miracles ever happened? Do they happen now? What about miracle claims from other religions than Christianity? What counts as a miracle? And so on. While the book focuses on the activity of present day miracles, there is one aspect of the debate I would like to focus on in this article: given claims of miracles (today or in the past), do they prove God exists? Many Christians say yes; however, others, such as some classical apologists say no.The central thesis of Strobel’s book is that miracles have happened in the past and they still happen today. He interviews several people on this subject, such as skeptic Michael Shermer, biblical scholar Craig Keener, and cold case detective J. Warner Wallace. While there are many interesting facets of the book, I want to focus on the question of whether or not miracle claims in principle prove that God exists. In the book the presumption seems to be that if miracles are possible, that proves God exists.
Scientific Arguments for God’s Existence: An Analogy with Miracles
I have written an article comparing the philosophical arguments for God with the “scientific” arguments. I am not going to re-write my article here except to say that natural science cannot give demonstrative proof that God exists. By definition science studies the natural world and does not rise to the level of the supernatural. Further, it only offers inductive/probabilistic arguments for God, as opposed to deductive/metaphysically certain proofs for God. In other words, science offers persuasion, not demonstration…