(Ron Coody lives in Istanbul, Turkey.  He graduated from Anderson Seminary and is earning a Ph.D. from Concordia Seminary, Fort Wayne)


“A Sober Step of Faith”


In yet another attempt to freely interpret history with little regard to accuracy and more regard for commercial value, James Cameron, maker of The Titantic, has teamed up with a journalist to produce a documentary claiming the discovery of the tomb of no less than Jesus Christ. This is a remarkable claim not only because this would be the discovery of the tomb of arguably the most famous person in all of history but also because for the last two thousand years his followers have asserted, to the point of dying for their belief, that Jesus in fact physically rose from the dead and left no remains behind to discover. Much has come out in recent weeks, even from secular archeologists, debunking Cameron’s claim as nothing more than cheap showmanship. The salient points of the arguments are that the tomb was found in the wrong neighborhood, the names “Jesus” and “Mary” were very common at that time, and if the tomb could have been so easily located and proven to be the actual final resting place of Jesus, the early opponents of Christianity had every compelling reason to have produced the evidence 2000 years ago when they could have nipped the new sect in the bud. Cameron has failed to undermine the foundation of the Christian faith, but he has succeeded in one important thing.

Philosopher of science Karl Popper has suggested that a sound scientific theory is one that can be falsified. The law of gravity can be falsified if someone can demonstrate a rock flying upwards when dropped. One of his students wrote, “A theory is ‘scientific’ if one is prepared to specify in advance a crucial experiment which can falsify it, and it is pseudoscientific if one refuses to specify such a ‘potential falsifier'” (Imre Lakatos: 1976). Cameron has shown us in clear terms that the theory of the resurrection of Christ rests upon testable scientific grounds. It is an event claimed to be historical, involving the death of a physical human body, and therefore it can be falsified very simply. If someone produces the bones of Jesus, the whole Christian faith comes crashing down. That’s why the Apostle Paul wrote, “if Christ has not risen, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is devoid of truth and is fruitless” (1 Cor. 15:14). He goes on to say that if there is no resurrection from the dead, those of us who believe such bunk are fools and the most to be pitied; we might as well start partying like there is no tomorrow. He understood, as Cameron does, that Christianity depends heavily upon a falsifiable historical event rather than just upon philosophical speculation.

When I very first read about the so-called Jesus tomb, I had a moment of fear thinking, “If Cameron’s right, I’ve been making a lot of choices based on a lie.” I don’t believe in Jesus because I like the morality of the Bible (because even some of that, especially polygamy and genocide in the Old Testament can be questionable), or because I like rituals, or have had a mystical experience. I believe because the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus and the potential for its falsification have persuaded me. Rather than a “blind leap of faith” it’s a conviction entered with eyes wide open. Thanks Cameron for reminding us of that.

The Waynedale News Staff

Ron Coody

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