By Editorial Staff
Published April 24, 2008
By Dr. Ming-Che Chang
People who are under the influence of scientific thinking feel most at a loss when reading about the miracles in the Bible. These miracles are “strange happenings,” which are outside of natural phenomena. The question of miracles involves these aspects:
1. One of the basic hypotheses of science is the uniformity of natural phenomena. In other words, natural laws apply in the same manner regardless of when and where. Miracles, by definition, obviously contradict this law. Scientists believe that scientific laws would be destroyed if miracles did occur. The problem lies in one’s recognition of God. This God is the God who created all the universe. He also established all the natural laws. But He is not like a watchmaker who leaves the watch to run by itself and pays no heed to it. He is simultaneously the Creator and caretaker of the universe. He has the right to interfere with natural phenomena and do something out of the ordinary according to His power and purpose.
2. God does not perform miracles to make Himself happy. Miracles and wonders are not the same. Wonders are extraordinary events that differ from everyday happenings. Miracles have occurred because God has had certain purposes and plans. As recorded in the Bible, the Jews demanded that Jesus perform miracles for them. Jesus refused because God will not perform miracles just to satisfy man’s curiosity.
3. Science cannot deny miracles. The duty of science is to investigate and discuss natural phenomena. If a miracle actually happens, how can science deny it?
The greatest miracle recorded in the Bible is: Jesus is the Son of God who became man through the Virgin Mary. He was nailed to the cross to die for man’s sin and He was raised three days after His burial. The apostle Paul emphasized the resurrection in his preaching of the Gospel. This is the basic belief of Christianity. But for an unbeliever, if Jesus lived on the earth, obviously as a man, how could He be God? How can a man be resurrected after death? How does one believe these claims? We need to believe and accept as true the following points one after the other:
1. Believe that God can perform miracles and inexplicable events.
2. Understand that God has a plan for all His creation.
3. Acknowledge that all men have sinned and will perish, but because God loved the world, He sent a Savior to earth, to achieve salvation for mankind.
4. If men do not accept this method of salvation, there is no other way, and they will perish.
5. If Jesus, who became man, was not God, He would be just like us and could not save us.
6. Study and believe the words of the Bible.
7. Because Jesus was both God and man, God caused Him to have a unique birth.
8. Because He is God, He cannot be held by death.
9. Because He is God’s beloved Son, God raised Him from the dead to heaven.
10. Believers have everlasting life. They will all be raised on the last day of the world. If Jesus was not raised from the dead, no one will be raised.
11. In the Bible the apostle Paul, speaking of Jesus, said, “He was resurrected on the third day, and He appeared to Peter, and then to the twelve disciples. After that He appeared to more than five hundred people,” the majority of whom were still alive when Paul recorded those events.
12. The disciples were in great fear after Jesus’ crucifixion, but after Jesus’ resurrection they became courageous.
Thus, in order to believe, one often needs to use faith and reason together. God gave man the ability to reason, desiring man to use this ability to reason as much as possible, but man should also accept that his reason is incapable of completely understanding God’s omnipotence and wisdom.
Science vs. Scientism
Scientism and science are not the same. Scientism is a way of thinking derived from science. Generally speaking, scientism has three kinds of conclusions:
1. All phenomena can be explained by natural scientific principles.
2. Because we are under the influence of evolutionary philosophy, we think that all things are the result of collisions among atoms and molecules, not having a purpose or plan or goodness or badness.
3. Scientific method is the only method of seeking knowledge. Only the knowledge that is obtained from scientific methods is true knowledge. The rest are all random lies.
From this we can see that scientism denies God and the soul, because they do not belong to material phenomena, but are intangible, invisible, and unfounded by scientific methods.
In the future, because science makes progress day by day, we will be able to solve all problems, including the problems of the spirit and the soul.
Scientists are often skeptics, because they advocate a skeptical attitude towards new scientific theories, encouraging the scientific domain to test and prove them repeatedly, so that when they have been proved undeniably true, people can be sure of them, maintaining science’s accuracy. Scientists also advocate a questioning attitude toward old theories. Should any doubt arise, urgent attention will be given to locate the error and to search for a new theory to replace the old. Two Nobel laureates from China, Professor C.N. Yang and Professor C.T. Lee, received the prizes as a result of disproving the law of parity, which was accepted by the physics world. Thus scientists do not believe in absolutes. Toward theories and beliefs in philosophy and religion, they also maintain a suspicious and reserved attitude.
Many scientists clearly understand the restrictions of scientific methods. It has been mentioned that the spirit, the soul, and God in Heaven are outside the range of scientific investigation and discussion. Philosophers and the Christian church also frequently question the followers of scientism. Even though science cannot prove the existence of things in the spiritual world, it cannot prove that they do not exist either. Even though science cannot prove that God exists, it also cannot prove that God does not exist. How can anybody be absolutely sure that there is no God? Somebody once gave an analogy: A fisherman, who used a fishnet with two-inch wide mesh, caught only fish longer than two inches. This did not prove that in the stretch of water in which he was fishing no fish less than two inches long existed.
I entered college in the early thirties, just at the climax of the scientism era. At that time, the theory of relativity, the quantum theory, and theories concerning the structure of atoms and molecules had just been publicized. People adulated scientific beliefs. I chose to major in chemistry, becoming a diehard in scientism and agnosticism. However, people at that time were not like people who worship material things today. Many people were strongly idealistic. I, too, was one of them.
Because I had been enlightened by Confucianism since childhood, scientific principles and idealistic principles stirred in contradictory turmoil within my heart for many years. I sought an integrated thought pattern. After nearly 20 years of searching, when I could not come to any conclusion, I finally entered Buddhism, which I studied continuously for three years. As I studied Buddhism, specifically the Zen sect, it seemed as if I saw a ray of light, but I was unable to grasp it for myself.
At that time I observed two Christians who had obtained what I could not obtain in my study of Buddhism. So I turned to and earnestly studied the Christian religion. Three or four more years passed before I began to comprehend.
Thinking back now, it was only because I broke through the obstacle, formed by narrow-minded thoughts in scientism and agnosticism, that I came to know that in this universe, besides thorough scientific research for the truth of natural phenomena, there are also other methods to search for an even more important truth, that of spiritual phenomena. As far as I was concerned, I had to go through the stage of studying Buddhism, and make a great detour, before I was able to free myself from the firm shackles of narrow-minded ideas. One could say it was a difficult and dangerous road.
Reprinted from “Christianity and Science,” by Dr. Ming-Che Chang, published by Christian Communications Ltd., Hong Kong, © 1986. Used with permission.
Forerunner - Home » The Mandate Newspaper » The Mandate - Volume 2, Number 1
Your comments are welcome!
That Swiss Hermit Strikes Again!
Dr. Schaeffer, who was one of the most influential Christian thinkers in the twentieth century, shows that secular humanism has displaced the Judeo-Christian consensus that once defined our nation’s moral boundaries. Law, education, and medicine have all been reshaped for the worse as a consequence. America’s dominant worldview changed, Schaeffer charges, when Christians weren’t looking.
Schaeffer lists two reasons for evangelical indifference: a false concept of spirituality and fear. He calls on believers to stand against the tyranny and moral chaos that come when humanism reigns-and warns that believers may, at some point, be forced to make the hard choice between obeying God or Caesar. A Christian Manifesto is a thought-provoking and bracing Christian analysis of American culture and the obligation Christians have to engage the culture with the claims of Christ.
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
What is true Revival and Spiritual Awakening?
Discover the answer in this eyewitness account by Dennis Kinlaw, President of Asbury College, Wilmore, Kentucky, who recounts the story of a visitation of the Holy Spirit in 1970. This is the presentation that has continued to spark the flames of Revival in the hearts of people around the world. Contains eyewitness footage from the Revival at Asbury College in 1970 in Wilmore, Kentucky.
Certain to challenge you to greater holiness and a deeper commitment to full-scale revival. Original news and private footage has been included. If you are a student who longs to see a spiritual awakening at your school, you must see this video!
“This simple video does a wonderful job of conveying something of God’s heart and power, Everyone we have ever shown this to has received an immediate impartation of faith for revival and the power of prayer.”
— Bob and Rose Weiner, Weiner Ministries Int’l
Running Time: 40 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Exposes the Dangers of Abortion to Women!
These shocking eyewitness accounts expose the dangers of abortion not only to unborn children, but to the health and lives women as well. An antidote to the smokescreens of the liberal media, these short clips show what really happens in and around abortion clinics.
Although the content is emotionally gut-wrenching, these videos have been used in church seminars and small groups to educate Christians on the abortion issue and to lead people toward a pro-life position. Contains 2 hours and 40 minutes of materials that can be shown separately.
Watch these pro-life videos on-line.
“These videos helped change my mind from pro-choice to pro-life. Your videos are what did it for me. I will be walking in next year’s March For Life in San Francisco.” — A. Jackson, California
“I was going to have an abortion until I saw your video. Praise Jesus!”
— M. Drew, YouTube Commenter
$4.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
High Quality Paperback — 200 pages
A Reasonable Response to Christian Postmodernism
Includes a response to the book Christian Jihad by Colonel V. Doner
The title of this book is a misnomer. In reality, I am not trying to get anyone to shut up, but rather to provoke a discussion. This book is a warning about the philosophy of “Christian postmodernism” and the threat that it poses not only to Christian orthodoxy, but to the peace and prosperity our culture as well. The purpose is to equip the reader with some basic principles that can be used to refute their arguments.
Part 1 is a response to some of the recent writings by Frank Schaeffer, the son of the late Francis Schaeffer. This was originally written as a defense against Frank’s attacks on pro-life street activism – a movement that his father helped bring into being through his books, A Christian Manifesto, How Should We Then Live? and Whatever Happened to the Human Race? These works have impacted literally hundreds of thousands of Christian activists.
Part 2 is a response to Colonel Doner and his book, Christian Jihad: Neo-Fundamentalists and the Polarization of America. Doner was one of the key architects of the Christian Right that emerged in the 1980s, who now represents the disillusionment and defection many Christian activists experienced in the 1990s and 2000s. There is still great hope for America to be reformed according to biblical principles. As a new generation is emerging, it is important to recognize the mistakes that Christian activists have made in the past even while holding to a vision for the future.
$14.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Special Two-Disc Set!
After 40 years of intense study and world-wide ministry, Dr. Francis Schaeffer completed his crowning work of scholarship – to present profound truths in simple film language. Dr. Schaeffer’s brilliant analysis of the past and predictions for current trends have proven so uncannily accurate that this amazing series still feels contemporary almost three decades after its initial release. Ultimately, Schaeffer concludes that man’s only hope is a return to God’s Biblical absolute, the truth revealed in Christ through the Scriptures.
Available for the first time on DVD, this documentary spectacular also includes intimate in-depth conversations with Francis and Edith Schaeffer. With the on-disc study guide, this presentation forms a unique course of comprehensive study. While this series forms an innovative analysis of the past, this outstanding work is more than history. Each episode focuses on a significant era, yet speaks clearly to 21st-century man with answers for modern problems.
$49.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)