Sunday, July 9, 2017

Is the Resurrection of Jesus a Falsifiable Prediction?

Atheists, naturalists, scientists, humanists and evolutionists like to tout this claim about the so-called scientific theory: it can be repeatedly tested and, hence, verified. Scientific theory can, just as well, reveal falsifiable predictions. I understand the scientists’ use of the term. It is not the same as in the popular sense which views theory as something which is unsubstantiated and speculative. So, we do not need to chase down that rabbit hole. I do not take issue with this use of the term. I accept the use of the term and will abide by it in this article. Let’s keep in mind that the repeated testing of a theory does not equate to or require a replication of whatever is being tested in order for it to be verifiable or falsifiable. Also, I do not take issue with the claim that an aspect of the natural world can be repeatedly tested. Yes, all things ought to be subjected to testing.

Certainly, verification through rigorous testing such as ISO in the business and manufacturing sectors is highly valued. However, it does beg the question, how is that an accomplishment? How does that build knowledge? Yes, it is an important process for verification of processes, but the criteria for pass/fail in ISO is not set by outside sources, but by the very same client companies who are subject to the ISO audit. It is that client’s process operation which is audited  for adherence. Advocates of scientific theory tout it as far more than a method of investigation. The work of scientific theory is akin to repeatedly testing a battery charge which will go from a positive charge to a negative charge eventually; a process of degradation on which the tester causes no significant effect. It is in this respect that the ISO audit and the scientific theory do not yield, produce or build any knowledge. They merely direct the interested parties to what they need to observe. It is akin to an educational system which touts that its students passed a test. But have those students learned anything substantive beyond the facts which were necessary for them to learn in order to pass the test? My purpose is not to criticize scientific theory, although it is not above criticism and scrutiny. My purpose is to apply the scrutiny of a falsifiable prediction of scientific theory to the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.

What can scientific theory reveal about death?
Atheists, naturalists, scientists, humanists and evolutionists expend much time and energy theorizing and testing. Generally, those areas of theorizing and testing involve either the vastly remote and infinitely distant in terms of billions of light years, the vastly long ago such as the beginning of the universe billions of years ago or the microscopically minute of molecular biology. Certainly, these areas of focus are important areas for study, but they are not exactly foremost in the daily lives of people. So, here is something which is foremost and does affect all human beings regardless of whether they are atheists, theists, naturalists, scientists, humanists and evolutionists: it is death.

How does one test death to determine whether it leads to, according to nihilism, the annihilation of a meaningless human being at the time of death? Fundamental scientific theory tells us that there is nothing, for example a rock, which can be annihilated. It may cease to be visible and palpable, but it is not annihilated. The static energy of the rock is merely transformed into the dynamic energy of disassociated subatomic particles. This can be repeatedly tested with other things such as water. Theoretically, the subatomic makeup of the rock remains in the universe and can be recomposed and restored in the form of a rock, again. What the application of the method of scientific theory reveals about death is that death is the catalyst by which life, as stored energy in a human body suit, is transformed, and like the dynamic disassociated subatomic particles of the energy of a rock; life is capable of being recomposed and restored.  Life is no less capable than a rock of being transformed. This is the easy part.

The interesting point about this much touted bit of scientific information concerning the transformation from the state of static, solid matter of a rock into dynamic energy is that it is not applied to human beings when they die. This raises a couple of questions:

1   How is it that an inanimate, lifeless object with its vast subatomic information such as a rock can not be made to cease to exist but can merely be transformed into dynamic energy?

2   Yet, a human being with a vastly complex chemical and atomic makeup and a wealth of knowledge information of itself and its environment ceases to exist as though, according to the conclusions of atheists, naturalists, scientists, humanists and evolutionists, it never existed in this world?

The meaninglessness of nihilism neither reflects nor reveals the work of scientific theory nor the result of repeated testing to determine whether death is a falsifiable prediction. Nihilism saddles itself with merely declaring life is meaningless, but it cannot begin to address much less anser the falsifiability of death. This is the hard challenge. The query continues.

Is the resurrection of Jesus a falsifiable prediction?
I expect that the question about the resurrection of Jesus from the dead would likely summon all manner of cynicism and mockery. Cynicism and mockery are like the meaninglessness of nihilism in that none of these capable, not that it would matter to the cynic and company, of articulating an alternative. This is not a surprise. However, do not be deceived or dazzled so as to mistake cynicism and mockery with the diligent work of scientific theory and the process of repeated testing to determine whether death or the resurrection are falsifiable predictions.

If the subatomic elements which make up a rock can theoretically and predictably come together again to form a rock, then why should a similar predictability be any less true of a human being when, just like another object or life in the universe, it dies. Scientists know and deal in the realm of events, such as the beginning of the universe. It is an event which cannot be replicated in the lab. The theories concerning the beginning of the universe may or may not be true. The scientist can only work within the realm of theory and with theory as a research tool. He does not need to replicate the beginning of the universe in the lab in order to conclude whether it is or is not falsifiable. The conclusion, or the results of testing of a theory, lead him to declare that repeated testing of theories concerning the beginning of the universe reveal that those tests do not and likely will not lead to a falsifiable prediction concerning the beginning of the universe. This is the understandable work of scientific theory. (Here is a brief and interesting article concerning the big bang theory and the beginning of the universe. See A. Penzias and R. Wilson on their discovery of Cosmic Microwave Background [CMB].)

Theory is the same resource available for the scientist to frame and explain his examination concerning the resurrection event of Jesus. The resurrection of Jesus, not unlike the beginning of the universe, does not need to be replicated by the scientist to determine whether or not the resurrection is a falsifiable prediction.

Jesus stated publicly to friend and foe alike that he would die and be buried and that he would rise again from the dead. He stated that he would rise up from the dead on the third day following his death by crucifixion. Essentially, Jesus revealed that he knew and had the code, that is, the scientific information, the authority, to take up his life from the grip of death and to rise up again. There have been others, as is often noted derisively, before and after Jesus who made similar claims. However, the question here is where are those who made those claims? They pass from this life along with their claims about their own death, burial and resurrection are like the rock when it is obliterated. They were cast from this life into death without ever substantiating or fulfilling their claims. There was no transformation, no restored life to their dead bodies.

The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is what reveals that death is a falsifiable prediction.
What Jesus demonstrated is that death has no power, hence, it is a falsifiable prediction.
Jesus revealed that the resurrection from the dead is not a falsifiable prediction.

The resurrection of Jesus is a falsifiable prediction because his disciples could have stolen his lifeless body and lied about him being being raised from the dead. Death is not an event which occurs on a microscopic level or in a place light years away from earth. It is daily, common occurrence for humans.

The resurrection of Jesus from the dead revealed that death had no power over him. If he did not rise from the dead there would be no disciples to proclaim his resurrection even under threat of death and later unto laying down their lives for what they could not deny.

Hence, the resurrection of Jesus is not falsified.
This is not to say that death does not occur. Death does occur. However, the point of the scriptures is precisely that it counters the mocking notion of atheists, naturalists, scientists, humanists and evolutionists that the grave of death is the ultimate end and existence of a human being as though he or she had never existed. This is the falsifiable prediction of death. There is no denying and it is true, not false, that Jesus died by crucifixion.

The resurrection of Jesus complements scientific theory
The fact is that what Jesus claimed and fulfilled concerning his death, burial and resurrection exactly complements scientific theory and scientific knowledge concerning matter and energy and that these are merely transformed. Jesus himself emerged from death with a transformed body which his disciples were able to see and touch. Hence, his claims and the fulfillment of those claims is not a falsifiable prediction. Those claims and the fulfillment of those claims mirror the same scientific theory concerning the transformation and theoretical restoration of matter and energy. The claims and fulfillment of those claims by Jesus concerning himself is not a vastly remote, distant or obscure reality. It is a as close and real for every human being as it was for Jesus.

The claims and the fulfillment of those claims are to Jesus what scientific theory and falsifiable predictions are to scientists. Just as scientists point out that theory is not an unsubstantiated speculation so to the claims of Jesus are not unsubstantiated speculation. The fulfillment of those claims can bear and stand up to the scrutiny of scientific theory and its repeated testing and its conclusions concerning the transformation of matter and energy. Certainly, from a human perspective those claims and theories are usually presented by their respective adherents as two totally separate and never-to-be-associated responses to life and to death. But, for better or worse, they concern all human beings. When the claims of Jesus concerning his death, burial and resurrection in the first century were realized there was no denial of those facts. However, this does not mean that even those in the first century who experienced it and knew about the resurrection necessarily accepted the reality and the implications of the resurrection of Jesus for themselves much less mankind. The same reality and implications, even if not repeatable, are not falsifiable. It is the burden on the backs of atheists, naturalists, scientists, humanists and evolutionists.

This is no different than running a test repeatedly in the twenty first century. The test results will speak for themselves. The tester is free to accept or reject the results of those tests. He could even forge or force the test results, but this is not necessary. He has the free will to accept or deny, like those first century witnesses, what the test results reveal for him. Even the skeptical scientist knows that according to scientific theory an event, such as the beginning of the universe need not necessarily be replicated to be verifiable, true and not a falsifiable prediction. Similarly, the resurrection of Jesus need not necessarily be replicated in order to be true and verifiable and true and not a falsifiable prediction.

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