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Long Tradition of Scientists Who Believe in the Resurrection

shawn beaty


Dr. Ian Hutchinson, a professor of nuclear science and engineering at MIT, explains why he and his Christian colleagues at MIT believe in a literal, bodily, historical resurrection of Jesus Christ. First, he says that he's following a long tradition that includes many scientists:

For Robert Boyle (of the ideal gas law, co-founder in 1660 of the Royal Society) the resurrection was a fact. For James Clerk Maxwell (whose Maxwell equations of 1862 govern electromagnetism) a deep philosophical analysis undergirded his belief in the resurrection. And for William Phillips (Nobel prize-winner in 1997 for methods to trap atoms with laser light) the resurrection is not discredited by science.

Hutchinson continues:

To explain how a scientist can be a Christian is actually quite simple. Science cannot and does not disprove the resurrection. Natural science describes the normal reproducible working of the world of nature … Science functions by reproducible experiments and observations. Miracles are, by definition, abnormal and non-reproducible, so they cannot be proved by science's methods.
Today's widespread materialist view that events contrary to the laws of science just can't happen is a [philosophical] doctrine, not a scientific fact … Contrary to increasingly popular opinion, science is not our only means for accessing truth. In the case of Jesus' resurrection, we must consider the historical evidence, and the historical evidence for the resurrection is as good as for almost any event of ancient history. The extraordinary character of the event, and its significance, provide a unique context, and ancient history is necessarily hard to establish. But a bare presumption that science has shown the resurrection to be impossible is an intellectual cop-out. Science shows no such thing.

Ian Hutchinson, "Can a scientist believe in the resurrection? Three hypotheses." Veritas Forum (3-25-16)