Science, The Resurrection, and NOMA

I can only give you my own interpretation on this, so do keep in mind I am agnostic. :slight_smile:

Q: Did The Resurrection takes place in the physical world we all inhabit?
A: It doesn’t matter. What matters is the value you place on that story and what is brings to your life. It seems clear to me this is a good thing in you life and the lives of many others. That value doesn’t depend on any scientific proof, so there isn’t much point in demanding it.

In answer to this I often hear, “but it does matter to me and my belief”, to which I can only answer there are any number of stories in the Bible which still have meaning even if they aren’t literally true, and even if you don’t believe in God. Sometimes you just have to have faith.


So @Dan_Eastwood, why do you think Paul writes this? What does he mean?

12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. —1 Corinthians 15

Why would he hinge everything on this? Why does the physical reality of the Resurrection matter so much to Paul?

It might be helpful to read Gould’s essay where he introduces NOMA. I don’t think it is nearly as strident or as clear cut as some think. Gould freely admits that there is a lot of crossover at the borders of the magisteria. In fact, I think Gould exemplifies the type of Peaceful Science that @swamidass is trying to support. Here is a snippet and a link:


Maybe hype was as common back then as it is now.

I agree that Gould was not strident on this. He was trying to articulate a path out of conflict. It was a genuine bid for peace. The problem, however, is the claim that they are non-overlapping, and that science has domain over facts in the physical world, and faith has domain over values. That division does not seem to work, as the two often appear to be talking about the same things in the physical world.

I think a better understanding is that they have different perspectives, different languages, and different ranges of evidence considered, and types of questions at play. They are different communities of discourse.

That does not seem true. Paul doesn’t say anything remotely like this about anything else (not even Adam!). Taking out the physical resurrection also destroys the logic of what he is trying to affirm in that passage.

Sorry, I wasn’t trying to start a fight. :-/
I think for any definitive answer, you will have to ask Paul.
Meanwhile, it’s OK just to have faith.

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3 posts were split to a new topic: Atler’s Case Against The Resurrection

Let me take another swing at this: >>I do not require<< the Resurrection to be a scientific event, whatever that means. If someone chooses to accept this event as a scientific fact, then I have no particular reason to object. If a person further asserts, “… and therefore the Earth is only 6000 years old”, then I might have an issue, but that is not the case here.

The value of your faith is not contingent of my acceptance of the Resurrection.



That is certainly true. :slight_smile:

From my reading of Gould’s essay I think he would agree that NOMA has exceptions. It is basically Gould’s attempt at describing his own fallible view as an agnostic of how science and religion interact.

That last part is the all-purpose get out of jail free card. He freely admits that this won’t cover all questions, and one could perhaps argue that the Resurrection fits into this area of non-coverage.

Another possible way of looking at this is to define the magisteria by the empirical evidence we do have. The scientific magisteria would include theories that are either supported or refuted by known evidence. Being that there is no evidence for or against the Resurrection, it would fall outside the magisteria of science.

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But this makes for a terminology problem. The only way the resurrection of Jesus can be a SCIENTIFIC fact is if resurrections like his can be replicated.

I think it is more coherent to say His resurrection is most likely a miracle.

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It can also be a scientific fact if it created empirical evidence that we could observe in the present. The Chicxulub meteor impact is a scientific fact because of the massive crater and other evidence (e.g. tektites, iridium layer) we can find in the present.

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The meteor is a scientific fact, in part, because no religion claimed their God produced that event.

If we are being semantically careful… the resurrection of Jesus may have scientifically verifiable evidence… without necessarily any evidence that the resurrection itself was due to natural laws and causation.

OK, but this pushes us to consider scientific evidence of miracles and LALALALALALALICANTHEARYOULALLALAL :wink:

{I’m not going there today}


I don’t think resurrection specifically could be proven. It could, maybe, be proven that some “event” did happen but we wouldn’t, scientifically call it resurrection because we haven’t seen any other resurrection.

However, would it be logically consistent to think that “event” is resurrection? Certainly.

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Because of MN, science would never consider the Resurrection, because it is a claim of supernatural involvement in the world.

There is, however, an immense amount of evidence for the Resurrection.

4 posts were split to a new topic: Radiodating the Great Isaiah Scroll

A post was merged into an existing topic: Atler’s Case Against The Resurrection

5 posts were merged into an existing topic: Radiodating the Great Isaiah Scroll