Apologia A Journal of Christian Thought Spring 2009, volume 3, issue 1
Understanding the Christian Artist William Wilberforce Confronts the Slave Trade Interviews with Daniel Dennett and Francis Collins
of the Resurrection Historical Evidence that Jesus Christ Rose from the Dead
Why Search for Truth about God? A Letter from the Editor
artmouth students tend to be skeptical of people who claim to know the truth about God. Given the limits of our own understanding, it seems impossible to claim that any one viewpoint corners the market on truth. After all, if God is truly transcendent, who could attain an accurate conception of Him? Intellectual doubt is not the only reason for our skepticism. Having witnessed the various evils perpetrated under the banner of truth—be it Christian, Muslim, Marxist, Fascist or other—we find ourselves wary of hidden motives that may lurk behind such sweeping declarations. Theological truth claims often seem like power plays in disguise. Therefore, given the difficulty and danger of searching for divine truth, why bother? One answer is simple: we cannot avoid believing certain truths about the nature of God. Whether you believe that God is real, imaginary or unknowable, everyone has some opinion on God. When searching for the truth about God, it is natural to look for moments of explicit revelation. If this is your strategy, you will quickly come to the uncommon life and teachings of Jesus. During his ministry, he frequently claimed to be the image of the unseen God in human flesh. In response to the criticism that God is too transcendent to comprehend, he responded, “He who has seen me has seen the Father.” If Jesus’ claims are true, then God has made himself known. Jesus certainly made bold truth claims, yet he was refreshingly transparent about his motives. In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus says to his disciples: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Throughout the Gospels, Jesus reiterates that his goal is not to obtain power but to reveal the truth of God. He seeks not to oppress, but to liberate. Here at Apologia, we believe Jesus is who he claimed to be. If his claims are true, then not only has the unattainable truth about God become concrete in a man, but it is a revelation of such magnitude that it informs all life and thought. We don’t claim to fully understand this revelation; this journal is simply the fruit of our efforts to seek, understand and articulate God’s truth.
Andrew Schuman ‘10 Editor-in-Chief
Spring 2009, Volume 3, Issue 1
Editor-in-chief Andrew Schuman ‘10 Executive editor Robert Cousins ‘09 Editorial board Tessa Winter ‘09 Bethany Mills ‘10 Charles Dunn ‘10 Charles Clark ‘11 Business manager Christopher Blankenship ‘09 Web development Alex Barsamian ‘04 Th ‘09 Edward Talmage ‘12 Layout and design Kaite Yang ‘09 Alex Mercado ‘11 Heidi Tan ‘11 Rebecca Wu ‘11 Kelsey Carter ‘12 Contributors Sarah White ‘11 Peter Blair ‘12 Dr. William P. Cheshire Faculty advisory board Gregg Fairbrothers, Tuck Richard Denton, Physics Eric Hansen, Thayer Eric Johnson, Tuck James Murphy, Government Leo Zacharski, DMS Special thanks to Council on Student Organizations David Allman ‘76 Beth Pearson Robert Philp
Letters to the Editor
We welcome the submission of any article, short story, poem or artwork for publication in The Dartmouth Apologia. Submissions should seek to promote respectful, thoughtful discussion in the community. We will consider submissions from any member of the community but reserve the right to publish only those that are in line with our mission statement and quality rubric. Blitz Apologia.
We value your opinions and encourage thoughtful submissions expressing support, dissent or other views. We will gladly consider any letter that is consistent with our mission statement’s focus on promoting intellectual discourse in the Dartmouth community.
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front cover image: The Empty Tomb by Bethany Mills ‘10
The opinions expressed in The Dartmouth Apologia are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the journal, its editors or Dartmouth College. Copyright © 2009 The Dartmouth Apologia
The Naturalist Dilemma and Why Christianity Supports a Better Science Peter Blair ‘12
Things Seen & Unseen: Faith and the FineTuning of the Universe
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William P. Cheshire, Jr., M.D.
The Reality of the Resurrection:
The Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus
Charles Dunn ‘10
Of Mystery and the Invisible: Understanding the Christian Artist Bethany Mills ‘10
Faith Takes Action:
Letter to the Editor
William Wilberforce and the Abolition of the Slave Trade Sarah White ‘11
Markes Wilson, DHMC
Final Thoughts: Why Apologia? Robert Cousins ‘09
he Dartmouth Apologia exists to articulate Christian perspectives in the academic community.
Daniel Dennett and Francis Collins
A Journal of Christian Thought
In today’s academy, it is generally assumed that the scientific and spiritual worldviews cannot be compatible. In this installment of the Apologia, we decided to take up this issue by interviewing two nationally renowned commentators on the relationship between science and religion, Daniel Dennett and Francis Collins. Dennett argues for incompatibility, Collins for congruence. The interviews were independently conducted, and neither Collins nor Dennett had any prior knowledge of the other’s responses.
an interview with
conducted by Charles Clark and Peter Blair
What events or trends impelled you to write your most recent book, Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon?
Daniel Dennett, Ph.D., is the Co-Director of the Center for Cognitive Studies and the Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy at Tufts University. His research centers on the philosophy of the mind, philosophy of science and philosophy of biology, particularly as these fields relate to evolutionary biology and cognitive science. In 2006, Dennett released a scientific examination of religion entitled Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon, in which he portrays religion as a cultural phenomenon governed by the evolutionary mechanisms of natural selection and survival of the fittest. On January 20, 2009, Dennett visited Dartmouth College to deliver the Religion Department’s Hardigg Family Fund Lecture, in which he presented his naturalistic explanation for the existence of religion. Just before his lecture, Dr. Dennett graciously granted this publication an interview.
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I thought that the religiosity apparent in the government and in the prevailing winds of discussion in the United States was dangerous and oppressive, and I thought I should do something about that. And then at a meeting of young people in Seattle, on the spur of the moment, I just decided to come out of the closet and tell these youngsters that I was a bright [a “bright” is a neologism to describe a person who holds a naturalistic worldview]. All these young people said they never heard an adult say in such a matter of fact way that he was an atheist. It was sort of shocking and amazing to them. And after that, a bunch of people who were speaking there said, “Oh yeah, me too. I’m a bright too.” When I wrote about this in a New York Times op-ed piece, the effect was just electrifying. I had hundreds and hundreds of letters and emails from people who were saying, “Don’t stop there, you’ve got to do something more.” Well I didn’t want to write a book about atheism. But I did want to apply my work on evolutionary theory, especially evolution of culture and consciousness to religion. So I spent a couple of years boning up on the literature, learning more about it and writing that book. Could you summarize your views on the evolutionary origin of religion and morality and explain their scientific basis?
Everywhere you look in human cultures there’s religion. That can’t be an accident. There are really just two possibilities: one is just genetic and the other is cultural. It could be that there are genes, that there have been adaptations of some sort which predispose us for religion, which says nothing here nor there about whether it’s good for us. There are genes that predispose us for myopia too. And the other interesting possibility is once language evolved and human culture began to go explosive maybe religions arose or some aspects of religion arose as what Boyd and Richardson call “rogue cultural variance.”
If we understand that culture evolved, the capacity for cultural transmission evolved and made possible the transmission of lots of acquired knowledge from parents to offspring. That’s a vertical transmission just like genes. You have a dual pathway with cultural transmission. But once you have that second information highway then it can be piggybacked by all sorts of things which may not themselves be good for people but that can simply exploit the machinery that has evolved for other purposes. Those are the rogue cultural variances or what Richard Dawkins calls memes. Once you start seeing culture as composed of replicating units or at least in large measure replicating units that are being transmitted and replicated competitively, then three possibilities arise. The things that evolve and then spread, evolve and spread because they’re good for us or because they’re just neutral for us and they’re not worth the trouble to get rid of. Or it may even be that they’re bad for us. They’re like bad habits, but they’re very infectious bad habits. These are all possibilities. So that gives us a framework then for looking at in what category do religions fit. I don’t claim to have the answers, I just have the questions. Do you believe that the biological explanation is sufficient to account for our moral experience of reality? That crimes like murder and rape are only repugnant to us because of our neurochemical conditioning?
Everything we do and everything we think is ultimately due to causal factors in our brain. The denial of that is just frankly preposterous. We know enough now about the brain, that it is just true. There’s no immaterial mind doing anything. It’s just the brain. But that doesn’t settle anything about why these particular effects occur and why they accumulate and why they survive. Why do some belief sets thrive and others go extinct? Again, all sorts of reasons. In the case of scientific belief sets—theories—since science has actually evolved sieves or thresholds which select for truth, you actually can put some serious credence in what survives that daunting selection process. Not perfect, far from perfect. But that is one set of institutions which itself has evolved to favor well-grounded true theories. Let’s take for instance finance, the banking system. The data gathering by banks and stockbrokers is significant, tremendous amount of data that are gathered. Why can we rely on it? Because we see it is in the interests of those bankers to get an accurate accounting of markets and prices. These have been cunningly designed to filter out the false and pass on the true. It’s not quite science but it’s systematic truth gathering. Leon Wieseltier of The New Republic responded to Breaking the Spell with the following comments: “If reason is a product of natural selection, then how much confidence can we have in a rational argument for natural selection… Evolutionary biology cannot invoke the power of reason even
as it destroys it.” If we cannot trust our belief-forming faculties to tell us the truth, even about something as significant as God, why should we trust them to tell us the truth about anything, including evolutionary science?
First of all, the question of why we should have faith in any system of belief generation is a good question, I’ll grant that. But the religious response to that is patently questionbegging. God, who is good, makes sure that the system is benign and that’s how we can trust it when it tells us that God is good in the system. It’s like saying that the Bible says so and the Bible is the word of God. The fact that the Bible says it’s true because it’s the word of God is obviously no evidence that it’s the word of God. There’s no non-circular argument from religion for reliability of belief. But there is for science. Imagine creatures on another planet, if you like, so as different from us as you like, and they are evolving, and in their competitions they became not just like plants but they become mobile, like locomotors, and you can see immediately that they are going to be able to extract information from their environment in order to guide their locomotion. But that’s to say truth. The ones that extract false information are doomed, they are going to walk off a cliff. There is a built in presumption that any sense organs in any organism that evolves are going to be biased in favor of passing on the truth. But of course that only gets us the kind of truth-tracking that you get in a smart dog or a dolphin. But even there, think about how hard it is to trick a raccoon. If you’ve ever tried to fool a raccoon you know they’re pretty hard to fool. That is, they are pretty robust truth-finders. They will see through a lot of deceit. So we have that background. Let’s just call that animal wit or the wily intelligence of the fox. What do we add to that? We add human culture and language. Manifestly we have these systems. Cultural evolution permits a refinement of that capacity, and in particular, the refinement of representations. We are the only organism on the planet that represents its reasons, and because we represent our reasons, we can represent the falling short. We can measure how far off we are from perfection and then we can devise ways of correcting it. And that’s how you can get an evolutionary account that shows why we should trust our beliefs if they are science-derived. What is your opinion of the theory of theistic evolution? Even if all behavior and beliefs are biological in origin and developed through evolution, is there any reason to reject the idea that God exists?
If you are bound and determined to say that you believe that God exists, then you can imagine a God that plays no role. That is the master of ceremonies. When I’m rude I say the God that plays air guitar. Not needed, but if it helps you to imagine an accompanist God of that sort, feel free. But it doesn’t explain anything; it doesn’t play any role.
Spring 2009 • The Dartmouth Apologia •
an interview with
conducted by Andrew Schuman and Charles Dunn
What events or trends impelled you to write your recent book, The Language of God?
Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., is a physiciangeneticist and the former director of the National Human Genome Research Institute. During his tenure at the National Institutes of Health (1993-2008), Collins oversaw the Human Genome Project, an international effort to map and sequence the three billion letters in the human DNA. His novel approach to gene hunting, termed “positional cloning,” has led to the isolation of several disease related genes including those responsible for cystic fibrosis, Huntington’s disease and neurofibromatosis. Collins has also been a leader in genetic ethics, advocating the privacy of genetic information and the prohibition of genebased insurance discrimination. In 2006, Collins published a book entitled The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief, in which he relates his own conversion from agnosticism to Christianity and argues for the complete compatibility of rigorous scientific study and faith in the God of the Bible. Even amidst his intense work with the Obama Health Agency Transition Team, Dr. Collins graciously granted this publication an interview.
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I was asked to deliver the Noble Lectures on science and faith at Harvard in 2003. It was the most open that I had been about describing my own personal journey, and how I had found harmony in both the truths of science and the truths of faith. For three nights in a row, the Harvard Memorial Church was packed with students and faculty asking probing questions and making it clear that this was a topic of great interest to them. It was also clear from their reaction that while they had heard repeatedly from the voices of Biblical fundamentalism and atheist fundamentalism, the concept that the scientific and spiritual worldviews could be compatible in an intellectually rigorous fashion was new and surprising to many. Though my scientific responsibilities as Director of the Human Genome Project at that time were intense, it seemed that a book on this topic might be helpful to at least a few people. And in a certain way, I had been thinking about writing that book for a quarter century, ever since I became a believer. In light of your study of evolutionary biology, do you think there is any credence to the theory that religion has arisen via evolution as a purely natural phenomenon?
While interesting arguments have been made about natural human tendencies to postulate an outside agent to explain inexplicable events, they fall short of explaining why 40% of today’s working scientists, who make their professional careers out of explaining natural phenomena, still persist in believing in God. I am one of them. Of course a loving Creator, who planned at the beginning of the universe for big-brained creatures to emerge with the potential for a divine relationship, might well have utilized the process of evolution to make that clarion call more audible, so the presence of an evolutionary argument for our spiritual hunger does not discount the possible truth of the existence of God. Put another way, and following C.S. Lewis’ argument, we humans seem to have a set of basic universal needs: for food, water, shelter and sex. Yet down
through the centuries and right up to now, there seems to be this other universal need for something that will lift us up beyond the impoverished perspective of pure naturalism and provide a spiritual perspective. If there are ways to fill those other basic needs, might not this one also be intended to find its true object, the God of all the Universe, who knocks on the door of our hearts, if we will but listen? Do you believe that evolutionary biology is a sufficient explanation for the moral impulse? If not, how does the existence of a moral law provide evidence for a Creator?
One of the most notable characteristics of humanity, across centuries, cultures and geographic locations, is a universal grasp of the concept of right and wrong and an inner voice that calls us to do the right thing. This is often referred to as the Moral Law. We may not always agree on what behaviors are right—and this is heavily influenced by culture—but we generally agree that we should try to do good and avoid evil. When we break the Law—which, if we are honest, is frequently—we make excuses for ourselves, only further demonstrating that we feel obligated to the Law. Evolutionary arguments, which ultimately must support reproductive fitness as the overarching goal, may explain some parts of this human urge toward altruism, especially if your sacrificial acts are offered to your relatives or to those from whom you might expect some future reciprocal benefits. Martin Nowak has recently extended those models to show that evolution could even favor altruism directed at all members of your own group. But these evolutionary models all require hostility to outgroups within your species. Somehow we humans didn’t seem to get that memo—in fact, we especially admire examples where individuals act sacrificially for others from outgroups that they don’t even know— think of Mother Teresa or the Good Samaritan. Dismissing these acts of radical altruism as some sort of evolutionary misfiring, which is the usual response from an atheist, ought to at least be viewed skeptically as a bit of a “just so” story. And if these noble acts are frankly a scandal to reproductive fitness, might they instead be a pointer toward a holy, loving and caring God, who instilled this Moral Law into each of us as a sign of our special nature and as a call to relationship with the Almighty? Don’t get me wrong, I am not arguing that this, or any other scientific argument, is an actual proof for a God who cares about humans. But it might be cause for some reflection.
In your book The Language of God, you explain how your intellectual quest to confirm your atheism resulted in belief in the God of the Bible. What were some of the most significant turning points along this journey?
I realized that there were compelling signposts to God in nature: the fact that there is something instead of nothing, the “unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics” (Wigner’s phrase) to explain the behavior of matter and energy, the need to answer the question “what came before the Big Bang?” and the fine-tuning of physical constants in the universe to have just the value they need to make complexity possible. With my eyes opened by the first chapter of C.S. Lewis’s book Mere Christianity, I also realized that there was no simple materialistic explanation for the existence of right and wrong, Collins wrote The Language nor for our universal human of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief in 2006. calling to be moral beings. For many people, the current debate between creationism and evolution is a symbol of the inevitable conflict between science and religion. In response to this debate, you are well known for advocating a view called theistic evolution. Could you tell us briefly what is theistic evolution and what guiding principles led you to this view?
Theism is the belief in the existence of God. Theistic evolution, therefore, is simply the belief that evolution is the way by which God created the marvelous diversity of life as we know it, including human beings. What an elegant plan! I came to that position by a) having come to belief in God through the signposts noted above and b) having access to the scientific evidence about biology, which overwhelmingly supports Darwin’s theory. A great deal of ink has been spilled by those who try to argue that these worldviews cannot both be true, but in thirty years as a Christian geneticist, I have found no conflict. As an aside, the term theistic evolution confuses many people, and may even suggest that evolution, the noun, is more important than belief in God, the adjective. In The Language of God, I suggest an alternative term, “BioLogos.” This word is taken from the Greek words “Bios” (life) and “Logos” (word), specifically referring to the opening words of the Gospel of John: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).
Spring 2009 • The Dartmouth Apologia •
Naturalist The Dilemma by Peter Blair
and Why Christianity Supports a Better Science
he works of thinkers like prominent evolutionary scientist Richard Dawkins have fueled widespread belief in the incompatibility of science and religion. In The Devil’s Chaplain, Dawkins comments, Are science and religion converging? No. There are modern scientists whose words sound religious but whose beliefs, on close examination, turn out to be identical to those of other scientists who straightforwardly call themselves atheists…To an honest judge, the alleged convergence between religion and science is a shallow, empty, hollow, spin-doctored sham.1
In The God Delusion, Dawkins supports his claim by citing a 1998 study showing that only seven percent of the scientists in the National Academy of Sciences believe in a personal God.2 According to Dawkins, the evidence indicates that naturalism is the only acceptable and consistent worldview for a scientist to have. The philosophical underpinnings of theistic and naturalistic worldviews, however, indicate that the true conflict is not between science and religion, but rather between science and naturalism. A naturalist
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(also known as a materialist) is “Somebody who believes there is nothing beyond the natural, physical world, no supernatural creative intelligence lurking behind the observable universe, no soul that outlasts the body and no miracles.”3 For the naturalist, there
If naturalism is true, then rational thought is the product of purely nonrational processes. is no afterlife, no soul and no supernatural being. As scientist Carl Sagan put it, naturalism is the belief that “The Cosmos is all there is, has ever been or ever will be.”4 Many people would argue that such an idea is a critical component of the scientific worldview. Contrary to that popular belief, naturalism actually undermines scientific inquiry. If naturalism is
true, then rational thought is the product of purely nonrational processes. According to a strictly naturalistic worldview, our beliefs and thoughts come solely from physical reactions in our brain. Alvin Plantinga, a professor of philosophy at Notre Dame University, puts it this way:
evolved to be reliable. They hypothesize that the ability to use reason to draw correct conclusions about reality helps mankind to survive, so natural selection favors reliable cognitive faculties and disfavors unreliable ones. For example, the philosopher William Ramsey argues:
According to materialists, beliefs, along with the rest of mental life, are caused or determined by neurophysiology, by what goes on in the brain and nervous system. Neurophysiology, furthermore, also causes behavior. According to the usual story, electrical signals proceed via afferent nerves from the sense organs to the brain; there some processing goes on; then electrical impulses go via efferent nerves from the brain to other organs including muscles; in response to these signals, certain muscles contract, thus causing movement and behavior…Now this same neurophysiology, according to the materialist, also causes belief.5
A cognitive system that generates the belief that tigers are large, cuddly pussycats or the belief that the best way to get near something is to run away from it…will, down the road, get you into trouble. If your cognitive system is prone to these sorts of errors, then you aren’t going to be around for long.6 Therefore, because true belief helps our survival and false belief hurts it, our mental faculties would have evolved to enable us to reach true conclusions about reality. And indeed, this response is superficially compelling. It is advantageous for our survival to believe in, for example, the existence of the external world and in certain scientific laws like gravity, and there is good reason to think these beliefs are true.
If reason is the product of nonrational forces, why should we treat its dictates as reliable? We would not, in any other area, associate physical processes with rationality or meaning; in fact, we typically consider beliefs that arise from nonrational causes to be unreliable. Consider tasseography, the process of divining the future from the patterns formed by tealeaves at the bottom of a cup. Although tea-leaves settle in the bottom of the cup according to physical constants, we do not consider information thus divined to be reliable, because the physical process, which determines the pattern, is nonrational. From the naturalistic perspective, all of our beliefs are formed through the same type of physical, nonrational processes that create seemingly meaningful patterns for the tasseographer. Hormones and electricity are merely settling in our brains to form patterns that we then interpret to create meaning. Therefore, in naturalist thought or any other worldview that explains reasoning in terms of nonrational causes, reason is potentially unreliable. Paradoxically, like any other philosophical system naturalism is a product of reason. Therefore, by demonstrating that human reason is not necessarily reliable, naturalism undermines itself. Furthermore, scientific theory depends upon the reliability of our observations and our ability to draw logical conclusions from those observations, so naturalism undermines science as well. Some philosophers and evolutionary scientists have responded to this argument by suggesting that evolution makes naturalism compatible with science because human beings’ cognitive faculties would have
The question becomes “Have our cognitive faculties produced any beliefs about reality that, while false, help us to survive?” According to the naturalist, the belief in God is necessarily false. Yet historically, the majority of people have believed in the existence of at least one god. How would a naturalist account for this phenomenon? One might say that people have historically believed in God not because God exists, but rather because that belief helped them to survive. Evolutionist David Sloan Wilson has written that the belief in God is so widespread because it makes people happier and more unself-
“Evolutionary naturalism still undermines our rational trust in … our cognitive faculties”
ish, enabling them to get better mates and helping their families to survive longer.7 Similarly, Richard Dawkins has argued that we believe in God because certain traits that promote survival also tend to cause one to believe in agents and actors that don’t actually exist.8 The argument that evolution produces false beliefs to aid in survival directly contradicts the argument that evolution produces reliable cognitive faculties. In the service of survival, evolution
Spring 2009 • The Dartmouth Apologia •
has no regard for the truth or falsity of a statement. Philosopher Patricia Churchland writes: The principle chore of [the brain] is to get the body parts where they should be in order that the organism may survive. Improvements in sensorimotor control confer an evolutionary advantage: a fancier style of representing [the world] is advantageous so long as it…enhances the organism’s chances for survival. Truth, whatever it is, takes the hindmost.9If evolution cares only to promote that which helps an organism survive, and potentially false beliefs like religious faith can do this, then evolution will favor a mental system that produces both true and false beliefs. In other words, it would produce untrustworthy cognitive faculties. Charles Darwin himself, recognizing this problem, wrote to a friend “The horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has developed from the mind of lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy.”10 Evolution does not provide an answer to the initial problem. Naturalism, even evolutionary naturalism, still undermines our rational trust in the reliability of our cognitive faculties and consequently in any disciplines, including science, that depend on that reliability.
Sir Francis Bacon 1561 – 1626 English philosopher, statesman, scientist, lawyer, jurist and author
Christianity on the other hand, far from conflicting with science, actually provides both a motivation and a solid epistemological basis for scientific endeavors. Christianity holds that God created everything, including our reason, our senses and the natural laws that govern the universe.11 Therefore a Christian can look at science as an attempt to learn more about God and His works.12 This viewpoint endows scientific endeavors with great significance and purpose; it consecrates and dignifies intellectual life. Furthermore, the Christian worldview teaches that God is not deceptive, and therefore Christianity provides all scientists with a reason to trust their cognitive faculties on a general basis. Christianity asserts that the world is fundamentally rational and meaningful, and that our thoughts are not just the product of nonrational processes. Christians believe there is purpose in life and there is knowable truth which, when fully grasped and understood, brings people closer to God.13 For these reasons, a Christian can be motivated to study science and justify doing so. The history of Western science is partially the story of faith’s enriching influence. Theologian and philosopher Francis Schaeffer writes: The rise of modern science did not conflict with what the Bible teaches; indeed, at a crucial point the Scientific Revolution rested upon what the Bible teaches…because the early scientists
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Sir Isaac Newton 1643 – 1727 English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist and theologian
Johannes Kepler 1571 – 1630 German mathematician, astronomer and key figure in the 17th century Scientific Revolution
Blaise Pascal 1623 – 1662 French mathematician, physicist and religious philosopher
Michael Faraday 1791 – 1867 English chemist and physicist
believed that the world was created by a reasonable God, they were not surprised to discover that people could find out something true about nature and the universe on the basis of reason… scientists could move with confidence, expecting to be able to find out about the world by observation and experimentation… without this foundation, Western modern science would not have been born.14
Through Christianity, we are able to see science in its proper and natural place, as a valuable pursuit with a solid foundation.
Schaeffer goes on to discuss the major scientists of the Western tradition and their relationship to the Christian faith. Francis Bacon, “The major prophet of the Scientific Revolution,” Johannes Kepler, the man who showed that the planets’ orbits are elliptical, Sir Isaac Newton, a scientist who later in life wrote more about the Bible than he wrote about science, Blaise Pascal, maker of the first successful barometer and Michael Faraday, discoverer of the induction of electric current were all practicing Christians, as were the majority of early members in the Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge.15 These men believed Christianity justified their scientific work. Francis Bacon wrote:
Christianity, however, succeeds where naturalism fails. Illuminated by the Christian worldview, science makes sense. Through Christianity, we are able to see science in its proper and natural place as a valuable pursuit with a solid foundation. Richard Dawkins, The Devil’s Chaplain (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2003), 146. 2 Timothy Keller, The Reason for God (New York: Penguin Group, 2008), 84. 3 Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2006), 14. 4 Carl Sagan, Cosmos (New York: Random House, 1980), 1. 5 “Evolution vs. Naturalism,” Books and Culture. July/ August 2008. 6 Beilby, James (ed.), Naturalism Defeated? Essays on Plantinga’s Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism, (New York: Cornell University Press, 2002), 21. 7 Timothy Keller, The Reason for God (New York: Penguin Group, 2008), 136. 8 Ibid. 9 Ibid, 137. 10 Ibid, 138. 11 Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” 12 Romans 1:20 “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made.” 13 As Romans 1:20 states. 14 Francis Schaeffer, How Should We Then Live? (Illinois: Crossway Books, 2005), 132-134. 15 Ibid, 134-138. 16 Ibid, 142. 17 Ibid, 138. 18 C.S. Lewis, “Is Theology Poetry?” The Weight of Glory and other Addresses (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1980), 140. 1
Let no man out of weak conceit of sobriety, or in ill applied moderation, think or maintain, that a man can search too far or be too well studied in the book of God’s word [the Bible] or the book of God’s works [nature].16 Bacon thought science was important precisely because of his Christian faith; he believed that the study of nature was the study of God. Schaeffer points out, furthermore, that even those few founders of modern science who were not Christians “Were living within the thought forms brought forth by Christianity, especially the belief that God as the Creator and Lawgiver has implanted laws in his creation which man can discover.”17
C.S. Lewis gives a beautiful summary of Christianity’s foundational and illuminative power: “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen; not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”18 Naturalism, because it leads us to doubt our cognitive faculties and our ability to reason, darkens and obscures science.
Staff writer Peter Blair ’12 is from Newton Square, Pennsylvania. He is a Government and Philosophy double major. C.S. Lewis 1898 – 1963
Spring 2009 • The Dartmouth Apologia •
Things Seen and Unseen Faith and the Fine-Tuning of the Universe by William P. Cheshire, Jr., M.D.
I was first introduced to Dr. William Cheshire’s work earlier this year while I was working at an HIV/ AIDS education NGO in Nairobi, Kenya. Dr. Mary Adam—both my internship supervisor and my de facto host mom—and I were up late discussing our shared interest in medical ethics, philosophy and writing when she casually dropped his name. “Have you ever read Bill Cheshire’s work?” she asked. Seeing my negative response, she immediately determined to remedy that and fired up our 0.2 bit-per-minute Internet connection. The following day, when I was finally able to read one of Dr. Cheshire’s pieces in his column “Grey Matters” in Ethics and Medicine, I was struck both by his reverence for God and his high view of science. When I returned to Dartmouth a few months later, Andrew Schuman asked me if I had anyone in mind to write this guest piece. My mind immediately jumped to Dr. Cheshire, and though I had no idea if he would be interested, I cold-called the Neurology Department of the Mayo Clinic and asked to speak with him. Dr. Cheshire was extremely personable, and as we discussed possibilities for the article, Dr. Cheshire mentioned his current interest in the idea that scale in nature alludes to something beyond strict naturalism. In this piece he explores the sheer magnitude of nature, at once inconceivably big and immeasurably small. Dr. Cheshire examines this reality of the natural world and demonstrates how it must point to an Almighty Creator. I hope you enjoy! Tessa Winter, Editor of Special Features
Of all our senses it is vision that most informs the mind.”1 These words introduce the book Powers of Ten, a visual odyssey from Scientific American that explores the relative size of everything in the universe. The layered dimensions of the cosmos are breathtaking to behold. Measured against such vastness, humanity seems insignificant. Yet it is the human mind that seeks to understand nature completely. Each scientific discovery bids a peek at what lies ahead. Even as the horizon of knowledge expands, examination of what can be seen fails to satisfy essential questions of origin, purpose and ultimate meaning. A comprehensive understanding must also look to what is unseen. This requires inference, imagination and awareness of the metaphorical. For nature abounds with hints as subtle as they are sublime. The book begins in the expanse of silent space. With each turn of the page, a portion of the previous image is magnified tenfold. Successive pages find innumerable galaxies, and among them, nestled between spiral arms, lies an ordinary star. As the journey proceeds, the solar system becomes visible. Swirling in past sweeping paths of giant spheres, suspended along the third orbit lies a speck. Soon
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the brilliant blue topography of planet Earth bursts into view.2 Successive pages disclose coastal outlines, wisping clouds and city skyscrapers, beneath which a grassy park appears. Zooming in further, on a sunlit picnic blanket lies a dozing couple. Progressively tapered fields of view focus in on the man’s hand. On the surface of his skin is unexpected detail. The next pages plunge into the microscopic world and, within a white blood cell, a sea of molecules. Inside its nucleus, the DNA double helix unwinds to spell out the man’s entire genetic identity. Looking still further inward, vibrant electron orbitals whiz around the carbon atom’s compact nucleus. Still deeper within unfurls the quirky realm of quarks and quantum uncertainty. At every level of scientific investigation, images supply understanding. Images convey details about the particular characteristics of things: their relative size, shape, orientation, color, texture and information content. In the quarter century since the book was written, research has delivered many new images that continue to fill in the details of the scientific portrait of nature. For example, in recent years infrared detectors have mapped the cosmic background radiation left over from the Big Bang.3 The Hubble
telescope probes the deepest reaches of space to capture images of galaxies and distant nebulae in explosive hues.4 Closer to home, functional neuroimaging methods are tracing out pathways of thought in the human brain.5 Electron microscopy can probe (postmortem) any of the 160 trillion synapses in the human cerebral cortex.6 The three-billion base pair human genome has been sequenced.7 Nanotechnology affords unprecedented levels of resolution capable of imaging the shape of a snowflake the size of just six water molecules.8 The list goes on. Each of these discoveries adds detail to a visually enriched narrative of nature. The story of science consists of chapters arranged by proportion. Because each discipline observes things that interact with one another, scientific descriptions tend to cluster by scale. The methodology of science, accordingly, is incremental and reductionist. The value of reductionism lies in its exact detail, yielding pictorial clarity. Note, however, that each level of precise explanation leaves out something. Images have edges, beyond which lies unprinted territory. In science, every discipline is incomplete and none has the final word. Cosmology, climatology, psychology, neurology, biology, chemistry and physics are concerned with progressively smaller scales of phenomena within phenomena. To better understand nature, knowledge from each field of science is necessary, but no field alone possesses sufficient knowledge to provide a complete account of all the others. Each field contributes knowledge which, although exact, is limited to its area of competence, and although often generalizable, is also dependent on contributions from other disciplines. Images provide not only fine details but also larger perspectives that look beyond reductionism. The zooming lens of science reveals worlds within worlds in a universe that is at once enormous and intricate. Nature’s architecture displays an ordered continuity between phenomena that differ in scale. Relationships between the small and the large emerge in surprising ways, as tiny things can have huge implications. For example, helium, the second lightest element in the periodic table, powers the Sun. A difference of two or four neutrons in the iodine nucleus distinguishes a harmful radioactive substance from an essential nutrient. A single gene can determine eye color. The difference of one chromosome decides gender. From one unique single-cell embryo develops a Dartmouth
student or professor. An idea can launch a career. One Jewish carpenter changed the course of history. In the other direction, enormous things are sometimes known by slight clues. Consider the night sky’s stars in relation to the human eye. Light from the most distant object visible to the unaided eye — the Andromeda galaxy — has traveled 2.5 million years to reach Earth. The retina is able to detect just a few hundred photons (subatomic parcels of light) emanating from this galaxy. Passing through the pupil and lens to fall on the retina, the photons stimulate retinal [electrons] to an excited energy state, which leads to a cascade of molecular changes that culminate in a signal passing down the optic nerve and to the visual cortex. In this way a faint splash of light originating from distant space corresponds to the idea of a galaxy in the brain of an onlooker. Surveying the images of nature leads to an astonishing realization. Though its parts may be separated by many orders of magnitude, the composite image represents a coherent whole. Galaxies and quarks and everything in between compose one reality. Confidence that the different levels of reality fit together into a comprehensible arrangement, in which the laws of nature everywhere apply, allows the scientist to construct models, test hypotheses and make predictions. For example, collisions of particles in laboratory accelerators predict the behavior of atoms in stars. Mathematical models of turbulent fluid flow apply both to the study of arterial circulation supplying the brain and of massive storms on the surface of Jupiter. Models also assist the amateur. Books, photographs, web pages, planetaria, video presentations and computer simulations bridge the gap in scale between the human body and the universe and usher the mind into exhilarating worlds of the immense and the minuscule. Pondering the revelations of science proceeds, therefore, from images to imagination. Informed by empirical data and guided by reason, creative visualization transports the mind to worlds both grand and small, ancient and swift. This capacity to imagine – to contemplate in the mind’s eye what cannot be directly seen – makes all the universe home to human creatures too small to grasp Saturn’s rings and too large to walk along the DNA strand. The imagination may mentally inhabit such worlds, watch the tectonic drift of continents or follow a flash of light. The mind prepared to recognize what is missing at any particular level of assessment finds connections
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to other levels and to complementary disciplines. This endeavor is refreshingly open-ended. For each question answered, science finds more interesting questions. Along the way, one discovers that the true nature of things is always more intriguing than pre-
blind chance prove deeply disappointing. Naturalism, or the view that everything arises from physical causes to the exclusion of any intelligence beyond material nature, guides a serious inquiry into such questions only so far. The mathematician Kurt Gödel’s incom-
Supremely unseen is the sovereign Mind that conceived and guides nature. viously thought. As more is seen, still more must be discerned. The reader of Powers of Ten may turn to the page preceding the sequence of images and find the name of the author. Likewise, the mind open to asking what is beyond nature may perceive its transcendent implications. To illustrate, one might ask whether it would matter if the universe had been arranged in a slightly different way. As it happens, the specific conditions of the universe matter a great deal. Astrophysicists have found that, in order for the universe to have produced sufficient quantities of the elements necessary for there to be any possibility of any form of life at any time in its history, the rate of expansion of the universe must be precisely what it is. If the universe had expanded more rapidly, matter would have dispersed so readily that none would have coalesced to form galaxies and stars. If the universe had expanded more slowly, matter would have clumped into a superdense slab before any stars like the Sun could have formed. In technical terms, for the rate of expansion of the universe to satisfy the conditions required to produce stars and the elements necessary for the possibility of life, the value of the cosmic mass density must be fine-tuned to within one part in 1060 and the space energy density to within one part in 10120.9 Such orders of magnitude are staggeringly unimaginable. At the other end of the scale, the physical conditions of the subatomic milieu also must be precisely as they are for life to be possible. Among numerous parameters that must be met for life to exist is the number of electrons, which must equal the number of protons in the universe to within one part in 1037. Otherwise electromagnetic forces would have overcome gravitational forces in the early stages of the universe, preventing the formation of galaxies, stars and planets.9 The conditions necessary to support the origin of life and of minds are so extraordinarily improbable that explanations appealing to accidental forces and
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Look Closer (Tree of Life) by Kaite Yang ‘09
pleteness theorem provides helpful insight on this subject. Gödel showed that no nontrivial formal system can have in itself its proof of consistency.10 Thus, it is logically necessary to look beyond nature for a satisfactory explanation of nature. Unseen in the survey of images of nature is the mind of the beholder who, in some sense, stands apart from nature in order to connect and synthesize the images. The essayist C. S. Lewis considered naturalism to be self-refuting because it undermines the validity of reasoning, on which all possible knowledge depends. If human thought were solely the product of necessary or deterministic biophysical causes in the brain, argued Lewis, then the scientist would have no reason to believe that scientific insights into nature are true and trustworthy rather than just a reflection of the way the brain happens to work.11 Supremely unseen is the sovereign Mind that conceived and guides nature. Commenting on the
exquisitely precise initial conditions of the universe, cosmologist Stephen Hawking, an agnostic, commented that, “It would be very difficult to explain why the universe should have begun in just this way, except as the act of a God who intended to create beings like us.”12 Assuming that Hawking is on to something, it is reasonable to conclude that an Intelligence acting from beyond space and time who is powerful enough to bring the universe into existence would be able to reveal himself to humankind howsoever he chooses. A Creator who endows humankind with a creative mind with which to imagine visiting faraway places seen through telescopes and microscopes could well be the sort of God who humbly walked onto the stage of human history and dwelt in person among us. Science alone cannot prove the existence of God. With each discovery of nature’s beauty and elegance, however, its awe-inspiring images render the alternative increasingly implausible. Furthermore, nature’s coherence and contingent implications are too profound to dismiss. As attractive as visible proof of God’s existence might be, perhaps he prefers not to compel belief but rather to invite people to seek and trust him. The wondrous catalogue of nature stimulates curiosity and motivates investigation. Instead of definitive proof of God that could discourage further inquiry, science finds delightful clues that enliven contemplation of meaning within and beyond the physical world. Not all that is true is visible. The authors of Powers of Ten recognized in nature a dependency on meaning that transcends images when they wrote, “Behind every representation stands much more than can be imaged, including concepts of a subtle and often perplexing kind.”1 In deciding how things truly are, each person must draw his or her own conclusion based on a reasoned examination of the evidence, testing the possibilities in the trials and joys of life. The worldview that offers the greatest explanatory power and hope will speak most clearly to the mind and heart.13 Ultimately, one must rely also on faith, whether placed in the sufficiency of natural materialistic processes or in supernatural explanations to the questions science cannot answer. Faith, a wise writer once wrote, is “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”14 The gallery of scientific images, far from precluding transcendent reality, points to it.
Space Telescope Science Institute, http://hubblesite. org. 5. WP Cheshire, “Can grey voxels resolve neuroethical dilemmas?” Ethics & Medicine 23, no. 2 (2002): 135-140. 6. Y Tang, JR Nyengaard, DM De Groot, HJ Gundersen, “Total regional and global number of synapses in the human brain neocortex,” Synapse 41, no. 3 (2001): 258-273. 7. JC Venter, et al. “The sequence of the human genome,” Science 291, no. 5507 (2001): 13041351. 8. A Michaelides, K Morgenstern. “Ice nanoclusters at hydrophobic metal surfaces,” Nature Materials 6, no. 8 (2007): 597-601. 9. H Ross, The Creator and the Cosmos, 3rd ed. (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2001), 145-167. 10. SL Jaki. The Relevance of Physics, (Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press, 1966), 127. 11. V Reppert, C. S. Lewis’s Dangerous Idea: In Defense of the Argument from Reason, (Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2003). See also CS Lewis, Miracles (New York: Macmillan, 1978), 1224. 12. S Hawking. A Brief History of Time, (New York: Bantam Books, 1988), 127. 13. WP Cheshire, “In the twilight of aging, a twinkle of hope,” Ethics & Medicine 24, no. 1 (2008): 9-14. 14. Hebrews 11:1, New King James Version. 4.
William P. Cheshire, Jr., M.D., is Professor of Neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Florida. His clinical practice specializes in disorders of the autonomic nervous system, the treatment of which often requires an integrative, collaborative approach. His scholarship, like his medicine, embraces the multidisciplinary. He has authored many scientific articles and also writes a series entitled “Grey Matters” exploring issues in neuroethics for the journal Ethics & Medicine. Dr. Cheshire is also Adjunct Professor of Bioethics at Trinity International University, Consultant on Neuroethics for the Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity and past chair of the Autonomic Nervous System Section of the American Academy of Neurology. He received his A.B. in biochemical sciences cum laude from Princeton University, his M.A. in bioethics summa cum laude from Trinity International University and his M.D. from West Virginia University. He completed his residency in neurology and fellowship in pain at the University of North Carolina.
P Morrison, Powers of Ten: About the Relative Size of Things in the Universe, (San Francisco: W. H. Freeman and Company, 1982), 1. 2. WP Cheshire, “Glimpsing the grey marble,” Ethics & Medicine 23, no. 2 (2007): 119-121. 3. R Nemiroff, “Cobe Hotspots: The Oldest Structures Known,” NASA, http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa. gov/apod/ap980207.html. 1.
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by Charles Dunn
The Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ
If Christ is risen, nothing else matters. And and New Testament writer recognized, “If Christ has if Christ is not risen – nothing else matters.”1 not been raised, your faith is futile … If only for this The final aphorism of the late Yale Professor of life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more History, Jaroslav Pelikan (2006), rightly encapsulates than all men.”3 The entire Christian faith hinges on the significance of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. If this question: Did Jesus, after suffering an agonizing Jesus Christ is risen from the dead, then the ramifications are enormous: The entire Christian faith hinges on this question: Jesus’ claims to divinity, Did Jesus, after suffering an agonizing and the content of his teaching and his promise to humiliating execution, in fact rise from the dead? those who believe in him of one day sharing in his resurrection are verified. If he and humiliating execution, in fact rise from the dead? is not risen, however, then there is little reason to give Before proceeding, it is necessary to say something Jesus or his teaching any serious attention, and for that about the burden of proof for such an investigation. matter, as Leo Tolstoy noted, little reason to believe Most people assume that it is the responsibility of that there is “Any meaning in life that the inevitable those who believe in Jesus’ resurrection to provide death awaiting [us] does not destroy.”2 convincing evidence for its reality. This, however, is Far from a peripheral issue, the resurrection of Jesus not entirely the case. The resurrection of Jesus is a mastands at the very center of the Christian Gospel. As jor historical problem, no matter how you look at it. the Apostle Paul, the most prolific Christian missionary Accordingly, the resurrection puts not only a burden of
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proof on its believers but on its nonbelievers as well. As Dr. Timothy Keller notes, “It is not enough to simply believe that Jesus did not rise from the dead. You must come up with a historically feasible alternate explanation for the birth of the church. You have to provide some other plausible account for how things began.”4 With this in mind, the weighty evidence for the historical veracity of the resurrection and the implausibility of such alternative explanations will be considered in the following discussion.
Was Jesus Really Dead? Before arguing that Jesus was raised from the dead, it is first necessary to establish that he was in fact dead. Though few scholars accept this theory today, skeptics over the years have proposed that Jesus did not actually die on the cross and that his resurrection was therefore a hoax. This idea can be found in the Koran, written six hundred years after Jesus’ crucifixion, which claims that Jesus did not die on the cross,5 and particularly among Ahmadiya Muslims who maintain that Jesus actually fled to India where he is buried today. In the nineteenth century, German theologians Karl Bahrdt and Karl Venturini put forward their own alternative explanation to the resurrection, the “swoon theory,” claiming that Jesus merely fainted on the cross only to be revived later by the cold air of the tomb.6 In popular literature, D.H. Lawrence incorporated the theory into one of his short stories in 1929,7 as did later authors, including Barbara Thiering in her 1992 book Jesus and the Riddle of the Dead Sea Scrolls.8 Though Emory University scholar Luke Timothy Johnson called it “The purest poppycock, the product of fevered imagination rather
than careful analysis,”9 the swoon theory retains a following even today. Accordingly, it is necessary to lay out the arguments that confirm that Jesus died on the cross. Historians unanimously agree that before Jesus went to the cross, he endured an extremely painful Roman flogging. This flogging consisted of thirty-nine lashes with a whip made of leather tongs interlaid with metal balls and pieces of sharp bone. As the third century historian Eusebius described it, “The sufferer’s veins were laid bare, and the very muscles, sinews, and bowels of the victim were open to exposure.”10 While Jesus did not die from this beating, as many did, he certainly lost a tremendous amount of blood thereby going into hypovolemic shock. Without a doubt, Jesus was already in serious to critical condition before he was nailed to the cross.11 Once on the cross, Jesus went through pain so unbearable that a new word had to be invented to describe it – excruciating – meaning “out of the cross.” While on the cross, Jesus died a death of asphyxiation leading to cardiac arrest, having run out of energy to push himself up the cross in order to exhale. Yet as already noted, even before he died, Jesus was suffering from hypovolemic shock, resulting in a pericardial effusion (fluid in the membrane around the heart).12 Consequently, when a Roman soldier came by the cross to confirm that Jesus was in fact dead, he thrust a spear into his side through his lung and into his heart, thus causing blood and a clear, water-like fluid
From John 19 (NIV) Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. 32The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. 33But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. 35The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. 36These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,”[a] 37and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.”[b] 31
Refers to Exodus 12:46; Num. 9:12; Psalm 34:20 [b] Refers to Zech. 12:10
St. Dominic with the Crucifix — Piercing of the Christ’s Side by Fra Angelico
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to pour out, just as the Gospel writer John described it.13 It is a fanciful impossibility to assume that Jesus wasn’t really dead when he was taken off the cross. Not only did he suffer severe blood loss before his crucifixion, but during the crucifixion itself he could not have faked the inability to breathe, and the spear through the heart would have left no doubt as to his vitality. After all, Roman executioners were expert killers. If a victim somehow escaped, the soldiers themselves would be put to death, thus giving them great incentive to make sure their victim was positively dead when removed from the cross.14 Yet even if Jesus somehow survived the cross and was able to roll the huge stone away from his tomb, in what sort of condition would he have been? As German theologian David Strauss argued in 1835, it is preposterous to think that Jesus’ disciples, seeing him in such a condition, would declare him a victorious conqueror over death and “Start a worldwide
into existence. Skeptics could have easily quelled the movement by producing Jesus’ rotted corpse. Yet even the earliest Jewish polemic against Jesus presupposes that the tomb was indeed empty. No one claimed that the tomb contained Jesus’ body. The question rather, was, “What happened to the body?” The Jews proposed that the Roman guards appointed to guard the tomb had fallen asleep and that Jesus’ disciples had stolen the body. They, never denied, however, that the tomb was empty.18 Resurrection scholar Dr. William Lane Craig declares, “The idea that the empty tomb is the result of some hoax, conspiracy, or theft is simply dismissed.”19 Jesus’ disciples had no motive to steal his body and then later suffer persecution and die for a lie. What skeptics assert today is that the empty tomb was a later legend and by the time it developed in the writing of the Gospels, people were unable to disprove it because the location of the tomb had been forgotten. This alternative explanation, fails, however, on many
Jesus’ disciples had no motive to steal his body and then later suffer persecution and die for a lie. movement on the hope that someday they might have a resurrection body like his.”15 As Dr. William D. Edwards concluded in 1986 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, “Clearly, the weight of the historical and medical evidence indicates that Jesus was dead before the wound to his side was inflicted … Accordingly, interpretations based on the assumption that Jesus did not die on the cross appear to be at odds with modern medical knowledge.”16 The “swoon theory” is not a plausible alternative to the reality of the resurrection.
Was Jesus’ Tomb Really Empty? Assuming that Jesus did in fact die on the cross, the question about what happened to his body naturally follows. Was Jesus’ body really absent from his tomb? Through excavations of first-century tomb sites, archaeologists have been able to ascertain the security of Jesus’ tomb. A narrow ramp would have led to a low entrance, and a large stone weighing nearly two tons would then be rolled down this ramp and sealed in place across the door. While it would not have been difficult to put the stone into place, it would have required the strength of multiple men to push the stone back up the ramp. In other words, the entrance was quite secure.17 Yet as the earliest Christians proclaimed, on Easter Morning, the tomb was empty! And the tomb site was known to Christian and Jew alike. If the grave had not been empty, it would have been impossible for a movement based on the Resurrection to have come
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levels. First of all, the empty tomb is attested in very early sources. Well before the Gospels were written, the empty tomb is a given in the early Christian tradition passed on by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15,20 which many scholars consider to be a creed dating to within two years of the death of Jesus. Moreover, the notion of the empty tomb is at the center of the early preaching of Jesus’ disciples, just weeks after his alleged resurrection. In Acts 2:24, speaking in Jerusalem to a crowd of over three thousand Jews, Jesus’ disciple Peter contrasts Israel’s famed patriarch King David, who “Died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day” with Jesus of whom he says he Was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact.21 The notion of the empty tomb did not arise through later mythologizing. As A.N. Sherwin-White, the Greco-Roman classical historian from Oxford University noted, it would have been without precedent anywhere in history for legendary distortion to emerge that quickly.22 Furthermore, the unanimous accounts of the first witnesses of the empty tomb are too problematic to be legendary. All four Gospels assert that the first witnesses of the empty tomb were women. In first century Palestine, the testimony of women was considered to be of no value, such that they were not even allowed to testify in a Jewish court of law. Accordingly, it is shocking that the primary witnesses of the empty tomb recorded in the Gospels were women who were friends of
Jesus. A later legendary account would almost certainly have had male disciples of Jesus, like Peter or John, discover the tomb. As resurrection historian Dr. N.T. Wright notes, there must have been enormous pressure on the early church to remove the women from the accounts.23 The only plausible way to explain the fact that women were recorded as the first witnesses of the empty tomb is if indeed they were. Accordingly, after spending a lifetime sifting through the evidence, Sir Norman Anderson, one of the greatest legal minds of all time, who lectured at Princeton, was offered professorship for life at Harvard and served as Dean of the
Faculty of Laws at the University of London concluded, “The empty tomb, then, forms a veritable rock on which all rationalistic theories of the resurrection dash themselves in vain.”24
Were There Any Sightings of the Resurrected Jesus?
Though a key argument for the reality of the resurrection, an empty tomb alone does not prove a resurrection. History contains many missing bodies but few claims of those bodies being resurrected to walk the earth again. If Jesus was indeed resurrected, were there any sightings of him after his alleged resurrection? According to the New Testament documents, the answer is a resounding yes. Though some scholars have sought to discount these appearances as legendary or hallucinations, in light of the historical evidence, such alternative explanations are not easily sustained. The earliest accounts of eyewitnesses to the resurrection come not from the Gospels but from the letters of the apostle Paul written fifteen to twenty years after the death of Jesus. In Paul’s letter to the Church in Corinth he recounts what many scholars consider to be an early church creed. Even the eminent theologically liberal scholar Joachim Jeremias called it “the earliest tradition of all” as did the German theologian Ulrich Wilkens, who stated that it “indubitably goes back to the oldest phase of all in the history of primitive Christianity.”25 Unable to be the product of legend, the creed affirms that eyewitness testimony regarding the resurrection was at the center of Christianity from the time of its inception. The creed that Paul recounts to the Corinthians reads: “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have died.”26 As stated in the creed, Jesus did not just appear to a few individuals but even to a group as large as five hundred people at once, most of whom Paul says are alive The Empty Tomb by Bethany Mills ‘10 and can therefore be consulted to confirm the truth of the testimony. Like all of continued on page 27
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Of Mystery and the Invisible Understanding the Christian Artist by Bethany Mills
Island Dream No. 4 by Ben Frank Moss
hen I go to an art museum, thinking about faith is rarely my main goal. Instead, I go there to wander around for a while, escape from email and homework and experience the sense of calm brought on by soaring ceilings and wideopen galleries. Of course, I also enjoy studying the art. Recently, I went to Dartmouth’s Hood Museum with these purposes in mind. I was hoping simply for a respite from a dreary November afternoon, but I soon realized this was the perfect chance to address a question that had been on my mind since an art class this summer: What, exactly, is “Christian art?” Initially, these words conjure thoughts of aged masterpieces with explicitly Biblical subjects. Leonardo’s
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Last Supper is an obvious example, as are some of Rembrandt’s etchings depicting events from the life of Christ. One of these etchings happened to be on display this particular afternoon, and it provided a starting point from which to explore this question. On the opposite end of the spectrum was an exhibit of paintings by former Dartmouth Professor Ben Frank Moss, titled Immanence and Revelation. These paintings were overwhelmingly abstract, so much so that I had trouble guessing what theme or message they meant to convey. The exhibit, however, also included selections from an interview with Moss that made apparent his Christian faith. From these examples, one could conclude that Christian art is not limited by technique or
theme, though these can be important components. Rather, Christian art is the product of a Christian artist. The Christian artist realizes that inspiration comes from God and that every human act of creation is inherently subcreative, a reflection of the overwhelming perfection of God’s larger creation. I did not realize it at the time, but the title of Moss’ exhibit referenced this idea. “Immanence” is similar in sense to transcendence, referring to ideas of how God acts and exists within the world. When considering this, it is natural to arrive at the question of what God reveals to us. What does His revelation mean? Subcreation follows from these ideas. The Christian artist, recognizing the work of God in His world, may seek a way to reflect His glory through smaller acts of creation. Evaluating this can be difficult, though. Unless an artist tells us specifically, how can we attempt to determine what he was thinking as he worked? In some works, such as Rembrandt’s, we can only conjecture. Rembrandt’s etching Christ Crucified Between Two Thieves was one of the few overtly Christian-themed pieces in a larger exhibit of European prints I saw at the museum that day. I had first seen this work while
taking a printmaking class, so I deeply appreciated its scale. Every line in this etching had been placed with great care, to describe a crowded hillside topped with three crosses. The print itself was not large, but it conveyed extraordinary depth and character. At once shadowy and filled with streams of light, the etching showed frightening chaos but also a reassuring sense of peace. Rembrandt captured here the overflow of emotions that must have accompanied Christ’s crucifixion. Unlike in the Moss exhibit upstairs, there were no conveniently-placed quotations explaining the artist’s motivation. The details of this work, however, led me to believe that it could only be the creation of someone firmly rooted in the Christian faith. On the ground beneath the crosses was a great crowd of people, some holding one another and appearing to cry out. There were also soldiers on horseback, brandishing swords. These characters were partially obscured in a deep shadow that made them seem tangled, confusing and difficult to describe, though the fearsome swords stood out easily. In the center of the etching, a brilliant light shone down on Jesus from
Christ Crucified Between Two Thieves by Rembrandt
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Landscape Reflection No. 108 by Ben Frank Moss, the George Frederick Jewett Professor of Studio Art at Dartmouth College
above as He looked away from the chaos beneath Him and turned His gaze toward Heaven. Jesus appeared small in this etching; those in the crowd could not reach him to provide comfort. The ground in front of His cross was devoid of people and illuminated by the same dazzling light from above. Perhaps this was an invitation from Rembrandt to draw the viewer into the scene and point him directly toward the cross. Jesus, though seemingly isolated from the events around Him, is somehow still close to us. This focus on Christ is part of the emotion that sets
What seems to be associated with the whole experience of producing a painting, a drawing – being engaged by this activity – is for me, in no small way, the awareness of a larger property within the universe … it’s a means, in my mind, of trying to give voice to what lies beyond; that undefinable something. As a person of faith, that is something I identify as a supreme being, as God.i
Moss focused his art not on depicting concrete elements of the Christian experience but on how Christians experience the world and how they might connect with the Creator through their own acts of subcreation, however small. It is important, though, that a Christian realize this capacity in art. Simply being a Christian who also happens to make a painting does not guarantee that the process will be an enriching or exploratory experience. He acknowledged that his own insight into this experience allowed him to connect with God: “The painting is painting itself, and I’m simply an observer of what’s happening.” For Moss, painting is “A longing to be helped, captivated by a spiritual force – something unseen but sensed.”
Every human act of creation is inherently subcreative, a reflection of the overwhelming perfection of God’s larger creation.
apart this print from other depictions of the crucifixion that narrate the event with simple, quiet precision. Though we cannot know for sure, Rembrandt seemed to believe in what he was depicting and wanted us too to care about this event and consider how we might respond. This is one aspect of Christian art: An artist can use his craft as a medium to explore his faith and use his talent to share that faith with others. Leaving behind this etching, I discovered the contemporary creations of Ben Frank Moss. Of the many paintings and charcoal drawings on display at the time, few were obviously representational, and those were focused not on Biblical characters or scenes but on subjects drawn from nature. Still, abstract art is never as simple as it appears. The artist must work with as much care and consideration for composition, light and color as if he were painting a landscape or a portrait. I noticed this quality immediately in Moss’s paintings. Even the smallest pieces were built from paint so carefully layered and handled that the many colors never ran together unintentionally. The paint appeared to be applied only moments ago, still fresh and glistening in the soft gallery light. In every work was a sense of calm, contemplation and wonder. These qualities, of course, can be found in works from any artist of reasonable talent, regardless of his or her faith. It seems that Moss, however, approached his art a bit differently than would an artist looking solely inside his own mind for inspiration and guidance: Night Sail / Triangle Cross by Ben Frank Moss
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Moss has accomplished much in depicting and communicating this dream-like space of sense and memory. Though his paintings covered a wide range of color schemes, with vividly different colors put together on some of the smallest papers, the enduring impression was one of light. This is difficult to accomplish in even one painting, to say nothing of numerous styles, sizes and themes. An uncommon lightness and luminosity reached out from every work here. Even a painter this accomplished admitted that his works were still searching. In another excerpt, Moss explained, “I have always admired work that has that registration of mystery, of the invisible … I look for what’s revealed very slowly, but with real deliberation.” This idea led me to a more developed definition of the Christian artist: He is not bound by subject, style or medium. Instead, he is driven by an all-encompassing desire to understand God and His perfect creation. He wants to explore his faith in his art and communicate his deeply-held beliefs, perhaps even his fears or questionings, through small acts of creation. The concept of subcreation forms the core of this:
No matter how “Christian” an artist’s themes may be, he only truly recognizes the driving force behind his work when he acknowledges he is a small part of God’s greater creation. Similarly, any artist who realizes and embraces this idea can produce “Christian art” without being bound by technical constraints. The process of creation, for the Christian artist, matters far more than the final product. All quotations taken from interviews with the artist, excerpted at the exhibit and published in full in Immanence and Revelation: The Art of Ben Frank Moss. Hanover, NH: Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, 2008.
Staff editor, artist and writer Bethany Mills ’10 is from Berwick, Maine. Her major is Classical Languages and Literatures modified with Linguistics.
Warmth of Light by Ben Frank Moss
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Faith Takes Action William Wilberforce and the Abolition of the Slave Trade
by Sarah White
British House of Commons, 1834 print
n May 12, 1789, William Wilberforce gave arguably the greatest speech of his career. He had prepared little for this speech because he had been extremely ill, and he was still weak on that day. Nevertheless, he knew his subject well enough to speak for three hours from a single page of notes. The subject of Wilberforce’s passionate eloquence would largely define his Parliamentary career and later make him famous: the introduction of a bill to abolish the slave trade in the British Empire. As a champion of justice for British slaves, William Wilberforce is an excellent example of a person who followed Christ’s mandate to care for the downtrodden and bring freedom to the oppressed.1 It would be nearly twenty years before his goal was finally reached. For almost two decades, Wilberforce dedicated his time, energy and eloquence to outlawing “The baseness and iniquity of such a traffic.”2 Despite illness and discouragement, he refused to allow a
practice that he saw as “Contrary to every principle of religion, morality, and sound policy”3 to continue uncontested. In 1791 he wrote “Whatever [Parliament] might do, the people of Great Britain, I am confident, will abolish the slave trade… For myself, I am engaged in a work I will never abandon.”4 Wilberforce did not begin his political career as a dedicated reformer. He was born in 1759 to a prominent and successful family. As a young man, he was “Everywhere invited and caressed”5 by society, and his love for the pleasures of popularity and convivial society led him to pursue a political career upon leaving school.6 In 1780, at the age of twenty one, Wilberforce used his charm, family influence and fortune to secure the position of Member of Parliament for his hometown of Hull. During his first few years in politics, Wilberforce’s personality was characterized by “vivacity, charm, and gregariousness.”7 After his election, he moved to
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London and was quickly welcomed into Society and into political circles. He frequented the theatre, the opera and concerts, as well as joining a gambling club soon after his arrival.8 His voice was good, and he was often called upon to sing at parties. Wilberforce often played host to his friends at his villa at Wimbledon when he was not attending parties in London. His life was filled with pleasurable pursuits, and “His wit, polish and generosity won him many friends.”9
Upon reading the New Testament in Greek with Milner, he came to the conclusion that he had been living without God and outside of the realm of true Christianity. As a member of the Anglican Church, he had considered himself a Christian, but he had never experienced a personal relationship with God. He participated in the outward forms of religion, but his life was not affected by the teachings that he heard. In his diary, Wilberforce wrote “As soon as I reflected
“I cannot believe that the same being that forbids rapine and bloodshed, has made rapine and bloodshed necessary to the well-being of any part of his universe.” — William Wilberforce seriously upon these subjects the deep guilt and black ingratitude of my past life forced itself upon me in the strongest colours, and I condemned myself for having wasted my precious time, and opportunities, and talents.”13 Upon returning to England, Wilberforce struggled for several months with guilt and depression. He lamented the way he had spent his life in empty amusements and resolved that he would henceforth be “humble and watchful.”14 Having found that his past amusements could not bring him the satisfaction and peace that a true commitment to Christ offered him, Wilberforce made the decision to actively pursue his newfound faith and to make that pursuit the central focus of his life. It was at this time that Wilberforce began to ardently pursue political and social reform. In his book A Practical View of the Prevailing Religious System of Professed Christians, in the Higher and Middle Classes, Contrasted with Real Christianity, he urged Britain’s more prosperous citizens to examine the true doctrines of their professed faith and to live by them. He argued “It is a truth which will hardly be contested, that Christianity, whenever it has at all prevailed, Slaves on the West Coast of Africa by Francois-August Biard has raised the general standard of morals to a height before unally Wilberforce agreed to read Rise and Progress of known.“15 Rather than living his life in the pursuit of Religion in the Soul by the English theologian Phillip pleasure, Wilberforce committed himself to using his Doddridge. Doddridge’s discussion of sin, the need political career in order to bring about good. In the for repentance and the joy that comes from accepting same book he wrote, God’s grace forced Wilberforce to reevaluate the way Surely it must be confessed to be a matter of he lived his life. small account to sacrifice a little worldly comfort
Wilberforce never joined a political party, and his early activity in Parliament was mostly concerned with advancing the needs of his constituency.10 Though his political career and popularity continued to advance, it took several years for Wilberforce to become truly committed to reform. In 1784, Wilberforce came into contact with his old schoolteacher Isaac Milner, whom he considered an “intelligent and excellent friend,”11 even though he disagreed with what Milner called “vital Christianity.” He “treat[ed] with flippancy”12 all of Milner’s attempts to talk to him about religion, but eventu-
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cooled toward abolition and Wilberforce lamented “Alas, alas, how week passes unimproved after week!”19 Nevertheless, he continued to work with his coalition to accumulate evidence in order to push through the bill, writing, Interested as I might be supposed to be in the final event of the question, I am comparatively indifferent as to the present decision of the House… Never, never will we desist, until we have wiped away this scandal from the Christian name.20
Portrait of a Gentleman [Mr. Wilberforce] by John Rising
and prosperity, during the short span of our existence in this life, in order to secure a crown of eternal glory, and the enjoyment of those pleasures which are at God’s right hand evermore!16
Wilberforce believed that he should use the influence of his political position to “Do credit to [his] Christian profession.”17 On November 28, 1785, Wilberforce wrote, True, Lord, I am wretched, and miserable, and blind, and naked. What infinite love, that Christ should die to save such a sinner, and how necessary is it He should save us altogether, that we may appear before God with nothing of our own!18
He acknowledged that he and his supporters, who became known as the abolitionist coalition, could not accomplish reform unless it was God’s plan, and indeed their initial efforts came to nothing. Despite the acclaim that his first speech for abolition received, Wilberforce’s opponents convinced the House of Commons to delay voting on the bill to abolish the slave trade in order to hear witnesses on the subject. Meanwhile, rebellion was brewing in France, other matters arose and the interviews were put off until Parliament reconvened the next year. As the vote was delayed again and again, the political climate
Disappointingly but unsurprisingly, the first bill for abolition was solidly defeated in the House of Commons, and Wilberforce and the other abolitionists continued their campaign through a variety of other methods. Wilberforce introduced a bill that would boycott sugar from the West Indies in hopes of damaging the profitability of the slave trade, but when that bill failed, he and his coalition campaigned throughout the country, provoking petitions and boycotts of sugar on a local level. They also worked for the creation of a colony for freed slaves in Sierra Leone in order to prove that Africans could have a civilized, Christian community without being enslaved. Wilberforce meanwhile continued to collect evidence of the mistreatment of slaves. In his 1823 pamphlet, An Appeal to the Religion, Justice, and Humanity of the Inhabitants of the British Empire in Behalf of the Negro Slaves in the West Indies, he wrote “The proofs of the extreme degradation of the slaves…are innumerable,”21 further declaring all arguments to the contrary “gross falsehoods.”22 Some of his opponents, though admitting to the undesirability of the slave trade, nevertheless argued that its abolition would lead to the collapse of the British economy because it would remove the labor force and allow France to take over a valuable commerce. Wilberforce parried this argument by saying, “I cannot believe that the same being who forbids rapine and bloodshed, has made rapine and bloodshed necessary to the well-being of any part of his universe.”23 He further argued that the abolition of the slave trade would force slave owners to care for the slaves they already had, thus strengthening the labor force in the colonies rather than destroying it. He dismissed the French threat as well, arguing that Britain should “lead the way”24 toward abolition, rather than incurring “the twofold guilt of knowingly persisting in a wicked trade ourselves, and…of inducing France to do the same.”25 In fact, however, France was to abolish the slave trade many years before Britain did. Furthermore, Wilberforce confronted the claim that the slave trade provided a place to train sailors for the British navy, citing evidence that “More sailors die in one year in the
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slave trade, than die in two years in all our other trades put together.”26 In the 1790’s, the French Revolution and England’s subsequent war with France distracted Parliament from the issue of abolition, as well as damaging the cause because of its association with the liberalism of the Revolution. The years went by, and the abolitionists continued to propose bills for abolition in a variety of forms and degrees during each session of Parliament, though their bills were consistently defeated in either the House of Commons or the House of Lords. Finally, nearly twenty years after Wilberforce’s eloquent introduction of the first abolitionist bill, on February 4, 1807, the House of Commons ratified the Slave Trade Act by a vote of 100 for and only thirty-six against.27 Despite his triumph, however, Wilberforce did not relax his ardor for reformation. Throughout the years of his struggle for abolition, as well as in the years after his victory, Wilberforce campaigned for causes such as workers’ rights, the abolition of the death penalty for minor crimes, the prevention of cruelty to animals and education for women and the poor. He never gave up his work to further limit the practice of slavery in the British Empire, and his faith was rewarded when Parliament accepted the Bill for the Abolition of Slavery on July 26, 1823, just a few days before his death. In 1818, Wilberforce wrote in a letter to the King of Haiti, But, whatever may in some few instances be the effects of natural benevolence or of moral probity, or of professional honor, long and large experience in life has convinced me, that religion alone can be depended upon for enabling men with spirit and perseverance to discharge a course of laborious duties.28
Wilberforce believed that only through God could men find the strength to fight against the injustices in their society. As long as he had the strength, he never stopped working for reform. On the day that the Slave Trade Act was passed, Wilberforce’s first reaction was to ask his friend, “Well…what shall we abolish next?”29 In another letter he wrote, We are all of us apt to be unreasonable in our expectations of the progress we are to make in the Christian course…but then let not this produce in us…an acquiescence in our present state…we must learn to press forward, humbly depending on God’s help for the success of our labours and resigned in all respects to His sovereign will.30
Though he had been a Christian in name as a member of the Anglican Church, Wilberforce’s whole way of life was changed when he made a personal conversion
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to Christianity. His perseverance in the fight for freedom and social justice and his faith in God’s ultimate control over its outcome exemplified the way a true Christian is called to live. Holy Bible: Parallel Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1995), Luke 4:18. 2 Stephen Tomkins, William Wilberforce: A Biography (Oxford: Lion Hudson plc, 2007), 82. 3 Ibid, 94. 4 Ibid, 95. 5 Ibid, 14. 6 Robin Furneaux, William Wilberforce (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1974), 12. 7 Ibid, 14. 8 Ibid, 16-17. 9 Ibid, 21. 10 Ibid, 19. 11 Ibid, 43. 12 Ibid, 33. 13 Ibid, 35. 14 Ibid, 36. 15 William Wilberforce, A Practical View of the Prevailing Religious System of Professed Christians in the Higher and Middle Classes Contrasted with Real Christianity (Boston: Manning & Loring, 1799), 258. 16 Ibid, 274. 17 Ibid, 275. 18 Furneaux 37. 19 Tomkins 91. 20 Ibid, 95. 21 William Wilberforce, An Appeal to the Religion, Justice, and Humanity of the Inhabitants of the British Empire, In Behalf of the Negro Slaves of the West Indies (London: Ellerton and Henderson, 1823), 9. 22 Ibid, 7. 23 Tomkins 81. 24 Ibid. 25 Ibid. 26 Ibid. 27 Ibid, 167. 28 William Wilberforce, The Correspondence of William Wilberforce, ed. Robert Wilberforce and Samuel Wilberforce (London: John Murray, 1840), Vol. 1, 370. 29 Tomkins 171. 30 Wilberforce, Correspondence 43-44. 1
Staff writer Sarah White ’11 is from Chapada dos Guimaraes, Brazil. She is an English major and a Russian minor.
of the Were There Any Sightings of the Resurrected Jesus? continued from page 17
Some have sought to explain away the resurrection appearances as hallucinations. This theory, however, is very problematic. Psychologist Dr. Gary Collins points out that hallucinations are individual occurrences. They do not appear to groups of people. They are subjective, personal and private.30 Yet there are multiple accounts of Jesus appearing to multitudes of people who reported the same thing. Additionally, the disciples were not in a state of mind to trigger hallucinations. They were afraid, doubting and in despair after Jesus’ crucifixion. Yet people who hallucinate need a fertile mind full of expectancy and anticipation. Further, hallucinations are rare. They are usually caused by drugs or sleep deprivation. Accordingly, it seems highly implausible that over the course of several weeks people coming from vastly different backgrounds, with different temperaments, in different places, all experienced hallucinations.31 Most significantly, as N.T. Wright argues, the eyewitness accounts and the empty tomb must be taken together. That is, if there was only an empty tomb and no sightings, no one would have concluded that Jesus had been resurrected; the body may have just been stolen. Or if there were only eyewitnesses and no empty tomb, no one would have concluded that Jesus had been resurrected either; people claim to have seen departed loved ones all the time. The two factors must have occurred in tandem for anyone to have conclud-
Paul’s letters, his letter to the Corinthians was a public letter intended to be read aloud to a large group of people. Paul was inviting skeptics to verify the truth of his claims themselves, to go and talk with the eyewitnesses who were still living. In light of the pax Romana (Roman peace), which allowed for safe and easy travel in the Mediterranean, his listeners could easily have taken up his challenge. If the witnesses did not exist, Paul could not have issued such a challenge.27 In addition to the testimony from the early church creed, the Gospels report appearances to a large sum of different people in different settings: some individually, some in groups, some outdoors, some indoors, some to softhearted people like John and some to doubting skeptics like Thomas. Many of the people ate with Jesus and touched Jesus, showing that he was physically present. The appearances were not a one-day phenomenon, but occurred over several weeks. The appearances include: • to Mary Magdalene, in John 20:10-18 • to the other women, in Matthew 28:8-10 • to Cleopas and another disciple on the road to Emmaus, in Luke 24:13-32 • to eleven disciples and If the witnesses did not exist, Paul could others, in Luke 24:33-49 • to ten apostles and others, not have issued such a challenge. with Thomas absent, in John 20:19-23 ed that Jesus was actually raised from the dead.32 The • to Thomas and the other apostles, in John historical evidence speaks clearly: The accounts of the 20:26-30 resurrection were not invented after the fact. As the • to seven apostles in John 21:1-14 theologian and historian Carl Braaten noted: “Even • to the disciples, in Matthew 28:16-20 the more skeptical historians agree that for primitive • with the apostles at the Mount of Olives before Christianity...the resurrection of Jesus from the dead his ascension, in Luke 24:50-52.28 was a real event in history, the very foundation of faith, This is an impressive list of sightings to witnesses and not a mythical idea arising out of the creative who were still alive to be questioned. The resurrection, imagination of believers.”33 The tomb of Jesus really which was the central proclamation of the early church, was empty and there really were hundreds of witnesses was not based on the sightings of one or two people who claimed that they had seen Jesus bodily raised. who had seen a fleeting shadowy figure. Rather, there were multiple appearances to many different people. Did Ancient People Believe in the Sir Edward Clark, a British High Court judge, after Possibility of an Individual Bodily conducting a thorough analysis of the legal evidence Resurrection? for the resurrection declared: “To me the evidence is Though powerful corroboration to the claims of the conclusive, and over and over again in the High Court early church, an empty tomb and resurrection witnessI have secured the verdict on evidence not nearly so es do not alone prove that Jesus was resurrected. Could compelling. As a lawyer I accept the gospel evidence not the followers of Jesus have desperately wanted unreservedly as the testimony of truthful men to facts to believe that Jesus was resurrected from the dead? that they were able to substantiate.”29 Perhaps someone stole the body to make it look like he
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was raised, some sincerely thought they saw him, and understood that when a soul returned to embodied others bought into the idea in a sort of “groupthink” life it was still in prison. The ultimate goal was to be manner. After all, as the skeptic Michael Martin notes, eternally free from the body.37 When the apostle Paul “A person full of religious zeal may see what he or she went to the Areopagus in Athens to preach about Jesus, wants to see, not what is really there.”34 those in the crowd were initially interested. But when The problem with this theory, however, is that it they realized that he was talking about an individual employs what C.S. Lewis called “chronological snob- being bodily resurrected from the dead, many mocked him and considered his bery.”35 That is, it assumes that we superior moderns testimony to be absolutely are skeptical about claims ridiculous!38 Within the of a bodily resurrection Greco-Roman worldview, from the dead, while the a bodily resurrection was ancients, credulous and simply inconceivable. gullible people that they The notion of an inwere, readily believed in dividual bodily resurrecaccounts of the supertion from the dead was natural. This hypothesis just as inconceivable to is patently false. People in Jewish thought. Unlike the the first century did not Greeks, the Jews believed believe in individuals comthat the material world was ing back from the dead good. Thus death was not either! The notion of an a form of liberation but a individual bodily resurrectragedy. Many of the Jews tion from the dead was abof Jesus’ time believed sent from all the dominant that at the end of time all worldviews of the time, of the righteous would be rendering such a claim resurrected from the dead inconceivable.36 when God renewed the enIn his landmark treatise tire world and put an end to death and suffering.39 The Resurrection of the Son of God, resurrection scholThis resurrection, however, ar N.T. Wright thoroughly was only a part of the comexamines the non-Jewish prehensive renewal of the thought of the first-centuphysical world. Thus the ry Mediterranean world, The Three Marys at the Tomb by William Adolphe Bouguereau notion of an individual beboth in the east and the ing bodily resurrected from west, and demonstrates that the people of that time the dead in the middle of history, while the rest of the did not believe in even the possibility of a bodily resur- world still suffered from death and sickness and decay rection. To the Greco-Roman mindset, the soul or the would have been unfathomable. If one were to posit to spiritual realm was good and the physical or material a Jewish person at that time that an individual had been world was weak and corrupted. In death, the soul was resurrected from the dead, he would be disregarded as foolish or possibly crazy. Did justice People of Jesus’ day were just as and peace reign? Was suffering no more? Had the wolf lain down with skeptical about a bodily resurrection the lamb? Were disease and death from the dead as people are today. abolished? Without an accompanying complete renewal of the physical saved from the defiled physical world as it was liber- world, an individual resurrection would be ridiculous. ated from the body. Based on this view of the world, To both Jew and Greek the idea of an individual bodily a bodily resurrection from the dead would not only resurrection from the dead would have been deemed be impossible but intensely undesirable. Why would impossible.40 a soul, having been freed from its body, want to be In light of this reality, both the hallucination and imprisoned again? Such a return would be unthinkable conspiracy theories fail to convince, for both hypothand impossible. Even in a reincarnation system, it was eses assume that the very idea of a resurrection from
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the dead was imaginable for Jesus’ Jewish followers. To suggest that Jesus’ followers simply wanted to believe that Jesus was resurrected from the dead and thus had hallucinations of him appearing and talking to them, presupposes that resurrection from the dead was an option in the worldview of Jesus’ disciples, which it was not. Likewise, to suggest that Jesus’ followers stole the body from the tomb and then went about claiming that he was alive, presupposes that other Jews would
In the case of the resurrection, one should consider at least five undisputed pieces of indirect evidence, which taken individually, and certainly collectively, imply that Jesus was in fact raised from the dead. First, as already mentioned, after the death of Jesus there was a sudden emergence of a worldview centered around the resurrection of the body, first Jesus’ and later the resurrection of those who believed in him. This unique system of belief did not emerge over a
Only a series of multiple, credible and inexplicable encounters with Jesus could convince a movement of other Jews, to whom an individual bodily resurrection from the dead was unthinkable, to believe in the risen Christ. have been receptive to the idea that an individual could be raised from the dead, which they were not. Though for different reasons, people of Jesus’ day were just as skeptical about a bodily resurrection from the dead as people are today.41 In the first-century Jewish world there were many people who claimed to be the Messiah, started a movement and were executed thereafter. But as N.T. Wright points out: In not one single case do we hear the slightest mention of the disappointed followers claiming that their hero had been raised from the dead. They knew better. Resurrection was not a private event. Jewish revolutionaries whose leader had been executed by the authorities, and who managed to escape arrest themselves, had two options: give up the revolution or find another leader. Claiming that the original leader was alive again was simply not an option. Unless of course he was.42 Though Jesus’ life and career met the same brutal end as the lives and careers of many others who claimed to be the Messiah, his disciples did not view his crucifixion as a defeat but rather as a victory. What possible justification could they have had for this conclusion, unless of course, they had in fact seen Jesus risen from the dead?
Is There Any Supporting Evidence for the Resurrection? Without a doubt, the direct evidence for the resurrection of Jesus including the certainty of his death, the empty tomb and numerous eyewitness encounters strongly suggest that Jesus was raised from the dead. But if something as extraordinary as the resurrection of Jesus actually took place, then it would be reasonable to assume that the historical record would also be full of indirect evidence supporting the reality of the event.
period of time or through discussion and argument, as is typically the case when cultures and worldviews change. It did not arise through process or development. Jesus’ disciples were simply proclaiming what they themselves had witnessed.43 Only a series of multiple, credible and inexplicable encounters with Jesus could convince a movement of other Jews, to whom an individual bodily resurrection from the dead was unthinkable, to believe in the risen Christ. Second, not only were over ten thousand Jews following the allegedly resurrected Jesus within five weeks of his crucifixion, but they were also worshipping him as God.44 For Eastern religions, which believe in an impersonal God that is present in all things, it is not difficult to accept the idea that certain humans might have more divine consciousness than others. Western religions of the first-century believed that the gods often took on human appearance, so that a human stranger might in fact be Zeus or Hermes. Yet Jews were different. They confessed a single, transcendent, personal God. It was the epitome of blasphemy, the height of heresy, to worship a human being as God.45 What event could have been so significant as to overcome this ingrained system of belief? Eyewitness encounters with the resurrected Christ. Third, there were hardened skeptics who did not believe in Jesus prior to his crucifixion but thereafter turned around completely and believed in the Christian faith after Jesus’ death. James, the brother of Jesus, was embarrassed by and did not believe in Jesus during his ministry. Yet the later historian Josephus writes that James became a leader of the Jerusalem church and was stoned to death for his belief in Jesus.46 Why such a turnaround? Paul writes in 1 Corinthians that the resurrected Jesus appeared to James. Saul of Tarsus (later known as Paul) was a leading Pharisee who opposed anything that jeopardized the traditions
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of the Jewish people. To him, Christianity was the epitome of disobedience to God, thus spurring him to lead the movement to arrest and execute members of the early Church. Yet suddenly he made a 180-degree turn and joined the very Christians he sought to eradicate. He became the leading advocate of the Christian faith preaching throughout the Mediterranean world despite suffering great persecution and ultimately execution for his faith. Paul writes in his letter to the Galatians that this turnaround was prompted when he saw the risen Christ and was appointed by Christ to be one of his followers.47 The only reasonable explanation for these dramatic turnarounds is if Jesus was in fact raised from the dead. Fourth, the rapid emergence of the Church and the cultural shift that it brought about requires an explanatory event. Within only twenty years after the death of Jesus, Christianity had spread so quickly that it had
even reached the imperial palace in Rome, ultimately prevailing over competing ideologies and eventually overwhelming the Roman Empire. From a human perspective, Christianity had little probability of success. It was a group of people from an obscure part of the Empire, without significant money, power or influence, proclaiming a message about a crucified carpenter who had been resurrected from the dead.48 As the Cambridge New Testament scholar C.F.D. Moule wrote, “If the coming into existence of the Nazarenes [Christians], a phenomenon undeniably attested by the New Testament, rips a great hole in history, a hole the size and shape of the Resurrection, what does the secular historian propose to stop it up with?”49 Fifth and finally, the lives of the disciples were transformed such that they were willing to die for their conviction that Jesus had risen from the dead. After the crucifixion of Jesus, his followers were disheartened The Incredulity of Saint Thomas by Caravaggio
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and depressed. The one who they had believed to be the Messiah, the promised Savior of the world, had died in the most dishonorable way possible, crucifixion. They scattered and fell away, but within weeks they were leaving their jobs, gathering together and committing themselves to proclaiming the Gospel that Jesus was the Messiah sent by God, who died on a cross to pay the penalty for sin and then was raised to life seen alive by them. From an earthly perspective, they had little to gain in return. They were often hungry, ridiculed, beaten and imprisoned. Ultimately, most of them were brutally executed in torturous ways. Why were they willing to proclaim this Gospel to their death? Because they were absolutely convinced that they had seen the resurrected Christ. Some might at this point argue that willingness to die for beliefs does not prove veracity but rather fanaticism. Yet the disciples were willing to die for
Luckhoo, who holds a place in The Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s most successful lawyer, was twice knighted by Queen Elizabeth and served as a British justice and a diplomat, came to the same conclusion. After assessing the historical evidence for the resurrection for many years he finally declared, “I say unequivocally that the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ is so overwhelming that it compels acceptance by proof which leaves absolutely no room for doubt.”52
Conclusion The historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ is compelling. Alternative explanations directly oppose all that is known about first-century history and culture. Yet many people, unwilling to engage with the historical evidence and follow it to its logical conclusion, side step the investigation in deference to a prior commitment to the philosophical claim that
People will die for their religious beliefs if they sincerely believe them to be true, but they will not die for their religious beliefs if they know them to be false. something that they had seen with their own eyes and touched with their own hands. Though they had nothing to gain and everything to lose, they proclaimed not just what they believed but that which they knew, that Jesus was resurrected from the dead. People will die for their religious beliefs if they sincerely believe them to be true, but they will not die for their religious beliefs if they know them to be false.50 As scientist Blaise Pascal put it, “I believe those witnesses that get their throats cut.”51 It is insufficient for the skeptic to simply disregard the resurrection of Jesus as something that couldn’t happen. Rather, the skeptic must confront and explain these historical realities. Why did thousands of people suddenly come to believe that Jesus was raised from the dead, even though no existing worldview supported the idea of an individual resurrection from the dead and no other group of messianic disciples claimed that their leader was raised from the dead? Why were thousands of Jews willing to worship a human being as God? What can account for the conversion of ardent skeptics like James and Saul? What can explain the phenomenon of the rapid emergence of the Church? And how can one account for the hundreds of eyewitnesses to the resurrection who were so convinced of what they had seen that they spent the rest of their lives proclaiming the message, ultimately facing execution for their beliefs? No explanation fits the historical evidence better than the resurrection. Sir Lionel
miracles are impossible. “It just couldn’t happen!” N.T. Wright strongly warns against such a maneuver: The early Christians did not invent the empty tomb and the meetings or sightings of the risen Jesus… Nobody was expecting this kind of thing; no kind of conversion experience would have invented it, no matter how guilty (or how forgiven) they felt, no matter how many hours they pored over the scriptures. To suggest otherwise is to stop doing history and enter into a fantasy world of our own.53
Granted, accepting the reality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ is not an insignificant step for the modern skeptical mind to take. But as Wright points out, it was not an easy step for the people of the first century either. To them, it was just as unfathomable. They only came to accept it as they allowed the evidence to confront and reshape their understanding of the world, their conception of what was possible. The evidence of the empty tomb, the eyewitness accounts and the dramatically changed lives of Jesus’ disciples were too much to ignore. Thus those first converts concluded that Jesus really had been resurrected from the dead, and thus truly was the Son of God, deserving of their trust and obedience. As the apostle John, himself an eyewitness to the resurrection wrote, “To all who received him [Jesus], to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”54 These early converts received the forgiveness of what Jesus had already done for them, paying the death penalty
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on the cross that they deserved for their rebellion and wrongdoing. What’s more, they received the free gift of eternal life in relationship with the God who made them. Though their conversion often brought about suffering and persecution, they lived with the firm hope that death would not have the last word, or as Leo Tolstoy feared, destroy all of the meaning we assign to this life. As Jesus had been resurrected from the dead, so too would they who trusted in him share in his resurrection and live again, this time eternally with God. For as Jesus himself declared, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”55 Jaroslav Pelikan, Yale Department of History Newsletter, Spring (2007), 3. 2 Leo Tolstoy, A Confession (Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing, 2004), 16. 3 1 Corinthians 15:17-19. 4 Timothy Keller, The Reason for God (New York: Penguin Group, 2008), 202. 5 Surah IV: 156-157. 6 William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith, (Westchester, IL: Crossway, 1994), 243. 7 D.H. Lawrence, Love among the Haystacks and Other Stories (New York: Penguin, 1960), 125. 8 Barbara Thiering, Jesus and the Riddle of the Dead Sea Scrolls (New York: HarperCollins, 1992). 9 Luke Timothy Johnson, The Real Jesus (San Francisco: HarperOne, 1996), 30. 10 Eusebius of Caesarea, cited in Josh McDowell, Evidence that Demands a Verdict (San Bernardino: Campus Crusade for Christ, 1972), 203-204. 11 Dr. Alexander Metherell, in Lee Strobel, The Case for Christ (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1998), 196-199. 12 Ibid. 13 John 19:34. 14 Martin Hengel, Crucifixion in the Ancient World (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1977). 15 Lee Strobel, 202. 16 William D. Edwards et al., “On the Physical Death of Jesus Christ,” Journal of the American Medical Association (March 21, 1986), 1455-63. 17 John A.T. Robinson, in Lee Strobel, The Case for Christ, 210. 18 William Lane Craig, “The Empty Tomb of Jesus,” in In Defense of Miracles, ed. R. Douglas Geivett and Gary R. Habermas (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press), 258. 19 William Lane Craig, in Lee Strobel, The Case for Christ, 212. 20 1 Corinthians 15:3-8. 21 Acts 2:29-32. 1
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Lee Strobel, 220. N.T. Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God, (Philadelphia: Fortress, 2003), 608. 24 J.N.D. Anderson, The Evidence for the Resurrection (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1966), 20. 25 Lee Strobel, 230. 26 1 Corinthians 15:3-6 27 Timothy Keller, 204. 28 Lee Strobel, 234. 29 Michael Green, Christ is Risen: So What? (Kent, England: Sovereign World, 1995), 34. 30 Dr. Gary Collins, in Gary Habermas and J.P. Moreland, Immortality: The Other Side of Death (Nashville: Nelson, 1992), 60. 31 Lee Strobel, 239. 32 N.T. Wright, 686, 688. 33 Carl Braaten, History and Hermeneutics, vol. 2 of New Directions in Theology Today, ed. William Hordern (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1966), 78. 34 Michael Martin, The Case Against Christianity (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1991), 75. 35 C.S. Lewis, Surprised By Joy (New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1995), 201. 36 Tim Keller, 206. 37 N.T. Wright, 81-84. 38 Acts 17:16-34. 39 N.T. Wright, 200-206. 40 Tim Keller, 207. 41 Ibid. 42 N.T. Wright, Who Was Jesus? (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1993), 63. 43 Tim Keller, 209. 44 Lee Strobel, 250-1. 45 Tim Keller, 209. 46 Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, 20.9, in The Complete Works of Flavius Josehpus, Trans. William Whiston (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1981), 423. 47 Galatians 1:11-24. 48 Lee Strobel, 254. 49 C.F.D. Moule, The Phenomenon of the New Testament (London: SCM Press, 1967), 3. 50 Lee Strobel, 247. 51 Tim Keller, 210. 52 Donald McFarlan, ed., The Guinness Book of World Records (New York: Bantam, 1991), 547. 53 N.T. Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God, 707. 54 John 1:12. 55 John 11:25-26. 22 23
Staff editor and writer Charlie Dunn ‘10 is from Dallas, Texas. He is a Classical Languages and Literatures major and a History minor.
Letter to the Editor
Dear Editors: As a Christian excited about the mission of this journal, I feel the need to respond to the article in the last issue entitled, “Looking Beyond the Literal: How to read Genesis 1–3 and why it matters” by John Stern. Stern rightly exhorts the reader to consider that the simplest interpretations of Scripture are not always the most accurate. Indeed, the serious theologian must avoid drawing conclusions predicated on unnecessary or invalid assumptions. However, the serious theologian needs also to pursue the Scriptures wholeheartedly, avoiding the inevitable temptation to interpret Scripture based on popular assumptions. To use Galilean terms, the book of nature cannot be a basis for neglecting the book of Scripture. In light of this, Stern’s final argument prompts cause for concern: “I only argue that if God made humanity by such a process [evolution], who are we to object? Does Genesis definitively teach that God could not have done so? The church should carefully consider whether it is worth alienating non-Christians over this issue, and how many unbelievers would be open to Christ if the church accepted merely the possibility of a divinely-ordered evolutionary creation.”
So why should we object? Only if Scripture, the other book of God’s revelation, compels us to do so. Is there anything about evolution that makes it incompatible with God’s Word? Though evolutionary theory may not be as codified as the Bible, there is common ground all evolutionists agree upon, whether theistic or not. It is this: many generations and time must pass for the ‘changes’ to take place within the species of flora and fauna. The life cycle is necessary for evolution to take place, meaning generations of natural selection as it occurs today, namely, bodily corruption and death. Yet the scriptural perspective is clear. Human mortality (along with the mortality of all creation) came about in the Garden of Eden as a consequence of the sin of Adam and Eve. If one affirms this doctrine, then one cannot easily adhere to any classic or theistic evolutionary explanation of creation. To fail to affirm such a teaching would be to diminish the Bible’s presentation of Original Sin, an essential doctrine defined and
adhered to by all the church fathers we have available to cite. Romans 5:12 asserts, Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned . . .
According to Romans 5:12, sin wasn’t present in the world prior to Adam. So neither was death, and therefore by its own definition, evolution. The theory of Natural Selection can be verified in modern science. Those that can adapt and overpower are rewarded with life and continuance. Everyone else dies (and eventually, so does the one who overcame the others). It is that simple. Though this point can be expanded upon, the main concept is that God’s redemption is inextricably linked to death and sin. God did not create that which would die, especially not that which would kill. Genesis 1:28–30 describes the initial state of creation: And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.
What we see here is that man and animal were not created to kill one another. Natural selection, though true, is a result of the curse. To deny this is to undercut major tenets of Scripture, including the gospel teaching on redemption that appears throughout the Scriptures, which I unfortunately do not have the space to elaborate upon here. In closing, I would like to make clear that I have many great brothers and sisters in the faith who may affirm a ‘theistic evolutionary’ view. Yet their affirmation neither makes it viable, nor free from damaging the central tenets of Holy Scripture. Whether we agree with Augustine’s view or not, we need to be very careful that honest interpretations of Scripture are not undermined by a prior commitment to popular (or unpopular) scientific theories. Deferring to Scripture means fully studying it, not seeking to find loopholes through which one can affirm alternative beliefs. Markes Wilson, DHMC
Spring 2009 • The Dartmouth Apologia •
Final Thoughts from
hen I arrived at Dartmouth as a wide-eyed freshman in the fall of 2005, Christianity was the last thing on my mind. I was not a believer at the time, and though I came to believe in Jesus during my freshman year, I had no idea what lay in store for me. Becoming a Christian was a transformational, life-changing experience. I never thought that I would come to college and become involved with a Christian publication; in fact, I had no idea that such things even existed. And yet I’ve been a part of The Dartmouth Apologia since its inception in October 2006. How did that happen? What has made this journal such an unforgettable, irreplaceable component of my time at Dartmouth? I’ve been an avid reader since I was five years old, when one afternoon I picked up a newspaper and to my family’s great surprise began to recite that evening’s television lineup. Since that day I have devoured all the printed media available to me. Growing up, I read at the dinner table, during recess, on the school bus, literally anyplace I could find enough light to make out the words on the page. An interest in writing soon followed. Several of my relatives had publishing and writing backgrounds, and they all encouraged my burgeoning passion. My grandfather, the retired VicePresident of Reader’s Digest, was especially influential for me. He was always willing to look at what I’d written and he never failed to patiently and clearly explain how I could make it better. His lessons stayed with
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me, and I arrived at college knowing that I wanted to do something with writing and words. The attraction of the Apologia for me, then, was the opportunity to use my interests and skills in the service of the Lord. I saw this as a chance to use the abilities the Lord had given me to pour out my gratitude to Him for the free gift of eternal life in his Son, Jesus Christ. The mission statement of the journal—to articulate Christian perspectives in the academic community—resonated deeply with me. The opportunity to help spread the good news about Jesus through the articles and artwork in the Apologia is itself a tremendous blessing and gives me another reason for praise and thanksgiving. Proverbs 16:3 reads, “Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” My involvement with the journal hearkens back to the days when we were considering calling it The Dartmouth Keystone. In the two years since then, the Apologia has put out four issues and has print and digital subscribers from across the country and around the world. It is a testament to God’s great provision and goodness that our nascent publication—though we all think of it as His publication, really—has flourished in such a short amount of time and at such an ardently secularized institution as Dartmouth College. Issue after issue, the editors, writers and layout staff devoted an enormous amount of time and energy to the journal. But we were not indefatigable, and the
Not long ago I rediscovered Colossians 3:23–24, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord … it is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
stress of looming deadlines often put strains on our relationships with one another. Tempers got short and egos swelled, but we stayed faithful to one another and to the greater task at hand. More than once during these periods of frustration and discouragement we paused work on the current issue to spend time together praying for one another and the journal. These were times of singular encouragement for me. Every single editor and staffer had an unswerving desire to pursue and serve God, and it was inspiring to be surrounded by such devoted co-laborers. Not long ago I rediscovered Colossians 3:23-24, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord . . . it is the Lord Christ you are serving.” If I had to pick one verse to encapsulate my experience with the Apologia, I think this would be it. I have been involved in a number of activities at Dartmouth, from captaining the chess team to corunning the campus emergency medical services squad to leading the Navigators’ Fighting Mullets franchise to nearly a dozen intramural sports championships. Each of these was memorable in its own way, but the Apologia stands apart. Nothing else I have done at Dartmouth has given me better perspective on my position as a servant of the Lord. I am the Executive Editor of the Apologia because of how Jesus has changed my life. I want to spread the Gospel as widely as I can, and my position with the journal gives me one way to
do this. How could I pursue it with anything less than my entire heart? And now, like a retiring math teacher, it is time for me to sine off. God bless, be safe and whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord.
Executive editor Robert Cousins ’09 is from Chappaqua, New York. This June he will graduate with a major in English and a minor in History. Robert became a Christian while at Dartmouth, and since then, he has been active in the Navigators and served as executive editor for this publication. He is captain of the Dartmouth Chess Team and operations officer for Dartmouth EMS. When he is not checkmating his opponents or saving lives, Robert acts as the unofficial commissioner of the Fighting Mullets intramural sports franchise. After graduation, he plans to become a paramedic.
Spring 2009 • The Dartmouth Apologia •
A Prayer for Dartmouth O Lord God Almighty, well-spring of wisdom, master of power, guide of all growth, giver of all gain. We make our prayer to thee, this day, for Dartmouth College. Earnestly entreating thy favour for its people. For its work, and for all its life. Let thy hand be upon its officers of administration to make them strong and wise, and let thy word make known to them the hiding-place of power. Give to its teachers the gift of teaching, and make them to be men right-minded and high-hearted. Give to its students the spirit of vision, and fill them with a just ambition to be strong and well-furnished, and to have understanding of the times in which they live. Save the men of Dartmouth from the allurements of self-indulgence, from the assaults of evil foes, from pride of success, from false ambitions, from hardness, from shallowness, from laziness, from heedlessness, from carelessness of opportunity, and from ingratitude for sacrifices out of which their opportunity has grown. Make, we beseech thee, this society of scholars to be a fountain of true knowledge, a temple of sacred service, a fortress for the defense of things just and right, and fill the Dartmouth spirit with thy spirit, to make it a name and a praise that shall not fail, but stand before thee forever. We ask in the name in which alone is salvation, even through Jesus Christ our Lord, amen. The Reverend Lucius Waterman, D.D.
We, the members of The Dartmouth Apologia, affirm that the Bible is inspired by God, that faith in Jesus Christ is necessary for salvation, and that God has called us to live by the moral principles of the New Testament. We also affirm the Nicene Creed, with the understanding that views may differ on baptism and the meaning of the word â€œcatholic.â€?
The Nicene Creed
We [I] believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen. We [I] believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. We [I] believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father [and the Son]. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
Snowfall in the Late Afternoon by Bryan Chong â€˜09
Apologia A Journal of Christian Thought
Apologia A Journal of Christian Thought