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I once read a blogger who passionately implored people to “THINK!”  He admitted that the historical evidence for the Resurrection was very strong, perhaps even undeniable.  But, he asked: “Even with all this evidence, given everything we know about how the universe works, what’s more reasonable?  To believe a dead man came back to life, or to conclude that it’s all just some kind of mistake or misunderstanding?”   

I totally agree.  Without good reason to think that it’s likely God exists, that there is more than just the material universe, then it isn’t reasonable to believe Jesus rose from the dead—no matter how good the historical evidence is!  

However, the opposite is also true.  If there is good reason to think that there might be a God, then, given the strength of the historical evidence, it’s very reasonable to think Jesus rose from the dead.  In fact, even if we only had reason to conclude God’s existence is just as likely as not (a fifty-fifty chance), the historical evidence is substantial enough to make the Resurrection, and in turn, therefore, the existence of God, “very certain”—whatever reason we might have to believe God exists is powerfully corroborated by the evidence for the Resurrection, and therefore, the evidence for the Resurrection significantly increases the probability God exists. (for more on this see Michael Licona, The Resurrection of Jesus, Downers Grove, IL:IVP, 2010)

From developments in Astrophysics and Molecular Biology over the past forty-five years to the recent revival of the classic philosophical proofs for God’s existence, the evidence and logic seem to weigh heavily in favor of a Rational, Uncreated Creator.  Since I can’t possibly go into all of this evidence in one blog, let me focus on one small piece that happens to frustrate some of the most prominent atheists of our time: human consciousness.

Though we take it for granted, consciousness is remarkable.  We have the ability not only to be aware of realities, like the smell of brewing coffee, but to be aware of our awareness of these realities, and to be aware that other people’s awareness of the same reality differs (that the person in the other room with the door closed may not smell the coffee brewing).  We are able to think abstractly and to draw inferences. We can relate past, present, and future to one another—even envisioning our future.  We can perform complex cognitive tasks, like advanced math, and think philosophically, constructing meaning out of our reality, and so on. 

To date, science isn’t anywhere close to explaining how purely physical, electrochemical brain events can produce all of this.  As Roy Abraham Varghese explains: “First of all, neurons show no resemblance to our conscious life.  Second and more important, their physical properties do not in any way give reason to believe that they can or will produce consciousness.  Consciousness is correlated with certain regions of the brain, but when the same systems of neurons are present in the brain stem there is no ‘production’ of consciousness.  As a matter of fact, as physicist Gerald Schroeder points out, there is no essential difference in the ultimate physical constituents of a heap of sand and the brain of an Einstein.” (Roy Abraham Varghese in Antony Flew, There is a God, New York, NY: Harper One, 2007, p. 174, my italics)  

Attempts to explain consciousness as a feature of evolution likewise falter.  How did the ability to do complex mathematics or abstract philosophy help our original ancestors survive?  Evolutionists have no good answer.  There would have been no apparent selective advantage to such “useless” traits. 

So where does consciousness come from?  Well-known evolutionary psychologist Steven Pinker admits: “Beats the heck out of me.”  An ardent materialist, he can’t explain why we have these capacities, other than to suggest they are gratuitous, an unnecessary, chance product of other features of natural selection that were useful.  Richard Dawkins, who is not only the most prominent of the New Atheists but also is an expert in evolutionary biology, acknowledges the problem and agrees that the origin of consciousness is a mystery. (for more, see Timothy Keller, Making Sense of God, New York, NY: Viking, 2016, pp. 222-224, and Flew, There is a God, pp. 174-176) 

The widely respected atheist philosopher Thomas Nagel says that “consciousness is the most conspicuous obstacle to a comprehensive naturalism”.  (Thomas Nagel, Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012, p. 35)  In other words, he believes consciousness is the biggest challenge to atheism.  

So when it comes to the Resurrection, by all means, THINK!  But the only reason you CAN think, the only reason you can deliberate and consider and weigh all the arguments and evidence, is because you are a rational, self-reflective, self-aware being.  You have consciousness.  And atheists have no good explanation why.  They can’t explain consciousness as something that naturally originated from the material universe. 

Therefore, it had to originate from something—or someone—beyond the natural universe—a supernatural Intelligence, who must have created rational beings for a purpose.

Since the phenomenon of consciousness—along with all the other evidence alluded to above—suggests that such a being exists, then, given the very substantial historical evidence behind it, the Resurrection of Jesus becomes enormously likely.  It is the most reasonable conclusion a THINKING person could make!

And if Jesus is risen, that means you were created for a reason, for the ultimate purpose of life with Him.  Your life has supreme meaning.  You have eternal significance.

Do you think it’s reasonable to believe in the Resurrection?  Why or why not?  Go to the “Contact E.J.” page or the Raising Jesus website and let me know what you think.  Also, please “Like” our Facebook page, subscribe to our YouTube channel, and keep telling your friends about us.  Thank you!

About Me

E.J. Sweeney is a true skeptic. He needs to see to believe. Hard Evidence. Compelling Proof. Solid Logic. This is what he believes in. In college, he encountered questions that the superficial faith he was raised on couldn’t handle. So he began a quest for Truth, a quest for the answers to life’s ultimate questions.

EJ Sweeney

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