When people talk about the validity of Jesus’ resurrection, it’s inevitable that someone asks, “What are the chances?” It’s a fair question. After all, most of us know plenty of people who died…and stayed dead.
But is chance a good basis for belief?
The stakes are high. If the body of Jesus is still rotting somewhere in the Middle East, no one cares what He taught. But if He’s alive, having been supernaturally raised from His well-documented death, then He’s God! Everything hinges on whether or not the resurrection actually happened as the Bible reports.
But many are content to reduce the Easter conversation to mere percentages. “What are the odds the resurrection happened?” “How likely is it that a man came come back from the dead?” In other words, “What are the chances?”
In all honesty, not good.
But according to Norman Geisler, that’s not the point. In his book When Skeptics Ask, he and co-author Ronald Brooks warn readers not to dismiss the miraculous just because it’s up against long odds. “That is like saying that you shouldn’t believe it when you won the lottery because of all the thousands of people who lost. It equates evidence with probability and says that you should never believe that long shots win.”
The odds of making a half court shot worth $235,000 is 1-in-50…unless you’re Craig Calloway.
The odds of making a hole-in-one is 1-in-12,500…but it happens every weekend somewhere.
The odds of becoming President of the United States is 1-in-10,000,000…but someone will.
The odds of winning the lottery is 1-in-259,000,000…but there’s always a winner – sometimes a few!
And yes, the odds of winning the lottery AFTER surviving a lightning strike is slim, something like 1-in-2.6 trillion, but Peter McCathie has pulled it off.
So, don’t dismiss the possibility of the miraculous just because it might be one in a million, one in a billion, or one in a trillion. Long odds aren’t a good basis for belief.
When Skeptics Ask by Norman Geisler and Ronald Brooks. Victor Books, 1990, Page 80.
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(Resource cataloged by David R Smith)