The Resurrection Of Christ A Part Of Christianity -- By: Lemuel S. Potwin

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 047:186 (Apr 1890)
Article: The Resurrection Of Christ A Part Of Christianity
Author: Lemuel S. Potwin


The Resurrection Of Christ A Part Of Christianity

Prof. Lemuel S. Potwin

It seems to have become a question whether miracles prove the truth of Christianity, or Christianity proves the truth of the miracles. To many Christian minds the principal argument for miracles is that they are a part of Christianity. They admit the need of historical evidence; but, instead of eyeing it with suspicion, they find a strong presumption on its side. Their latent syllogism is this: Christianity is the true religion; Christianity carries with it a belief in the Christian miracles; therefore, the Christian miracles are true. The agnostic adopts the same minor premise, but, with a different major, constructs his syllogism thus: Whatever religion requires a belief in miracles cannot be accepted as true; Christianity requires such a belief; therefore, Christianity cannot be accepted as true. There is a third possible syllogism in which the minor premise is denied, viz.: Christianity is the true religion; it is independent of a belief in miracles; therefore, the Christian miracles are irrelevant to the acceptance of Christianity.

Now, is the argument of the first syllogism legitimate? We should bear in mind that it does not interfere with the old and solid reasoning that miracles prove the truth of Christianity. It simply, in the superabundance of evidence afforded by Christian history, first finds Christianity true on various grounds apart from miracles, and then infers the truth of those miracles that inhere in it. Nor is this reasoning in a circle. One does not prove Christianity from the miracles and then turn round and prove the miracles from Christianity. Plainly, if both are true, and logically connected, one can reason from either to the other, provided the one taken as the premise be established independently of the other. Now it is true that many a believer has accepted Christianity because of what it is, and what it has done in the world; because it meets the wants of his nature, his soul; or even because he has been brought up in it, and breathed its atmosphere as a part of his life. Such a believer may never have investigated critically the evidence for miracles and may doubt his power to do so. He may feel that they are very distant and un-modern, but after all it seems to him that these signs and wonders are somehow bound up in Christianity. He argues from Christianity to miracles, and not from miracles to Christianity.

What we now propose is to take one—the one—of these miracles, and show why Christian believers are justified in accepting it as true without going into all the critical details of historical investigation; in other words, why the presumption in their minds should be strongly in favor of the resurr...

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