Affirming Science, Affirming the Supernatural

I once read a Christian book that did a terrific job of marrying Christianity with a science and research. Since Christians often discredit science and throw proof out the window, it was refreshing to read a book that did just the opposite.

But then I got to the end of the book and everything changed. In its affirmation of science, it tossed out two thousand years of tradition. The author made Jesus out to be a normal man who didn’t actually do miracles or signs and wonders, nor did he rise from the dead. He was just some prophet following after God. The author stripped all of the supernatural out of the Bible leaving his readers with a resurrection-less future where our death is the end of everything. The book took a hard turn and stripped faith completely out of the faith. You could tell from the reviews that many readers loved every word of it, but my heart broke. Ninety percent of the book had been absolutely terrific, but the last ten percent was theologically terrifying. As I wrapped up reading this book, I reflected on Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 15:12-19. 

Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised.For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised.And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

1 Corinthians 15:12-19 (ESV)

But it’s not just the scientists who do this to Jesus. I’ve read books by acclaimed theologians who make Jesus out to be no more than some kind of “wise sage.” These teachings suck the life out of Christianity. They rip the Good News out of the Gospel. They pry God out of Jesus. And as a supernaturalist who also loves science, their theology bores me to death.

I’m with C.S. Lewis on this one who said in his book, Miracles (which was an entire book defending the supernatural work of God), “The mind which asks for a non-miraculous Christianity is a mind in process of relapsing from Christianity into mere ‘religion'” (page 161). Lewis believed in the supernatural so much so that he even mentioned several times in his writings that he struggled with a temptation towards the occult (C. S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy: the Shape of My Early Life. page 56-57).

Now I don’t claim to understand how the supernatural works, but I have seen it first hand. I’ve seen demons cast out and have even cast them out myself. I’ve listened to the stories of friends who have done the same—sometimes unexpectedly. One pastor I know told me he felt God tell him to fast for a few days and then at the end of his fast, a demon manifested in his friend. He didn’t understand what was going on, but learned how to cast it out on the fly under the direction of the Holy Spirit.

The Christian faith is packed full of the supernatural and doesn’t work without it, because the most crucial elements of the faith are supernatural: God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. If we strip out the supernatural, our faith crashes to floor in pieces. But if you’re willing to be open to the supernatural, you may start to see more of it than you expected. And if you are capable of believing fully in science and the supernatural, you will become the rare kind of Christian that the world needs to hear more from.

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