By: John Blasingame, Contributor
In the thirteenth chapter of his book Miracles, C.S. Lewis takes a stance against David Hume. “There is,” argues Hume, “‘uniform experience’ against Miracle…A miracle is therefore the most improbable of all events.” Because miracles are the most improbable of all events, “it is always more probable that the witnesses were lying or mistaken than that a miracle occurred” (Lewis 162).
Hume’s notion of Probability rests “on the principle of the Uniformity of Nature” (Lewis 162). But where did Hume receive the right to expect nature to display any level of consistency? Lewis argues that Hume – along with the rest of humanity – takes for granted nature’s uniformity because of an innate “sense of the fitness of things” (Lewis 166). Furthermore, this inherent belief in consistency is derived from none other than “Nature’s Creator” (Lewis 168).
“But if we admit God,” Lewis asks, “must we admit Miracle?” At this point, Hume ought to be troubled by Lewis’s reasoning: the argument has fallen in favor of the theist perspective. “Theology says to you in effect, ‘Admit God and with Him the risk of a few miracles, and I in return will ratify your faith in uniformity as regards the overwhelming majority of events’” (Lewis 169). Hume has based his entire argument against miracles on a premise that assumes a Creator – the One who performs miracles.
Can science account for the regularity of the universe?
As science has progressed over the past few centuries, there has become a decreasing need for a “God of the gaps.” Now that science can explain why things happen the way that they do, there is less of a need to rely on the answer, “Because God made it that way,” in order to account for certain natural phenomena. Recently, science has observed a consistent, mathematical character to the universe, evidenced by uniform rules like the law of gravity.
Based on these laws, we have come to expect nature to continue in the way she always has. To this, Dr. Vince Vitale states,
When we wake up tomorrow, we just assume that the universe is going to carry on in the regular, stable way that it always has. We never stop to ask why. Why is the strength of gravity going to be the same tomorrow that it is today? You might say to me, “Well it’s always been that way!” But that’s not an answer to the question, that’s the question itself. (Passion City Church Q&A Pt. 1)
If atheism were to account for the regularity of the universe, it would likely do so using its closest ally: science. Can science, however, actually account for nature’s consistency? I don’t believe so. See, while science reveals to us the regularity hidden within natural phenomena, it is never the reason behind the regularity of the universe. To argue that science is the ground upon which nature’s consistency rests would be sheer foolishness: science is only the means by which we perceive nature’s consistency. If atheism is to explain regularity, she must change her tactics.
Documentation Statement: I referenced C.S. Lewis’s book Miracles and https://youtu.be/0f9jtRFTsJ4 in order to complete this assignment.