Jesus and the Scientific Method

Doubting Thomas is the prototype of today’s skeptic.  Before he could believe in the Resurrection, Thomas first had to see with his own eyes.  He wanted tangible, material evidence for what he was to place his faith in, what he was to believe in.

Today many people put an exaggerated sense of trust in the scientific method, a method which deals only with tangible, material things, to the exclusion of all else.  This method wants to set up an experiment that can be replicated anywhere, yielding the same results.  This has proven very successful in advancing technology, our control over matter.  This is the content of physics, chemistry, and biology.  The scientific method has given us a sense of progress in technology and the material standard of living.

But this is a very narrow slice of reality.  Science is unprepared and unable to deal with realities that transcend physical matter.  Science has no sense of morality.  We can produce highly destructive weapons; we can clone some forms of life, and do genetic engineering.  But how should we use these powers?  Science cannot cope with these questions.

We want to find answers to life’s big questions like, “What are our origins? What is our destiny?  What does it mean to be human?  What makes human relationships flourish, and what keeps them from flourishing?  Why is there a universe, and who designed it with such intricate and exquisite patterns?  These are the big questions, to which each person must find satisfying answers.  Science offers little help here.

Today there are huge grants for various research projects in science, but much smaller grants for theology, philosophy, and the humanities.

During his lifetime, Jesus gave his contemporaries many tangible signs and proofs that He was not only an agent of God, a prophet, but that He was God, the Son of the living God.

After the first generation of Christians, there were no more living eye-witnesses to the teachings and miracles of Jesus.  Now everything depends on Faith.  We have not seen, or heard, or touched Jesus, either before or after the Resurrection.  But we do have the witness, the testimony of the Church, which Jesus established, to preserve all that Jesus taught and did during his earthly sojourn.

Jesus does not appeal to the scientific method to win our acceptance of his authenticity.  Rather, He appeals to our Faith, to our trust in Him, based upon what He has revealed to us, upon the great deeds that He performed, and upon the unseen stirrings of grace in our lives.

Yes, we appreciate the material world we live in and the insights that the various sciences provide.  But we want more, so much more.  We want to know and understand the Creator of the universe, the Designer of the human race, the Author of all love and life.  Like St. Thomas the Apostle, we want to know the highest good, who is the triune God, so that we too can affirm: My Lord and my God.