Sunday, April 24, 2011
Mathematical Proof of the Resurrecton
Even if the Resurrection could be proven in the context of some particular axiomatic system it would still be tentative. Euclidean, Hyperbolic and Elliptical geometries all adequately account for our local experience of spatial extension but we cannot prove which geometry space actually conforms to and apparently Einstein needed Riemannian geometry which is finite but unbounded. Ptolemaic astronomy with its epicycles is obviously not how the planets actually work but one may use Ptolemy's Almagist to accurately navigate. Newton's physics works for cannon ball trajectories but not on a galactic level. But even modern physicists who work on string theory and a G.U.T. (Grand Unifying Theory) have yet to PROVE that space energy and matter actually has some certain nature. So even if the Resurrection WERE proven mathematically it would still be in the realm of model theory and not some indisputable fact.
I would say that the essence of "faith" is the subjective free will choice to believe. A mathematical proof or Aristotelian syllogistic reasoning FORCES us to admit that something is true. We often see Socrates FORCING people to concede some point using questions and answer to lead them into a cul-de-sac of aporia (no way out.) Abraham believed the promise of God without any proof or evidence and his belief was counted unto him for righteousness. It is ironic that the Greeks never once resorted to an "ontological proof" of God's existence even though Aristotle was one of their own and yet Aquinas became so enamored of Aristotelian logic. Throughout the Bible free will consent and cooperation has always been essential. Mordecai, uncle to Queen Esther, writes her to say that it is her CHOICE whether or not to help her people but if she chooses NOT to then God will arrange the help to come through some other means. Gabriel does not come to announce to Mary that she is with child like some EPT. It is only when Mary gives her free will consent that the incarnation takes place. The Greek consider faith to be a gift which is give by God to some but not to others based upon God's foreknowledge of how that individual's free will will chose to accept and deploy that faith.
Why would St. Paul counsel us to refrain from vain disputation if some ineluctable proof were ultimately possible. Why does Jesus say that had he worked similar miracles in Tyre and Sidon that they would long ago have put on sack cloth and ashes of mourning and repentance. Jesus is saying that he did have that option but chose not to do it. Spectacular miracles are similar to a mathematical proof in that they may force us to accept something as true. And yet the people of Moses wandered for 40 years seeing a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night and seeing the manna each morning and yet the kvetched and rebelled and were hard of heart. The magicians of Pharaoh were able to imitate the first three miracles of Moses but when they failed at the forth they said to Pharaoh "surely this is the finger of God" but Pharaoh would not be convinced. So consider the cogency of the supernatural as analogous to the rigor of mathematical proof and yet it is necessary but not sufficient. We KNOW intellectually that tobacco and alcohol inevitably lead to various illnesses but do we "KNOW" that emotionally in a manner sufficient to convince us to abstain?