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Miracles, Evidence, and the Duck-Billed Platypus

Miracles, Evidence, and the Duck-Billed Platypus
Image: JohnCarnemolla / Getty

If miracles are impossible, then the resurrection of Jesus could not have occurred, and we must look for some natural explanation of the events. But if miracles are at least possible, then we can be open to following the evidence without bias.

In other words, whenever we hear of an event that seems contrary to the laws of nature, we naturally raise our guard. But we also shouldn't prejudge the evidence by ruling out the possibility of miracles just because they don't fit our categories. It’s unscientific to decide the outcome of an investigation before examining the facts.

Consider the following true story. Near the end of the eighteenth century the Western world first encountered the duck-billed platypus. The platypus, which is indigenous to Australia, has fur over its entire body, is the size of a rabbit, and has webbed feet. Yet since it lays eggs, it reproduces like a reptile! When the skin of a platypus was first brought to Europe, it was greeted with complete amazement. Was it a mammal or a reptile? The platypus seemed so bizarre that—despite the physical evidence of the skin and the testimony of the witnesses—many Londoners dismissed it as a sham.

Not until a pregnant platypus was shot and brought to London for observers to see with their own eyes did people begin to believe. Until this happened, some of the greatest thinkers refused to accept the existence of the platypus. The initial problem was that it did not fit some people's view of how the world operated. So they rejected it and then reached a verdict even though the weight of the evidence said otherwise.

Adapted from Josh and Sean McDowell, The Resurrection and You, (Baker Books, 2017) pgs. 24-25

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