Does God exist? How do you know that God exists? (Intuitively, design, revelation, miracles, universal belief, etc.)Assuming that God exists should we be surprised at the existence of miracles? One of the reasons that we know that there is a God is through the reality of miracles. Turning that around, must miracles exist just because God exists? (Not necessarily so.) But to believe in one certainly opens the door toward the existence of the other our belief in miracles.
One of the problems that we have when we talk about miracles is a difference in definition. What is a miracle to one person, might not be considered a miracle to another person. So what is the definition of a miracle? “An event which appears to be inexplicable by the laws of nature, and so something which we attribute to supernatural intervention.” Again, can a miracle take place where there is no God?
Let’s say that you are on a walk out in an open field when a tornado drops down in front of you and races toward you at 50 MPH. You have no place to hide and you can’t out-run it, so you drop to the ground and wait to be run-over. But just before that tornado should pass over you, it veers 90% and takes off toward the west. Has a miracle taken place? Possibly, but not necessarily. Have you ever experienced or witnessed a miracle? One of the problems with miracles is that even we who are Christians are more apt to look for a natural explanation than for a supernatural explanation. And so there may be miracles in our lives which we have not yet attributed properly to the Lord.
Can we use the Bible to prove that a miracle has taken place in your life? For example, can we use the Bible to prove that the tornado changed direction because of a miracle? Think about this question before you answer it: Does the Bible prove the reality of miracles? For example, does the Bible prove the miracle of the Virgin Birth? (Not really.) What do we mean by “prove?” What the Bible does is declare that certain things, which we call miracles, have taken place. And the Bible declares the existence of God, making miracles possible, if not probable.
Let’s say that some friend of yours refuses to listen to your presentation of the gospel, because he cannot believe that Jesus was virgin born. We know that the Virgin Birth is critical to our doctrine of salvation. We could choose not to address our friend’s unbelief, but if he insists, how should we proceed? Perhaps the best place is with the subject of creation. The Bible, in the beginning and throughout, declares that God created the universe. And there is a universe of physical evidence of that as well. If for whatever reason, we can get our friend to acknowledge that God created, then the Virgin Birth should not be a problem. Creation may be the greatest of all miracles, after personal salvation. If God can bring a universe out of nothing, then He can cause a Virgin to conceive and bring forth a son.
The nature of miracles
Once again, what is the definition of a miracle? “An event which appears to be inexplicable by the laws of nature, and so something which we attribute to supernatural intervention.”
A couple weeks ago I saw a little bit of a show on the History Channel called “Modern Marvels.” This particular episode was about magnets; it was fascinating. There are hundreds of things that we use every day which are possible only because of man’s understanding and use of magnets. For example, they are essential to the miniaturization of motors which are just about everywhere. And they can be a lot of fun as well. Where did fridge magnets come from? For example, I saw a frog being put into a hollow tube, with a camera peering into one end. And then several special magnets were turned on and controlled through a computer. The poor frog was then lifted up and suspended in mid-air. The magnets were actually able to defeat the law of gravity. Is a floating frog a miracle, just because it defied one of the natural laws that we ordinarily have to live by? What is an MRI? (Magnetic Resonance Image.) It is the use of magnets to look inside human bodies in order to investigate what’s going on in there. Is an MRI a miracle? 20 years ago, we would have said that it was.
Here is perhaps a better definition: “A miracle is an event brought about by the power of God that is a temporary exception to the ordinary course of nature for the purpose of showing that God has acted.”
Some people argue that miracles cannot exist because they violate the laws of nature. The problem with this idea is in deifying nature, or making the laws of nature supreme. Let’s say that your house is the sum and substance of creation: it is the world, it is the universe. Most people’s homes have their unique fragrance. It’s made up of the dog, your favorite hand lotion, the flowers that you have inside, and a dozen other things. But let’s say that one day I come to your house and I am wearing my special aftershave, or I stepped in some dog manure out by the car and I’ve brought that into your house. I have introduced a foreign smell into your universe; I have violated the natural laws of your universe. But I haven’t really broken any natural laws, except the ones that you have established.
Pride-filled man, may think that he is the king of his universe, but he is not. He may think that his house is the universe, but it isn’t. He may send his Hubble telescope out into space and take pictures of the universe and he may say, “I’ve reached the outer-limits; there ain’t no mo.” But there is more. God can step into any man’s house at any time & either light an aromatic candle or give the dog diarrhea. God has established the laws of nature and generally maintains them in order to maintain law and order. But as being greater than creation, as being the Creator of creation, God can at any time, and just as he as done from time to time, God can interrupt or add to the usual balance to things just to say “hello.” In fact the order of the universe helps us to hear the Lord’s special interruptory greeting. But if man can repeat what the Lord has done then whatever it was, was not really a miracle.
And by the way, God’s miracles are almost always a quick insertion of something special which then becomes controlled by those usual laws of nature. A lot of Christians get misty-eyed thinking about the Virgin Birth. As I’ve said, it is very important. But the birth of Jesus was not a miracle; it was quite ordinary. I can’t tell you how many of the usual pregnancy problems Mary had to endure, but there is no reason to think that she didn’t have her share. And some births are easier than others, and I would like to think that Mary’s was without complications, but I would guess that it was as painful, and exciting, and traumatic and emotional as the birth of any other baby. All the ordinary rules of birth applied, after the miracle of Jesus’ conception. And just because Lazarus was miraculously raised from the dead, that doesn’t mean that he didn’t die. In fact, just because he was miraculously restored to life, it didn’t mean that he wasn’t still wrapped in his burial clothes. God’s miracles are usually short bursts of divine input which are then controlled by the usual laws which God had previously established.
It appears that true miracles are immediate. A doctor may work to cure a man of some difficult disease, and when he his cured, it may appear miraculous, but it wasn’t and it certainly wasn’t immediate. But as you think through the miracles of the Bible, they were all virtually instantaneous. I can think of only one possible exception to this statement: a certain blind man. But I have to believe that there was a special purpose in the way that he was healed.
It was sort of like creation itself. Creation took six days only because that is the way that Lord wanted it. It certainly wasn’t necessary to take that long.
And can you think of any true Biblical miracles which were not completely successful?
What are the difference between miracles and magic? Miracles are accomplished by God, but magic…………. Miracles are not repeatable, but magic………. Miracles involve no deception, but magic…………… Miracles are never evil, but magic…………… Miracles occur in nature, but magic……………. Miracles are unusual, but not odd; magic ……………………
What do you think has been the Lord’s purpose in working miracles?
Miracles confirm the existence of God. What do you think about the statement that miracles are the only proof of God’s existence? Which is more important a miracle or the Bible?
Miracles confirm the messenger of God. With what words did Nicodemus approach the Saviour (John 3:2)? How did Peter refer to Jesus when he began preaching on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 22:22)?
Miracles confirm the message of God. In fact miracles form the framework of Bible Christianity. Christianity begins with creation – a miracle – But then sin corrupted that creation. The only way that human sin could be properly addressed without the complete destruction of Creation was through regeneration. Regeneration required the Incarnation. The Incarnation required the miracle of the Virgin Birth. It also required the death of the sacrifice but the life of the Saviour. That required the miracle of Christ’s resurrection.
Objections to Miracles.
What do we answer someone who says that miracles are impossible?
What do we answer someone who says that miracles are incredible?
What do we answer someone who says that miracles are only unusual events of nature?
“There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.”