Sunday, March 26, 2017

Miracles, Anyone?

What do you think about miracles? Do you conceive of them as something totally impossible today?

Maybe they happened in the past, but because of our scientific and technological sophistication today, they don’t happen anymore? Or maybe they never ever happened, and the Bible’s reports of them are just made up like a good fiction tale? Or maybe in your mind, miracles are like magic: tricks performed by a magician that no one else can perform?

You see, believing in miracles, and furthermore allowing miracles to lead one to belief in God, ultimately requires a heart of faith. But many today, because of false science, have become too “sophisticated” to believe in miracles, and too sophisticated to allow miracles to lead them to faith in God through Jesus Christ. Some say things along the lines of, “Science has proven there is no such thing as miracles.” Such statements reveal some faulty assumptions. First of all, there is the assumption that science has the power to observe and analyze beyond the natural order. Miracles have to do with the supernatural, unseen, spiritual order of the universe, which even the purest science is powerless to explain. Science cannot prove or disprove miracles. Secondly, there is the assumption that science and scientists have the prerogative to instruct people on spiritual matters. Again, while science is free to make observations, who invited science to instruct people about how to live and what to believe? Doesn’t science become philosophy, even religion, when it does such a thing?

Common Sense?

When you probe further as to why people hold the view, “Science has proven there is no such thing as miracles,” they say it is because such thinking violates “what we now call the common-sense view of the world.”1 I don’t think it is common sense that causes one to disbelieve miracles, or God. If you really have common-sense, the first thing common-sense teaches you about miracles, is that miracles have nothing to do with common-sense. It seems to me that thinking about miracles in a negative light and not believing in the God who performs miracles has much to do with the pride of preconceived notions, and nothing to do with common sense at all.

The world today has lost the meaning of miracles—the why of miracles—and has gotten caught up in the how of the miracles—attempting to find an explanation to them, using science and other so-called scientific methods. Imagine a rude and unsatisfied crowd at a mesmerizing play or ballet performance. Everyone wants to see and know how all this is happening behind the curtain with the sets and the actors, and they don’t enjoy the performance of the actors. They want to know “how” all time, while missing the “why” of the play or ballet. The point is miracles were never meant to be explained. Otherwise they would not be miracles any more. We never are told how. But we are told why.

Why Miracles?

In the life of Jesus and in His performance of miracles, we are told why miracles exist. The Gospel of John records 7 miracles that Jesus performed during His earthly life (there are other miracles that the other Gospel writers record). At the end of his account of Jesus’ miracles, John says of the responses of some people, “But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him." (John 12:37) The reason Jesus performed the many signs, or miracles, was so that people would believe in Him as the Son of God and receive far more than the one benefit the miracle gave them temporally.

The reason Jesus performed miracles, was not for their temporary excitement and benefit, but for their eternal benefit. John says at end of His Gospel, “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:30-31.) Many people during Jesus’ life time did not believe in Him in spite of Him working miracles. They lost out not merely on the benefits of the miracles, but on Jesus Himself, and the eternal life that His miracles were meant to point people towards.

And yet for all those who did not believe in Jesus when He worked miracles, John reports that there were many who did believe in Him. Many received the benefits of the miracles: healed from diseases, impossible situations made possible, the dead raised to life, and much more. But they also received eternal life. And most importantly they received Jesus Christ Himself, the miracle worker, who died on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins, and rose to life again to give us the miracle of eternal life. This happens when we believe in Him and receive the forgiveness of sins. Heaven will be a place and time (from our earthly vantage point) of continuous miracles without end. When miracles happen on earth, they are glimpses of Heaven: what life is truly meant to be.

Does scientific sophistication or common sense stand in your way of believing? God is still the same miracle working God today. Science and common sense do not stand in His way of performing miracles today. If a miracle is what it will take to truly make you believe, I pray that God works a miracle in your life so that you may believe in His Son Jesus Christ. Of course, a miracle does not guarantee that you will believe in Jesus Christ. But God knows if a miracle will truly help to bring you to that place of belief: that place where hope and truth converge in a powerful, life changing way.

© Kenny Damara, 2017 

1 Van Harvey, The Historian and Believer (Macmillan, 1966), p. 68.

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