Saturday, 6 August 2011

How can miracles be possible? Enquirers' objections considered

Many people say they are unable to believe what the Bible says about God because they are unable to believe that miracles happened. They are at least clearly able to see what some liberal theologians can't - that belief in the God of the Bible implies belief in the miraculous. To deny the miraculous is to deny God himself. If miracles did not happen, then the resurrection did not happen and our faith is therefore in vain (1 Corinthians 15:32).

So as Christians we must be adamant that miracles did happen - and ask our friends why they believe they didn't. We will normally receive one of four answers:

1.Miracles didn't happen because there is no evidence they happened.

It is necessary here to present the evidence for selected biblical miracles - pointing out that many of them convinced hardened sceptics, surprised even the faithful and were accepted as facts by eyewitnesses who had strong vested interests in not believing. This will usually push the person on to one of the other three arguments or a discussion about the reliability of the Bible as a historical record.

2.Miracles didn't happen because there are natural explanations of what happened

People who use this argument will generally give examples of natural explanations for miraculous events - for instance Sodom was destroyed by a volcano, the Red Sea parted because of a strong wind, the Jordan dried up because of a landslide. The implication is that because a reasonable natural explanation can be found, there are no grounds for claiming God was the cause.

The first thing to assert is that because we can find a natural explanation for some event does not mean that God was not involved. The God of the Bible is the sustainer of the universe (Heb 1:3). It is He who covers the sky with clouds, supplies the earth with rain, makes the grass grow and sends the snow, frost, hail and breezes (Ps 147:8-18). Furthermore it is God who installs kings (Dan 4:17; Rom 13:1) and removes them (Is 40:23), indeed it is even God who determines the throw of the dice (Pr 16:33). God works in and through natural events and the fact that natural explanations for miracles can be found should not disturb someone with biblical faith (Ex 14:21). Natural events are part of God's providence.

Secondly, there are many miracles in the Bible for which no natural explanation can be found - a stick turning into a snake (Ex 4:2-4), an iron axe-head floating (2 Ki 6:6) or the instantaneous healing of congenital blindness (Jn 9:1-34). They run completely counter to the laws of nature.

3.Miracles didn't happen because miracles can't happen

Some people argue that miracles are impossible because they break the laws of science - but this is based on a misunderstanding of what scientific theory is.
Scientific theories are not prescriptive but descriptive. They do not prescribe how nature must behave. Rather they describe how nature has behaved in the past - as a basis of predicting how it might behave in the future. Accordingly no scientific theory is carved in letters of stone. Any theory can be disproved by a single fact, which means that scientific theories are often being updated in the light of new observations.

A true scientist does not ignore facts which don't fit his theory. Rather he modifies his theory to accommodate these facts. We accept that miracles happened because reliable witnesses observed them. Whether or not we can explain them in terms of existing scientific theories is irrelevant.

4.Miracles didn't happen because I have never seen a miracle

Occasionally people claim that they only believe what they have seen with their own eyes. However, if pressed, they will readily admit to believing many other things on the basis of oral or written testimony.

The bottom line

The real reason people fail to believe the biblical reports of miracles is because they fail to believe in God himself. Once one believes in an omnipotent being who created and sustains the universe, miracles cease to be an intellectual problem. Similarly once one believes that such a God could become a man, such issues as the virgin birth, the healing miracles of Jesus and indeed, the resurrection itself, pale into insignificance.

I originally wrote this for the Confident Christianity Training course


  1. If miracles were so common in biblical times, why do they not occur now with the same frequency? Is it because our faith is lacking? I do not know. Perhaps you can explain it better.

    For my part, I firmly believe in miracles and that nothing shall be impossible with God. We need to persevere and miracles WILL happen. I have known of people receiving miracles after continued prayer, sometimes after months or years. If you know of any such yourself, please share them here so that we can all be encouraged. God bless.

  2. Nice reading. And a nice blog template,

    Free prophecy

  3. A friend of mine suffered a terrible accident when he was 15 (this was back in the 60s) and he was burned in a gasoline fire so badly that 80 percent of his skin was burnt. The doctors initially didn't think he would live. Fortunately he survived, but the doctors then said that he would be badly disfigured for his entire life, with scars all over his body. Over a period of several years, God miraculously healed him so that all of his scars disappeared. I recently created a short documentary on his story you can watch for free at - You can click on "Angel in the Fire" and determine for yourself whether this was actually a miracle.

    After directing, editing the video, and talking with the people involved, I think this case is either a miracle, or at least someone who experienced a healing that is a mystery to everyone who witnessed it. It didn't happen in one moment, it happened over several years, and it shows that these events (whether miracles or mysterious healings) do occur even today.


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