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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Consider Miracles

             There are certain inexplicable events that occur in life that are not easily explained or resolved. What are frequently identified as miracles are typically dismissed as being coincidental.

If we look at this matter of miracles, or the miraculous, then we must first understand what defines a miracle. “Miracles are God’s intervention into the natural world – His special work for a specific purpose.” (5 Minute Apologist, Dr. Rick Cornish, NAVPRESS - 2005).

The Old and New Testaments are replete with miracles. The exploits of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel) quickly come to mind. But it’s hard to beat all the miraculous occurrences during the time of Moses. And, of course, you have a plethora of miracles recorded in the Gospel record of Jesus’ life and ministry – most notably – the event celebrated at this time of year by Christians – the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

There are basically three kinds of people in the world when it comes to the miraculous. You have those who believe in miracles; those who do not believe in miracles; and those who don’t know if the odd and strange happenings are actually miracles or just some of life’s imponderables.

So, only God, the maker of heaven and earth, can perform true miracles. Miracles are intended to bolster the faith of believers, and to challenge the skepticism of those who do not believe. What we actually witness in miracles is God throwing down the gauntlet, asking us to believe what cannot be naturally explained.

People who choose not to believe in the existence of God (atheists) must also dismiss any possibility of miracles. Why do I suggest this? Because the moment the miraculous is introduced into the equation, by necessity, the existence of One who is greater must be considered.

As is the case in all things in this world you have those who are on either end of the faith/belief spectrum. On the one end, atheists categorically rule out any possibility of miracles because they open up an element to life that, in their mind, cannot be explained by natural law. The Ten Plagues which God visited on the Egyptians were all very real, and supernatural, which could not be easily explained away, either then or now.

Radical religionists, on the other hand, are quick to attribute every little thing in life as being miraculous. For instance, I cringe when I hear a news reporter interviewing someone who is the sole survivor of a deadly tragedy. Invariably, the comment is made, “God was with me!” Now, I know the person is expressing exuberance in being alive. That’s perfectly understandable. However, such a statement troubles me because it makes it sound as though God is playing favorites. Wasn’t God with the six people who perished?  

“Miracles become possible if God exists because the One who could create a universe would be able to intervene into His work any way He wanted.” And not just that, but the Bible declares that God simply spoke everything into existence. The classic challenge to theists (believers in God and his existence) is formulated in this question which is designed by unbelievers to trip up the believers: “Well, if God made everything, then who made God?”

The answer to this question is simple enough. No one made God because he has always been. He is All Powerful. Again, the Bible often states this rhetorical question: “Is anything too difficult for God?” Or put another way, “Nothing is impossible with God.”

The language used in the Bible regarding God and His power is precise. The wording is definitive. For instance, throughout the Book of Job, God challenges Job to consider God’s many attributes in confirming that Job had not been abandoned by God during Job’s time of testing. Later we see such descriptive terminology attributed to Jesus, where we read in the Book of Revelation, “I am the Beginning and the End. I am the First and the Last. I am the Alpha and the Omega. I am the One who was, who is, and who is to come.” All of these expressions are given to us to help us to understand that God is, always has been, and always will be.

In accepting this premise about the existence of God, then miracles become a natural phenomenon in the faith journey for the believer. And as such, miracles not only occur, but are to be expected. You see, miracles are not miraculous to God. It is the way He chooses to operate in our world. And it’s no big deal to Him.

Let me leave you with this thought: Consider Miracles!

 

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