Showing posts with label Miracles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Miracles. Show all posts

Monday, September 11, 2023

Anonymous Asks (266)

“Does God still perform miracles?”

We often hear expressions like “the miracle of birth” or “a miracle of engineering”. Such things may be impressive to the senses or sentiments but they are not, properly speaking, miraculous. Calling something a miracle that occurs naturally every eight seconds or so in the U.S. alone stretches even figurative language to the point of absurdity.

The first step in answering the question “Does God still perform miracles?” is to ensure we are all talking about the same thing.

Sunday, April 09, 2023

About the Weather

“Whether for correction or for his land or for love, he causes it to happen.”

The line above is from the book of Job. The speaker is Elihu, the young man who attempts to correct his elders on the subject of suffering, since all four men who have held forth previously have, in one way or another, erred in their understanding of how God works. Like most young men, Elihu is full of earnestness and conviction, but also shows admirable restraint in allowing the discussion he is witnessing to reach an impasse before stepping in to offer his own opinion. Age and experience receive their appropriate deference.

Elihu’s mission is not to attack Job as all the other speakers have done, however unintentionally, but rather to justify God. So he begins to talk about … the weather.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Harmonizing the Five Thousand

Yesterday we looked at the only miracle found in all four gospels: the feeding of the 5,000. We noted that the synoptic gospel accounts have many common elements, though each writer has tailored his version of the story to fit his overall purposes in writing about the life of the Lord Jesus.

For example, Matthew emphasizes the relationship between the Lord and John the Baptist, only just executed by Herod: “When Jesus heard this [that John had been executed], he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place.” Mark and Luke emphasize the Lord’s care for his disciples, who had just had their first taste of successful solo ministry: “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while,” he invites them.

We often make choices with multiple purposes in view. The Lord Jesus was no exception.

Monday, August 30, 2021

Anonymous Asks (160)

“Has science disproved the miracles of the Bible?”

A question like this one reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of both science and miracles.

Here are a couple of modern definitions of science. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language calls it “the observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of natural phenomena”. The Collaborative International Dictionary of English calls it “Accumulated and established knowledge, which has been systematized and formulated with reference to the discovery of general truths or the operation of general laws”.

So then, science deals in generalities and natural phenomena. It attempts to explain the way the world normally works, all else being equal.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Everywhere a Sign

The apostle John has a thing about signs. You might say it’s one of the dominant themes of his gospel.

Every gospel mentions that the Lord Jesus performed signs (or miracles, depending on your translation), but John leaves the rest of them in the dust. In connection with the earthly ministry of the Lord, he references the word on sixteen separate occasions. Compare that to Matthew (three), Mark (one) or Luke (four) and you’ll see what I’m saying.

Unlike the old song, in John, signs don’t block out the scenery. They are the scenery.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Anonymous Asks (102)

“Do miracles still happen today?”

I guess the answer to this depends on one’s definition of a miracle. For example, some people who are enthusiastic about children refer to the “miracle of life”. I suppose if you are using the word in that sense, then the answer would have to be of course.

The more important thing is how the writers of the Bible use the word “miracle”.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Anonymous Asks (13)

“If the stars are so far away and it would take millions of light years for them to be seen from earth, why do we see stars?”

Ah yes, the perplexing problem that the appearance of age raises for creationists.

The standard difficulty is not about whether it would have been possible for God to cause starlight to provoke its usual reaction from Adam’s retinas in a nanosecond rather than taking light years to travel to earth from the moment the stars were created. Obviously someone powerful enough to speak the universe into being could make both light and human nerve endings dance to any tune he pleased.

No, the standard complaint is moral rather than practical; something like “Wouldn’t it be a bit deceptive of God to bend what we perceive to be the established rules of science?”


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Everywhere a Sign

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Uncompassionate Christ

“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”

“… and coming to his hometown he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works?” … And he did not do many mighty works there.”

You see the problem, of course. A mere four chapters on in our narrative, the “compassionate” Jesus of Matthew 9 by-and-large withholds the benefit of his healing powers from the very people with whom he grew up.

What are we to make of this?

Friday, May 02, 2014

Miracles and Compassion

The most current version of this post is available here.