01 Sep 2016
It's a Miracle
Until fairly recently, people found little difficulty believing in the possibility of miracles. Life was observed to be unpredictable, many things were inexplicable, extraordinary things happened occasionally, and it was accepted that forces beyond our natural world were at work.
Ironically, what led to increasingly widespread scepticism, even outright dismissal of Christianity, was the pioneering work done by Western scientists who were committed to the worldview that the universe was created by a super-intelligent Being who incorporated order and structure into his handiwork. If so, the universe ought to be run on uniform laws and principles that could be observed, measured and explained. Those forerunners of the scientific revolution would be puzzled and horrified at how the success of their endeavours eventually led some people to the irrational conclusion that only what could be scientifically observed, measured and explained exists—and nothing else.
Naturalism became so fashionable that even well-known Christian theologians began to find the miracles in the bible an embarrassment. They made vain and comical attempts to defend the credibility of the bible by trying to provide natural explanations for supposedly supernatural events. The story is told of a boy who was heard shouting, “Hallelujah! Hallelujah! God is great! He parted the Red Sea and brought the Israelites across on dry ground!” A professor passing by stopped and explained to him that in actual fact, the Red Sea was only 6 inches deep at the place the Israelites made the crossing. God, if he existed at all, did not have to perform a miracle. He then set off, feeling smug that he had enlightened the ignorant boy. To his surprise, the boy started shouting, Hallelujah! Hallelujah! God is greater than I thought! He drowned the entire Egyptian army in 6 inches of water!”
Science and miracles do not conflict. Science is simply nature working according to the physical laws that God formulated to run the universe he created. Miracles happen when God in his sovereignty intervenes in nature in such a way as to transcend those laws he authored. In fact, it has been pointed most of the bible’s miracles are not so much about God contravening nature as giving us a glimpse of how nature was originally designed to work perfectly, and would once again work perfectly in his restored creation. There would be no more storms. Diseases would be eradicated. The hungry would be filled. The devil would be defeated. Death would be abolished. Miracles paint for us what the world would be like when his kingdom comes and his will is done on earth as it is in heaven.
On the other hand, Christians who believe in the possibility of miracles often fail to understand their divine purpose. They are like another boy who said in his bedtime prayers, “Dear God, please make Bangkok the capital of Malaysia, because that’s what I wrote in my geography test today.” God is kind and merciful; we can ask him to intervene in our lives supernaturally even today. However, he never intended miracles to be a way for us to get out of a fix we find ourselves in, or to fulfil our desperate wishes and desires. Miracles are a sign, and especially in the New Testament, they are a sign that point to the true nature of Jesus Christ, so that we might believe he is the Son of God, and in believing we might have eternal life.