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Are Miracles Believable?

Updated: Jun 17

The Nature of Miracles in the Bible

The Bible is replete with accounts of miracles, which are extraordinary events that serve as evidence of Jehovah's intervention in the world. These miracles are foundational to the faith of many believers, providing confirmation of Jehovah's power and presence. The account of Jesus raising the widow's son in Nain (Luke 7:11-15) is a striking example of such a miraculous event. Jesus' compassion and authority are vividly demonstrated in this narrative, which serves as a testament to his divine mission.

Historical and Philosophical Skepticism

In our modern, scientifically driven age, skepticism about miracles persists. This skepticism is not new and was notably articulated by the 18th-century philosopher David Hume. Hume argued that miracles violate the laws of nature, that people are easily deceived, and that reports of miracles diminish as education and knowledge increase.

Violation of Natural Laws

Hume's first argument, that miracles are violations of natural laws, assumes that the natural order is immutable and universally consistent. However, this perspective overlooks the possibility of divine intervention. While natural laws describe the usual course of events, they do not preclude the possibility of Jehovah acting outside or beyond these laws. Modern scientific theories, such as the existence of black holes or the beginning of the universe, suggest that under extraordinary conditions, the normal rules of nature may not apply (Stephen W. Hawking, A Brief History of Time). If scientists can entertain such possibilities, it is not unreasonable to consider that Jehovah, the Creator of these laws, could alter them for His purposes (Exodus 15:6-10; Isaiah 40:13, 15).

Fraudulent Miracles

Hume's second argument highlights the prevalence of fraudulent miracles. Indeed, history is full of examples where supposed miracles were later exposed as hoaxes. However, the existence of counterfeit miracles does not negate the reality of genuine miracles. Just as the presence of counterfeit money does not imply that all currency is fake, fraudulent miracles do not invalidate genuine divine acts (Matthew 24:24).

Historical Context and Eyewitness Testimony

The third argument, that miracles do not occur in our times, fails to consider the historical context of biblical miracles. Many significant events in human history are unique and unrepeatable. The beginning of life, the endowment of consciousness, and the advent of human wisdom are extraordinary events that scientists cannot fully explain based on current natural laws. Similarly, biblical miracles are historical events supported by eyewitness testimony.

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the best-attested miracle in the Bible. According to the Gospel accounts, Jesus was executed, buried, and rose from the dead on the third day (Luke 24:1-6; John 20:1-29). This event is critical to Christian faith, as Paul states: "If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile" (1 Corinthians 15:14, 17).

The evidence for the resurrection includes the empty tomb and the numerous post-resurrection appearances of Jesus. The empty tomb was acknowledged even by Jesus' opponents, who claimed that his disciples stole his body (Matthew 28:11-15). However, this explanation fails to account for the transformed lives and martyrdom of the disciples, who proclaimed the resurrection at great personal cost.

The Witness of the Early Christians

The early Christians, including apostles like Peter and Paul, were convinced of the resurrection because they had seen the risen Christ. Their testimony is recorded in the New Testament, and their willingness to suffer and die for their faith indicates their sincerity and conviction. The apostle Paul lists several eyewitnesses to the resurrection, including over five hundred people who saw Jesus at one time (1 Corinthians 15:3-8). This widespread testimony provides a strong foundation for believing in the resurrection.

Miracles and the Nature of Divine Intervention

Miracles in the Bible are not mere anomalies; they serve specific purposes and reveal Jehovah's character and will. The resurrection of Jesus, for example, confirms his divine sonship and the truth of his teachings. Similarly, the miracles performed by Jesus and his apostles demonstrate Jehovah's power and compassion.

While some miracles may involve natural phenomena, their timing and context indicate divine intervention. For example, the parting of the Red Sea could be explained by natural forces, but the precise timing of this event to allow the Israelites to escape from Pharaoh's army reveals Jehovah's hand at work (Exodus 14:21-31).

Eyewitness Accounts and Historical Reliability

The reliability of biblical accounts of miracles is further supported by the credibility of the eyewitnesses and the careful recording of these events. Luke, a physician and historian, meticulously investigated the events of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection, consulting written documents and interviewing eyewitnesses (Luke 1:1-4; Acts 1:1-3). His detailed and accurate historical work has been affirmed by scholars, indicating that the Gospel accounts are trustworthy.

The Testimony of the Apostles

The apostles' testimonies are compelling evidence of the resurrection. Peter, who denied Jesus three times before the crucifixion, boldly proclaimed the resurrection to thousands in Jerusalem shortly afterward (Acts 2:14-36). Paul's conversion from a persecutor of Christians to a fervent apostle further underscores the transformative power of the resurrection (Acts 9:1-22).

The miracles recorded in the Bible, particularly the resurrection of Jesus Christ, are believable based on the historical and eyewitness evidence. While skepticism about miracles persists, the accounts provided by reliable witnesses, the transformative impact of these events on early Christians, and the consistency of these miracles with Jehovah's nature all support their authenticity. The belief in miracles is not contrary to reason or science but aligns with the understanding that Jehovah, as the Creator, has the power to intervene in His creation in extraordinary ways.

Why No Outward Miracles Today Like In Bible Times?

The Purpose of Miracles in Biblical Times

Miracles in the Bible were not random displays of divine power but were purposefully orchestrated events that served specific theological and practical purposes. They validated the messengers and the messages they brought, confirming Jehovah's direct intervention and authority.

In the days of Moses, miracles were crucial to establish his divine commission and to authenticate the Law covenant. These signs were necessary to demonstrate that Jehovah was truly speaking through Moses and that the Israelites were His chosen people. For instance, the plagues of Egypt and the parting of the Red Sea were powerful affirmations of Jehovah’s supremacy and Moses' role as His prophet (Exodus 4:1-9, 30-31; Deuteronomy 4:33-34).

Similarly, in the first century, miracles played a vital role in affirming the credentials of Jesus as the Messiah and subsequently the early Christian congregation. These miraculous acts demonstrated that Jesus was indeed the promised Messiah, fulfilling prophecies and establishing the new covenant. This transition marked the replacement of fleshly Israel with the Christian congregation as Jehovah’s special people, signifying that the Mosaic Law was no longer binding (Acts 19:11-20; Hebrews 2:3-4).

The Cessation of Miraculous Gifts

After the foundational period of the Christian congregation, the necessity for outward miracles diminished. The apostle Paul addressed this in his first letter to the Corinthians, explaining that the miraculous gifts of the Spirit were temporary. He wrote, "Whether there are gifts of prophesying, they will be done away with; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will be done away with. For we have partial knowledge and we prophesy partially; but when that which is complete arrives, that which is partial will be done away with" (1 Corinthians 13:8-10).

Paul’s message indicated that these gifts were meant to serve the early church during its formative years. Once the church was firmly established and the canon of Scripture was complete, these miraculous gifts were no longer necessary. The "complete" referred to the full revelation of God’s Word, which provides comprehensive guidance and instruction for believers.

Living by Faith Today

Today, the absence of outward miracles like those in biblical times reflects Jehovah’s expectation that His people live by faith. The prophet Habakkuk emphasized the importance of faith, writing, "The righteous one will live by his faith" (Habakkuk 2:4). The writer of Hebrews reiterated this principle, encouraging believers to persevere in faith, especially in the face of challenges and without relying on miraculous signs (Hebrews 10:37-39).

The Role of the Complete Bible

With the completion of the Bible, believers now have access to the full counsel of God. The Scriptures contain all the revelations necessary for faith and practice. They provide a thorough record of God’s dealings with humanity, the fulfillment of prophecy, and the principles needed for righteous living. As Paul wrote to Timothy, "All Scripture is inspired by God and is beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness, so that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

The Bible serves as the ultimate source of spiritual nourishment and guidance. It offers an advanced understanding of Jehovah’s purposes and equips believers to navigate life’s challenges through faith, rather than seeking continual miraculous interventions.

The Fulfillment of Prophecy

Additionally, the fulfillment of biblical prophecy serves as a testament to Jehovah’s sovereignty and the reliability of His Word. Prophecies that have come to pass, such as the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 C.E. and the scattering of the Jewish people, provide compelling evidence of divine orchestration. These fulfillments reinforce the trustworthiness of the Bible and the necessity of living by its precepts.

The Sufficiency of Scriptural Evidence

While miraculous events in the Bible served their purpose during specific periods, the enduring evidence of Jehovah’s power and presence is found in the Scriptures. The Bible’s consistent message, historical accuracy, and prophetic fulfillment provide a solid foundation for faith. Believers are encouraged to rely on the written Word, which offers comprehensive instruction and a complete revelation of God’s will.

In summary, the cessation of outward miracles aligns with Jehovah’s plan for believers to live by faith. The Bible, as the complete revelation of God, provides all the guidance and evidence needed for a faithful and righteous life. Through Scripture, believers have a firm foundation for their faith, grounded in the historical and prophetic truths that testify to Jehovah’s sovereignty and the truth of His Word.

About the Author

EDWARD D. ANDREWS (AS in Criminal Justice, BS in Religion, MA in Biblical Studies, and MDiv in Theology) is CEO and President of Christian Publishing House. He has authored over 220+ books. In addition, Andrews is the Chief Translator of the Updated American Standard Version (UASV).



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