Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Nature And Rules Of Miracles

I think that the concept of miracles within the context of the Bible needs a little bit of defining. I encourage people to read about miracles, before proceeding, but that page is huge. Read the remainder of this blog entry to see what I think.

Regarding the Biblical concept of miracles, here are a few concepts that seem to be absolutes, from what little I can see.

  • an act that is difficult to accomplish in the relevant context
  • not part of the natural order of things
  • often/always directs attention to something or somebody
  • our understanding of how it is happening is not relevant [i.e. we may or may not understand how it is happening]
  • our understanding of why it is happening and what is happening is relevant
  • the physical objects involved in the miracle interact consistently with the world around them
  • God tends to "overrule" certain laws, but not others

I will try to discuss the Biblical concepts that influenced my beliefs.

1 key aspect of miracles, was that they were not things that just happened. I think that it should go without saying that us using our technology and techniques does not count as miraculous, while doing it without the use of technology would be miraculous. In the Bible, curing somebody of his blindness or cleansing him of leprosy was not common. They were things that happened because somebody intervened to make it happen. Also, there are a lot of situations that rarely happen, but the amount of times that something might occur are not relevant here. Another way of thinking about it is to realize that God is in control of everything, but certain things happen due to his natural laws, while other things happen, because he intervened.

Our understanding of the physical aspects of the events does not prove or disprove God's intervention. Some skeptics often say that something is not a miracle, because there is a perfectly logical explanation for it. Whether or not there is an explanation does not make a difference. For example, if you could tell us about the molecular activity of manna that occurred while God made manna, then would it change the fact that God made it? Some skeptics would say that if they can track the molecular activity of manna, then that would prove that God does not exist. I disagree. Also, those skeptics are really just telling us a bit about what is happening, and not everything that is happening.

Some laws of nature continue to influence the miracle. Consider the miracle of Jesus Christ walking on water. I think that it is very reasonable to assume that gravity is still holding him down. Walking requires gravity, does it not? Otherwise, we would push ourselves away from the planet with only 1 step. When we reflect on what had happened, then we could get a better understanding of the nature of the miracle, which would give us a better understanding of why God did what he did. In a way, we could say that God is breaking or suspending his laws for a certain part of the world in a certain part in time when he performs a miracle. I noticed that he never took away our need for food. He could have. He could easily sustain somebody for a year without food and water, but he did not.

I encourage you to take a moment to think about how miracles unfold, and how the miracles influence us.

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