Some people today have trouble believing the Bible because it contains accounts of miracles. They feel that we live in an age of science and that biblical documents, coming from a pre-scientific age, don’t have credibility. This is an unwarranted rejection of reliable historical documents. To help such people address their qualms about miracles, here are some points to consider.
1. Miracles were rare in Bible times. It is not as though every page of the Bible contains a miracle. On the contrary, miracles are comparatively rare in biblical times. When they did occur, they sometimes came in bunches – most notably in the life of Jesus of Nazareth which is part of what made His life so noteworthy.
2. Miracles are rare today. Many false claims of miracles are made today – some by hucksters seeking fame or fortune, and some by sincere but misguided folks whose wishful thinking leads them to exaggerate and rationalize. Thus, biblical times and modern times are quite similar in the sense that true miracles were and are rare, and that false claims were and are abundant.
3. God usually doesn’t perform miracles to prove Himself. When He was raised from the dead, Jesus appeared to His disciples and not the Pharisees or the Romans. Thus miracles are a favor to the believing, not the unbelieving.
4. God doesn’t grant miracles on demand. Miracles come as He wills, not as we want. Therefore, we can’t set up a science lab, have a control group, and do all the things that our science teacher would be proud of. We have to be content with the approval of our history teacher who would have us examine the historical record and pay attention to eyewitness accounts.
5. Miracles are different from wonders. Wonders are present all through creation. It’s a wonder that we are walking around on the side of a spinning sphere that is flying through space without falling off or even getting chapped lips. This has happened for all of known history though, so we become dulled to the wonder of it. A miracle, then, is an extraordinary wonder. Their rarity keeps them from being wonders which get taken for granted. If God can perform wonders every day, what’s so strange about a miracle once in a while?
6. Miracles are seamless with creation. Since the God of creation is the God of miracles we should not be surprised that miracles, in some ways, look like normal life. They are seldom accompanied by great fanfare or dramatic flourish as we would see in a magic act. They are momentary alterations from the ordinary.
7. Miracles are not a suspension of the laws of physics. God no more suspends the laws of physics to perform a miracle than humanity suspended the law of gravity to achieve flight. We can only benefit from the laws of physics to the degree that we know and understand them. God has an advantage over us in that regard, and we see that advantage exploited in the execution of a miracle.
8. Just because biblical societies weren’t scientific doesn’t mean they weren’t skeptical. While biblical society may not have had as many science books as we do, they certainly had as much skepticism. When the rare miracle did occur, it was disbelieved, rationalized away, or otherwise ignored just as much as it is today. Not everyone believed then, just as not everyone believes now.
9. The miracles of Jesus were expressions of His kindness. When Jesus fed the 5,000 He was feeding hungry people. When he brought back to life the dead son of a grieving widow He was comforting her. When He walked on water toward His storm-tossed disciples He was saving them. Don’t let the splendor of His miracles divert you from seeing what His acts were at their root: love in action.
10. The miracle of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is the most important miracle, and the key to understanding all the others. The only miracle in the Bible necessary to know about, understand, and believe is that Jesus was raised from the dead on the third day according to the Scriptures. If you believe in Him, you can then believe in Jonah and all the other miracles…because He believed them.