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Miracles

I guess I will post something substantive.

Mark Creech discusses miracles on Agape Press:

(AgapePress) – Over the years a number of explanations have been given to explain away Jesus’ walking on the water. Some have argued Jesus wasn’t actually walking on the water but was standing at the lake’s edge in a shallow place. Because the night was cloudy and dark, the disciples only thought they saw Jesus stride across the sea, when actually He didn’t. Others have fancifully argued Christ actually walked across a series of stones in the middle of the lake.

Nevertheless, not to be outdone among the skeptics, Professor Doron Nof of Florida State University claims it may have been ice Jesus stood on and not water. According to a recent article by Reuters, “Nof used records of the Mediterranean Sea’s surface temperatures and statistical models to examine the dynamics of the Sea of Galilee, which Israelis know now as Lake Kinneret. Nof’s study found that a period of cooler temperatures in the area between 1,500 and 2,600 years ago could have included the decades in which Jesus lived. A drop in temperature below freezing could have caused ice — thick enough to support a human — to form on the surface of the freshwater lake near the western shore … it might have been nearly impossible for distant observers to see a piece of floating ice surrounded by water.”

It’s hard to believe any such theories are ever taken seriously. Yet they often are. Why? Why is it so incredibly hard for some to believe the obvious — a miracle took place?

Perhaps it’s because in a scientific age some people feel we’ve outgrown the idea of miracles as nothing more than silly superstitions.

This is an interesting sentiment. Creech is wrong, though. Attempts to account for the miracles of the Bible naturalistically owe their existence to the Protestant Rationalists of the 17th and 18th centuries. They believed the Bible is inerrant, but that God didn’t need to perform miracles. So, they attempted to account for apparent miracles in the Bible using reason. Some very strange ideas have come out of that movement, but you can’t really blame them on our current scientific age.

But what makes us feel some of the people in Jesus’ day weren’t skeptical too? There’s every reason to believe Nicodemus, a highly educated man in his day, was skeptical. Yet it seems it was the miracles of Christ that drove him to seek a meeting with the Savior by night to try and resolve his many questions (John 3:1, 2). Certainly Thomas was skeptical concerning the miracle of the resurrection. “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and place my hand in His side, I will not believe,” he said (John 20:25). So the people of Jesus’ day were no less skeptical than many are today.

Nonsense. Levels of literacy and education were quite low. The lower classes resented the upper classes and whatever skepticism they had.

Yet they couldn’t avoid the inescapable, irrefutable evidence of Jesus’ miracles. He healed leprosy, paralysis, a withered hand, deaf and dumbness, blindness, a severed ear, hemorrhaging, and dropsy. He turned water into wine, stilled a storm, caused a supernatural catch of fish, multiplied food, and dried up a fig tree. He raised a man’s daughter, a widow’s son, and Lazarus from the dead. Interestingly, even the critics of Jesus’ day didn’t deny His miracle-working power. Instead they wanted to kill Him before everyone believed in Him (John 11:48).

Well, yeah. That was the way it was during that time. You didn’t deny other gods.

Still another reason why some people have a hard time accepting the miracles described in the Bible is because they compare them to Greek and Roman mythology — tales of pagan miracle accounts that are clearly superstition. The difference, however, between the miraculous events recorded in the Bible and those in pagan religions are the firsthand accounts. In the Bible, miraculous events are always validated by the testimony of eyewitnesses.

I’m sort of surprised anyone can write that. What eyewitnesses?

So the fact that some miracles are counterfeits doesn’t mean all are a sham. It’s incredibly unscientific to throw out the miracles of the Bible based on “guilt by association.”

It’s scientific to accept other explanations before believing in an event that defies the known laws of nature. And guess what, walking on some ice counts, no matter how crazy it sounds. It doesn’t violate the laws of nature, so it takes precedence over a supernatural explanation, given the fact that we have basically no evidence either way.

Categories: Religion
  1. April 12, 2006 at 11:43 pm

    Classic “straw man” argument. Create a group of people who are desperate to disprove the Bible by proposing scientific explanations to Biblical miracles, as if that’s the key to disproving Christianity.

    Um, Christ guy, this is book. None of the miracles have to scientifically explained to bring into question their veracity. Someone could’ve made ’em up. Um…someone probably made them up.

    The funny part of the claim is that people “witnessed” the miracles. Last time I checked, there were witnesses in Roman and Greek mythology, too.

    Perhaps it’s the point of view of the New Testament that your claimant means. That is, unlike previous literature (that I know of, anyway, and that’s not much), it’s a first-person narrative of events claimed to be true. A memoir, if you will. Early creative non-fiction. Capote on crank. Still, if it’s true that the style was new, that only proves that the Bible is responsible for a new style.

    You think with all the talk about Bush’s use of straw man arguments folks would back off a little. Tho’ it’s possible we don’t all read the same blogs.

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