Miracles

“The Bible is chock full of the miraculous of course. To deny the miraculous within it is to cut out everything of significance”

In my post, “Goodbye Citizen Tom” , the above comment was made by thetruthisstrangerthanfiction . He obviously saw my comments over at citizen tom’s and decided to post a series of comments at my site.  I had a friendly exchange with thetruthisstrangerthanfiction  and agreed with some of what he had to say.  I assumed by some of his responses he was a Christian and yet what set him aside was he was much more civil than citizen tom . 🙂

I have no intent of making light of his comments here but wish to reflect on them, namely the one above.

Miraculous = highly improbable and extraordinary and bringing very welcome consequences.

Let’s look at what has happened over the past 150 years.

The first successful bi-directional transmission of clear speech by Bell and Watson was made on March 10, 1876 when Bell spoke into the device

1901 Marconi sends first Atlantic wireless transmission

The first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight, on December 17, 1903

The first human-made object to reach the surface of the Moon was the Soviet Union‘s Luna 2 mission, on 13 September 1959.

Apollo 11 was the spaceflight that landed the first humans on the Moon, Americans Neil Armstrongand Buzz Aldrin, on July 20, 1969

1971  the Soviet Union successfully sent probes Mars 2 and Mars 3, as part of the Mars probe program M-71. The Mars 2 and 3 probes each carried a lander, both of which failed upon landing. They were the first human artifacts to touch down on Mars

Surely the mere thought of these accomplishments would also be considered miracles .  Today these miraculous events are considered commonplace.  What changed ?  The advancement of knowledge .  The “unknown” is constantly changing to “commonplace” .  Yesterday’s miracles turn into today’s technology .

Why do many people today continue to believe in miracles ?  I can understand current day miracles which have yet to be explained  but what about ancient miracles ?  Your thoughts ?

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45 thoughts on “Miracles

  1. mike and brandy

    God of the Gaps is one of the things I’m learning about now. thx for the reiteration.
    -mike

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    • I would like to hear what you learned about God of the Gaps sometime Mike.

      Be well

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      • mike and brandy

        Basically, as I understand it so far, “if we don’t understand it yet or figure it out yet… God must have done it. No actual evidence required”. Is that about it?

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        • Yes, from what little I have read on the subject , I think your assessment is correct.

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        • thetruthisstrangerthanfiction

          It’s funny, I was just talking to ol’ “archaeopteryx” on a different blog, where we were touching on this very thing. Evolution has it’s own “God of the gaps”, in that instead of putting faith in a Creator who made everything and therefore understands a good many things which we do not (and so sometimes we just have to say, “I don’t how God did it, but He did because He’s God), Evolution simply says, “Well, whatever we don’t understand yet, we can be confident that future scientific discoveries of man will eventually explain it all…” In essence, Evolution’s “God of the gaps” is our own selves, faith in our own ability to eventually master the universe and have god-like answers for everything. So really, there’s no point in trying to throw that label at Creationists/Theists, because it applies pretty evenly across the board…

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          • “So really, there’s no point in trying to throw that label at Creationists/Theists, because it applies pretty evenly across the board…”

            Ah, but here’s the difference. There is a growing number of people including Theists who are open to the new revelations science keeps giving to us . Consequently , what we may have thought to be true 100 or 1000 years ago is constantly being adjusted .

            The fundamentalist says his God is the same yesterday, today and forever and his word cannot change.

            Additionally the fundamentalist says it’s either black or white . Unfortunately there is no gray area.

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            • thetruthisstrangerthanfiction

              “There is a growing number of people including Theists who are open to the new revelations science keeps giving to us …”

              Only, science has not in fact “revealed” anything pertaining to things like the theory of Evolution. The theory of evolution was put forth back in the day by Darwin & Co., and has ever since been adopted by more and more people as a preferable philosophical premise through which to view things, i.e., rationalistic empiricism is a philosophical assumption, not a “scientific discovery”.

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              • So….you don’t read many science books eh ?

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                • thetruthisstrangerthanfiction

                  I confess I do get tired of these types of remarks, where instead of responding to the actual point the Evolutionist just looks down their nose and scoffs and says “You don’t understand ‘science’, do you…?”

                  Let me repeat. I’d say I understand science decently enough. I still maintain that science has not in fact demonstrably proven any form of Evolution other than “micro-evolution”, the variations which occur within a single species. This of course is not tantamount to true Darwinian Evolution, so it’s really kind of confusing example to many people.

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                  • “Let me repeat. I’d say I understand science decently enough. I still maintain that science has not in fact demonstrably proven any form of Evolution other than “micro-evolution””

                    So you do believe in micro-evolution ?

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                    • They do, Ken. They have to, its everywhere. They, however, believe in some Great Barrier which stops the micro from the macro… which, incidentally are non-terms. They do not exist in the Theory of Evolution and are simply the invention of Creationists. Its been described before as believing in steps but not the staircase. Its is pure and deliberate ignorance, and there is no rational discussion that can be had with anyone exercising that type of madness.

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  2. thetruthisstrangerthanfiction

    Wow, that is a pretty ambitious topic to try and tackle in any singular post or comment, but I’ll do my best to do so without making it some kind of boring novella… 😉

    I guess I’d start by necessarily having to address that chosen definition for what actually constitutes a “miracle”.

    Miraculous = highly improbable and extraordinary and bringing very welcome consequences.

    I think right there we’d need to pause and admit that while this might suffice as a definition in a very rudimentary and generic sense, if we’re really getting serious about the issue, then this really isn’t enough. “Highly improbable”? Well, that depends. The list of “modern miracles” you cite from the last 150 years couldn’t really be said to be “improbable” functions, (even if we might describe them as seeming “extraordinary” or bringing “very welcome consequences”). The scientific principles being applied when say, Bell spoke into the device and was able to transmit or record sounds, or when Marconi sent the first wireless transmission, were events which we would all agree can be repeated again and again countless times over, provided the scientific mechanics are understood and the proper physical conditions/implements are present in each case. That is what constitutes “science” after all, the repeatability of an experiment. (yes?) The Laws of Nature which allow these technological “marvels” to occur didn’t suddenly pop into existence during the days of the industrial revolution, they were always in place, and could have just as easily been conducted thousands of years before, provided someone had the same know-how and modern tools at their disposal. (but obviously, the availability of said knowledge/tools is the main obstacle to be overcome in the discovery of any such modern “technological miracles”…)

    Anyhow… But the miracles of the Bible? Are these really just instances of things that we could now accomplish ourselves with all our modern science, or do they continue to defy such an explanation?

    Even today, in 2015, with things like the internet and the ability to smash the atom and put objects into space, etc., with all of this “tech” at our disposal, could we honestly do things akin to reproducing the ten plagues that were leveled against Egypt, or split the Red Sea? (neither of which were really “welcome consequences” for the Egyptians, for that matter!) Or could we figure out how to disintegrate a city’s massive stone walls using only trumpets? Can we cause a bread like substance to fall to the ground like snowflakes? Can we hit a rock with a stick and make water gush forth? Can we make the sun stand still in the sky and prolong the day? Can we make fire shoot down from the sky and burn up altars of stone? Can we make earthquakes happen, so that they rip the earth into a chasm which swallows up our enemies? Can we use our technology to trigger massive meteor showers that will utterly destroy entire cities…?

    What about turning water into wine? Have we unlocked the secrets of quantum physics to the point where a single man can change the molecular structure of a liquid with merely a word?

    Can the most advanced scientist alive today harness all of his vast empirical knowledge to simply speak to the wind and the waves, and command them to be still? Can he heal the sick, make the blind see, multiply fishes and loaves, or raise the dead, by his own personal command over the physical world? Can he read minds?

    Can he be put to death and then walk out of his own grave three days later….?

    Not one of these things is something that today in our modern era can we look back haughtily and say, “Ha, we know to do that…” Instead, rather than science dispelling any of these accounts of the miraculous, what “higher criticism scholars” do first is diminish the eye-witness accounts to being far less than what the scripture says they were, and only then attempts to scientifically explain them away.

    Remember the story of the centurion, who came to Jesus about his servant who was lying paralyzed and suffering? He simply said to Jesus, “Just say the word, and my servant will be healed”, and Jesus was amazed at this Roman’s faith, and the servant was healed, without Jesus even having to go there. The centurion recognized that just like he had complete authority over the men in his division, this man had complete and utter authority over Creation itself. It was no mere “trick”. It was no application of learned science or technology or anything else. Jesus simply had to give the command, and it would be so.

    This is what the what the Bible claims in regards to the “miraculous”. Not mere manipulation of the fixed laws of nature, but complete authority over them on behalf of God, because God Himself was the One who put them there in the first place. So, while you may not believe in the historical accuracy of all such accounts, one thing I think can be definitively established is that they are in no way able to be explained away by “yesterday’s miracles turn into today’s technology”….

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    • You have done a great job describing the Biblical Miracles from a Christian Point of View.

      I will comment after a few others do. Thanks for taking the time to comment here.

      Liked by 1 person

    • could we honestly do things akin to reproducing the ten plagues that were leveled against Egypt, or split the Red Sea? (neither of which were really “welcome consequences” for the Egyptians, for that matter!) Or could we figure out how to disintegrate a city’s massive stone walls using only trumpets?

      This is not a serious comment surely? You are being rhetorical, yes?
      You have at least conducted a modicum of research on Jericho for example and a re aware of Kenyon?

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      • thetruthisstrangerthanfiction

        You mean Kenyon, who said that archaeology was needed to aid us in the interpretation of the “older parts of the Old Testament, which from the nature of their sources,… cannot be read as a straightforward record”…?

        Please do re-read the portion of my comment above where I said, “rather than science dispelling any of these accounts of the miraculous, what “higher criticism scholars” do first is diminish the eye-witness accounts to being far less than what the scripture says they were, and only then attempts to scientifically explain them away.”

        Of all the sciences, archeology is probably the most easily of them that can be manipulated by previously-held assumptions… In this case, the a priori disbelief in the historicity of the Bible and the existence of a God who has control over everything. Once again, what you are presenting is not any sort of “scientific debunking” of God or the Bible, but pseudo-science being carried out under the assumption that such things cannot be true…

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        • Yeah right. Spoken like a true evangelical.
          There are no biblical eyewitness accounts.
          Albright came short and so have Woods and every other biblical half wit trying to jam square pegs into round holes.
          What next, Wyatt? Ken Ham?

          You, sir are a complete indoctrinated, conspiracy theory arse, masquerading as an intellectual.
          You fail at every turn.
          Current evidence refutes every one of your silly biblical assertions.
          The Pentateuch is simply historical fiction – fact – and you are merely pissing in the wind.
          Reading your nonsense is like reading someone trying to vouchsafe the historical veracity of Harry Potter.

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    • I am troubled by some of the examples you used to refer to miracles.

      1.) Plagues to kill thousands of people
      2.) Parting the Red Sea to drown thousands of people
      3.) disintegrate a city’s massive stone walls using only trumpets to kill every living thing in it
      4.) make the sun stand still in the sky and prolong the day so they can kill more people
      5.) make earthquakes happen, so that they rip the earth into a chasm which swallows up our enemies
      6.) trigger massive meteor showers that will utterly destroy entire cities

      These wouldn’t be miracles from a God that I could ever consider worshiping

      “So, while you may not believe in the historical accuracy of all such accounts, one thing I think can be definitively established is that they are in no way able to be explained away by “yesterday’s miracles turn into today’s technology”…”

      Here is the problem I have with miracle stories. The Children of Israel according to scripture literally heard the voice of God at Mt Sinai . They were so terrified they made sure Moses went up the mountain on their behalf to speak to God. Shortly thereafter , having not seen Moses for awhile, they melted all of their gold, made a golden calf and started to worship it. How on Earth could anyone be convinced they literally heard the voice of God only to worship a golden calf days later ?????

      To me, this story negates all of the other miracle stories. And then to provide stories of atrocities veiled as miracles as further proof of God doesn’t do much to promote your case.

      You are entitled to your opinion but you might want to drop the 6 examples above when you are out witnessing for Jesus.

      Be well

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      • thetruthisstrangerthanfiction

        How could I drop them if they are right there in the Bible and every bit a part of it as the “nice stuff” we like from say, Jesus talking about loving your neighbor etc…

        Yes, Yaweh does a good deal of killing ib the OT. Now, think about this… We’re these examples that disturb you so much involving groups of people simply minding their own business who were killed, or were they in fact swearing allegiance to their own pagan gods, which compelled them to war against God himself, and His people that He called…?

        Because you see, even in the NT with all the “nice Jesus stuff” is the teaching that Christ will indeed return, and destroy the anti-christ at his coming, and all the people on earth who swore allegiance to him and opposed God… Kind of a “things coming full circle” scenario… Now, if God is real, and the Bible is actually true, then the fact that we might not like the idea between ultimately having to choose between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness wouldn’t change this ultimatum from being so. This is why I believe that no proper exploration of the assertions of scripture can be done without also factoring in the issue of “radical evil”, i.e. Satan… Atheists and deists and such love to pick apart their owb caricatures of the Biblical God, but they almost never consider the biblical narrative in the context of God doing what He does as contrasted with a whole other, truly evil and depraved agenda. This makes a massive difference, yet is so often not considered. Yes, God has ultimate authority to judge and numbers our days etc., but He also gives us a choice, provides a means of reconciliation, life… Satan on the other hand only lies in order to get us to follow him in his rebellion, and ultimately, his fate…

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        • ” but He also gives us a choice”

          1.) Worship me
          2.) Burn for eternity in Hell

          It would seem to me, a loving God would give me a 3rd choice.

          3.) Leave me alone and when I die , let me sleep for eternity

          According to scripture, you don’t have to do anything wrong but deny God , then burn for eternity in Hell

          The crime hardly fits the time

          And what about those 1 1/2 billion indoctrinated Muslims ? They won’t change their minds any more than you will. Is this fair to them ?

          Even Billy Graham thinks there is a wide tent for all people

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          • thetruthisstrangerthanfiction

            “It would seem to me, a loving God would give me a 3rd choice.

            3.) Leave me alone and when I die, let me sleep for eternity”

            I find it a very telling thing, that after long conversations with both militant atheists or ambivalent deists, eventually sentiments such as the one you just gave float to the surface, and reveal the true motivating factor for rejecting the Bible. Not “scientific evidence”, not Biblical inconsistency, but deep down, it revolves around the simple premise of “Well I just won’t accept the idea of a God who has the audacity to declare that I am dead in my sins, and lost for eternity if I do not repent and turn to Him…”

            Does it not occur to you that if there is a God, and we are indeed Fallen and in need of His Grace, that He is in fact “leaving you alone” to a large degree right now…?

            If God was indeed the maniacal tyrant that He is so often portrayed as, then honestly there’s no reason why He wouldn’t just instantly wipe out every human the first moment they provoked His ire, rather than let people live out their lives as they malign and reject Him…

            There are all sorts of things in the nature of my own existence that I don’t “like”, yet they stubbornly exist all the same! If I said, “Ya know? I don’t like the idea of paying taxes, so guess what, I just don’t believe taxes are real anymore…” Do they “poof!”, disappear? I don’t like the idea that I’m going to die. I don’t like things like disease, or hard work, or having to pay for things I need… I will just disbelieve them away.

            But no… If God is really who the Bible says He is, then the truth is that an eternity in darkness and isolation IS what it means to be left to “sleep for eternity”. You’re mad at God because He doesn’t completely annihilate beings who were created to exist eternally because they didn’t want to live under the jurisdiction of His Kingdom?

            You and I were created to live in relationship with God. So being left to an eternity being separated from Him, (being “left alone” like you want…) is unfortunately a terrible punishment in itself. As for Muslims/unbelievers, etc., they DO “change their minds” actually. God’s Grace is more powerful than the lies of the Enemy. I am also aware of the kinds of things the magnanimous Mr. Graham has said of a Universalist bent. Obviously I believe He has veered from the words of Jesus Himself.

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        • “Because you see, even in the NT with all the “nice Jesus stuff” is the teaching that Christ will indeed return, and destroy the anti-christ at his coming, and all the people on earth who swore allegiance to him and opposed God”

          What about the people who swore allegiance to no one ? The ones who merely wanted to live their lives in peace and free from religious dogma ?

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        • mike and brandy

          If could somehow convince you to stipulate by faith that j.r.r. Tolkien was a prophet of God and L.O.T.R. was absolute truth and historically accurate, would you then defend Sauron?

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    • mike and brandy

      The problem with your explanation that we still can’t do what God has done, per the bible narrative, is that God himself hasn’t done these either. The narrative, as I understand now, is pure fiction. Never happened.

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      • thetruthisstrangerthanfiction

        I must say I am rather confused by your comments, when I then go to your blog and read posts proclaiming things such as:

        “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.”

        Was there some kind of satirical intent that I am missing somehow? Why do you quote these verses in this post: https://myomer.wordpress.com/2015/04/05/lords-day-resurrection-his-and-yours/, if you believe it is all nothing but “pure fiction”…?

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        • mike and brandy

          Currently in a state of christian Flux that I’m not ready to explore on my own blog. Hypocritical? Maybe. Still figuring it out though. Thx for the visit though.
          -mike

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          • Mike, I have a lot of respect for you being honest about your thoughts. I was there myself after being a Christian for almost 50 years. There is nothing wrong with questioning.

            Wishing you the best in your search for truth.

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        • mike and brandy

          However the highlighted portions of that passage should be a clue as to where my thinking is headed these

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          • thetruthisstrangerthanfiction

            I still don’t quite follow… You mean your thinking is headed towards realizing that the Gospel of Jesus is really an “all or nothing” sort of thing? Like those verses say, if Jesus didn’t really rise from the dead, in essence being everything the Bible claims Him to be, the Son of God, the Lamb sacrificed for Sin, the One who will return again, etc., then there really IS no “value” to anything in the Bible whatsoever.

            It’s either a deplorable bunch of lies, or it’s the most beautiful Truth. There’s no in between…

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            • mike and brandy

              I agree with the last sentence you wrote. That is exactly the case with christianity. Still working thru it. Thx for the clarity and patience.

              Liked by 1 person

  3. Clark’s 3rd Law:

    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ooops, Clarke*

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      • Ah yes, Sir Arthur C Clarke. A brilliant man who once theorized that if you placed an object 23,000 miles out in space over the equator, it would appear stationary. He was right and that’s why we park satellites there to this day and call this area “The Clarke Belt” I was involved in the satellite industry in the 80’s and learned this . 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

    • mike and brandy

      Love that quote. Can you expound?
      -mike

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      • An alien cloaking device would perhaps appear to us to be magic… Like Harry Potters invisibility cloak.

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        • thetruthisstrangerthanfiction

          So what does it mean if the “technological magic” is observed, without the necessity of any “device”…?

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          • Errrm, could it be because the “device” is not seen, which is why it (the effect) appears to be “magic”?

            Just a guess….

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            • thetruthisstrangerthanfiction

              Exactly. So within the Clarke-esque sci-fi mode of thinking, we can fairly easily conceive of tech which is itself not observable, because the “hardware” is itself being cloaked by way of manipulating universal forces still not fully understood by the human observer…

              But even there, we are still only thinking under the confines of technology being that which could possibly supercede our current comprehension of the cosmos. However, if we were to ponder the idea of some kind of being which operated on some higher dimensional plain, then indeed, this being could do things which very much would appear like “magic”, because they were able to interact with space/time etc. to a degree that we are not….

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              • So, you’re suggesting the Middle Eastern god you believe in is, in fact, an advanced alien?

                Interesting…

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                • thetruthisstrangerthanfiction

                  Funny that you would mention that. Or rather, sort of funny/telling that from my description what your mind automatically leans to is “advanced alien”. No, I don’t believe God is an “advanced alien”. But according to the Bible, there is first God, the Creator of all things who has absolute control over every conceivable aspect of the created universe, and then there are also created angelic beings, some who rebelled against God, others who did not. These beings are in fact able to operate under different dimensional parameters than we do, have a higher compression of the “physics of the universe” etc., and so both God, and these beings, could be said to do things which from our perspective would seem like either “magic” or “unknown technology”….

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                  • One would imagine then that one of these great abilities would be the capacity to write (ie. the bible), or better still, implant permanent kilometer high, self-translating letters made from diamonds in the sky clearly detailing the “message.” That is, of course, given this god wanted to continue hiding, because simply showing yourself would be quite convincing.

                    I’m sorry, but your nonsense deserves no respect.

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                    • thetruthisstrangerthanfiction

                      You are conflating the inability to write some message in the sky, with the decision not to do so. You might feel that God has utterly failed to do enough to convince you of His own existence, because He didn’t erect a large enough billboard with own hand-writing on it. That’s your prerogative I guess, but if God does indeed “show up” at the End of Days, as the Bible claims He will, it will be more than convincing, and every knee will bow, whether you want to think His chosen plan of Revelation and Redemption was worthy of your respect or not…

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                  • May I ask what was the irrefutable, rock-solid evidence that convinced you of God?

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  4. Pingback: God of Love, or Death..? | thetruthisstrangerthanfiction

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