This week we are discussing whether or not miracles are possible.
Oftentimes it seems easiest to think of ideas like this in dichotomies. You either believe in miracles or you don’t believe in miracles.
Beneath the belief or unbelief is a foundation.
The foundation is you believe in God or you don’t.
I am not saying that people who don’t believe in miracles are people without belief systems. They have those but they may not be grounded in knowledge of God.
What do they believe in?
1.science—everything can be explained by logical, rational scientific explanation. The fact that God can supersede science is not part of their world view.
2.nature—nature is beyond the control of God. It has its own regularity and is beyond control of God or man.
3.atheism—there is no God. He is not needed and does not exist.
4.pantheism—there is a god [note the little g] but this conception of god exists in everything in the world [a Hindu or Buddhist precept].
We could go on and on but we could not begin to adequately explain all the worldviews that exist in our world today.
Let’s leave it at this: to believe in miracles, one has a Christian worldview; to not believe in miracles one has another worldview [something other than Christianity]. I must apologize if that is too simple by my blog posts do not go on and on forever.
What is the problem with the simple question that is discussed in Paul Little’s chapter this week: “Are Miracles Possible?” The question makes us consider our worldview. To be honest, many Christians spend little time thinking about world view. David Noebel in his book Thinking Like a Christian states “Ask the average person about his or her philosophy of life and you will probably get some sort of answer, even if it turns out to be a little sketchy….The reason it is difficult to discuss the issue of worldview is because our generation has lost the art of thinking deeply about why we believe what we believe. We are not accustomed to considering seriously life’s most foundational questions.”
Let’s say an unbeliever or an un churched person comes to you and says something like “I saw a televangelist asking people in the viewing audience for money. He said that if you would write him a check for fifty dollars to support his ministry he would pray a miracle into your life. Do you believe in miracles?
What are you going to say?
As we begin Chapter 8, let’s start with a solid foundation. I would say I cannot vouch for a televangelist triggering a miracle from God with a fifty dollar donation, but I do believe that miracles happen. I believe that an all-powerful God created the universe. A miracle is something that happens that transcends “natural law” and God is certainly capable of transcending natural law because He has the right to do that. He is the Creator of the universe. Paul Little says “God is over, above and outside of natural law, and is not bound by it.”
Natural law is based on observation and when you think about it that way, natural law is trying to determine a cause for an effect. When we determine that something exists, we want to figure out what has brought it about. Do Christians believe in natural law? Of course they do. Do Christians find cause and effect reasoning in the world today? Of course they do.
But here is the main point I am trying to make: whatever your worldview, we can’t explain everything by referring to natural law.
The philosopher David Hume defines a miracle as a violation of natural law but that does not place natural law in the realm of the divine. That does not make natural law a god.
It is also important to realize that natural law does not imprison God. To the unbeliever or the un churched person…
What are you going to say?
Here is the short-hand version. God is the author of the universe. He transcends natural law. Of course we have miracles today…