A recent survey from the Pew Forum on Religion shows that a vast majority of Americans, nearly 80%, believe in miracles. The results are from a wider study, “Religion Among the Millennials.” [A millennial is defined as someone born in the 1980’s to 2000.]
How do we account for this?
The definition of miracle from The Holman Bible Dictionary states that a miracle is an event which unmistakably involves an immediate or powerful action of God designed to reveal His character or purposes. Words used in the Scriptures to describe the miraculous are sign, wonder, work, mighty work, portent and power. These words point out the inspired authors’ sense of God’s pervasive activity in nature, history and people.
Today, as was stated in yesterday’s post, we have a high regard for natural law. Some call this a nontheistic point of view, the idea that we can explain the universe through some cause-effect connection. This view was not prevalent in Bible times when people were more open to accepting the idea that God created, sustained and governed the world.
Yet, 80% of Americans believe in miracles. Especially millennials believe in miracles, the generation that does not attend church services regularly and are less inclined to express religious preference or affiliation than their elders.
One would think that regular attenders of church services or people who identify themselves as Christian would be the people who believe in miracles but it is the people on the fringes of religion who have an interest and belief in miracles.
Today, we think we have “advanced knowledge” and we look on the Bible days and think that a lot of the illness that occurred could have been psychosomatic. Some say that the people of the Bible were gullible, ignorant and superstitious. Technology today has gone a long way toward explaining a lot that is going on in the world.
There seems to be a need for us not to know it all.
Pastor Mark Batterson states “when you look at the scientific facts, it is so implausible that it makes the most implausible miracle seem plausible….the whole Bible is full of miracles, stories of God delivering Daniel from the lion’s den and Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego from the fiery furnace….In the Gospels, Jesus turned water into wine and raised His friend Lazarus from the dead. He walked on water and restored sight to blind men. Then He told His disciples, ‘Whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these.’”
There is a need for us to not know it all, even when we think we do.
There is a need for us to believe in some “mystery” of life even when we think we can explained away all the mystery.
Maybe there is a deep seated need for us to admit that we cannot understand the ways of God: Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Paul Little says that “there are two views among thinking Christians as to the relationship of miracles to natural law. Some suggest that miracles employ a ‘higher’ natural law, which at present is unknown to us. It is quite obvious that despite all the impressive discoveries of modern science, we are still standing on the seashore of an ocean of ignorance. When we have increased our knowledge sufficiently, this thesis says, we will realize that the things we thought were miracles were merely the working out of the higher laws of the universe, which we were not aware of at the time.”
“There are those Christian thinkers who view miracles as an act of creation—a sovereign, transcendent, act of God’s supernatural power.”
Besides the desire to not know it all, for us to have some mystery and to admit that God’s ways are not our own, here is a very important fourth reason.
We want a God who is willing to act in a way to correct some of the ills of the world today. We want a Divine Power who is in control, who sets things right.
It is a rare person who thinks he or she is so intelligent that they do not need God…ever.
Maybe millennials don’t want to affiliate with a church or identify with any religious denomination but they are not stupid.
They realize that they need a miracle once in a while.
We all do.