Miracles remain one of the more contentious topics in the Bible. Modern Christians disagree on everything from whether the miracles to the Bible actually occurred, to what their purpose was, to whether we can expect miracles to be performed again in the future. It can get confusing quickly, to say the least. Here, we'll start from the basics and discuss how to define miracles, a few notable examples of miracles in the Bible, and how they can help inform our faith and worldview.
What Are Miracles?
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, a miracle is defined as "an unusual and mysterious event that is thought to have been caused by a god because it does not follow the usual laws of nature." Essentially, a miracle is something so extraordinary and impossible that it could only have been performed by God.
In the Bible, miracles take a variety of forms. Some of the more commonly known examples of God's miracles include:
Moses parting the Red Sea (Exodus 14)
Mary's virgin conception and birth of Jesus (Matthew 1:18-25)
Jesus walking on water (Matthew 14:25-27)
Elijah raising the son of the widow of Zarephath (1 Kings 17:17-24)
Peter healing a paralyzed man (Acts 9:32-35)
Can We Expect Miracles To Happen Again?
When it comes to miracles, one of the stickier questions is why miracles don't happen anymore, especially when they seem so common in Biblical history.
First, it's important that we remind ourselves that God's timeline is not our timeline, and that knowing God's plan is not something to which we are entitled.
However, it's also worth taking a moment to put things in perspective. Even in Biblical times, miracles weren't quite as common as we might be inclined to think. FortheGospel.org gives some helpful context on the supposed prevalence of miracles in the Bible:
Consider this: Between Adam and Moses, about 2500 years passed with precisely zero miracles. Then Moses and Joshua arrived and performed a dozen or so miracles. After they passed from the scene another 500 years passed with no miracles until the arrival of Elijah and Elisha who performed another handful of miracles. There then commenced another multi-century long drought of the miraculous (and of God even speaking) until the ministries of Jesus and His disciples who between them, for a few decades, performed many miracles. With the closing of the Apostolic age until now there has been no one who can credibly claim to perform miracles. So, for the 6000 year or so history of mankind less than 200 of those years saw any miracles performed and only by 100 or fewer individuals.
In short: even in Biblical times, miracles actually weren't as common as they might seem to us nowadays.
How To Integrate Miracles and Faith
Miracles in the Bible all have one thing in common: regardless of the specific miracle being performed, all of them are earthly evidence of God's divine power and love for His children. God knows that blind faith is hard for us sometimes. Miracles are His way of offering us a concrete sign to hold on to and reassuring us that He is present in the world and hears our prayers. In a sense, they are both a validation of belief and a call to faith.
Miracles represent the extreme end of the spectrum, but there are so many other ways that God shows His love for us every single day, and we would be remiss not to honor those. For example, it's not a miracle if, after undergoing treatment, someone we love recovers from a serious illness. It's not a miracle if we receive a sudden windfall that solves our financial worries. And it's not a miracle if a friend shows up and offers help or support right when we need it most. These things are within the realm of possibility (even if they are unlikely), meaning that they are by definition not miraculous. But they are proof of God working with and through nature to demonstrate His power, even when He is not superseding the laws of nature.
We have no way of knowing if more miracles will happen in our lifetime. However, that doesn't mean that we aren't still surrounded by evidence of God's work in our lives.
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