Are Miracles Possible?
ARE MIRACLES POSSIBLE?
Can miracles happen? Have they occurred in the past as recorded in such books as the Bible? To come up with a definitive answer to these questions we must begin with some foundational facts.
First of all, what is a miracle? A miracle by definition is something that takes place that goes contrary to the laws of physics. For example, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Physical Science tells us that once an individual has been dead for a period of three days, it is impossible to bring them back to life. Therefore, for Jesus to raise Lazarus He had to defy the laws of nature to do so. On this point both sides of the argument are pretty much in agreement.
Have miracles taken place in the past? Some argue that they have and continue to occur. Others argue that they only appear as miracles because the physical laws that govern them are not yet fully understood. For example if someone in Jesus’ day were to witness a modern computer, since he would not understand the physical laws that make a computer possible, he would declare it a miracle. Still others argue that miracles fall into the category of masterful tricks or illusions. Most of us have witnessed magicians use illusion to make us believe that the impossible can happen however what they do is always in accord with physical laws. For the sake of this discussion we will only deal with those events that truly defy the laws of nature.
With this as our basis, we must ask the next question; is there something or someone who is capable of overriding the laws of physics? If we accept the premise of Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, God created (ex-nihilo – out of nothing) the heavens and the earth,” then miracles are a real possibility. If there is a God who is powerful enough to create the laws of physics then there is a God who is powerful enough to override those laws whenever He chooses to do so. In other words, one’s religious view concerning God will have a direct bearing on whether one does or does not believe miracles take place.
I say religious view because all people have a religious view of God without exception. The evolutionary scientist who believes there is no God and that all that exists is the result of chance, the big bang, and billions of years of evolution is expressing his religious view. An honest evaluation of his “scientific” conclusions reveals that he stands not on provable fact, but on his hypothesis that God does not exist. To try to convince people that his view is purely scientific he will often challenge a Christian to scientifically prove that there is a God. He thinks because the Christian begins his view of science with a belief in God, such an individual is unintelligent and resting in silly outdated religious superstition. However the flaw in his thinking is easily demonstrated by reversing the question. Prove scientifically that there is no God! The evolutionary scientist cannot do so and since all his science rests upon this unprovable religious opinion about God, his science equally rests upon a religious view. Here lies the center of the debate of whether miracles happen. If you believe in God you say yes and if you do not believe in God you say no.
Therefore, to be able to answer this question with some certainty, we must examine the evidence to see if there is support for the existence of miracles. Let us turn the accounts found in the Bible to find out. Archaeologists for the most part agree that the narrative (historical) portions of the Old Testament are trustworthy or reliable. However, woven into those accounts are many miracles. I would argue that if the rest of the narrative is accurate so also the portions about miracles must be accurate. However, is there archaeological evidence to back this up? Let me give a few examples of evidence that supports the existence of miracles.
1) The crossing of the Dead Sea in Exodus 14. The Bible says that the Red Sea was parted and a dry sea bed allowed the Jewish people to safely cross over to the other side. When the Egyptians followed after them, their chariots became mired in the sea bed and they drowned as the Red Sea crashed down upon them. If this really happened one would expect there would be evidence of this account but skeptics point out that no such evidence had been found. That was until a few years ago when someone chose to explore a possible crossing point that no one had considered before. When divers were sent into the water they were surprised to find chariot parts and weapons lying all over the sea bed floor just as God had said.
2) The Walls of Jericho falling down as recorded in Joshua 6. The Bible says that at the time Joshua led the people into the land of Canaan, they were confronted with the heavily fortified city of Jericho. The Bible says that having marched around the city seven days, the people blew their trumpets and shouted and the walls of Jericho collapsed. The original archaeologist who explored Jericho said there was no evidence that such an event happened at the time of Joshua indicating that the Bible was incorrect. However upon her death, when a new archaeologist took over the dig he discovered a major error had been made. With the mistake corrected it became clear that there was a collapsed wall and a burning of city at the precise time of Joshua. Once again the Bible proved itself accurate.
3) The prediction of Cyrus in Isaiah 44:28-45:1. Over 175 years before his birth, God foretold that a king named Cyrus would permit those Jews who were deported under Babylon to return to the homes and rebuild their temple. This prediction was made over 130 years before Solomon’s temple was destroyed and the people of Judah were taken into captivity. Only God could predict an historical event and the individual involved over 175 years in advance. Ezra 1:1-4 declares the fulfillment of that prophecy exactly as God foretold.
Many, many more examples could be given that miracles do take place because there is a God Who created all things and has the power to override the laws of physics. The skeptics try to dismiss these miracles not because of a lack of credibility, but because they do not want to accept the fact that there is a Creator God to whom they must answer some day. As one recent speaker put it, “you do not believe in hell? You will!” Our only hope of salvation rests in the work of Jesus Christ, the Creator of all things (Jn. 14:6).