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BELIEVING IN MIRACLES

Unbelievers scoff at miracles recorded in the Bible. God “…doesn’t have a magic wand”, as one extremely well-known church leader recently put it. One reason they don’t believe in miracles is that they can’t do them…

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(Healing the Paralytic at Bethesda, by Palma Giovane, 1591)

Moses could not have crossed the Red Sea, they will say: it must have been the knee-deep “Reed Sea”. Jesus couldn’t have been born to a virgin, he couldn’t have turned water into wine, and he couldn’t have risen from the dead. None of these things really happened, according to them, because such things are impossible.

In order to accept that miracles really do happen, the skeptical scientist requires that God, Moses and Jesus request appointments in his lab so that they can be examined, tested and experimented on. They would have to perform their “tricks” under control conditions, in full view of the cameras, equipment and instruments.

Granted, the scientific method rightly requires empirical observation before we can know for sure how the world really works. But the whole point of a miracle is that it is…well…miraculous. Miracles are not a normal part of every-day life. Miracles are out of the ordinary and rare. They are uncommon: not just anyone can do them.

Miracles are a negation, or a temporary suspension of the natural laws which govern our physical universe. Perhaps they’re the employment of an alternative set of laws which we’re unaware of. And as God, in the Biblical view of things, created the entirety of the physical realm (Genesis 1:1) and continues to sustain every little bit of it (Colossians 1:16-17) he must not be subject to its laws, but instead he’s in control of them, so that he’s able to manipulate them. A portrait, the work of an artist or photographer, can’t create another character: the artist and the photographer can.

Ah, but miracles just don’t happen, according to the naturalist. Is that really so? I wonder how many unbelievers have seen all events of all time in every part of the universe, so that they can say with confidence and scientific certainty that a miracle has never happened? I’ll wager that none have. Could it be possible that they’ve missed something? Could it be possible that the Creator has decided not to perform for the satisfaction and curiosity of the skeptic and the cynic? Could it be that He feels no obligation to make that appointment at the lab? Could it be that he will not stoop to the whims of unbelieving, rebellious man, when all the evidence of his creative, miraculous power is already right in front of their eyes, and at the center of all their formulae and calculations, day in and day out?

If only we had eye-witnesses to miracles! Then we could believe-right? Well excuse me, we’ve had eyewitness…refer to John’s gospel for example. But the contemporary unbeliever doesn’t want to accept the testimony of the Christian gospels. One evidence of Biblical miracles is the fact that large numbers of first-century believers who claimed to be eye-witnesses were prepared to die spreading the gospel if necessary. Modern “martyrs” kill other people: first century martyrs risked their own lives, something people don’t do for something they know to be false.

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(Christ Walks On the Water, by Ivan Aivazovsky, 1888)

Have I seen a miracle? I believe I have. Outside of the fact that all of life is unfathomably complex and intricate and beautiful, so that men are “without excuse” for ignoring God (Romans 1:20) I believe I’ve had some answered prayers in my life which can’t be explained any other way but by divine intervention in my very own part of the physical universe.

So the evolutionist and the naturalist is convinced that miracles have never happened anywhere, on the basis that they’re sure they’ve never observed one. When did anyone observe a cow turn into a whale, or a lizard turn into a bird, or a few chemicals turn into a bacterium, or a gas cloud turn into a star (1)? I can answer that one: “ never”. These things have never been-and can never be-observed by scientists. Yet most of them believe that such things have happened in the past and continue to happen-when we aren’t looking.

There are, in essence, two stories about life: one is naturalistic, the other miraculous. By miraculous I don’t mean that God has a magic wand which he waves in order to cause each daisy to grow and each star to twinkle and each baby to giggle. Neither am I referring to statues shedding tears or drinking milk. By “miraculous” I mean that from nothing God created the physical cosmos with all its laws and processes. By “miraculous” I mean that the creator and sustainer of the physical realm with all its laws and processes is far more than capable of holding back a sea of water while his people pass through on dry land. By “miraculous” I mean that the One who created the eye, still revealing mind-boggling complexity not known before, is perfectly capable of repairing one, and by “miraculous” I mean that the One who created life is infinitely able to raise the dead.

No, we don’t observe creation happening today, because on the sixth day God “finished” his work of creation (Genesis 2:1-2). No, we don’t see water turning into wine today because the one who is able to do such a thing isn’t among us, and did it not to begin a trend or a habit, but to show exactly who he was and who had sent him. No, we don’t see everyone being healed today because mankind is in rebellion against God, and God’s holiness will not allow him to “fix” everything that’s wrong in the world just so that we can continue on our own rebellious way and in our own direction. No, we don’t see Jesus rising from the dead, because he’s already risen.

The greatest miracles being done today involve the changing of lives. I’ve experienced such a miracle myself. I know that when a person decides to agree with God that he or she is a sinner in need of repentance and forgiveness, and when he sincerely accepts the gospel message that God has given us concerning his son, he is miraculously changed for ever, and moves into a relationship with him.

Search my posts on the gospel…

NOTE

1: https://answersingenesis.org/astronomy/stars/star-formation-and-creation/

NEWSWEEK has reported on government bias against Christian refugees. This article first appeared on the Council on Foreign Relations web site.

The article reads as follows:

The headline for this column “The U.S. Bars Christian, Not Muslim, Refugees From Syria” will strike many readers as ridiculous.

But the numbers tell a different story: The United States has accepted 10,801 Syrian refugees, of whom 56 are Christian. Not 56 percent; 56 total, out of 10,801. That is to say, one-half of 1 percent.

The BBC says that 10 percent of all Syrians are Christian, which would mean 2.2 million Christians. It is quite obvious, and President Barack Obama and Secretary John Kerry have (finally and reluctantly-my comment) acknowledged it, that Middle Eastern Christians are an especially persecuted group.

http://www.newsweek.com/us-bars-christian-not-muslim-refugees-syria-497494

Mrs. Clinton has attempted to back-track on her recent condemnation of Trump supporters as being “a basket of deplorables”. They are “deplorable” because (she is determined to make you to think) they are “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, you name it”

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These comments were made to an audience which compliantly laughed profusely, agreeably and hysterically. Such accusations are common and will continue to be thrown at Trump and his supporters, such as myself, this election season. So what about it: am I “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, you name it?”

I have to “come clean” and “fess up” at the outset: I’m white. Not only am I white, but I’m male. Some of my white counterparts and some white women think that these two facts alone require profuse apologies and hand-wringing: I suggest they take it up with my mother and father.

As if being a white male weren’t bad enough, I just happen to be heterosexual, and…gulp…I’m also a professing Christian. To those who are at the extreme end of the politically-correct spectrum these confessions are sufficient to throw me into Mrs. Clinton’s basket of deplorables for life.

AM I RACIST?

To my mind all “races” are equal in value, gifts, and talent, and should be treated accordingly, though I’m convinced there’s only one race-the human race. African-Americans, as Mr Trump said himself recently, have contributed to the culture and success of this nation to an incalculable extent and in countless ways, as have Hispanics and many others. They make America what it is. They enrich and color (excuse the pun) the culture, and they’re loved by our Creator every bit as much as I’m loved by him. They are my brothers and sisters in the flesh.

SEXIST?

Believe it or not, I married a woman, which I still see as a very shrewd and sensible move. She’s my equal in almost every way, and certainly my better in some things. I am, however, physically stronger than her. I don’t see that as a “sexist” remark: if she and I were to have a boxing match you’d be wise to bet on me and not her. If there were a woman running for President who gained my respect by being honest and supporting good, godly policies, I may well vote for her, because women can be amazingly well organized, practical and determined. Men and women are equal in value: we just have some differences, and I say, “Vivre la difference!”

HOMOPHOBIC?

While I don’t agree with the lifestyle I’ve had several gay and lesbian friends over the years, and some of them were amazing people. It’s been my experience that in general they have a tremendous sense of humor, are caring and sociable, and take a positive view of their lives. Being human, they’re equal to me in value and talents. Again, I think their lifestyle is wrong, but I know that God loves them, and wishes them to repent of their sins and be saved just as he wishes me to repent of mine. It seems to me that people who want to take away my right to an opposing view (such as Mrs. Clinton) and to call me “hateful” suffer from “homophobia-phobia”.

XENOPHOBIC?

I’ve spent time in several different countries, and I love to experience other cultures. I have a special admiration and fascination for the people and culture of Asian countries such as India and China. I’ve had friends from many different countries and ethnic backgrounds. I love to learn about other places, other art forms, foreign food, architecture, literature. If someone from Syria were to move in next to me I would be happy to befriend them as I would any Westerner. I just happen to believe we should take care who we let into the country, that’s all.

When I immigrated, I had to wait five and a half years in my country of origin before receiving my green card, during which time my background was thoroughly researched and my body examined for various diseases. I did not resent it at all, in fact it felt good to know that the US cared that much about who immigrated. Currently such precautions are virtually non-existent.

ISLAMOPHOBIC?

Some people share President Obama’s view that to question someones motives for coming into the US is being “fearful”. That’s poppycock. He locks his doors at night, and he has an armed guard, as does Mrs. Clinton. Is that being “fearful”, or is it being prudent? I’m convinced it’s the latter. There are plenty of people around the world who’ve expressed the determination to kill as many Americans and Westerners as possible, and most of them are extremists of a certain religion we all know the name of. It’s not being fearful to examine their motives for coming: it’s being wise. Trump has not suggested banning all Muslims from immigration, but only much more cautious approach than Mr. Obama has. Yes, the great majority of them really are ”peace-loving” people, but even if only one percent of the world’s Muslims take their scriptures literally, that’s still many millions of people who believe the world must be conquered for Allah one way or another-by violence if necessary. Let’s love them, but be wary. Again, that’s not fear, it’s prudence.

“YOU NAME IT”

Alright, I’ll name it. The current administration supports and defends abortion on demand for any reason and without question, and Mrs Clinton feels the same way. So I would say that at the top of her “you name it” list would be pro-lifers, of which I am a proud member. I will never change my view on that, and I will never apologize for it.

Another “fear” I’m said to have is of globalism, and perhaps I really do have a fear of that: America should retain its individuality and its strengths, and not be watered down by lowest-common-demonator thinking. Most particularly, if some people have their way, the gospel of Jesus Christ will be silenced in order to avoid “offending” people of other religions-one in particular-who will have all the freedom they wish to further their own religion. To me this is the deep-down un-stated aim of globalism: the end of the influence of Christianity and the gospel of Jesus. I think it’s right to be wary of the attempt to bury the Way to life…

I suppose I’ll just have to get one of those t-shirts, which reads “PROUD TO BE A DEPLORABLE!”