The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Summary of answers to why we don't see large scale miracles today


#21

Not His twin (a mindless comment), but perhaps His discarnate spirit? The question you raise is why I treasure the evidence for the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin so much. It seems best explained as the product of a unique radiation without heat. And please be fair to skeptics: Jesus’ tomb was yards away from Golgotha and no one was present on Saturday night to ensure that the Romans didn’t remove Jesus’ corpse an dump it in the same criminals’ pit into which the corpses of the other 2 thieves were dumped. And no, the story in Matthew of the guards at the tomb does not discredit that possibility and is, after all, only in Matthew and is for that reason widely dismissed as legendary.

Remember, my prayer group routinely witnesses healing miracles on a par with many of Jesus’ miracles. So I’m no debunker of miracles. I just want to be intellectually honest.

Hermano,

I had already watched that discredited video a few times and then researched the many reasons why almost no evangelical OT scholars take it seriously. The Gulf of Aqaba lacks the requisite reeds to be “the Sea of Reeds.” The alleged coral formations in the shape of chariot wheels are better explained as natural shapes for that particular type of coral. The alleged underwater bridge is far too deep and, more importantly, far too steep to be the point of crossing. Nor does the alleged land route line up with Scripture in a way that convinces most OT scholars.


#22

For two related reasons…

  1. They’re not needed anymore, because…

  2. What you mention above was exclusively related to the redemption of Israel, upon which the outplaying of the reconciliation of humanity was fully reliant — of which ALL relative to that context and reality HAS BEEN fulfilled.


#23

Well, I see this topic discussed…at a couple of other forum sites:

Why don’t we see miracles these days?

But maybe the best answer comes from a minister I once heard. He was telling about all the miracles in Africa…healings, etc. Then someone asked him, why this wasn’t happening in America. He replied that in Africa, they still believed in miracles.

And from the article at

we see this:

Even if we don’t frequently see extraordinary miraculous events, God is active. He is active in the regular (natural) processes we see every day. He is miraculously calling people to himself as his church grows and expands. He is active in miraculous ways among people we don’t know around the world.

Whether or not we’re privileged to witness obviously miraculous, supernatural events, Christians can be confident that God is actively at work in the world, bringing people to himself, bringing glory to Jesus, and building his church (Matt. 16:18).

Let me quote a bit, from that article:

The second observation I would make is that there are probably more miracles happening today than we realize.

If we could collect all the authentic stories all over the world — from all the missionaries and all the saints in the all the countries of the world, all the cultures of the world — if we could collect all the millions of encounters between Christians and demons and Christians and sickness and all the so-called coincidences of the world, we would be stunned. We would think we were living in a world of miracles, which we are.

And if one talked to the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Pentecostal / Charismatic church members… Perhaps they would then have, a different perspective.


#24

Reeds or no reeds, the Gulf of Aqaba is indeed undeniably identified as part of the Red/Reed Sea:

1 Kings 9:26 King Solomon also built a fleet of ships at Ezion Geber, which is near Elath on the shore of the Red Sea [yam suph; suph סוּף : “rush, reed, seaweed, red”], in the land of Edom.

Ezion-Geber, near modern day Eilat, was an ancient port city known to have been on the shore of the Red Sea’s Gulf of Aqaba. Furthermore, Ezion-Geber, known to be on the Gulf of Aqaba, was one of the places listed for where the Israelites camped after their Exodus from Egypt (Numbers 33:35).

Really?

Psalm 78:23-25
Yet He…opened the doors of heaven,
[and] had rained down manna on them to eat,
And given them of the bread of heaven.
Men ate angels’ food;

Further,

Exodus 16:4-5, 26-27
Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. “And it shall be on the SIXTH day that they shall prepare what they bring in, and it shall be TWICE as much as they gather daily.”

“Six days you shall gather it, but on the SEVENTH day, the Sabbath, there will be NONE.” Now it happened that some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather, but they found none.

Well, yes, I suppose God could command insects:

Thou shalt poop twice as much on Fridays, and not at all on Saturdays!

But why not simply accept the miracle of supernatural food raining down from heaven?

And, come on: insect excrement from below used to foreshadow our Lord Jesus coming down from above?

John 6:51
“I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever.”

Btw everyone, here is a recent news story about an important archeological site in the middle of nowhere being slated for destruction by the Saudi government. Could it be the devil wants to get rid of some faith-building evidence for the historicity of the Bible?

(This is not the only news source covering the story; but at least it has some photos and illustrations.)


#25

Let’s consider the epistemological principles that have been evaded in this discussion:
(1) Historical inferences and reconstructions must be based on the principles of causality and analogy. Every event has a cause and the credibility of ancient miracle claims must be assessed on the basis\ of parallel modern miracle for which there is testimony and evidence. If there are no such modern analogies, then the most rational explanation is one that explains historical miracle claims on the basis of modern precedent.

(2) The Bible never defines “miracles” as violations of the laws of Nature. In fact, it is reasonable to suppose that unknown laws of Nature and of the operation of human consciousness might be used to acheive many miracles. Our job is to meet the biblical conditions for effective prayer and to be grateful for God’s answers to prayer. In my view, many Christians lend mental assent to the power of prayer, but unconsciously reject that possibility and demonstrate their unbelief by the unwillingness to join and actively participate in a weekly prayer group.

(3) I know that you have all watched the video documenting the modern Nature miracles that occurred during the recent Fiji Islands Revival. These establish precedent for the possibility of OT Nature miracles.

(4) In our prayer group the blind have regained their sight, resulting in the conversion of a witness and malignant brain tumors have vanished, resulting in the conversion of a young skeptic with the tumor. He then posted before and after medical photos of the tumor on Facebook. Such modern miracles justify assent to the possibility of analogous miracles in Jesus’ day.


#26

So my contention is that as God slowly and methodically deals with creation, miracles are a bit more subtle, (sorry if someone else went down that road… I just was looking) In other words, God is working through humanity, the miracle of penicillin to us today is old news, but was a miracle none the less. We could state thousands of similar instances, but if we want to see the greatness of God we have to at least say he is working through humanity in a very positive way.:wink:


#27

True. But then, the Bible never defines miracles at all. Here is a suggested definition:

Miracle: an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs…in an extremely outstanding or unusual way.

Although the Creation is sustained and influenced by God supernaturally—

Hebrews 1:3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.

—we need to distinguish between the daily routines of the system that were miraculously put in place at the beginning, and special miraculous events that occasionally override the predictable rules of the established system.

Certainly God miraculously created everything during the first six days of Creation Week. But He also established “naturalistic” mechanisms, like the law of sowing and reaping and the law of gravity, to help everything keep running in a predictable manner.

So when God breaks in and sovereignly overrides those established mechanisms, we notice the miraculous more dramatically. Regarding the law of gravity, we see Peter walking on water. Regarding sowing and reaping, we see Jesus multiplying food, and providing grace and mercy—

Grace : reaping good you did not sow.
Mercy : not reaping the bad you did sow.

  • Hebrews 4:16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

So whereas I agree that God guided Alexander Fleming in the research and discovery of penicillin, for the purposes of this discussion of undeniably supernatural events like the parting of the Red Sea, I would not call penicillin a miracle.

There is nothing subtle or ambiguous or mechanistic or scientifically explainable about the parting of the Red Sea. Or manna from heaven. Or raising the dead. Or casting out demons. Or multiplying food. Or walking on water. Or cleansing lepers.


#28

You could be wrong.:wink:


#29

Question: “How many Israelites left Egypt in the exodus?”

Answer: When the Israelites left Egypt in the exodus, there were “about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and children” (Exodus 12:37). The “men on foot” number of 600,000 would have only included able-bodied, military-age men. The people of Israel had been living in Egypt for 430 years (Exodus 12:40). After a lengthy dispute with Pharaoh, during which God brought many plagues on the land of Egypt, Moses led the Israelites away from that land. Scholars believe that the total number of Israelites who left Egypt during the exodus, women and children and old men included, was around 2.4 million people. If we include Egyptians who chose to join the Israelites, the number would be even greater: “Many other people went up with them, and also large droves of livestock, both flocks and herds” (Exodus 12:38).

In the second year after the Israelites left Egypt, Moses took a census of the men in Israel able to fight—all the able-bodied men age twenty and above from all the tribes except the Levites. The number of warriors was 603,550 (Numbers 1:45–46). The Levites were not counted because God commanded Moses to exclude them from the census (verse 49). Instead of going to war, the Levites were to stay and guard the tabernacle (verse 53).

About 2.4 million Israelites leaving Egypt is a very large multitude, but the number is a reasonable estimate. The ordinary proportion of people fit to go to war in a general population is one in four, and 600,000 x 4 = 2,400,000. We know that, while the Hebrews were in Egypt, they were “fruitful and increased greatly; they multiplied and grew exceedingly strong, so that the land was filled with them” (Exodus 1:7). In fact, the Hebrews were so numerous that the Pharaoh feared that Egypt would be overwhelmed in the event of a slave uprising (verses 8–10).

The original group of Israelites—Jacob’s family who went to Egypt—numbered just seventy people (Genesis 46:27). In 430 years the vigorous and healthy Hebrew race increased to 2.4 million. We have no reason to believe that any of the Israelites stayed behind in Egypt, so we can safely say that 2.4 million is the approximate number of Hebrews who left Egypt in the exodus.

Now lets look at penicillin;
Fleming’s fortuitous discovery of penicillin—the mold had accidentally contaminated a Staphylococcus culture plate and exhibited a bacteria-free halo around the mold—was one of the seminal developments in the history of medicine. However, before the remarkable breakthroughs with the drug could occur, it took a team of research scientists lead by physiologist Howard Florey, and including chemist Ernst Boris Chain, to purify penicillin and test it successfully, which they did in 1939, ten years after Fleming published his findings in 1929. Penicillin became the most effective life-saving drug in the world, conquering such dreaded diseases as syphilis, gonorrhea, tuberculosis, gangrene, pneumonia, diphtheria, and scarlet fever. It is estimated that penicillin has saved at least 200 million lives since its first use as a medicine in 1942.

200 MILLION!


#30

A very thoughtful comparison. Certainly both events reveal a compassionate God’s help to mankind.

But again, one shows God helping by overriding the laws of nature (a “miracle”), the other does not.


#31

Here is a thought…