"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Friday, January 13, 2012

Miracles and Motives

Miracles are very often thought of, ... as events...that contract the laws of nature and that therefore cannot be explained by science or reason.  But this is not at all what the Bible means by a miracle... 'The laws of nature' is a modern scientific concept. The Bible knows nothing about nature, let alone the laws of nature. The world is God's creation and whatever happens in the world, ordinary of extraordinary, is part of God's providence.  The Bible does not divide events into natural and supernatural. God is in one way or another behind all events.

A miracle in the Bible is an unusual event which has been understood as an unusual act of God, a mighty work. Certain acts of God are called miracles or wonders because of their ability to astonish and surprise us, their ability to make us marvel and wonder. Thus creation is a miracle, grace is a miracle, the growth of an enormous mustard tree from a tiny seed is a miracle... The world is full of miracles for those who have eyes to see them.  If we are no longer able to wonder and marvel except when the so-called laws of nature are broken, then we must be in a sorry state.  (pg. 40,41)

How do you think of miracles? Do you believe they happen?

Why do you think Jesus did miracles?  What was his motive? We he reluctant or quick to prove himself by doing signs and wonders?

Or if you don't believe in miracles such as are reported in the Bible, why do you think Jesus' followers would say he did miracles? What was their motive?

I'd love to hear your thoughts on any of this!

Quote from Jesus Before Christianity by Albert Nolan


Unknown said...

I think they're used differently by different authors. I was planning a post on miracles in Mark back when I was in school, and kept putting it off until I forgot. Now that you've reminded me, I'll get started on it again and maybe expand it to the other gospels too.

It's been awhile since I've read them and I'm really not sure off the top of my head, and I do think it's going to be different for each, so I'm not sure where that would leave me for a conclusive idea of what it might mean if I assume the gospels are accounts of real events and try to guess at the motivation for Jesus. But in Mark, for example, the miracles don't give Jesus any special status because his followers do them too, and also the healing or whatever seems to be secondary to an inward change of faith. In John, on the other hand, he sometimes does miracles without being acknowledged for them and without any show of faith, and it seems to be designed more to show the reader that he does amazing things and therefore compares favorably against Dionysos or whatever other gods or teachers people might be following.

Usman said...

Simply call the laws of nature as "miracle". And then you would not need to mention it again.


Wafa said...

I think "miracles" are preserved for prophets and Gods, i mean the big ones, like raising the dead or healing the sick.
but i don believe in small miracles, something that can change your heart and mind because someone shows you the right way or gives you a glimpse of what you are capable to do or help you in a way that would change your life completely, that kind of stuff yes i believe in and i do believe that they come your way due to praying and the answers of a loving God..

and yes prayers are miracles, too :)

bigstick said...

You know me. If Jesus live (big if) his contributions to Christianity was over exaggerated later on from whatever he actually did. In other words, he may have been a teacher but later he gained that godly power only due to the over exaggeration and the political Roman machine in 325AD. Who really knows how many various stories of the Jesus existed as the ones they didn't select were destroyed to ensure the political religious machine was set into play.

Susanne said...

Sanil, I would love to read anything you write analyzing the gospels. I always enjoyed those posts soooo much as you bring up interesting perspectives! Thanks for what you shared here. Enjoyed it!

Usman, sounds good to me! :D Nice to see you around more lately. Hope you are doing OK!

Wafa', I enjoyed your thoughts on miracles! Thank you for sharing that!

Bigstick, yes, I know you! :) But I'm glad to hear your perspective as well. Thanks for taking time to share your thoughts on miracles and even Jesus.

I really appreciate everyone's reply! Thanks much!

For what it's worth, I asked this question on Facebook and later told what the author of this book had to say about Jesus' motive. I'll copy and paste it here in case any of you are curious. :)

"The author of the book I'm reading seems to think Jesus' motive was compassion and that he wasn't trying to prove himself at all. In fact the author says Jesus hesitated to do miracles when they were to prove something (see how Jesus replied to the religious leaders who wanted a sign that he was who he said he was and also Jesus' reply to Satan about proving himself to be the son of God.)

Then notice how many times the Bible says Jesus was moved with compassion and healed people. And also how faith (not fatalism) was required."

Anonymous said...

I have become convinced over about ten years that Jesus is alive and is just as passionate about defeating Satan now, today, as He was 2000 years ago. He has given His Church, His own Body its marching orders and it is slowly but surely picking up steam again. The Holy Spirit is Jesus, is God and He will use us to the extent we are willing, even to the point of raising the dead if that is necessary to defeat the doubt and unbelief which exists today, in a time when the love of many is growing cold, self-reliance, self righteousness - all tools of the father of lies, the destroyer. Ask the question yourself - will the Son of Man find Faith in all the Earth upon His return? Even the rocks would sing the praises of Jesus, The Anointed, The King of Kings if the "crown of Creation", Man, refuses to do so. Rocks, Balaam's donkey, the children and those who nurse, perfected praise to God, believed God, obey God. So what happened to us? Are we too mature, jaded to simply believe God? Jesus, Christ - the same yesterday, today and tomorrow! Wake up, Body of Christ. Be filled with His Spirit. Manifest His Salvation in all the gifts of the Holy Spirit of our Magnificent God and Savior.

Susanne said...

Nicely said, Anon. Thank you!

observant observer said...

Must be an interesting book. Have posted in facebook about the report on the studies of the miracles that supposedly still happen today through prayer (proximal intercessory prayer) and how it is reported that it does effectively happen so in some remote areas that are not so much exposed to technologies or advancement (re: www.godandscience.org). This begs another question: why miracle or God chooses the remote/the undeveloped areas? This seems to be parallel with the Bible's story when people with faith are more easily healed compared to skeptics.

As for my self: what is not possible for God, for with Him, everything is possible. And agree completely that the world is full of miracle with the eyes that can see it. Even if the science can explain the how and the why of things and nature happen using all the logical explanation, most cannot explain the force behind it or imitate it!

Susanne said...

Observant, I've heard that as well about miracles happening in less technologically-inclined places. I hadn't thought of that recently though so thanks for bringing it up.

I enjoyed your comment. The last paragraph sums up the way I feel! :)

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