And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.
1 Corinthians 12:28 (NAS)
Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some, letters of commendation to you or from you? You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts.
2 Corinthians 3:1-3 (NAS)
The Scripture compels us to believe in miracles because they are scattered all through the Biblical narrative. However, many of us will go through life and may question if we have seen a genuine, irrefutable miracle. I’m not talking about the way we use miracle. We often talk about a new born baby being a miracle – which technically it is not a miracle at least in the sense of how we define biblical miracle – the biblical concept of miracle is basically an event which runs counter to the observed processes of nature.
The Clash of World Views
In our day and age we have the cultural attitude that we are beyond the ignorance of the first century Christians. We have scientific and an empirical world view that has “come of age” and helped us “explain away” these so called miracles of the Bible. The attitude is simply this: “We know that a fish cannot swallow a human being (and he live through it) so we know this is only a made up story to communicate ideas, not a true historical event.”
But the problem is that if miracles are not true then key theological claims of the Bible are not true either. Easter is right around the corner and if resurrection is not a reality then our faith is worthless (1 Corinthians 15: 16-20). Creation is also dismissed because it does not appear to fit our superior scientific advancement and world view. But if creation is not real and a product of a miracle working God then we are left with an evolutionary process that, in my mind, demands far more faith than biblical creation.
So what is the point?
While I believe that it is impossible to be a biblical Christian without believing in miracles there is a huge movement among many Christians to dismiss miracles and adopt a more evolutionary approach to life. However, while I believe that believing in miracles are essential, being an eye witness to a miracle is not. If you think about most people in biblical history were never eye witnesses to a genuine miracle. There are exceptions but very few. Miracles are key to redemptive history; in other words at strategic times of redemptive history miracles are prolific. The Exodus where God delivers Israel out of Egypt; Jesus’ earthly ministry; the inauguration of the Church. Now I know there is going to be a large debate where people are going to say miracles are normative today – I am not saying that God does not still do miracles but there are many, many Christians who go through life without seeing a miracle.
Does this mean they are disobedient or distracted? Neither, even in times where miracles seem plentiful rarely does everyone actually see the miracle. Go through the Bible and find out how many miracles where ALL of God’s people see it. Most people, like us heard about a miracle second hand. Even Jesus turning water into wine was pretty hidden to most people even at the wedding. Only a few figured out what really happened.
What is the greatest miracle?
I will propose to you that the greatest miracle is the new birth and the greatest evidence of that miracle is the ongoing transformation of that life by the indwelling Holy Spirit. We all love the special effects of what I will call external miracles like changing water into wine and healing someone. We often ignore the internal miracle that God has brought about through the gospel and the transformative work of the Spirit of God in us so that God is truly glorified and honored by His own miracle in Christ. That is the whole purpose of why Christ died in the first place.