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Thread: The Cost Of Miracles

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    Department Head Apologiaphoenix's Avatar
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    The Cost Of Miracles

    Who has the most to lose with a miracle claim?

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    Who has more at stake on the question of miracles? Let's plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

    Years ago, Chesterton said that a theist believes or disbelieves in a miracle, rightly or wrongly, because of the evidence. The skeptic disbelieves in a miracle, rightly or wrongly, because he has a dogma against them. This would come as a shock to many unbelievers. A dogma? That's the area of religion.

    To which, Chesterton would also say there are two kinds of people in the world. Those who are knowingly dogmatic, and those who are unknowingly dogmatic, and the latter kind are always more dogmatic. We see this quite often today. It is the ones who are most shouting about tolerance who prove to be the ones least tolerant and don't accept any arguments against their dogma.

    The interesting question about miracles comes when you watch a miracle account being shared on any public forum on social media or such a place. The atheists are always the ones quick to show up to say why the miracle story is false. As a Christian, I tend to maintain some skepticism about miracles, but if there is good enough evidence, I don't rule it out.

    Who has the most to lose at this? It is not myself as a Christian. If a miracle story outside of the resurrection of Jesus is shown to be false, oh well. The resurrection is still true. If it is a true miracle story, then that is just further evidence for theism, but theism is still true even if the miracle claim is false.

    We could go a step further. Let's suppose all miracle stories are false thus far. Let's suppose that no miracles have ever been done. Does this rule out theism? Not at all. God could have gone a deistic route and created the world and chose to do nothing with it, or God could somehow be co-eternal with the world and just doesn't care about it. I don't think either of those are true for a moment, but they are hypotheticals to accept.

    But what if just one of these stories is true? Consider something like Craig Keener's massive two-volume work Miracles. Is every miracle claim in that book a bona fide miracle? Doubtful. Some are better attested than others. In fact, aside from the resurrection of Jesus, it could be that every miracle story is false in there and Christianity and/or theism are still true.

    Now, what of the other end? If even one of them does not have a materialistic or naturalistic explanation for what happened, then atheism is in trouble unless one is found. It simply has to be false. The same could hypothetically be said of evolution for some. As a Christian theist, if macroevolution is true, I lose nothing, but for the atheist, as Plantinga has said, evolution is the only game in town.

    Watch next time a miracle claim is presented and see how both sides react. While it couldn't hurt us to be cautious and not believe every claim that comes along, one side has to have it that their position on the claim is absolutely right. One side depends on only one option being the true one.

    It's not ours.

    In Christ,
    Nick Peters

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    See, the Thing is... Cow Poke's Avatar
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    We're going through the book of Acts at my Church - one thing I keep saying is "I wonder if we'd see more miracles if we had more prayer and fasting and unity and godly living like they had back then".
    --- this space intentionally left blank ---

  3. Amen lee_merrill amen'd this post.
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    Oops....... mossrose's Avatar
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    I believe miracles and healing are part of the sign gifts that ceased.

    I don't say God doesn't perform miracles, but I don't believe any human has a hand in any today.


    Securely anchored to the Rock amid every storm of trial, testing or tribulation.

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    tWebber tabibito's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mossrose View Post
    I believe miracles and healing are part of the sign gifts that ceased.

    I don't say God doesn't perform miracles, but I don't believe any human has a hand in any today.
    Having witnessed a miracle, and prophecy fulfilled, with a human hand definitely in play, I can't agree. But that leaves me wondering (and investigating) why miracles and prophecy are not more in evidence. So far, indications point to "Not God's preferred position."
    και εκζητησατε με και ευρησετε με οτι ζητησετε με εν ολη καρδία υμων

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    Evolution is God's ID rogue06's Avatar
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    I've seen a couple of what can only be called miracles and I think that God deserves all the credit.

    I'm always still in trouble again

    "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" -- starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)

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    tWebber tabibito's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rogue06 View Post
    I've seen a couple of what can only be called miracles and I think that God deserves all the credit.
    I suspect that such beliefs are why piety has fallen (with scant few but notable exceptions) so far into disrepute.
    και εκζητησατε με και ευρησετε με οτι ζητησετε με εν ολη καρδία υμων

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    Evolution is God's ID rogue06's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tabibito View Post
    I suspect that such beliefs are why piety has fallen (with scant few but notable exceptions) so far into disrepute.
    I've always been weary of human participation in such things in that all too often they soon start taking (or being given) credit for what is God's work.

    I'm always still in trouble again

    "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" -- starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)

  9. Amen mossrose, LeaC amen'd this post.
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    See, the Thing is... Cow Poke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mossrose View Post
    I believe miracles and healing are part of the sign gifts that ceased.

    I don't say God doesn't perform miracles, but I don't believe any human has a hand in any today.
    Depends on what you mean by "a hand in" it, I guess... where there's prayer and fasting and God moves, I just praise Him for what He does.
    --- this space intentionally left blank ---

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    Must...have...caffeine One Bad Pig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mossrose View Post
    I believe miracles and healing are part of the sign gifts that ceased.

    I don't say God doesn't perform miracles, but I don't believe any human has a hand in any today.
    Contemporaneous miracles, particularly of healing, have always been a part of Orthodoxy as far as I know; they are certainly affirmed in the lives of saints throughout history and up to the present. In all cases, it is indubitably God who acts.
    Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. St. John Chrysostom

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  12. Amen mossrose, LeaC amen'd this post.
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    tWebber tabibito's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rogue06 View Post
    I've always been weary of human participation in such things in that all too often they soon start taking (or being given) credit for what is God's work.
    When an exposition is given by a person who has undeniably exercised gifts of the Holy Spirit; even then it is good to be wary. Even more so when you only hear report of such an exercise of the gifts.
    However, it seems equally good to be wary of denying that God confers authority upon persons.
    και εκζητησατε με και ευρησετε με οτι ζητησετε με εν ολη καρδία υμων

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