The Nature of Miracles

What Makes Miracles

Paul Johnson

It’s Easter season again and it’s time to think about the nature of our religions, and in particular, the nature of miracles. Easter is full of stories of miracles. In fact, the entire Bible, as most religious texts, is full of miracles. But what, exactly, is a miracle?

This is something that all elementary schools and every church should teach, but unfortunately it is neglected.

Back 3,000 years ago (or 6,000 according to some), when the Bible begins, there were things that we humans saw that had no explanation other than being the hand of God. Today, we would see most of those miracles and realize they come from the laws of physics or the laws of nature. A simple example is the miracle of an eclipse.

So we must ask ourselves, which of those miracles that we’ve heard about thousands of years ago were really miracles and which were easily explained with the knowledge available today?

A Miracle History

Imagine that you were to see a miracle today. It’s your imagination, so imagine what you want. I’ll imagine a neighbor who has such great skill at hypnosis that he can help people regrow amputated limbs.

Over time, two things could happen.

  1. Others, standing on the shoulders of giants, would find ways to do this same service, in which case it would no longer be a miracle, or
  2. No one can repeat the miracle in which case it remains a miracle.

If the case was situation #1 above, then the only way that it would remain a miracle is if a group of followers demanded that this miracle worker did things differently or better than everyone else following. That burning bush was a miracle, that sunset was a miracle, that eclipse was a miracle. This would require a very dedicated following with very rigid books of examples of how their miracle worker was different.

If the case was #2 above, then after enough time the miracle would just fade away into folklore. Even books and literature reminding us of the miracle would eventually become suspect as there will eventually be no evidence of the miracle.

To summarize, history will eventually fade all miracles into obscurity. Eventually even the translated books of the translated books of the translated books of the miracle will become suspect. This is a problem that all modern day miracle-based religious books suffer with and put considerable time into trying to address.

The Miracle Impostors

As we’ve discussed above, there will often be groups who want to memorialize the miracle even if it’s proven to be less a miracle than a law of nature. How many times do you hear people explaining how “their God” did this or did that? It’s quite common.

That’s not to say that these are bad or evil people. They are trying to save the life of a religion that they believe is the only true one. They are trying to convince themselves by trying to convince others of the validity of the miracle that they can no longer prove.

God’s Solution to Forgetfulness

So, how does God go about performing miracles and keeping them around so He doesn’t have to keep proving His magical powers?

If I can start a cult with a counterfeit book of miracles and have a following that will keep the lies alive for centuries, then who will know it’s any different than the real book of miracles which no longer has evidence? No one can tell for certain that one is the real one the other is not.

It is obvious that the only solution to this forgetfulness is the constant display of miracles.

This assumes that the miracles are a fundamental part of the religion!

Let that sink in. That is the point of the entire essay. If the miracles cannot be proven then either God will recreate the miracles to keep people believing or he will put more emphasis on the other aspects of the religion.

God Knows Everything

Or, at least God knows everything there is to know about mankind.  So, why does he hide his miracles from us?

God knows that we’ll forget the miracles over time. He knows we’ll question the miracles. He knows that well-meaning cults will rise up that have their own false miracles.

He lets us forget the miracles because they are not a fundamental part of the religion.

Say What?!!! You’re saying the miracles of Lent, Good Friday, Easter are not a fundamental part of Christianity?

Yes. That’s the whole point. And, that’s why we aren’t presented with reruns of the miracles regularly.

It’s not the miracles that are the important part of Christianity, it is the underlying principles.

Now, stop, take a breath, and ask yourself, what are the fundamental underlying important principles of your religion? Is it because of the miracle that God gave his life to save you from your sins or is the important principle of your religion rules on how to live your life?

The Need for Repetition

In order for the new generations to continue to believe the miracles, they can either believe blindly or they can be privileged enough to see miracles for themselves.

Why would God let his miracles fade to the same level of validity as any hoax or cult? Because it’s not the miracle that’s important.

Who Do You Believe?

You and I live in a day when we don’t see miracles. Many people around us will try to attribute common sense things to the miracle of God but we all know they are just laws of nature. I hear the term, the miracle of a new born or the miracle of a beautiful sunset or this miracle or that, but we are expected to believe in a God that no longer shows himself to us.

Are we left trying to decide which of the countless different histories of miracles to believe and hopefully we’ll be lucky enough to choose the right one, or risk living eternity in punishment? No, that’s not the actions of any God I can imagine.

Hopefully by now you’re beginning to see that it’s not the miracle or the history of the miracle (Bible) that matters but what matters is how we decide to live our lives, without the miracles. Do we choose the path of “Greed is Good” (the Republican way and the Ayn Rand way) or do we choose the path of helping ourselves, our neighbors, and our world? These are the decisions we must make, and quit paying attention to the stories of miracles.

Stop with the miracles. Use the opportunity of Easter to celebrate the teachings of Jesus. Help thy neighbor, heal the sick, feed the hungry, and vote out the money changers.