Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Miraculous Effects

A miracle is an effect which is not reproducible by the operation of “natural” causes. Each day of our lives hundreds of effects result from causes we call “natural.” The Bible narrative records thousands of events we would categorize as “natural.” A vast majority of Bible events may be categorized as “natural.” Miracles, however, are in a different category. Miraculous events are generated by “supernatural” causes. They generate high interest for readers of the Bible. In these supernatural miracle events, many believe the reality of God’s existence is most manifest.

The postulate of “God’s existence is most manifest in supernatural miracle events” is open for debate. It has been the stand of our blog that the science/faith interface integrates both supernatural and natural. God is author and creator of both spheres. For purposes of our discussion, we define “natural” as “non-miraculous.”

Both old and new testaments record miraculous events for which there are no natural causes. Bible accounts, for example, chronicle very unusual environmental events, healing events involving reorganization of bodily molecular arrangements, and several resurrection events, including the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. Miraculous events tend to cluster at great moments in salvation history such as the Exodus or Jesus’ ministry. With respect to Jesus Christ, his birth, life, death, and resurrection are some of the most well established historical events of all time, especially in view of the subsequent rapid spread of Christianity. If one believes God exists, he may more easily accept Jesus’ virgin birth, his miracles, and his resurrection from the dead. Miraculous works affirm God’s existence.

With respect to miracles, let us cite several times in human history when true miracles were common. We allude to God’s extraordinary “in-breaking” to human history in Old Testament times, and God’s extraordinary “in-breaking” to human history in New Testament times during the life of Christ. Miracles are not a common occurrence in our day even though miraculous events are not impossible.

In terms of cosmic history, we highlight several “in-breakings” of miraculous events: (1) the Big-Bang--the beginnings of the time, space, matter, and energy dimensions of our universe (2) the origin of life--the sudden onset of morphologically simple, but bio-chemically complex life (3) the Cambrian Explosion--the rapid appearance of complex life forms in a virtual moment of geologic time followed by the periodic, rather sudden appearance of new life forms in the eons to follow (4) the abrupt appearance of modern man, termed the “Cultural Explosion” and (5) the dozens of miracles recorded in the Old and New Testament scriptures.

We encourage study of miraculous events. Our Heavenly Father is a God of Miracles. He has “in-broken” into geologic and human history. We encourage a personal study of the “in-breaking.” Foremost is the understanding of Hebrews
1:2: “But in these last days he has spoken to us by his son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.” (NIV) Foremost on the miracle list is the action of Jesus Christ as Creator.

God’s astonishing creation act with respect to this universe is the ongoing working system of this cosmos. He has created dozens of incredibly fine-tuned physical constants by which the many laws of our everyday world operate. His creation of the universe was “miracle one” of Genesis 1:1 but the effect of “miracle one” has continued since. The everyday functioning of our world is a source of wonder, but not a miracle as commonly understood. To rank-order (1) the initial creation miracle and (2) the universe’s function since the creation event according to physical constants and laws, we may be unwise to prioritize one as more significant than the other. Both are sources of wonder.

We emphasize the more common natural events which occur from moment to moment as well as supernatural events. As we envision the wonder of God’s created universe--our temporal dwelling place--we realize God is the Creator of all things, the natural and the supernatural.