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Don Stewart :: What Objections Have Been Made to Jesus' Miracles?

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Don Stewart

Historically there have been many objections to Jesus' miracles. They include the following.

1. Miracles, By Definition, Are Impossible

One of the popular ways to deny miracles is simply to define them out the realm of possibility. Many people state as a fact that the idea of a miracle is impossibility. End of discussion. Everyone knows that unchangeable laws of cause and effect govern the universe. These laws always have existed and always will continue to exist. Therefore miracles, by definition, are impossibility.

Of course, the problem with that position is that only God could know whether miracles are possible or not. Therefore the denial of the possibility of miracles is something beyond the ability of humans.

The Illustration Of The Platypus

When explorers first came to eastern Australia they came across a creature that should not have existed. It was a furry, semi-aquatic, egg-laying mammal with a ducks bill and webbed feet. It was named the platypus. The characteristics of this little rabbit-sized creature were so strange that some people in England considered it a hoax when the skin of a dead platypus was first brought to London.

The Doubts Had Nothing To Do With The Evidence

The reason the existence of the platypus was doubted had nothing to do with the evidence. For the evidence, strange as it was, clearly pointed to the existence of this egg-laying mammal. The rejection came because it did not fit the scientist's particular view of the world of nature. Since no mammal was known to have laid eggs, zoologists were certain this creature could not exist. Eventually scientists came around to believe the platypus did exist with all its bizarre characteristics.

The Same Misconception Is With Us Today

Since no one had ever seen a creature like this before, people assumed that it could not exist. This is the same misconception of many of those who reject miracles - because they have never seen a miracle they assume it cannot happen. No amount of evidence would convince them to change their mind. Yet the platypus does exist and miracles did happen - this is what the evidence testifies.

2. The Miracles Happened In A Pre-Scientific Age

It is alleged that since the miracles recorded in Scripture occurred from two thousand to four thousand years ago they should not be believed. Supposedly they took place before the age of modern science when people were ignorant about the way the universe functioned. Granted the miracles were recorded before modern times, yet the testimony to their truthfulness remains. The eyewitnesses were just as skeptical as modern man and their reaction to the miraculous was the same as ours would have been if we saw the same events.

3. The Miracles Were Self-Induced

There are those who argue that the healing miracles recorded in the New Testament could have been self-induced. In the first century, before the advent of modern medicine, there was much ignorance regarding disease. Could not one easily argue that the healings of Jesus were self-induced because the illnesses were psychological rather than physical?

They Are Beyond Natural Explanation

A study of the Gospel accounts will put that question to rest. The healing miracles of Jesus were of such a nature as to be beyond any natural explanation. For example, Jesus healed a man who was paralyzed (Mark 2:3-12) and another who was blind from birth (John 9:1-7). Lazarus was dead four days when Jesus brought him back to life (John 11). A young girl who was dead was brought back to life by Jesus (Luke 8:51-56). He healed ten lepers at once (Luke 17:11-19) and healed a man who was a deaf mute (Mark 7:31-37).

They Could Not All Be Self-Induced

It stretches beyond the bounds of imagination to think all these people, including the ones who had been dead, could only be ill in their minds and not in their bodies. Furthermore, we are never told of Jesus ever refusing to heal a person. Unless one would want to argue that no legitimate disease was present in the first century, it seems clear that His healings were often and varied enough to prove valid.

4. Why Aren't They Happening Today?

Another objection, which is similar to an earlier one, is that if miracles occurred long ago, we should expect them to occur today, if indeed they really did occur. First, it ignores the fact that miracles are found in clusters in Scripture, not on every page. But even if they were, "So what?" The issue is, "Did they happen as the eyewitnesses testify?"

5. The Possibility Of Misinterpreting The Event

This objection deals with the frailty of us as humans. We all know that it is possible to watch an event and describe it in such a way as to misinterpret what actually happened. Since humans sometimes poorly report what they have seen, why should we believe the biblical account of miracles?

Events Can Be Properly Interpreted

If we took this objection to its logical fulfillment, then there could be no accurate reporting of any event. All reports would be suspect and nothing could be believed. Yet experience tells us that humans can accurately report on events they witness. The evidence has to be weighed and evaluated for each incident.

6. There Are Contradictions Between The Accounts

Often it is alleged that the biblical accounts of the miraculous are so hopelessly contradictory that they should not be believed. Yet this is not the case. The fact that there are minor differences in detail only shows that the accounts are independent of one another. There is agreement between them on the major points.

7. We Find Miracle Reports In Other Religions

What about the miracles in other religions? Since there are other religions who also report miraculous deeds occurring among them, why should they be rejected and the biblical miracles believed? Three things should be considered when answering this question.

A. There Were Not That Many Miracles

First, there are not as many miracles in the world religions as some people assume. Miracles are very rare in the accounts of the major religions of the world. The exception, of course, is the biblical account, where miracles are an important part of the message.

B. The So-Called Miracles Were Not Done Publicly

The public demonstration of Jesus with respect to His miracles is in contrast to other so-called miracle workers who did their work in private. For example, almost all the miracles that are attributed to Mohammed in the Koran occurred in private - where there was no way either to prove or disprove the testimony.

C. There Is No Real Purpose For Them

The miracles attributed to other religions are not backed up by eyewitness testimony. Furthermore, they are all too often performed as a sideshow with no direct purpose in mind. The so-called miracles of other religions do not touch humanity at its basic needs as do the miracles recorded in the Bible. This, and the lack of corroborative testimony to their actually occurring, causes them to be rejected.

8. They Were Recorded Long After The Fact

Often it is objected that the miracles of the New Testament were written long after the events transpired. Supposedly this makes them untrue. Again, as we have seen, the miracles in Scripture were recorded by those who were there - eyewitnesses to the events. Their accounts did not grow larger and larger with time.

Jesus Christ Did Miracles!

All the evidence points to the fact that Jesus Christ did indeed work miracles. Both believers and unbelievers testified to this fact. No one doubted His ability to perform supernatural deeds. The question asked Jesus was not if He performed miracles but rather how did He do these supernatural works. The truth of His miracle working ability was beyond all doubt.

Summary

Whenever the miracles of Jesus are mentioned there are a number of objections that are usually brought up. To many the idea of miracles is simply impossible. Consequently there is no reason to refute something that everyone knows does not occur. However this assumes knowledge that none of us have. Nobody is in a position to say whether miracles can or never have happened. Another objection concerns miracles done in a pre-scientific age. This supposedly makes them untrue. However when they occurred has nothing to do whether or not they occurred. Some attempt to argue that the miracles were merely self-induced experiences - not real miracles. The problem with this view is that many of the biblical miracles, such as raising people from the dead, cannot be attributed to some mere psychological cause. The fact they are not happening today has also been raised. Again, this has nothing to do as to whether or not they happened in the past. There is also the objection that the event was not really a miracle but only interpreted as such. Yet this does not take into account the nature of the events or the eyewitness testimony. The gospel accounts of the miraculous supposedly have contradictions between them. Yet these can be harmonized if one will carefully examine all that is said. The miracles in other religions do not contradict the biblical miracles. They do not have the type of attesting evidence as the ones in Scripture. Finally it is objected that they were recorded long after the fact. However this is untrue. Eyewitnesses testified to the gospel miracles. Consequently the evidence points to the fact that the Bible is accurate in attributing miracles to Jesus.

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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