Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Do you take the miraculous out of miracles?

I recently saw an ad for a book that promised to tell me “how subatomic particles explain the resurrection.” Now, I haven't read the book, so I can't speak to this particular author's argument, but I would like to address this general approach to miracles. Today it is all too common to hear someone offer a “scientific” explanation of some biblical miracle.

Some other examples include the destruction of Sodom (a volcanic eruption), the parting of the Red Sea (tsunami from a volcanic eruption), the quail in the desert (wind blew 'em in, they were tired), and parting the Jordan (earthquake).

Now, I can't say that's totally wrong. I can't say subatomic particles don't explain the resurrection or that the quail weren't just tired. And God clearly does work through natural agents to accomplish His goals on many occasions – see, for example, most of the books of Joshua and Judges.

And we do want to be careful not to claim too much. Not every act of God in the Bible has to be “supernatural.” Some might be providential natural occurrences or psychosomatic healings, and we shouldn't insist on things that the Bible doesn't insist on.

But we often seem to be trying to take the mystery out of the miracles. Perhaps it is because we've allowed the skeptics to make us leery of supernatural acts. Maybe it's because we're trying to bring God down to a manageable size. And it might just be that we simply want to be able to understand everything. Maybe it's something else entirely. Whatever the cause, we need to stop trying to explain away every miracle of the Bible.

A miracle is, by definition, something that cannot happen naturally. This is an ax head floating, a donkey talking, and a three-day dead man rising from the grave. If it weren't impossible, it wouldn't be special. If God can create the universe – indeed, the entire space-time continuum – from scratch, He can do anything – parting the Red Sea would be a piece of cake.

So when the Bible claims a miracle, we shouldn't be afraid of the supernatural. Let’s stop trying to explain everything and embrace the mystery.

1 comment:

danny wright said...

Here's a miracle I know they'll never explain: After twelve years of marriage, my wife still loves me!