Friday, January 20, 2017

Miracles Getting Easier to Believe

I was talking to a person who feels the Bible’s miracles are little more than fairytales. In context of the conversation, I was trying to help the man appreciate that God could easily and quickly remove all evil. As an example, I cited the account of the overnight death of 185,000 Assyrians. He immediately balked.

So I tried to reason with him that today there are bacteria such as anthrax, viruses such as Ebola, and even chemical warfare that could do that. The bible doesn't say how the angel accomplished his slaughter of the evil Assyrians, it merely, without details, said that in one night it took only one angel to accomplish the victory. (Other possibilities: Dust Storm, Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers suggests it may have been "some form of epidemic disease, dysentery or the plague, or even atmospheric conditions, such as the thunderstorm implied in Isaiah 29:6.")

I saw a medical emergency reality show that recounted the treatment of a cowboy who came into ER in a near catatonic state and whose vital signs were quickly deteriorating. After a while, one of the attending physicians noticed his assisting nurses seemed confused and had slurred speech. In time it was determined that the cowboy had been in a field that had just been crop dusted with insecticide. When the medical staff touched his clothing, they also started to succumb to the effects.

In the so-called “dark ages,” it was thought that diseases were caused by many things such as punishment from God, demon attack and witchcraft practices. Today, we know better. All of the above illustrates that while we may not always understand the exact mechanisms used to accomplish miracles, that doesn’t mean they were unscientific. It only means we have not yet developed enough understanding to explain those miracles.

(Ok, admit it, I know what you’re thinking: “Wait a moment, isn’t the “dark ages’” fear of widespread death exactly what the Bible attributes to God in the case you cite?” Yes and no. What made the Bible account different is that God foretold what he would do. Whereas, with epidemic and pandemic diseases, there was no prophecy of such. Instead, as later discovered, it was due to poor hygiene, food and water contamination, and more. Although there are eccentric preachers out there even in our time that attribute earthquakes, floods, and other natural disasters as being God’s punishment, their claims are completely false and not based on scripture. Jesus gave two examples indicating that if God punished all evil people on an ongoing basis, no one would be around anymore. Instead, these instances are merely “time and unexpected events that overtake all of us.”)

See expanded and newer article here.


  1. Very sound, good reasoning Bart. If you don't mind, I'd like to borrow these arguments.

    1. I responded via email. Yes, you may use the article