The Miracles of Scripture are Reasonable… So Why Do We Run for Cover?

Published on August 17, 2016 by Joshua Centanni

Carpenter’s Son Publications, 2015 | 281 pages

Guest Blog by Craig Biehl

“Behold, Thou hast made the heavens and the earth by Thy great power and by Thine outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for Thee” (Jeremiah 32:17 NAS). God spoke the entire universe into existence without help, without pre-existing material, and with nothing beyond Himself. From nothing came everything by the word of the eternal and boundless God. With infinite power He can do whatever He wants, whenever He wants, and nothing and no one can stop Him. This all-important truth not only gives us great comfort in an evil world, it provides the basis for a right view of God’s works as recorded in Scripture. Nothing is impossible with God. With infinite power He created all things, with infinite power He sustains all things, and with infinite power He controls all things. God cannot be subject to the limitations of His universe. What we call miracles, then, are both reasonable and to be expected in a world created, sustained, and controlled by a God of boundless power.

Miracles are also quite reasonable in view of the infinite gap between God and His creation. As mystery must accompany our limited perspective before an infinite God, so aspects of how God orders and operates His universe exceed our capacity to understand or explain them. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways,” declares the Lord (Isaiah 55:9 ESV).

Now, what we often call “natural” laws are really divine laws, or the particular way God governs reality for a given length of time. The uniformity of nature, as we observe it, only exists as long as God orders things in a particular way. And even if matter and energy could exist apart from God, random chaos would prevail apart from God ordering them. All things depend on God’s ongoing power for existence and order, always. Miracles, then, should not be contrasted with a reality presumed to exist and operate apart from God’s ongoing power, or viewed as God intervening in the operations of the universe. On the contrary, miracles are no more than God changing the way He orders and sustains an aspect of His universe at a point in time, for a particular purpose. The far greater miracle entails God’s ordering and sustaining of every quark, atom, and molecule at every moment. The uniformity of nature so wonderfully displays God’s genius that the miracles of Scripture pale by comparison.

So why do some who profess to believe in the infinite power of God as the creator and sustainer of all things struggle with accepting biblical miracles as literally and historically true, in passages that are clearly historical and or affirmed as such by additional witnesses throughout Scripture? It may be that some who profess faith in Christ have yet to understand the implications of God as the creator and sustainer of all things. We all struggle with living holy lives this side of glory and none can remotely claim perfection in thought and deed. And because godliness includes right views about God and His universe, we cannot claim a complete and God honoring worldview without defect.

Perhaps our capitulation to unbelievers regarding biblical miracles owes to the pressure of a popular culture and media that denies the existence or power of God and disdains belief in “fairy tales.” Maybe the pressure of academic institutions that exclude and impugn you for believing Scripture intimidates us because nobody likes being called an idiot. If the “fear of man” is a “snare” anywhere, it certainly is here. But, whatever the reason, the power and veracity of God tells us we need not bend the truth under the weight of opposition. We rely on God as our creator for a correct knowledge of His person, works, and world, and He has not given us permission to alter His revelation about these things. When a wise and powerful king delivers a message by the hand of a serf, it is not for the serf to “make improvements” to the message. We have neither the qualifications nor authority to do so. Thus, when we presume our own perspective as sufficient to sit as the ultimate authority on what a transcendent and infinitely powerful God can and cannot do with His creation, and that contrary to what He has told us, we need to repent of the audacity. After all, was it not the heart of Adam and Eve’s sin that they set their opinion and will over God’s Word and will, throwing themselves and their posterity into ruin? Why would we want to imitate this?

So, the next time people roll their eyes at your belief in the historical account of Jonah in a big fish, Noah and the Ark, the universal flood, or any other biblical miracles, rather than affirming principles of unbelief by denying God’s testimony through exegetical gymnastics and appeals to “natural” phenomena, explain the infinite power of God. Add to this the impossibility of our knowing that God is limited by what He made, given we have never been beyond our three or four dimensions of existence, cannot know the contents of our neighbor’s garage without having a look, and could never know that God does not exist without knowledge of everything in the universe and beyond (which would make us God). We do better in responding to denials of biblical miracles by affirming the greatness of God, and by showing the sin of presuming our own will and opinion as superior to God’s revelation, and using biblical miracles to deny the One to whom we owe all love, honor, and obedience.

For the honor of God and the eternal good of His detractors, we should turn objections to God’s truth into opportunities to show the need of Christ for forgiveness of the sin of exalting our opinion and will over the Word and will of our benevolent Creator and Redeemer. May God give us grace to proclaim His infinite power and excellence and repent of trying to conform His person and works to the blind faith assumptions of unbelief.

Portions adapted from Craig Biehl, God the Reason: How Infinite Excellence Gives Unbreakable Faith, Carpenter’s Son Publishing, 2015.

 

About the Author

Craig Biehl (PhD, Westminster Theological Seminary) is the author of The Infinite Merit of Christ: The Glory of Christ’s Obedience in the Theology of Jonathan Edwards; Reading Religious Affections: A Study Guide to Jonathan Edwards’ Classic on the Nature of True Christianity; and The Box: Answering the Faith of Unbelief.

Buy the books

God the Reason: How Infinite Excellence Gives Unbreakable Faith

Carpenter’s Son Publications, 2015 | 281 pages