Chapter 8 Miracles: Signs of God or Gullibility?
The halfway point in the book marks a transition from proving the existence of God to proving Christianity. Here again are the twelve points the book sets out to make.4 I have summarized them below.
- Truth about reality is knowable
- The opposite of true is false
- It is true that the theistic God exists. There are 4 types of evidence for this truth
- If God exists, then miracles are possible
- Miracles can be used to confirm a message from God (acts of God confirm a word from God)
- The New Testament is historically reliable, based on 4 key points of evidence
- The New Testament says Jesus claimed to be God
- The Jesus’ claim to be God was miraculously confirmed by
- His fulfillment of many prophecies about himself
- His sinless life and miraculous deeds
- His prediction and accomplishment of his resurrection
- Therefore, Jesus is God
- Whatever Jesus teaches is true
- Jesus taught that the Bible is the Word of God
- Therefore, it is true that the Bible is the Word of God – and anything opposed to it is false
Chapter 8 covers the two points about miracles @ items 4 and 5.
The authors point out that so far the Cosmological, Teleological, a Moral Law arguments prove the existence of a theistic God. Therefore no other religious worldviews, those that deny a theist God, are correct about God. That is based on the Law of Noncontradiction. Mutually exclusive religions cannot all be true.
While other religions can offer good guidance and state accurate truths, they are still built on a false foundation without a theistic God.
How we know beyond a reasonable doubt that a theistic God exists with certain characteristics.50
The Cosmological Argument proves that God is
- Self-Existent, timeless, nonspatial, immaterial (outside of time, space, and matter). in other words, without limits. infinite.
- Unimaginably powerful, having created the universe out of nothing.
- Personal, by choosing to convert nothingness into the time-space-material universe.
The Teleological Argument proves that God is
- Supremely intelligent, able to design incredibly complex life in an incredibly precise universe.
- Purposeful, having designed many life forms which live in the specific and ordered environment they exist in.
The Moral Law Argument proves that God is
- Absolutely morally pure. Consisting of infinite justice and infinite love.
God Communicates Using Miracles
Is it possible for God to intervene in the natural world by performing miracles?
In fact, miracles are not only possible; miracles are actual, because the greatest miracle of all – the creation of the universe out of nothing – has already occurred. So with regard to the Bible, if Genesis 1:1 is true – “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” – then every other miracle in the Bible is easy to believe.51
The two major arguments against miracles came from Benedict Spinoza and David Hume.
According to Spinoza53
- Miracles are a violation of natural laws.
- Natural laws are immutable.
- It is impossible to violate immutable laws.
- Therefore, miracles are impossible.
The problem with Spinoza’s argument is that it begs the question. How does he know that natural laws are immutable?
The creation of the universe itself shows us that natural laws are not immutable. The universe was created by a power beyond nature, a supernatural power.
Natural laws are not immutable because they are descriptionsof what happens, not prescriptions of what has to happen. Natural laws don’t really cause anything, they only describe what regularly happens in nature.53
Hume’s argument is that we should never believe miracles because they are rare. We would be wise to believe natural law because it is not rare, it occurs regularly. This is based his premise that the evidence for the regular is always greater than that for the rare.
Four examples that disprove Hume’s premise.54
- The origin of the universe happened only once.
- The origin of life happened only once.
- The origin of new life forms also only happened once.
- In fact, the entire history of the world is comprised of rare, unrepeatable events. For example, David Hume’s own birth happened only once, but he had no trouble believing it occurred!
Four problems with Hume’s naturalist thinking.55
- It confuses believability with probability
- It confuses probability with evidence
- It argues in a circle
- It argues that something rare should not be believed
The authors describe 3 attributes about God that should be present as criteria for identifying miracles.56
- An instantaneous beginning of a powerful act, as evidenced by the Cosmological Argument.
- Intelligent design and purpose, as evidenced by the Teleological Argument.
- The promotion of good or right behavior , as evidenced by the Moral Argument.
The essential characteristics of the biblical God can be discovered without the Bible by way of natural revelation – as manifested by the Cosmological, Teleological, and Moral Arguments. Since God exists, miracles are possible, In fact, the greatest miracle of all – the creation of the universe out of nothing – has already occurred, which means Genesis 1:1 and every other miracle in the Bible is believable. A true miracle would be an act only God could perform and include Godlike characteristics such as supernatural power, intelligent design, and the promotion of moral behavior. God could use miracles as his sign to confirm to us his special revelation.
Did you ever doubt miracles? If so does the explanation provided in the chapter help?
C.S. Lewis, who wrote a book on Miracles, said
Do you think that is a problem with the unbelief in miracles? The idea that refusal to believe causes us to set out to argue they are not possible and did not happen, when we have already made that conclusion because we can’t accept that it is possible? Everything about the Gospel of Jesus revolves around miracles. Did you ever wonder why it was that way?
50Geisler & Turek pages 197-198 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
51Geisler & Turek pages 197-198 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
52Geisler & Turek pages 197-198 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
53Geisler & Turek page 204 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
54Geisler & Turek page 206 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
55Geisler & Turek pages 207-208 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
56Geisler & Turek pages 207-208 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.