wont God heal amputees? You never see missing limbs spontaneously restored.
Why is that? Surely the prayers from amputees and their loved ones are plaintive
the Bible Jesus (God) is described as healing people with serious afflictions.
A man born blind was given sight by Jesus. Why don't we see that happening today?
A man with leprosy is instantly healed by Jesus. Peter and John instantly heal
a man who was born lame and who is unable to walk. Paul did the same with a man
in Lystra (Acts 14:8-10)
Before coming to a conclusion, we should ask, What
was the purpose of these miracles? Until we understand why God either
directly, or through a person, does supernatural miracles, we cannot know why
He is not doing supernatural miracles today.
There is an assumption built
into this question. That assumption is that God acts supernaturally because
someone, in prayer, asks Him to do so. And if the person doing the asking is plaintive
(expressing sorrow or being mournful), that is sufficient reason for God to act
This exposes some contradictory thinking on the part of
atheists. The claim here is that because we do not see God working supernaturally
in response to prayers, there must not be a God. On the other hand, a claim they
make against the Bible is that:
These biblical myths support
the belief, which has been held by primitive and illiterate people throughout
history, that supernatural beings frequently and arbitrarily intervene in this
world. (Did God Really Say?, Page 195)
Of course, as atheists
point out, if supernatural beings frequently and arbitrarily intervene
in this world science is destroyed, and it in fact becomes difficult
just to lead a normal life because you never know when God is going to violate
the rules, or even change the rules. The resulting conclusion is that, if God
is acting supernaturally, and we can't trust observational science, then we live
in an arbitrary existence and we have no way to study and make sense of the universe
nor our existence.
However, whichever way they want to have it, the atheists
have created an imaginary god and then claimed their imaginary god does not exist.
They right! The god they've made up doesn't exist! But the true creator/savior
God does exist. And He has very specific and limited reasons for His supernatural
actions. They are neither arbitrary nor disruptive of the "natural"
Note: The supernatural is addressed in chapters 42, 43, 44 of
"Did God Really Say?"
There are five major historical periods
when God was working supernaturally: creation (including Adam and Eve's time in
the garden),Noah's flood, the time of Moses and Joshua, the time of Elijah and
Elisha, and the time of Christ and the apostles. God was working in special and
unique ways during those very limited times. These types of supernatural periods
are not happening today. However, supernatural periods such as these will happen
again, but only as we approach the end times.
God's purposes in acting
supernaturally can be understood by looking at what He was doing during these
1. Creation: bringing everything into existence. This
was a one-time series of supernatural creation.
2. Judgment: the
wickedness of the world had become so great that God first announced how people
could be saved from His judgment (get on the ark), and then He brought judgment
on the world (world-wide flood). This type of supernatural action will happen
again. A world-wide judgment will happen again and the entire world, and all life
on it, will be destroyed. However, as with the flood, God has warned us and has
provided an escape. Just as the only way to escape Noah's flood was to go through
the door of the ark, the only way to escape the final judgment is to go through
the door who is Jesus Christ.
3. Demonstrate the message and messenger
are from God: God validates His revelation of truth by accompanying it with
supernatural miracles. That is the reason Elijah and Elisha are associated with
miracles. It is the reason that Christ and the apostles are associated with miracles.
Demonstrate that Jesus Christ is God: Jesus did things that only God can do.
Most lists of Jesus' miracles include 37 supernatural miracles. But, Jesus did
more than that. He knew people's thoughts, for example, and answered their thoughts
before they expressed them. While that's not a miracle outsiders could see, the
person whose thoughts Jesus answered had the opportunity to recognize that something
was happening that only God could do.Chapter 43 points out that there are
a few supernatural miracles that fall outside of the five main periods of God
acting supernaturally. They are:
- The suns shadow going back ten
degrees (II Kings 20:9-11);
- A witch bringing the ghost of Samuel back
from the dead (I Samuel 28:3-15);
- Disembodied fingers writing on a wall
- A man living for three days and nights in the belly of a
fish (Jonah 1:17)
- Let's add one not on the humanist's list, Gideon putting
out a fleece in Judges Chapter 6.
These took place in very rare (five
instances during a period of 4,500 years) and special circumstances.
- This sign was requested by Hezekiah, and given to confirm God's promise that
Hezekiah would be healed.
#2 - This is a unique miracle in all of scripture.
The spirit world is real and demons (fallen angels) do interact with the physical
world, at times impersonating the spirit of a dead person. This is the only recorded
instance of God permitting an actual dead person to manifest... something that
God had forbidden. Saul was the first king of Israel and God used the highly respected
prophet Samuel (who was dead), who was probably the only prophet who would be
believed in the circumstances, to prophecy Saul's doom resulting from his disobedience.
These circumstances made it clear this prophecy was God and was true. Even the
medium knew it was from God. (The message is validated by Samuel's appearance.)
- Babylon was under siege. King Belshazzar was holding a banquet to bolster the
moral of his people and call on his gods to deliver them. The finger writing a
message on the wall made it clear this was a message from the real God, not the
helpless Babylonian"gods.". Daniel was called on to read the handwriting,
which was a prophecy of the destruction of Babylon. That destruction happened
the same night. God could have given the prophecy through Daniel, but with the
Medes and Persians already surrounding them, it would not have been clear the
prophecy was from God. The finger writing on the wall made it very clear this
was from God, that it was Daniel's God, the one and only God... and that the Babylonian
gods could do nothing like this.
So, once again, God uses a
supernatural action to validate His message.
#4 - The Ninevites were a major
enemy of Israel and Job did not want to bring a message of warning to Israel's
enemy. So he was running away physically and spiritually from what God wanted
Him to do. Job booked passage on a ship to get as far away from Nineveh as possible.
But God caused a storm and brought a great fish to swallow Jonah, bring Jonah
back to land and the road to Nineveh.
God could have used other ways to get
Jonah to Nineveh. But in using a fish God foreshadows our salvation through Jesus
Christ. Matthew writes the following in chapter 12 of his gospel:
just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster,
so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment, and will
condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something
greater than Jonah is here. Matthew 12:40-41
- Once again God is validating His message, this time His message to Gideon. In
this case God chose to use someone who was weak theologically; in a situation
in which evil was rampant and the Middianites were conquering Israel; and prophecy
was not happening. God used Gideon putting out a fleece to validate His instructions
to Gideon... instructions that had to appear to Gideon as though they were a suicide
Does God need to validate His message today? No. We have the complete
scriptures which are sufficient for all we need. Are we in a situation today that
requires God to act supernaturally? No. Although God has the ability to act supernaturally
whenever He wishes, there is no indication in scripture that He is acting supernaturally
today. (See chapter 43). Today God works through providential miracles. These
types of miracles involve God working through people and circumstances to bring
about His will.
The Apostolic Gifts Ceased? - This message from Phil Johnson addresses the
question of the continuation of the apostolic gifts (miracles for example) and
why they are no longer active today (free audio download).
If you have
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