Can I believe in biblical miracles?
In the New Testament we read about many miracles. Did they really happen, or are they simply legends or maybe the ancient people described what they couldn’t explain? Can I believe in biblical miracles?
Both the faith of the Old Testament and the New Testament are based on miracles. In the Old Testament, the main event is the deliverance of the people of Israel from Egyptian bondage, including the miracles of the Passover and the splitting of the waters of the Red Sea in two. These were miracles of redemption for the people of Israel and God’s judgment for their enemies. Without these miracles, the Old Testament faith has little significance.
In the New Testament, the resurrection of Jesus is the greatest miracle. All the authors of the New Testament books believed that Jesus was crucified and rose from the dead on the third day. Without the miracle of the resurrection of Jesus, there is no Christian faith as Paul states:
and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain, your faith also is in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:14 NASB)
Thus, in both the Old and New Testaments, without a miracle, biblical faith makes little sense. Even though biblical miracles and signs underlie the Christian faith, some people take a philosophical position by denying their existence for the simple reason that God cannot break the “laws of nature” He has established. The idea of “laws of nature” that are firmly established belongs to Newton’s physics, but not to the relative conception of the world that considers laws as generals based on observations.
Scripture assures us of God’s work in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ in this world.
for by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominions, or rulers, or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:16-17 NASB)
and Hebrews 1:3 says:
And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.(NASB)
Each miracle has two parts: the event and the explanation. Often the event is a regular one and not a special one. Such is the event described in the Gospel of John 6:1-11:
After these things Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee (or Tiberias). A large crowd was following Him, because they were watching the signs which He was performing on those who were sick. But Jesus went up on the mountain, and there He sat with His disciples. Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was near. So Jesus, after raising His eyes and seeing that a large crowd was coming to Him, said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread so that these people may eat?” But He was saying this only to test him, for He Himself knew what He intended to do. Philip answered Him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not enough for them, for each to receive just a little!” One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what are these for so many people?” Jesus said, “Have the people recline to eat.” Now there was plenty of grass in the place. So the men reclined, about five thousand in number. Jesus then took the loaves, and after giving thanks He distributed them to those who were reclining; likewise also of the fish, as much as they wanted. (NASB)
Explaining the event directs us to the person who did the miracle and why he did it.
Therefore when the people saw the sign which He had performed, they said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that lasts for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal. (John 6:14,27 NASB)
Bible miracles have many functions. First, miracles accredit the messenger God sent, whether that person is Moses or another prophet or Jesus Christ or one of His apostles. Miracles are how God proves that the person He has sent is truly from Him. God sustains their message and work with His spiritual power.
Second, miracles show the nature of God and His kingdom. Miracles can work God’s justice, but more often it shows God’s character that is full of mercy and forgiveness. Jesus proclaimed the Kingdom of God and by the miracles he performed showed the nature of this Kingdom. The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the gospel is preached to the poor (Luke 7:22) – so is the kingdom of God.
Third, miracles do the work of the Kingdom of God. When we read Luke 18 we find that it is impossible for a person to be saved by his own efforts, although with God all things are possible. Then in Luke 19: 1-10 we read the story of Zacchaeus, a rich man who is saved by faith in Jesus Christ. Obviously, a miracle happened, and the Kingdom of God even came to a rich man. The same is true of demons who are cast out, for every time this happens, the boundaries of Satan’s kingdom are pushed back. Similarly, many other wonders have this function.
So, did miracles really happen? Yes. Moreover, we saw that it is important to establish that they happened. A miracle is essential to the Christian faith. Biblical miracles serve as evidence and explain the work of the Kingdom of God. I just have to believe the testimony of the witnesses who saw and experienced them in their lives. Even if I have not seen biblical miracles with my own eyes and have not observed them directly, I must believe what credible witnesses attest.
Miracles are not just beautiful stories for Sunday school. They are a demonstration of God’s character, not only in the past but also in the present.
Translated by Didina Vicliuc