Validity of the Miracles of the Bible

Miracles are Witnessed Historical Events

Do the miracles of the Bible qualify as historical events. “If miracles are capable of sensory perception, they can be made matters of testimony. If they are adequately testified to, then the recorded testimony has the same validity for evidence as the experience of beholding the event.” (Ramm 140). Luke claims to have listened to many witnesses before penning his Gospel. John makes it clear he saw and heard the events in the life of Jesus.

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full” (1 John 1:1-4).

Peter makes a similar claim. “For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty” (2 Peter 1:16).

When Peter preached on the Day of Pentecost, the miracles of Christ were sufficient proof for three thousand to be motivated to obey the Gospel and become Christians. Peter said, “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know— Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death” (Acts 2:22-23).

Every court in the world operates on the basis of reliable testimony by word of mouth or in writing. Did they tell the truth? “But they were disciples”. We would not today, in a court of law, say that in order to guarantee objectivity on the part of witnesses, we will listen only to those who were not at the scene of an accident and had nothing to do with it. For to deny the historical testimony for miracles, one must likewise deny the testimony for all history.

Miracles Were Testified of by Enemies

Some might argue that the eyewitnesses were disciples of Jesus and therefore biased in favor of His miracles. Being a disciple does not necessary discredit their objectivity. However, there were many others who were enemies of Jesus who can serve as witnesses to His miracles. Those who crucified Jesus were witnesses (Acts 2:22). Later the Sanhedrin said of the apostles, “What shall we do to these men? For, indeed, that a notable miracle has been done through them is evident to all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it” (Acts 4:16). The Pharisees accused Jesus of casting out demons by the power of the Devil (Matt. 12:24), but they did not deny the miracle.

Jesus knew they heard and saw His miracles but were suffering from self-imposed blindness and deafness. Jesus said, “Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: `Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive” (Mt 13:13).

Miracles Have Uniformity of Purpose

Miracles authenticate and validate God’s Purpose and Prophets. “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (Jn 20:30-31). Biblical miracles cluster around three periods of Biblical history; the Exodus; the prophets who led Israel, and the time of Christ and the early Church. Authenticating the message and the messenger, or to demonstrate God’s love by relieving suffering.

C. S. Lewis wrote, “All the essentials of Hinduism would, I think, remain unimpaired if you subtracted the miraculous, and the same is almost true of Muhammadanism, but you cannot do that with Christianity. It is precisely the story of a great Miracle. A naturalistic Christianity leaves out all that is specifically Christian” (Miracles, p. 83).

Miracles Were Instantaneous

Almost all miracles were instantaneous. Others were slightly delayed due to a desired and necessary effect. “Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed” (Mt. 8:3; 9:27-30).

Miracles Were of Numerous Types

“Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them” (Mt. 4:24). “When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick” (Mt 8:16). Miracles of nature, such as over the storm and those of healing of disease including lepers and congenital disease. Those miracles dealing with the supernatural, such as, demons, knowledge, creation, over death.

Miracles Were Performed in Public

The healings were open for public scrutiny – that is why they were so effective. “Now when He had departed from there, He went into their synagogue. Then He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and it was restored as whole as the other. Then the Pharisees went out and plotted against Him, how they might destroy Him” (Mt 12:9,13-14) “And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all” (Ac 3:16). “So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way of punishing them, because of the people, since they all glorified God for what had been done” (Ac 4:21)

Someone said, “In my church, the pastor asks people if they want to feel the power, then blows on their faces. Most of the fall down. Is this Holy Ghost power?” But remember, those who were healed were not always present (Mt. 8:5-13). No special healing services were conducted. An emotion-charged atmosphere was not required for success in healing.

Either the Bible was miraculously given, and miracles actually occurred as stated in the Bible, and the Bible is the Word of God, or miracles did not happen at all, and the Bible is not of divine but human origin. If miracles did not occur, then the bible is not a special divine revelation. And we are without a Savior.

– Daniel R. Vess

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