We now move on to the chapter on miracles, which we have discussed here often.
The idea of comsology has already been discussed. I urge the reader to look at in-depth reports at the Christian-thinktank.com. Since these are in the Old Testament also, it would be wise to get a copy of Walter Kaiser’s work, “The Old Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?”
The second and third category is more interesting.
These are things like an axehead floating, walking on water, and diseases being healed on the spot and of course, the virgin birth. I find it amusing to see the dead being raised in the category. (When did we discover that the dead coming back to life was a problem for the biological sciences exactly?)
Friends. We’ve answered this enough times. Those kinds of things are miracles because there is such a thing as the natural law and while the ancients did not know the theory of relativity, they did know basic information about the world. (Especially in a Hellenistic culture. What do you think started philosophy?)
The fourth class are things that seem just strange to moderns today. (Because we all know floating axeheads and virgin births aren’t strange at all. I saw one just the other day….) In this we have events like Daniel in the lion’s den and Balaam’s donkey as well as the speaking of foreign languages at Pentecost.
Friends. It’s just amazing what people will go to to try to explain them away instead of just being willing to accept that a miracle happened. “But we don’t see them today!” Maybe you don’t. I don’t. So what? That doesn’t mean a thing. I’m not going to say it never happened just because I’ve never seen it happen. (These are the same ones that expect us to believe life naturally came from non-life. Go figure.)
The Humean objection is given as well. If my readers do not know it, I urge them to simply do a Google search and look for Hume’s argument against miracles. C.S. Lewis and others have pointed out the circularity of the argument. One must assume the uniformity of experience, but that has yet to be demonstrated.
Loftus also brings forward the argument of Ron Nash that the strongest objection to miracles is that there are miracle claims in other religions.
Well, let’s look at that. The main one given is Islam.
In the Qu’ran, Muhammad makes it plain that he is just a warner. He never claims to do miracles, although the Qu’ran does state that Jesus did miracles. (For any Muslim readers, I have read the Qu’ran. Have you read the gospels?) So when do these miracle stories of Muhammad show up?
They show up about 150 years after Muhammad and most likely because Christian apologists back then were arguing with Muslims and using the miracles of Jesus and so some miracles had to be added to Muhammad’s career. Probably the most famous is the splitting of the moon in two.
So what’s the difference? No eyewitnesses around. The Qu’ran argues against it. There’s no archaeological evidence of the reliability of the Qu’ran. Compare that to the Scripture where we have reason to trust it, where it was written from eyewitness accounts, and where it fits in perfectly with the worldview.
Interesting note also: There is hardly anyone who denies that Paul wrote 2 Corinthians. What does he say in 12:12? He says the signs of an apostle were done among the Corinthians by him and that includes signs, wonders, and mighty deeds. (We today call those miracles.) You aren’t going to write to someone where the issue is at stake your credibility and say you did miracles if you did no such thing.
Something else to note later on. Loftus says that Lewis and Craig would not believe in miracles that attest to major truth claims of other religions. I can’t speak for them, but I wouldn’t have a problem with them. If someone presents a miracle in another religion, I would look at it just as much as I would in my own religion. (And I assure you, when a Christian comes to me with a miracle claim, I’m also one to not believe it immediately, aside from exceptions such as a really close friend or family member.)
I have no problem with other supernatural powers at work doing something or even God granting a miracle in another religion that could be used to give someone light. I treat them all equally. It’s foolish to deny miracles can occur outright. It’s just as foolish to believe all claims outright.
I wish there was more here, but there just isn’t. There’s some bizarre idea that the more we know the natural world, the more we realize miracles can’t occur. It simply assumes that all strange events really are works of natural law and that the ancients didn’t know better.
Excuse me, but I’m still skeptical, and to play the skeptic card they love to use, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and frankly, they don’t have it.