Wiki‎ > ‎Apologetics‎ > ‎

Reasons For Believing in Biblical Miracles - part 2

The Critics:

  • Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677) - a Dutch rationalist who argued in his Tractus Theologicopoliticus (1670) that God could not disregard His own laws.  To do so would be to contradict Himself, since His laws of nature reflect an unchangeable order.  This is completely stupid.  God never claims that the laws of nature are immutable.
  • Friedrick Schleiermacher (1768-1834) - considered the father of modern liberal Protestant theology, argued that Christ's miracles were only miracles for those in whom they were done.  However, they were not miracles in themselves.
  • Heinrich Paulus (1761-1851) - german theologian that argues that the writers of the gospels did not intend their reports to be understood as miracles but as ordinary everyday experiences.
  • David Strauss (1808-1874) - In his Life Of Jesus, Critically Examined (1835-1836) argued that the supernatural elements of the Gospels were myth, created soon after Jesus' death.  Rudolf Bultmann's views were essentially the same.
  • G. Vermes in his Jesus the Jew (1973) - describes Jesus as "charismatic" 
  • Morton Smith in his Jesus the Magician (1978) makes Jesus out to be a magician.

Response:

  • Every effort to dismiss the mighty miracles of Jesus Christ is the result of a presupposition of unbelief.
  • The Christian looks at the miracles of Jesus Christ through a presupposition of faith given through regeneration.
Once admit the existence of a personal God, Maker and Ruler of the world, and no limits, temporal or otherwise, can be set to the creative power of such a God.  Admit that God once created the world, and you cannot deny that He might engage in creation again. - J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism (Grand Rapids: Eardmans, 1923), 102.
  • Admit that God once created the world and you cannot deny that God
    • divided the Sea (Ex. 14:21-29) or the Jordan River (Josh 3:15-17)
    • caused the sun to stand still (Josh. 10:12-14)
    • withheld rain three years (1 Kings 17:1-7)
    • would cause an iron ax head to float on water (2 Kings 6:5-7)
    • caused a great fish to swallow Jonah and spit him out on dry land
    • sent his angel to kill 185,000 Assyrians in one night (2 Kings 19:35)
    • caused the shadow of the sun to reverse itself 10 degrees on the sundial of Ahaz (2 Kings 20:9-11)
    • fertilized Mary's ovum without a human father
    • created a moving star to guide the Magi to the child, Jesus
    • the list goes on...
  • Read Paul's apologetic before King Agrippa in Acts 26:4-8.  What did Paul ask in vs. 8?  Why did he ask this?  How should we respond to people who deny miracles?

The Significance of Jesus' Miracles:

What was Jesus declaring when he performed miracles?
  • Read John 5:36.  How unique were Jesus' works?  What did those unique works signify?
  • Read Matt. 12:28.  As pastor Mike's sermon showed, what did the pharisees reject when they said "This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.” (Matt. 12:24)
  • Read John 10:24-25, 37-38.  What two things did Jesus' works demonstrate?
  • Other passages that explain the significance of Jesus' miracles: 
    • John 14:11 - discourse in the upper room
    • Matt. 11:4-5; Luke 7:22 - message from John in prison
    • Matt. 9:1-8; Mark 2:1-12; Luke 5:17-26 - healing of the paralytic
Read Matt 17:1-9 (also see Mark 9:2-8 and Luke 9:28-36)  What does God want us to know about Jesus transfiguration?  Read also 2 Peter 1:16  What word does Peter use to describe what he saw in Jesus transfiguration?  What did God command the disciples to do?  Notice that it echos Moses words in Deut. 18:15
Comments