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I can’t believe the Bible because of … Miracles

From time to time I hear people give various reasons for not believing the Bible. Since I hold that the Bible is key for a right understanding of life I thought I’d try to answer some of these. If you have a particular reason, why not drop me an email, and we’ll try to cover it in the column.

This week’s objection runs like this: “We’re more scientifically advanced now and not so gullible as to believe in miracles.” Is it just the case that primitive people in Bible times were more easily fooled?

However, the New Testament era is much closer to us than the prehistoric era is to it. The people in those days knew that virgins didn’t have babies, people didn’t walk on water, calm storms with a word, nor raise the dead. They disbelieved and doubted as much as we would.

The whole point of a miracle is that it is outside of the regular flow of normal life. It is something that can’t be accounted for by the laws of nature. It is an interruption by a force greater than the universe. They are meant to shock us, to make us stop and realise that something or someone bigger than ‘mother nature’ is in control.

It is worth noting that miracles weren’t an everyday occurrence in the Bible—they are grouped at key moments when God wanted to make a point.

People don’t walk on water as a rule, or raise the dead, but if they are an all-powerful God what’s to stop them? If you are, as Jesus was, seeking to demonstrate your credentials as God, some extraordinary evidence is needed. He wouldn’t be much of a God if he couldn’t do miracles. To disbelieve the Bible because of miracles is like saying, “If there is a God who does God-like things, then I couldn’t believe in him.”

It’s a strange way to argue—it excludes the answer before the question is asked.

However this is not a call to be gullible. The Bible nowhere argues for naïve acceptance, rather that we use our God-given critical faculties to assess what we read. We are expected to be surprised and questioning, but not dismissing. In the reporting of the miracles, and the reactions they provoke we see evidence for the truth of the Bible, not reason to doubt.