Miracles, not Party Tricks
We cannot and should not see Christ’s miracles as mere sudden, abrupt party tricks or magic. This is because they shouldn’t really be particularly surprising or shocking to us, at least in the way that it makes sense that God’s only Son should be able to temporarily suspend a natural law and override it with His power for our good. Additionally, they are not the sole sign, evidence or indicator of God’s action or intervention in the world.
It also makes sense that God wants to reveal something of Himself, His teachings and also benefit the teaching, granting them not just physical healing but also longer-lasting, deeper, more significant spiritual healing. Additionally, however, miracles must by definition be exceptions to the rule rather than generalities, especially today as the give us temporary, rare and occasional glimpses of God, not to solely serve as merely an eternal proof of His existence. However, the creation of the world itself out of nothing and God’s sustaining of it in its existence and well-being, structure, regularity, routine and order are both miracles, solely and fully dependent upon God and His extraordinary power. As Revd Canon Professor Simon Oliver has astutely pointed out, God did not just create the entire world and humanity themselves out of nothing, He also creates each and every moment now and in the future out of nothing. Each moment, occurrence and even is not dependent or reliant upon the previous moment, no they are directly dependent upon God and are created by nothing individually by Him.
As a bi-product, Christ’s miracles demonstrate His existence, nature and attributes. The most important effect of healing is the spiritually transformative part. Often atheists approach me, saying “Why won’t God just appear here and now and do X for me, if He exists?” Such people want God and His miracles solely on their own self-centred terms. Despite all of God’s everyday sustaining and maintaining of the universe and general revelation as stated in Romans 1, they reject all of that and prematurely presume God to be guilty of non-existence. They say that God must break this deadlock of their making by proving His innocence and that He does indeed exist. Who are they or we to say or demand such things? There is a very clear and definite difference between Creator and creature (created). As it states in Luke 4:12 and Deuteronomy 6:16: ‘Do not put the LORD your God to the test’. Often we convince ourselves that we need God to just provide one sign. Then, we say, we’ll believe firmly, eternally and resiliently forever more just because of that one temporal act. Even if we weren’t lying to ourselves when we say this, it would be a poor and sorry basis for faith. We forget all of God’s constant previous visible and invisible acts and his consistent, sustenance of ourselves and the world.
By Ben Somervell