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The students were asked to select from the following which they would classify as miracles.

(1) Getting your clothes brilliantly white with SuperSuds
(2) Arthritis disappearing for three weeks
(3) Arthritis disappearing for three years
(4) Landing on the moon
(5) A Libyan border guard forgetting to look in a car trunk full of Bibles
(6) A bumper crop in Bangladesh.
(7) A tornado skipping over your street
(8) Finding a downtown parking place on the street
(9) Finding a downtown parking place after you’ve prayed for one
(10) a paraplegic walking normal five minutes after prayer.
(11) Israel wining the Six Day War
(12)An atheist giving your crowded church 15 acres of prime property for a new building
(13 )Your younger brother or sister committing himself/herself to Christ after giving up drugs
(14) Your clean, All-American brother or sister committing himself/herself to Christ
(15) Getting an A in a course due to an error in the university’s computer
(16) Falling in love for the first time
(17) Coming out of a high-speed head-on collision alive.
(18) Getting a $50 bill in an unmarked envelope in the mail
(19) Finding a $50 bill in your drawer among some of your clothes.

CJ:

This quiz definitely puts small every day happenings that we may think is a miracle, but in reality I highlighted them as miracles because God has a bigger plan. Many of these events, although seemingly small or overlooked by others, are such that God’s glory will shine through them even if we have to overcome a horrific event in our life. For example #17:  Three years ago, on Mother’s Day, my mother and I endured a head-on collision. We broke many bones, we were in wheel chairs for 5 months.  I had just finished up my spring semester at NWC. But through it all I had faith in God and believed that His plan to let us live, was bigger than any plan I ever had. That’s what I call a Miracle!

But, let’s consider #18 and #19.  If you had not been able to feed your children for 2 days, but now with that $50 could buy food, would #18 be a miracle?  And, what about #19, what if you were 50 dollars short on your house payment, facing foreclosure, would those $50 be a miracle??  I think many miracles depend on perspective and context, and #18 and 19 are great examples of that.  What do you think? 

Landing on the moon?  Science to one person is a miracle to another.  A tornado jumping over my street?  Maybe if my home were taken out, my insurance would pay for my home.  I would then no longer be behind in payments, and I could have enough money to rebuild.   A paraplegic walking 5 minutes after prayer?  If I were the paraplegic, sure it is a miracle.  But,  if I were someone watching it, I  may just see a trick.  It could also be scientifically explained with possibilities of a psychological answer.  It all depends on where your faith is and what your perspective is.  

Vernon:

Thanks, CJ, for your comments on the “Miracles” questionnaire”.  Although I don’t think miracles are ONLY a case of the observer’s perspective and value system, I think that the situation is more than just a question of “blind faith”.  If Jesus did not come return to life after his murder on the cross, in a historical fashion, there is no justification to call the “incident” a miracle.  On the other hand, if He did historically come back from the dead, no amount of appeal to the “observers’ perspective/s” will adequately explain what actually happened, nor how it happened.

CJ:

First of all I agree that all miracles are not “only” based on perspective, but the list we were given did not have enough information for me to choose just more than I chose.  I am of a mind that a caterpillar changing to a butterfly and then flying is a miracle, but others would call it a fact of nature..  When I was looking at the list I just did not have enough information to choose, I would have probably chosen all of them as qualifying, yet was also able to see how others would consider each to not make them a miracle.  So, instead of choosing any I chose none. For me it was an all or nothing exercise.   My perspective is miracle; other people with a different perspective not see a miracle in any of them.   

Second, in regard to Jesus coming back from the dead, unequivocally “yes”, it is a miracle.  I also think that there were probably non-believers who could not give enough reasons to explain away the miracle, but not all of them.  I think that no matter what some people see, they will always reject the idea of it being a miracle.  These people will never accept an “adequate” explanation about what happened, if that adequate explanation includes the miraculous. They do this because believing a miracle happened would force a change in them.  I think a good example would be the rich young ruler in Luke 18, he was asked to sell everything he had and give to the poor, he was asked to change and that change was too much for him.  Asking some people to believe in a miracle, even while standing there and watching it, is like asking them to give up something that is important to them and many will not make that choice.  They will instead do anything they can to explain away the unexplainable.

Vernon:

Thanks, CJ, for the thoughtful interaction.  I suspect that both of us agree that the topic of miracles is much more nuanced than some of our friends  and colleagues realize. One thing seems quite certain – Even in the case of Jesus’ miracles, the response by the observers was far from a unanimous “let’s follow this God incarnate in our midst.”  I would even say that miracles were a “mixed bag” for Jesus.  Some followed Jesus for wrong reasons, and some refused to follow also for wrong reasons.  Miracles were not the trump card that Jesus could play when all else had failed, and He knew that.

CJ:

There goes Jesus being “right” again…geez  lol  Just kidding, I am glad at who my Savior shows Himself to be, and smart enough to know that He can’t buy faith with miracles.  I love that He knew that His power was not a “trump” card and realize that many more have probably been saved because of the way He was reserved with His miracles.   

Vernon:

Glad my response scratched some itches.

 

Any thoughts?  Feel free to jump in with a comment!!