Musings on Miracles

“If God created everything perfect,” the atheist sometimes argues, “then why are children born deformed?”

Sometimes, this is a serious question.  Sometimes, it is just an argument to take you back to, “Why, then, didn’t God create humans that could not sin?”  It’s difficult to tell someone when someone is truly inquiring and when someone just wants to see you pursue them in a wild goose chase.

There is a suggestion, of course, that if God really controlled everything, then everything would go “right”.  Of course, what is deemed “right” is usually dependent upon who is doing the arguing.

While writing this, though, someone sent me a text message about a miracle.  A healthy new life has come into the world.

What Is a Miracle?

"An event that appears inexplicable by the laws of nature and so is held to be supernatural in origin or an act of God…"

~ miracle. (n.d.). The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Retrieved July 13, 2009, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/miracle.

I would suggest to you that this common definition of miracle is wrong.

I love sourdough bread.  There was a time when all bread was sourdough.  No one ran to the supermarket to pick up packets of yeast to make bread with.  Instead, they allowed the yeast that was already on the wheat to grow and expand once they mixed, kneaded and shaped the loaf.

Is yeast a miracle?  Ancient peoples didn’t have microscopes.  They had no clue that tiny plants smaller than the eye could see were digesting sugar and belching out carbon dioxide, causing the bread to rise.  It was inexplicable by the laws of nature.  Therefore, it was a supernatural phenomenon, right?

Of course, it was so common that I sincerely doubt many would have thought of rising bread as a miracle.  They took it for granted.  Yet, they could not explain it.  What else would it have been if not a miracle, then?

Now, of course, we do have microscopes.  We know that yeast is a fungus that emits carbon dioxide and alcohol.  The one byproduct gives us light bread, and the other byproduct gives us wine.  We can explain it.

Yet, does explaining it make it any less miraculous?  Or, does it just make it easier to take for granted?

Explain life.  Sure, life involves breathing, moving, blood circulating, but what really is life?  What makes one thing alive and the other not?  With all of our sophistication, with all of our technology, with all of our knowledge, we still don’t know how to make something alive.  We can only duplicate life from life.  We cannot explain life.

Yet, we far too often take even life itself for granted.

I would put forward that “an effect or event manifesting or considered as a work of God” is the correct definition for miracle (from miracle. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Retrieved July 13, 2009, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/miracle).

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

~ Ge 2:7

Life is a miracle.

Taking It For Granted

When do we stop taking things for granted?  Unfortunately, it is normally when things go wrong.

Adam and Eve were placed into a perfect environment.  They lived in harmony with each other, with nature and with God.

They took it for granted.  You see, it was all they had known.  There was nothing miraculous about it.  It just simply was.  It just didn’t sink in that the reason it just was was because God was providing the environment for them.  It just didn’t sink in that without God, none of that was possible.

And, so they paid the price.

And, so we pay the price today.

The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil meant deciding for themselves right and wrong.  However, it also meant they would learn what works (good) and what doesn’t work (evil) the hard way.  The “knowledge” would be an experiential knowledge.  “It was the first scientific experiment,” Herbert W Armstrong used to say.  They acted and observed the result.

On the flip side, the other tree, the Tree of Life, represented God’s way of life.  It also represented His revealed knowledge.  You can only get so far by observation.  Some knowledge, however, must be revealed.  You can know that there is a Creator because of the wonder and magnitude of the creation.  However, unless that Creator reveals Himself to you, you cannot know who He is.

Ironically, most choose to reject that revealed knowledge.  So, human beings plod along trying out different governments, different societies and cultures, trying to figure out what works and what does not – learning the hard way.

So, what if everything always went “right”?  What if there were no surprises?  Would we turn to God?  I submit to you that we would not.  We would take it all, and Him, for granted just as Adam and Eve did.

And afterward Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness.

And Pharaoh said, Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go.

~ Ex 5:1-2

Wherefore do the wicked live, become old, yea, are mighty in power?

Their seed is established in their sight with them, and their offspring before their eyes.

Their houses are safe from fear, neither is the rod of God upon them.

Their bull gendereth, and faileth not; their cow calveth, and casteth not her calf.

They send forth their little ones like a flock, and their children dance.

They take the timbrel and harp, and rejoice at the sound of the organ.

They spend their days in wealth, and in a moment go down to the grave.

Therefore they say unto God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways.

What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? and what profit should we have, if we pray unto him?

~ Job 21:7-15

The Presence of Evil

Yes, evil exists in this world because Adam and Eve sinned.  They chose to not do things God’s way.  They chose to listen to Satan instead.

And, who is Satan?  Was he not a light-bringer (Isa 14:12)?  Was he not created with amazing intelligence and beauty (Eze 28:12)?  Was he not created perfectly (v15)?

He was perfect and his environment was perfect, so there was no need for something to go wrong!

Yet, he himself caused things to go wrong.

God already has one adversary.  He does not need more adversaries, and He is going to limit the damage created by Satan, who exercised his own free will and rebelled.

So, why not just get rid of him?  Why not set things back the way they were supposed to be right now?  Because then we wouldn’t learn anything.

Because we would take miracles for granted.

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