Do miracles still happen?

30 Jun 2017
Do miracles still happen?
Photo Credit: Choreograph—iStock

Can God create a rock so heavy that even He can’t lift it? Or, can God create a square circle?” If you stop to think about these questions, you may feel like your brain is getting all tied up in knots. But before you get too mentally or emotionally wound up, you’ll be glad to know that there’s no need to. These questions are simply illogical; God can’t do something that’s illogical. Because He is the most intelligent Being in the universe, there’s no point in even suggesting He would do illogical things. 

But while the Bible assures us God is so powerful He can speak, and worlds come into existence (Genesis 1:9; Psalm 33:9), there are some practical things that people have wondered whether He can really do—things like supernatural miracles, for example. The Scottish sceptic David Hume thought he was able to prove that miracles never happen. He said we should base all of our beliefs on evidence, which of course is a very sensible thing to do. So, if none of us have experienced a supernatural miracle, this means we don’t have any evidence that miracles occur. That’s why Hume claimed we shouldn’t believe in miracles. We should forget about them.

However, other philosophers have pointed out a major flaw in Hume’s reasoning. Just because we haven’t experienced something doesn’t mean it can’t happen. For example, no-one had ever flown to the moon before July 20, 1969, but that didn’t mean people could never fly to the moon. All Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin Aldrin needed to get to the moon was a rocket that was powerful enough to take them all the way there, and all that’s needed for miracles to occur is a God who’s powerful enough to make them happen.

When considering the unlimited power of God, the Bible gives a number of practical, every-day examples. For example, there was an aged couple in the Bible’s Old Testament called Abraham and Sarah. In many ways, Abraham is held up as one of the best examples of a person whose faith in God was strong. But Abraham and Sarah had a problem. They’d been trying to have a baby for years, and now they were really old. Abraham was 99 and Sarah was 89—much too old to even think about having babies! All they could reasonably dream about was what it might have been like.

Yet God visited Abraham and Sarah and gave them this audacious promise: “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.” (Genesis 18:10). What a crazy promise! It made both Abraham and Sarah laugh at the very thought (Genesis 17:15–17; 18:1–12). God seemed a bit hurt that they laughed, though, because He asked Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh?” And then He followed this question with one of the most significant questions in the world: Is anything too hard for the Lord?

God was true to His promise. One year later Abraham and Sarah were holding a baby boy in their arms and this time they were laughing tears of joy. The question, along with ample evidence, had been answered.

Perhaps you’re thinking that it might be quite difficult for an old couple to have a baby, but not impossible. About 1800 years later God lifted the bar of difficulty significantly higher. This time He sent His highest-ranking angel, Gabriel, to visit a young woman named Mary in a little town called Nazareth, in old Palestine. “Do not be afraid, Mary,” Gabriel said, for “you have found favour with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.” Of course, it would seem fairly easy for a young woman like Mary to become pregnant, but Mary was fully aware of a critical problem. She asked Gabriel, “How can this be . . . since I am a virgin?” (Luke 1:30–34).

Gabriel explained that God had a plan: she would become pregnant when the Holy Spirit came upon her. And then to reassure Mary that he was not just making empty promises, Gabriel made one of the most significant statements in the world: “Nothing will be impossible with God” (verse 37, NRSV*).

Nine months later, Mary was cradling her newborn Baby in a manger down in Bethlehem. The statement had been confirmed, along with evidence for it.

However, God isn’t just interested in miraculously making babies. He’s also interested in saving us from eternal oblivion and giving us eternal life.

"When God makes a promise, you can be totally confident that He has the power to keep it."

There was once a rich young man who asked Jesus what he had to do to live forever. Jesus knew that the young man’s biggest problem was his obsession with money, so He gave the man a radical cure for his obsession: sell everything he owned, give it to the poor and follow Him. Unfortunately, the young man sadly decided to turn his back on Jesus.

As he walked away, Jesus commented to His disciples that it is very difficult for the rich to give up their riches and focus on God’s eternal kingdom. In fact, He said, it was easier for a camel to squeeze through the tiny eye of a needle. His disciples were shocked at what they had just heard Jesus say, because they suddenly realised how impossible it would be for people to be saved spiritually. 

“Who then can be saved?” they asked incredulously.

Once again, Jesus answered with absolute honesty: Humanly speaking, it’s impossible. But then He went on to give the world’s most significant promise: With God everything is possible (Luke 18:18–27, NKJV).

The disciples clung to that promise, and so can you and I. Millions of people have accepted Jesus’ invitation to follow Him and have been saved. The promise has been fulfilled and we have evidence for that in Jesus’ death and resurrection. 

What about you? Have you committed so much evil and immorality you feel it’s impossible for all your sins to be forgiven and cleansed? The Bible has a promise for you: With God everything is possible.

Are you holding in your arms the limp body of your eight-year-old child who has finally given up their brave fight with a brain tumour, wondering whether you will ever see your child alive again? If so, then the Bible has a promise for you: Nothing will be impossible with God.

Are you a biologist who has been overwhelmed by the genetic similarities between the DNA in human beings and chimpanzees, and you’re wondering how God could have created this world and everything in it in six literal days about 6000 years ago? The Bible has a promise for you: Nothing is too hard for God.

Do you watch the news and see people run down in the streets of cities such as London and Melbourne, the sex trade in India, and natural disasters the world over and then wonder whether God will ever put an end to all of the evil in the world? Then God has a promise for you: I am the Lord, the God of all the people in the world. Is anything too hard for Me?

When God makes a promise, you can be totally confident that He has the power to keep it. His power is unlimited. There’s nothing too hard for Him to do. 

All we have to do is to wait and trust that one day, “He will wipe every tear from [our] eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

* Bible texts credited to NRSV are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved.