Miracles in the Bible

Tired of wandering the lawless wilds of the AC&A forum? Have a friendly chat in our cozy, velvet-covered civility lounge. Alcohol not permitted, only the Kenny G button works on the jukebox. All undesirable types will be quietly escorted out the back door.

Miracles in the Bible

Postby Rian » Mon Mar 14, 2016 1:50 pm

I've been wanting to talk over Jesus' miracles in the Bible with Mitch for a while because I think his position is well-formulated, although I disagree with it. Anyone else is welcome to join in, too.

Basically, I believe that Jesus performed miracles as described, and that this doesn't conflict with the rest of the Bible or the revealed character of the Trinity. For example, I believe that Lazarus was really dead when Jesus brought him back to life, and that Jesus cured the lepers who were really sick with leprosy. I just don't see this as inconsistent with the character of God and His created nature. I think an analogy would be that when you start doing calculus, you do derivatives by doing limits. However, if you know how to do derivatives, you can do them much faster. Someone showed me how to do derivatives before I started calculus, so I hated doing the section on limits (although it was a good historical thing to learn, I guess) because I could get the answer so much faster by doing derivatives! I think that God knows more than we do, and doesn't have the limitations that we do, and that Jesus, who was both God and man, had better access to this ability than regular people, and it's not unreasonable for Jesus to be able to do these miracles when He thought it appropriate. He didn't seem to be doing them for attention, because he often did it quietly or told them to not talk about it; He seemed to be doing them to help the belief of the apostles, who were the group He chose to entrust the development of His church to, and out of love of people.

I guess I could sum it up with a Narnia analogy - when Susan and Lucy saw Aslan dead, and then he rose up from the dead, and Aslan says something like the Emperor has deeper magic. IOW, it's consistent with nature, but they weren't aware of it yet.

Mitch, what difficulties (if any) do you have with my position?

(and I'll have to put up my usual caveat that this will go slow on my side because of my medical issues)
"Aurë entuluva! Auta i lómë!" ("Day shall come again! The night is passing!") -- from JRR Tolkien's The Silmarillion

Christianity is the red pill - go for it! Seek the truth, wherever it leads you.
User avatar
Rian
Senior member
Senior member
 
Posts: 6210
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2007 12:36 pm
Location: Arizona, USA ... for now ...
Affiliation: Christian/truth-seeker

Re: Miracles in the Bible

Postby mitchellmckain » Mon Mar 14, 2016 5:08 pm

Rian wrote:Basically, I believe that Jesus performed miracles as described

I also believe all the miracles as described in the Bible. But what is described is what people saw and experienced NOT how they were accomplished.

Rian wrote:For example, I believe that Lazarus was really dead when Jesus brought him back to life

I believe he was really dead BY THE DEFINITION OF THE PEOPLE OF THAT TIME. But if you change this to dead by the definition of modern medicine then that is an insertion of your own for an intentionally magical anti-science agenda which I cannot support. And I do not support it because it is theologically inconsistent. God made the laws of nature for a reason and it makes no sense for Him to contradict those reasons and break those laws just to impress people who were frankly easily impressed already. And those who were not easily impressed were not impressed regardless.

Consider the tricks which Moses performed for Pharaoh. They were only marginally better than those of Pharoah's own magicians. WHY? Why in the WORLD would Moses be given such unimpressive things to do in order to convince Pharoah? In a magical God worldview how does that make ANY SENSE?

Rian wrote:and that Jesus cured the lepers who were really sick with leprosy.

Yes I believe Jesus cured lepers who were really sick with leprosy. But I don't believe Jesus did so with some kind of magic contrary to the laws of nature.

Rian wrote: I just don't see this as inconsistent with the character of God and His created nature.

I do not see miracles as inconsistent with nature as God created which is according to laws which He created for a reason. However the laws of nature are not causally closed and therefore do not preclude God's involvement in the events of our lives.

Rian wrote: I think an analogy would be that when you start doing calculus, you do derivatives by doing limits. However, if you know how to do derivatives, you can do them much faster. Someone showed me how to do derivatives before I started calculus, so I hated doing the section on limits (although it was a good historical thing to learn, I guess) because I could get the answer so much faster by doing derivatives! I think that God knows more than we do, and doesn't have the limitations that we do, and that Jesus, who was both God and man, had better access to this ability than regular people, and it's not unreasonable for Jesus to be able to do these miracles when He thought it appropriate.

Indeed. However God imposes limitations upon Himself and has the integrity to abide by those limitations. God chose love and freedom over power and control and thus He created life which is a process of SELF-organization rather that a product of design and control.

Rian wrote: He didn't seem to be doing them for attention, because he often did it quietly or told them to not talk about it; He seemed to be doing them to help the belief of the apostles, who were the group He chose to entrust the development of His church to, and out of love of people.

Yes, it is quite clear that Jesus/God did things for their effect on the people He wanted to redirect into a new way of living.

Rian wrote:I guess I could sum it up with a Narnia analogy - when Susan and Lucy saw Aslan dead, and then he rose up from the dead, and Aslan says something like the Emperor has deeper magic. IOW, it's consistent with nature, but they weren't aware of it yet.

Mitch, what difficulties (if any) do you have with my position?

Simple. I don't believe in magic. Magic is an artifact of childhood where adults fulfill our wants and needs in ways we do not even understand. Thus I do not believe in a God who does magic -- that would be a contradiction in terms. Sure God knows all kinds of things we do not know. But we are learning more all the time. What we see as dead or impossible in one era of our history is not seen as dead or impossible in another era. And of course there is the fact that God is spirit and not a physical entity so that makes considerable differences in the way He does things. I don't believe in any magical power of command unless it to command other beings like angels to do something.
Out of Skull for the Stars My first book is now available on Amazon.com
User avatar
mitchellmckain
Senior member
Senior member
 
Posts: 10316
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2009 1:32 am
Location: Salt Lake City
Affiliation: Christian

Re: Miracles in the Bible

Postby mitchellmckain » Mon Mar 14, 2016 8:21 pm

I am also opposed to approaches, like dispensationalism, which makes one rule for understanding the Bible and a different rule for understanding everyday Christian life. That strikes me as fundamentally dishonest and making excuses. If it is not applicable to our own lives then it might as well be pure fantasy for all the difference it makes.
Out of Skull for the Stars My first book is now available on Amazon.com
User avatar
mitchellmckain
Senior member
Senior member
 
Posts: 10316
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2009 1:32 am
Location: Salt Lake City
Affiliation: Christian

Re: Miracles in the Bible

Postby Rian » Tue Mar 15, 2016 9:09 pm

mitchellmckain wrote:I am also opposed to approaches, like dispensationalism, which makes one rule for understanding the Bible and a different rule for understanding everyday Christian life. That strikes me as fundamentally dishonest and making excuses. If it is not applicable to our own lives then it might as well be pure fantasy for all the difference it makes.

I see what you're saying, and I definitely hate trying to twist something instead of following it where it wants to go. If people try to come up with a concept like dispensationalism in order to - hmm, how can I word this - I guess in order to provide support for a certain type of belief, I guess, and with a closed mind to other options instead of an open mind, then I think that's wrong. However, I think there's an appropriate way to look for a concept like dispensationalism that fits the data. I'm sorry this isn't more clear, but I'm not quite sure how to put this into words ...

Maybe a good comparison is something along these lines - if you see men walking into a place that provides prostitutes, then it's not unreasonable to think that they're probably going there to pay for sex, just like it's not unreasonable to think that if you see men walking into a hardware store, they're going there to buy some tools. However, if I saw my husband go into a place that provides prostitutes, I wouldn't think that he's going there to pay for sex because I'm familiar with who he is. I'd just think that he was going in there for some other reason. Some people would say that's trying to twist a theory to fit the facts because you're giving someone - oh, rats, can't think of the expression - you know, when you have one rule for the majority and another rule for someone that you favor. But that's not the case. The reason why I'm having a different theory for my husband is because I have extensive experience of who he is and how he acts and what he thinks, etc. Obviously, I could be wrong, but it's reasonable for me to treat him differently because my knowledge of him is different from my knowledge of those other men. Do you see what I'm trying (very poorly) to say? So I'm with you about being against people trying to make special cases based on trying to dishonestly save a pet theory of theirs, but I think it's appropriate to make a special case if you have more knowledge about something.

So I think it's reasonable to approach the miracles of Jesus with an open mind as far as "is there a way to look at these that would embrace the fact of the uniqueness of Jesus while also embracing the fact of his humanness, plus take into account any special mission that Jesus had that we don't, if there is one". I think it's reasonable to accept the miracles as miracles - IOW, Lazarus WAS dead as we would classify him as dead now, and Jesus miraculously brought him back to life. And the lepers had a very visible case of leprosy (since they were outside of the city) and Jesus healed them, totally (because he told them to go to the priest, who was the one that would give them the yea/nay).

Another reason why I tend to accept the miracles as miracles is because of their nature. The miracles were kind of natural, in a sense, because they stayed in the lifecycle of their nature. Healing is a natural event, but Jesus caused it to happen immediately. Believers will live again, but Lazarus just got a preview. Loaves and fishes turned into more loaves and fishes, instead of steak and Caesar salads. And I think that God (who invented sex and is no prude!) is behind and in all conceptions, but with Mary, Jesus' mother, he brought about the conception himself. So there seems to be a sense of the miracles staying within their created nature.

Also, I think it's reasonable for the disciples to be privy to seeing Jesus' miracles to help develop and strengthen their faith for the time when the reins would be handed over to them. And unlike what some atheists claim (not too many here, IIRC, because we generally have quite knowledgeable and intelligent atheists) the miracles were NOT the type of miracles that the sham tv healers do, like ("Hey, this lady has stomach cancer and we can't see it but now it's healed!") The healings that Jesus did were of diseases/infirmities that were VERY obvious and most of the time were done to sufferers that were local, so that the people around them had seen their illnesses for years, so they were pretty hard to put down to tricks.

Anyway, I'm with you when it comes to hating things used to control others, but I don't see God revealing his nature and majesty via the person of Jesus as something used to control, so I'm OK with miracles.

So that's my first cut :) Hope it wasn't too unclear!
"Aurë entuluva! Auta i lómë!" ("Day shall come again! The night is passing!") -- from JRR Tolkien's The Silmarillion

Christianity is the red pill - go for it! Seek the truth, wherever it leads you.
User avatar
Rian
Senior member
Senior member
 
Posts: 6210
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2007 12:36 pm
Location: Arizona, USA ... for now ...
Affiliation: Christian/truth-seeker

Re: Miracles in the Bible

Postby mitchellmckain » Tue Mar 15, 2016 9:40 pm

I guess the point is that I don't see a good reason for having different rules for the Bible than for Christian life. I see no rational reason why we should interpret what is happening in the Bible differently than what we see happening in Christians life. It makes it more real where the other makes the Bible look like a comic book fantasy not to be taken seriously. For me different rules makes the Bible something I cannot take seriously -- something I cannot distinguish from fantasy novels.


However, I would remind you of an argument I had with gordsd in defense of the importance of miracles in this thread. Maybe if you take a look at it this will clarify my position for you.

The crux of the issue is that I reject the following definition of miracles:
A miracle is something which defies the laws of nature.
in favor of this definition:
A miracle is something in which we see the handiwork of God.
With my defintion we can see can see the birth of a child as a miracle without thinking something wonky-woowoo-unnatural happened in the process or changing the meaning of the word just for such cases.

But I guess the even more important reason for me is that it makes more sense of God's creation of the universe has something which has a purpose rather than something ruled by whim.
Out of Skull for the Stars My first book is now available on Amazon.com
User avatar
mitchellmckain
Senior member
Senior member
 
Posts: 10316
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2009 1:32 am
Location: Salt Lake City
Affiliation: Christian

Re: Miracles in the Bible

Postby kuwano » Wed Mar 16, 2016 12:52 pm

mitchellmckain wrote:
The crux of the issue is that I reject the following definition of miracles:
A miracle is something which defies the laws of nature.
in favor of this definition:
A miracle is something in which we see the handiwork of God.
With my defintion we can see can see the birth of a child as a miracle without thinking something wonky-woowoo-unnatural happened in the process or changing the meaning of the word just for such cases.

But I guess the even more important reason for me is that it makes more sense of God's creation of the universe has something which has a purpose rather than something ruled by whim.


I take a position probably pretty similar to Rian - but I do agree Mitch with the distinction you're making here. I don't think the definition of miracle as defying the laws of nature is good - because it implies a god of the gaps mentality. The Bible considers all of creation as revelation of God (e.g. Psalm 19, Romans 10) and I think miracles are just particularly vivid revelations of the handiwork of God. They make you sit up see what the universe is saying all the more clearly.

I take the view of NT Wright and others that the miracles of Jesus are really about a revelation of God's king coming to bring a new creation. The healings, resurrection, etc are signs that the King is coming to do away with death, sickness and tears in a new creation. That's why his resurrection is described as a first fruits (taking from the feast of first fruits) by Paul.If Jesus wasn't raised then nor do we have any reason to think the same for ourselves.
kuwano
resident
resident
 
Posts: 138
Joined: Fri Nov 13, 2015 1:04 pm
Location: UK
Affiliation: Christian

Re: Miracles in the Bible

Postby Rian » Sat Mar 19, 2016 12:46 pm

kuwano wrote:I take a position probably pretty similar to Rian - but I do agree Mitch with the distinction you're making here. I don't think the definition of miracle as defying the laws of nature is good - because it implies a god of the gaps mentality.
Yes, I don't think of miracles as defying the laws of nature, either. I think it's like my calculus example - the less-learned person has to use the longer, simpler way, while the math master doesn't need to use that way because she knows a faster, more powerful way that is still entirely within the boundaries of mathematics.

The Bible considers all of creation as revelation of God (e.g. Psalm 19, Romans 10) and I think miracles are just particularly vivid revelations of the handiwork of God. They make you sit up see what the universe is saying all the more clearly.
I like how you put that.

Why do you think miracles like the kind Jesus did are not regularly done by the Christians of today?

I take the view of NT Wright and others that the miracles of Jesus are really about a revelation of God's king coming to bring a new creation. The healings, resurrection, etc are signs that the King is coming to do away with death, sickness and tears in a new creation.

Yes, they were all a kind of putting things to rights.

That's why his resurrection is described as a first fruits (taking from the feast of first fruits) by Paul.If Jesus wasn't raised then nor do we have any reason to think the same for ourselves.

Yeah, I like how we get that little look into the world to come ...
"Aurë entuluva! Auta i lómë!" ("Day shall come again! The night is passing!") -- from JRR Tolkien's The Silmarillion

Christianity is the red pill - go for it! Seek the truth, wherever it leads you.
User avatar
Rian
Senior member
Senior member
 
Posts: 6210
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2007 12:36 pm
Location: Arizona, USA ... for now ...
Affiliation: Christian/truth-seeker

Re: Miracles in the Bible

Postby Rian » Sat Mar 19, 2016 1:00 pm

mitchellmckain wrote:I guess the point is that I don't see a good reason for having different rules for the Bible than for Christian life. I see no rational reason why we should interpret what is happening in the Bible differently than what we see happening in Christians life. It makes it more real where the other makes the Bible look like a comic book fantasy not to be taken seriously. For me different rules makes the Bible something I cannot take seriously -- something I cannot distinguish from fantasy novels.

Well, let's toss this around a bit and see if we can come up with a good reason, like when scientists observe something happening and they need to toss around ideas to see if any of them fit, as opposed to when people are entrenched in an idea and try to come up with something to explain it no matter how hard they have to twist things around.

I do think that it's reasonable to posit miracles as belonging to an extraordinary time period (God came into our world as a person only once, and set up the starting group of humans as the foundation of his church only once) so is it reasonable to say that miracles attended these people at a higher rate than now?

I was thinking about it, and it kind of reminds me of the story of Moses where his face shone after talking with God, but then it faded after a while. Maybe it's something like that. It was a special time in the history of the earth, and amazing things just came out of it naturally as they will again one day when God's kingdom comes to stay. Kind of like how flowers open up and display their beauty as the sun comes up (I was just out cutting roses in my garden :) )

However, I would remind you of an argument I had with gordsd in defense of the importance of miracles in this thread. Maybe if you take a look at it this will clarify my position for you.

I'll go take a look, thanks for the link.

The crux of the issue is that I reject the following definition of miracles:
A miracle is something which defies the laws of nature.
in favor of this definition:
A miracle is something in which we see the handiwork of God.

I agree with you there.

With my defintion we can see can see the birth of a child as a miracle without thinking something wonky-woowoo-unnatural happened in the process or changing the meaning of the word just for such cases.

But why did God inspire the authors of the Gospels to record events that seemed so clearly out of the ordinary and were called miracles? What would be the point of these things being in the Gospels? And if God is in all conceptions, then how is it unnatural for him to remove the middle-man, so to speak, for the one-time birth of Jesus into our world? I just don't see it as unnatural; I see it as either the apprentices (us) do something with God involved, or on occasion, God the master steps forward as the apprentices step back and watch in wonder. It's all natural.

But I guess the even more important reason for me is that it makes more sense of God's creation of the universe has something which has a purpose rather than something ruled by whim.

What makes you see them as a whim?
"Aurë entuluva! Auta i lómë!" ("Day shall come again! The night is passing!") -- from JRR Tolkien's The Silmarillion

Christianity is the red pill - go for it! Seek the truth, wherever it leads you.
User avatar
Rian
Senior member
Senior member
 
Posts: 6210
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2007 12:36 pm
Location: Arizona, USA ... for now ...
Affiliation: Christian/truth-seeker

Re: Miracles in the Bible

Postby mitchellmckain » Sat Mar 19, 2016 2:53 pm

Rian wrote:
But I guess the even more important reason for me is that it makes more sense of God's creation of the universe has something which has a purpose rather than something ruled by whim.

What makes you see them as a whim?

Breaking and changing the rules to impress people is practically the definition of whimsical compared to designing the laws of nature for a specific purpose and abiding by them. Often the thinking of religious people is that God make the laws of nature for no reason except that he felt like it and I think that is the opposite of the truth. I think God make the laws of nature that way because nothing else would have achieved His purpose. I am quite opposed to the idea that the universe is just whatever God happened to dream up. But I don't thing the world is dreamlike at all. I think it is very carefully designed for the purpose of life.

Rian wrote:
With my defintion we can see can see the birth of a child as a miracle without thinking something wonky-woowoo-unnatural happened in the process or changing the meaning of the word just for such cases.

But why did God inspire the authors of the Gospels to record events that seemed so clearly out of the ordinary and were called miracles? What would be the point of these things being in the Gospels? And if God is in all conceptions, then how is it unnatural for him to remove the middle-man, so to speak, for the one-time birth of Jesus into our world? I just don't see it as unnatural; I see it as either the apprentices (us) do something with God involved, or on occasion, God the master steps forward as the apprentices step back and watch in wonder. It's all natural.

People are inspired by the out of the ordinary and God certainly wanted to get people's attention and make them take notice. But what does Jesus say? He tells us to see the signs and believe, but also says it is better to believe without the signs and it is only because of our sinfulness that we require such things. In other words, they are most certainly not the point. They are a distraction from what is really important -- not so far as to say we should only look at the physical, for the spiritual is real. But if we think God is offering us something outside the rules of universe in our physical lives then we are barking up the wrong tree.


Rian wrote:
mitchellmckain wrote:I guess the point is that I don't see a good reason for having different rules for the Bible than for Christian life. I see no rational reason why we should interpret what is happening in the Bible differently than what we see happening in Christians life. It makes it more real where the other makes the Bible look like a comic book fantasy not to be taken seriously. For me different rules makes the Bible something I cannot take seriously -- something I cannot distinguish from fantasy novels.

Well, let's toss this around a bit and see if we can come up with a good reason, like when scientists observe something happening and they need to toss around ideas to see if any of them fit, as opposed to when people are entrenched in an idea and try to come up with something to explain it no matter how hard they have to twist things around.

I do think that it's reasonable to posit miracles as belonging to an extraordinary time period (God came into our world as a person only once, and set up the starting group of humans as the foundation of his church only once) so is it reasonable to say that miracles attended these people at a higher rate than now?

I was thinking about it, and it kind of reminds me of the story of Moses where his face shone after talking with God, but then it faded after a while. Maybe it's something like that. It was a special time in the history of the earth, and amazing things just came out of it naturally as they will again one day when God's kingdom comes to stay. Kind of like how flowers open up and display their beauty as the sun comes up (I was just out cutting roses in my garden :) )

There is a big difference between the reproducible special conditions that makes a flower open up and excuses why a story is interpreted in a way which is utterly contrary to the reality of our lives. For the scientist, science is part of how he sees everything. It is an extension of sight to perceive more of the world. If you ask him to close his eyes while reading certain passage that simply isn't going to make any sense. So he just will not read the Bible in a way which contradicts science because it is simply nonsensical to him.
Out of Skull for the Stars My first book is now available on Amazon.com
User avatar
mitchellmckain
Senior member
Senior member
 
Posts: 10316
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2009 1:32 am
Location: Salt Lake City
Affiliation: Christian

Re: Miracles in the Bible

Postby kuwano » Sun Mar 20, 2016 3:09 pm

Rian wrote:
kuwano wrote:I take a position probably pretty similar to Rian - but I do agree Mitch with the distinction you're making here. I don't think the definition of miracle as defying the laws of nature is good - because it implies a god of the gaps mentality.
Yes, I don't think of miracles as defying the laws of nature, either. I think it's like my calculus example - the less-learned person has to use the longer, simpler way, while the math master doesn't need to use that way because she knows a faster, more powerful way that is still entirely within the boundaries of mathematics.


Haha yeah I remember the joys of calculus and learning limits! You sound like a good teacher so probably would have made it less painful. Yeah I think the analogy works.

The Bible considers all of creation as revelation of God (e.g. Psalm 19, Romans 10) and I think miracles are just particularly vivid revelations of the handiwork of God. They make you sit up see what the universe is saying all the more clearly.

Why do you think miracles like the kind Jesus did are not regularly done by the Christians of today?


I think you summed it up well 'It was a special time in the history of the earth, and amazing things just came out of it naturally as they will again one day when God's kingdom comes to stay.'

Jesus is the second Adam and therefore the start of the new creation - so its natural that as he makes contact with this world he shows what his kingdom and new creation is about releasing creation from its bondage to decay. But though in some senses we taste the new life of his kingdom - its only a taste and not the fulfilment yet. So I think we are to expect not to see these miracles while the king is not here - but we wait for his return and the fulfilment of that new creation so we must now live in a world where pain, death and sadness are the norm.
kuwano
resident
resident
 
Posts: 138
Joined: Fri Nov 13, 2015 1:04 pm
Location: UK
Affiliation: Christian

Re: Miracles in the Bible

Postby Stacie Cook » Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:31 pm

Kuwano, that is interesting what you are saying about Jesus as the second Adam. I knew that, but as I was reading what you said, it made me wonder about the timing aspect of when Jesus returns. How much time passed between Adam and Jesus? I wonder if that will be the amount of time to pass between Jesus being resurrected and Jesus returning? Of course no one knows, but just something to ponder....
If you want to meet God... then the cross is the place to which you go. - Alistair Begg
User avatar
Stacie Cook
Senior member
Senior member
 
Posts: 1251
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2015 7:14 am
Location: House of Cook, IN
Affiliation: Hypocritical Christian

Re: Miracles in the Bible

Postby Aaron » Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:53 pm

Stacie Cook wrote:Kuwano, that is interesting what you are saying about Jesus as the second Adam. I knew that, but as I was reading what you said, it made me wonder about the timing aspect of when Jesus returns. How much time passed between Adam and Jesus? I wonder if that will be the amount of time to pass between Jesus being resurrected and Jesus returning? Of course no one knows, but just something to ponder....

I find the 7 day week parallelism interesting too: going from Adam to Jesus, about 4000 years, then from Jesus till now, about 2000 years and then that would leave 1000 years for the day of rest i.e. the millennial kingdom. Don't know if there's any merit to it at all, but I do find it interesting.
"I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else" - C.S. Lewis
User avatar
Aaron
Senior member
Senior member
 
Posts: 3075
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 9:29 pm
Location: Alaska
Affiliation: Christian

Re: Miracles in the Bible

Postby kuwano » Mon Mar 21, 2016 2:40 pm

Stacie Cook wrote:Kuwano, that is interesting what you are saying about Jesus as the second Adam. I knew that, but as I was reading what you said, it made me wonder about the timing aspect of when Jesus returns. How much time passed between Adam and Jesus? I wonder if that will be the amount of time to pass between Jesus being resurrected and Jesus returning? Of course no one knows, but just something to ponder....


Yeah that's interesting hadn't thought of that - Aaron's suggestion is also a possibility. Its interesting why Jesus came to earth at that particular time in history - but I suppose we'll never know till he returns! Fun to think about though.
kuwano
resident
resident
 
Posts: 138
Joined: Fri Nov 13, 2015 1:04 pm
Location: UK
Affiliation: Christian

Re: Miracles in the Bible

Postby Rian » Tue Mar 22, 2016 11:34 pm

mitchellmckain wrote:
Rian wrote:
But I guess the even more important reason for me is that it makes more sense of God's creation of the universe has something which has a purpose rather than something ruled by whim.

What makes you see them as a whim?

Breaking and changing the rules to impress people is practically the definition of whimsical compared to designing the laws of nature for a specific purpose and abiding by them.

But I (and kuwano, from what I can tell) think that miracles DO abide by the laws of nature; they are just higher laws that a greater being can use, like my calculus example. And to keep with the calculus example, as my daughter is slogging through learning limits, I might do a quick differentiation for her - not to show off how wonderful I am, but to keep her encouraged that one day, she will be able to do that, too, and she needs to stay at it. What do you think of looking at it that way?

Often the thinking of religious people is that God make the laws of nature for no reason except that he felt like it and I think that is the opposite of the truth. I think God make the laws of nature that way because nothing else would have achieved His purpose.

I think that there are many universes that God could have made, and each would have their appropriate laws of nature. Do you agree?

I am quite opposed to the idea that the universe is just whatever God happened to dream up. But I don't thing the world is dreamlike at all. I think it is very carefully designed for the purpose of life.

I do, too.

mitch wrote:People are inspired by the out of the ordinary and God certainly wanted to get people's attention and make them take notice. But what does Jesus say? He tells us to see the signs and believe, but also says it is better to believe without the signs and it is only because of our sinfulness that we require such things.

And if we require them, he gives them to us, as he did.

In other words, they are most certainly not the point.

No, they aren't the point, but they point to the point, IMO.

They are a distraction from what is really important -- not so far as to say we should only look at the physical, for the spiritual is real.

I think they're a pointer to what's greater.

But if we think God is offering us something outside the rules of universe in our physical lives then we are barking up the wrong tree.

I think everything Jesus did, including the miracles, abided by the laws of God's universe.


mitchellmckain wrote:There is a big difference between the reproducible special conditions that makes a flower open up and excuses why a story is interpreted in a way which is utterly contrary to the reality of our lives.

If you think that there is life after death, isn't that utterly contrary to the reality of our lives? If you believe that we live beyond our death on earth, then why not believe other things that seem contrary?

For the scientist, science is part of how he sees everything. It is an extension of sight to perceive more of the world. If you ask him to close his eyes while reading certain passage that simply isn't going to make any sense. So he just will not read the Bible in a way which contradicts science because it is simply nonsensical to him.

see my above response re life after death. And I think with miracles, God is giving us yet another "extension of sight to perceive more of the world."
"Aurë entuluva! Auta i lómë!" ("Day shall come again! The night is passing!") -- from JRR Tolkien's The Silmarillion

Christianity is the red pill - go for it! Seek the truth, wherever it leads you.
User avatar
Rian
Senior member
Senior member
 
Posts: 6210
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2007 12:36 pm
Location: Arizona, USA ... for now ...
Affiliation: Christian/truth-seeker

Re: Miracles in the Bible

Postby mitchellmckain » Wed Mar 23, 2016 7:36 pm

Rian wrote:
mitchellmckain wrote:Breaking and changing the rules to impress people is practically the definition of whimsical compared to designing the laws of nature for a specific purpose and abiding by them.

But I (and kuwano, from what I can tell) think that miracles DO abide by the laws of nature; they are just higher laws that a greater being can use, like my calculus example. And to keep with the calculus example, as my daughter is slogging through learning limits, I might do a quick differentiation for her - not to show off how wonderful I am, but to keep her encouraged that one day, she will be able to do that, too, and she needs to stay at it. What do you think of looking at it that way?

That sounds like a tyrant who makes rules which apply to everyone but himself. No I don't believe in such hypocritical whimsical rulers.
On the other hand, I certainly DO believe that God understands the laws of nature better than we do and certainly better than the people at the time of Jesus did.
BUT we are learning them better all the time. And Jesus said that we would do all the things he did and more.
...So God knows the laws of nature better than we do, yes.
...But God made the laws of nature in a hypocritical inconsistent manner in which he is an exception when he wants to impress people, but only in the bible, no.

Rian wrote:
Often the thinking of religious people is that God make the laws of nature for no reason except that he felt like it and I think that is the opposite of the truth. I think God make the laws of nature that way because nothing else would have achieved His purpose.

I think that there are many universes that God could have made, and each would have their appropriate laws of nature. Do you agree?

Yes God COULD have made the universe all by design but since he was interested in life and free will then He made a universe which supported the process of self-organization.

Rian wrote:
mitch wrote:People are inspired by the out of the ordinary and God certainly wanted to get people's attention and make them take notice. But what does Jesus say? He tells us to see the signs and believe, but also says it is better to believe without the signs and it is only because of our sinfulness that we require such things.

And if we require them, he gives them to us, as he did.

In other words, they are most certainly not the point.

No, they aren't the point, but they point to the point, IMO.

"Only an evil and adulterous generation looks for a sign."

Rian wrote:
They are a distraction from what is really important -- not so far as to say we should only look at the physical, for the spiritual is real.

I think they're a pointer to what's greater.

Greater than what? Greater than the gutter mind of evil people perhaps, but not greater than what good people are looking at.

Rian wrote:
But if we think God is offering us something outside the rules of universe in our physical lives then we are barking up the wrong tree.

I think everything Jesus did, including the miracles, abided by the laws of God's universe.

Right but I think they are the same laws for everyone and all times while you seem to think there are exceptions.

Rian wrote:
mitchellmckain wrote:There is a big difference between the reproducible special conditions that makes a flower open up and excuses why a story is interpreted in a way which is utterly contrary to the reality of our lives.

If you think that there is life after death, isn't that utterly contrary to the reality of our lives?

No. That is like saying subtraction is utterly contrary to addition. It is a different subject. After death is by definition an entirely different subject than our physical lives.

Rian wrote: If you believe that we live beyond our death on earth, then why not believe other things that seem contrary?

It is not contrary. The rules of this world are the rules for this world. In so far as God is spirit and not of this world, God is not subject to the laws of nature. BUT when God participates in this world then it only makes sense that he would do so within the laws which He established to govern this world because these laws are not whim but for a reason. The laws of nature are the very substance of our life and free will and thus to break them is to trample over that life and free will. It is inconsistent and sends entirely the wrong message saying that the rules are not important.

Rian wrote:
For the scientist, science is part of how he sees everything. It is an extension of sight to perceive more of the world. If you ask him to close his eyes while reading certain passage that simply isn't going to make any sense. So he just will not read the Bible in a way which contradicts science because it is simply nonsensical to him.

see my above response re life after death. And I think with miracles, God is giving us yet another "extension of sight to perceive more of the world."

So do I. And now we see so much more of the world than we did at the time of Jesus.
Out of Skull for the Stars My first book is now available on Amazon.com
User avatar
mitchellmckain
Senior member
Senior member
 
Posts: 10316
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2009 1:32 am
Location: Salt Lake City
Affiliation: Christian

Next

Return to The Civility Lounge

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 1 guest