Photo by Anupam Pal (Kanpur, India)
Photographed December 2007, Chakdaha, India
It's interesting to me that there are people who claim to be Christians who also will claim, sometimes in the same breath, that there are some miracles of the Bible that they think could not possibly have really happened. So, God is powerful enough to make the earth--just by speaking--but then He struggles with parting the Red Sea or sending a great fish to swallow Jonah or walking on water? This seems inconsistent to me. Frankly, I can't see how anyone who believes in God--especially the God of the Bible--can deny that He has control over all of nature. (Just read Job 38-41 if you have any doubts as to the kind of power ascribed to Him.) But, it's deeper than that. It's much more than God having "control over" nature. God doesn't just control nature. Nature is a piece of God in the same way a painting is a piece of the artist. God is in nature. (But, to be clear, God is not 'in the tree' or contained by His creation like a sprite or a 'force'. See: I Kings 19:11-13) He works through it, but He is also glorified by it--in its beauty and in its power. But let us not forget that creation was designed for a purpose and with us in mind. Creation is for us--designed to perfectly fit our physical needs, but also perfectly designed to complement our spiritual needs by being a reflection of our Creator.
But, I digress...
One thing that kind-of bothers me is that some theologians like to split up miracles into categories. There are miracles that work with nature--like the first 9 plagues of Egypt or the calming of the storm. And then there are miracles that work above/against nature--like the 10th plague of Egypt or Jesus turning water into wine or the axe-head floating. They seem to suggest this shows how God is powerful in different ways, but really, I just think it shows more about us. The only real difference between a miracle that works within nature (as we understand it) or against nature (as we understand it) is our understanding or lack there of. We act as if one is harder for God than the other, which is absolutely ridiculous.
Think historically for a moment. If I was to go back only a mere couple hundred years with my ipod, I bet I could convince some folks I was capable of performing a miracle. That's because they simply wouldn't understand how I did it. Now, I'm not saying God doesn't really perform miracles. I'm saying everything God does is a miracle. It doesn't matter if it seems simple to us--like photosynthesis or rain or seeing a sunset. But think for a moment about each of those things. They are extremely common, but also extremely complicated, when you think about it. We don't think of them as miraculous because we experience them often and because we think we know how they work. (Most of us really don't, when pressed.) So, the only real difference between what we think of as a common, everyday occurrence and a miracle is our perspective (not God's). Frankly, we could no more imagine or create the process of photosynthesis any more than we could walk on water. Only God can do either.
So, it's a little comical when we have the audacity to claim God can create the sun, imagine a sunset into being, give us the power of sight so we can enjoy it, and then start listing all the things God "can't" do. As if we, in our infinite wisdom, knowledge and cosmic understanding, can decide which things would be harder for God to do. (That last clause doesn't even make sense to me!)
So, here are some questions for you:
Is God really pitted against "science"? What does that even mean? (Science, by the way, is a process, not a thing. So, keep that in mind when you answer.)
For those of you who believe in God, do you also believe in miracles? What about the miracles of the Bible--all of them? Why or why not?
If some miracles are harder for God than others, what does that say about God's character? And, what source do you trust for describing God's character?