Session Three: Miracles
Miraculous God of Wonder...be with us in our learning this day. Reveal that which is unknown, grant us insight into your Divine works, and give us the humility to accept that some mysteries are beyond our understanding. Amen
The reading from Tipler for this session both intrigues me and irritates me. As someone who loves watching shows like “Secrets of the Bible Revealed” and “The Science of the Bible”...an attempt to explain miracles using science can be fascinating. Yet, I wanted more from Tipler: dead people really weren’t raised from the dead, they were never dead to begin with. And demons weren’t really driven out of people, they simply had multiple personalities. And sick people really weren’t healed, they simply experienced temporary relief from their symptoms. If that is how science seeks to answer the mystery of miracles, I’ll stick with faith. I wanted something deeper, more challenging, and with more of an ability to stand up against the wonders of miracles. Sure, without modern medical equipment people could have been declared dead and yet have recovered, giving the appearance of resurrection...but what does that theologically say about Christ's death and resurrection (hint: will explore this more in Session Five)? Sure...mental illness was undiagnosed and erratic behavior could have been blamed on demons...but how does that theologically help us understand evil our world? And I am sure some of the healings were more natural than miraculous...but where does that theologically place the importance of faith? While I love to explore the mysteries revealed in scripture, I don’t need hard science to “prove” truth or “disprove” faith. In an episode of one of these shows, science was used to “prove” how all the plagues against Egypt could have really happened. In fact, it was demonstrated that the latter plagues were a result of the earlier plagues...very interesting. But does that change my understanding that God sent these plagues or put these plagues into motion? Nope, I think that when seeking to understand the miracles found in the Bible, faith and science need to be explored independently of each other.
- Tipler writes to claim “that a miracle violates physical law is in effect to deny either God’s omniscience or [God’s] omnipotence.” Do you agree or disagree with Tipler’s efforts to explain the scientific reasoning behind miracles?
- Can God change physical laws without threatening God’s own wisdom and power?
- What specific “miracles” do you think can be explained by science? What miracles do you believe to be the work of God?
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