Miracles Are Useless, If…

By Rajkumar Richard

The Bible is replete with miracles[1]. Sincere Christians who worship the Triune God will objectively believe every recorded miracle in the Bible. Miracles are intended to glorify God, meet human needs and establish the supernatural basis of revelation.

Miracles Useless Evangelism

Sincere Christians will also affirm miracles subjectively. They will subjectively assert their existence as a product of not one or two, but many a miracle. A classic spiritual example of a miracle is the born-again experience.

Postmodern Christians, however, will arrogantly deny miracles. Consequently, they will deny that the Bible (God’s Word) is inspired by God, is error -free and absolutely trustworthy.

Miracle, by definition, ought to appeal to God as its ultimate source. So atheists are not expected to believe in miracles. However, their beliefs in life from non-life, order from chaos, rational from non-rational are miracles in themselves. It’s just that atheists would attribute miracles to random occurrences without scientific explanation[2].

This article is neither intended to deny miracles nor affirm its absolute uselessness, but it will endeavor to highlight specific instances of application where miracles could be rendered useless.

Miracles Sustain Unbelief

Miracles would be rendered useless if it were solely used as an evangelistic means to bring people to Christ.

Miracles bring people to Christ. The Jews who witnessed Lazarus’ miraculous resurrection believed in Christ (John 11: 45).

However, the Lord Jesus performed numerous miracles. Nevertheless people abandoned HIM. So miracles were either rendered useless when people did not respond with belief in Christ or miracles were not performed with a motive for people to believe in HIM.

The 6th chapter of the gospel of John offers a remarkable insight into people’s disbelief and abandonment of the Lord. Although they were cognizant of the Lord’s miraculous feeding of the 5000 and the miraculous walking on the water, many disbelieved and abandoned HIM (John 6: 30, 66).

This is the problem. Without adequate biblical support, miracles are posited as a vital means to evangelism by certain Christians. But there are instances of people refusing to believe in Christ even upon witnessing miracles. (An overnight change in character from bad to good need not be construed as a miracle by those who are not predisposed to believing in miracles.)

On the other hand, when miracle-workers fail to perform miracles, they ascribe the failure upon the audience. They could claim that their audience did not possess adequate faith in Christ for miracles to occur.

These Christians commonly believe that miracles cannot be performed when there is no faith in people (cf. Matthew 13: 58, Mark 6: 5). This is an invalid notion.

The sovereign God cannot be limited by man’s belief. Christ healed a faithless man who was invalid for 38 years (John 5: 1-9).

Since not all miracles lead people to Christ, a conclusion that miracles sustain unbelief in Christ is reasonable.

Miracles Deceive People

The notion that miracles are solely meant to draw people to Christ presupposes an argument that Christians are the one and the only group who could perform miracles. This is an invalid notion.

The Egyptian magicians imitated the miracles of Moses and Aaron to a large extent (Exodus 7). If miracles are solely meant to draw people to Christ, then the miracles performed by those in the name of their gods would deceptively draw people to their gods. If miracles lead people away from Christ, the notion that miracles should solely lead people to Christ is self-defeating.

The fact remains that miracles could be deceptive.

Satan deceives people through miracles, “The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing…” (2 Thessalonians 2: 9-10, NIV, Emphasis Mine).

Therefore, miracles are useless when it deceives people and draws them away from the living God.

Miracles Propel Evangelists

Quite a few evangelists / miracle-workers perform miracles to propel themselves into greater fame and power. The Bible reveals this fact.

The Bible records Simon’s unholy eagerness to perform miracles (cf. Acts 8: 21-22). Simon probably desired to perform miracles to propel him to greater fame. The depravity of man’s heart remains the same then and now. Now quite a few evangelists use miracles to glorify themselves.

Sadly the destinies of these people are abundantly clear. They are eternally doomed (Matthew 7: 22-23). Although the miracles these people perform could bring people to Christ, these miracles, in their own eternal context, are useless (these miracles do not save the miracle-workers).

Miracles Entertain People

Miracles do possess an entertainment value.

Herod desired entertainment from Christ, so he hoped that the Lord would perform miracles (Luke 23: 8-9). This is the situation with quite a few people today. They look upon miracles as a means of entertainment.  This is another situation where miracles would be rendered useless.

Furthermore, could we pray for miracles in our life today? Yes! Miracles could be a means of God’s answer to our prayers.

How do we recognize if a miracle is from God or not? Miracles from God save man from his terrible predicament. Satan, as an agent of destruction, need not always save man from his predicament, unless ordained by God for a specific reason.

On a rather detached tangent, what about those among us who remain idle while expecting a miracle to happen?

This is a complex question. A universal answer is not a good choice to deal with this predicament. A suitable alternative is to examine every situation as independent of another within this context.

As a case in point, consider a Christian who refuses to eat medicines but waits on God to perform a miracle of healing. While God can accede to this request, HE could, as a just and a sovereign being, deny this prayer request. Hence, it is upon the Christian to know the will of the Lord.

The prayer life of a Christian should determine whether he/she waits upon the Lord for a miracle or consumes medicines, all the while knowing that medicines are also an agent of God’s healing for man.

So to conclude, the Bible reveals that Satan (a created being and enabled by God to perform miracles) could be a secondary source for miracles. In this instance, miracles will lead people away from Christ. So miracles need not always have God as its source (although God is the ultimate source for all miracles).

Man could also employ his [corrupt] freewill to draw people to himself rather than God. So miracles need not always be for the sake of God’s glory.

When a believer of Christ employs miracles for his selfish agendas, God need not necessarily confiscate the spiritual gift of miracles from him / her. The believer is responsible to use every gift for the sake of God’s glory.

Therefore, miracles should not be blindly believed to be as from God or as approved by God. Miracles ought to be perceived with utmost spiritual diligence.

Endnotes:

[1] Dr. William Lane Craig defines miracles as extraordinary acts of providence which should not be conceived, properly speaking, as violations of the laws of nature, but as the production of events which are beyond the causal powers of the natural entities existing at the relevant time and place. (http://www.reasonablefaith.org/creation-providence-and-miracle, last accessed on July 13, 2015)

[2]  http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/0/24660240, last accessed on July 13, 2015

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