Miracles and Signs


An evil and rebellious generation seek after a sign. Although many look for some supernatural sign to be the proof of God, they readily admit that there can be no such thing. For they would immediately seek to explain it in physical terms. And if, indeed, it did appear in reality as we know it, the sign could be observed, tested, and scrutinized by science which would remove all mystery to the event and it would cease to be understood as supernatural. If they couldn’t explain it, they would point to a lack of appropriate technology and predict that an answer would appear at a later time. The contradiction is readily apparent, though, when it becomes understood that the call for a sign is the call for mystery and the supernatural, to be able to genuinely witness it. So, they expect to see mystery and then explain it away thereby undoing the mystery. In the end, the call for a sign is a challenge to God to present something for man to reject.

Advertisements

19 thoughts on “Miracles and Signs

  1. You make it sound as if curiosity is evil, that investigating phenomena and trying to explain its causal effect by means of a mechanism was rebellious. Without these very qualities in our species, the odds are pretty good few of us would be alive today… if we’ve ever had an infection or undergone surgery or received corrective therapy, only eaten seasonal food, never slept and rested in an artificial environment, and so on. Here you are using a computer – a computer! – to send out such an ill-conceived notion that is a direct result of the very attributes upon which you cast aspersions. You need to put your head in a paint shaker.

    If a ‘sign’ appeared and could be explained as a ‘natural’ phenomena, then it was never a ‘super’natural phenomena to begin with. The blame for this failure does not rest with an “evil and rebellious generation” but with a god demonstrably not up to the task. This is no surprise if there is no such critter that you like to worship, which seems quite likely. It would be a surprise, however, if the god you worship actually existed but was unable to produce such a supernatural sign… one that clearly demonstrated a phenomena contrary to and outside of natural law. Why should such a feat prove to be so difficult to the ‘creator’ of the universe… unless he/she/it never existed in the first place but was merely a figment of your imagination?

    1. Tildeb,

      “You make it sound as if curiosity is evil, that investigating phenomena and trying to explain its causal effect by means of a mechanism was rebellious.”

      I never said this or implied it. This is what you want to think I mean.

      “Without these very qualities in our species, the odds are pretty good few of us would be alive today… if we’ve ever had an infection or undergone surgery or received corrective therapy, only eaten seasonal food, never slept and rested in an artificial environment, and so on.”

      I have no problem with this except that it doesn’t pertain to my post at all.

      “Here you are using a computer – a computer! – to send out such an ill-conceived notion that is a direct result of the very attributes upon which you cast aspersions. You need to put your head in a paint shaker.”

      More wishful thinking?

      “If a ‘sign’ appeared and could be explained as a ‘natural’ phenomena, then it was never a ‘super’natural phenomena to begin with. ”

      This is exactly what I said people like you say. Thank you for illustrating my point!

  2. Isn’t the power of the God of the New and Old Testament all about providing signs and miracles? There are numerous and well known examples from both; through these signs of miraculous events a great deal of faith is derived for believers.
    Science would certainly try and understand miracles and signs as best as they could be understood. I doubt that they would be able to say that future understanding could explain how Lazarus rose from the dead, or how water turned to wine and so on- these are genuine miracles, and if true, would at the very least heavily weigh upon the likelihood of a God.

    1. freeze43,

      The miracles in the Old and New Testament manifested themselves in the physical world, and, as such, could be observed and scrutinized. And if your only concern is the physical manifestation and decree that the physical is all that exists, of course you are going to miss the “miracle”. The evil and rebellious make that decree and ignore who did it and why. Miraculous acts exceeded the typical behavior of nature but are not done for the sake of “doing a miracle”. Each one had a context, and the most important thing was not the miracle but the being who did it and the reason why. Miracles are physical acts that come from a supernatural being and reveal the purpose that being wants to communicate in the situation. The evil and rebellious willingly blind themselves to this.

    2. Isn’t the power of the Thetan of Dianetics all about providing signs and miracles? There are numerous and well known examples; through these signs of miraculous events a great deal of faith is derived for scientology believers.
      Science would certainly try and understand miracles and signs as best as they could be understood. I doubt that they would be able to say that future understanding could explain how engram removal occurs through auditing, or how Xenu transported all of us to handy volcanoes later detonated by hydrogen bombs and so on – these are genuine miracles, and if true, would at the very least heavily weigh upon the likelihood of Thetan.

      1. I’m not sure if Scientology concerns itself about miracle production, but it seems fair.

      2. Yeah, not a great analogy but the point remains: claiming miracles are genuine does not mean that they are because they occur under the tent of ‘religious belief’. A miracle, it seems clear to me, is a term we use for when we don’t understand something, when a result is favourable or fortuitous when it didn’t have to turn out that way. Hearsay is not very compelling evidence.

  3. I don’t know any ‘generation’ that seeks a sign from god. I don’t know any ‘generation’ that doesn’t try to understand new phenomena. I don’t know of any ‘generation’ that doesn’t appreciate mystery for the stimulation it brings to our natural curiosity. But I do know that knowledge is only gained by honest and detailed work adjudicated by reality. Where this ‘evil and rebellious generation’ exists and what constitutes membership in it – if not those who do the work to dismantle phenomena to reveal nature and create knowledge – remains a mystery me.

    You presume a sign of supernatural phenomena could be such but then magically becomes natural if subjected to this work. I’m saying if any phenomena is revealed to be natural then it was always thus; your label of supernatural is wrong to begin with. What I’m also saying is that a sign could be manufactured that stands up to this work and shows properties contrary to natural laws, meaning it could start as a supernatural phenomena and remain so.

  4. The thought that a miracle can be scrutinized and come up short defies what a miracle is. Miracles can be defined in two ways. Firstly there are extraordinarily lucky occurrences (which follow tildeb’s miracle definition I would say) such as a person recovering from terminal cancer. Now there may be long odds, but it is far more likely that a person has beaten the odds as opposed to supernatural intervention by a hitherto silent God(s) who has designed enormous amounts of false evidence pointing to their nonexistence.

    The second form of miracle, the sort of miracle that Dan O’Brien I believe wants to talk about, is about things which laugh in the face of even overwhelmingly improbable odds. Biblical miracles such as Lazarus returning from the dead, a burning and talking bush, an entire sea parting ways, a staff spontaneously becoming a snake. These are miracles which I doubt Dan’s point about people “not seeing it for what it means, rather just a physical act” would be an issue. No scientist in the world would look at something like that and say it is up to chance. The chance for that occurring would be higher than there is material in the universe to write the zeroes required to express how highly unlikely it is. Even a slight believer would instantly fall down on their knees in worship. Myself, an atheist, would do likewise and beg for my forgiveness because something like that happening is so otherworldly it is more likely for divine intervention and not a trick of the cosmos (especially if it is particularly pertinent). The sheer physical shock waves of such an act occurring naturally would probably destroy the world if not the universe- if it does not, then it lends further proof to a God not letting it do so. The closest you could get would be blaming it on hallucination, but Dan’s assertion was that it would be observed as a physical, “measurable” occurrence which would rule out even the largest hallucination. No one would argue with that sort of evidence.

    I believe this blog was a means to say why God no longer performs miracles (ie people would not believe it was God). But God’s power, even in the New Testament, is sufficiently powerful to annihilate even the biggest skeptic’s arguments. Why don’t we see them? Almost certainly because they don’t happen, and they never did- the Biblical miracles either fabrication or Chinese whispers, extensively changing the original story.

    1. Yeah, I was thinking, “Why not make prayers every Sunday work… for a very specific religious group that ‘has it right’? Make the church/synagogue/temple/mosque/whatever a place during prayer where the sick are suddenly healed, the blind can suddenly see, the deaf to suddenly hear, amputated limbs suddenly regrown, that kind of stuff?”

      If I can imagine such events, why can’t god do at least this paltry (for a universe creator) bit? Unable, unwilling, or imaginary?

  5. “An evil and rebellious generation seek after a sign. Although many look for some supernatural sign to be the proof of Baal/Santa/ The Flying Spaghetti Monster, they readily admit that there can be no such thing. For they would immediately seek to explain it in physical terms. And if, indeed, it did appear in reality as we know it, the sign could be observed, tested, and scrutinized by science which would remove all mystery to the event and it would cease to be understood as supernatural. If they couldn’t explain it, they would point to a lack of appropriate technology and predict that an answer would appear at a later time. The contradiction is readily apparent, though, when it becomes understood that the call for a sign is the call for mystery and the supernatural, to be able to genuinely witness it. So, they expect to see mystery and then explain it away thereby undoing the mystery. In the end, the call for a sign is a challenge to Baal/Santa/The Flying Spaghetti Monster to present something for man to reject.”

    Irish Catholics worship a tree stump Rathkeale, Limerick – Idolatry, anyone?

  6. “In the end, the call for a sign is a challenge to God to present something for man to reject.”
    Yes. And in this modern age of science, there have been no signs and all gods have been rejected. Who Mourns for Adonis?

  7. To all,

    Miracles are not impervious to doubt. Doubt can be applied to everything. I challenge you to name a possible miracle that would convince everyone beyond a doubt that God exists. There is not one you can name that another cannot find a way to doubt it. Miracles may defy the limits of the circumstances at the time and place it happened, but there is always a way to explain it away.

    1. No, I don’t think so and I’ve outlined some of the possible ways up thread. Granted, answering “i don’t know” is an honest response to what people hastily call a ‘ miracle’, and so far every modern miracle claim is shown to have a reasonable and competent answer without any need for Oogity Boogity, but at some point we’re going to have face the very distinct possibility that miracles don’t happen because the supernatural agencies we deem necessary to cause them simply don’t exist (have any knowable causal efficacy) in our reality.

      Bummer, I know.

  8. Miraculous acts exceeded the typical behavior of nature but are not done for the sake of “doing a miracle”. Each one had a context, and the most important thing was not the miracle but the being who did it and the reason why. Miracles are physical acts that come from a supernatural being and reveal the purpose that being wants to communicate in the situation. The evil and rebellious willingly blind themselves to this.

    To paraphrase Stephen F Roberts “I contend we are both evil and rebellious, I just believe in one fewer miracle than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible miracles, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”

    Hindu Milk Miracle

    .

  9. Pingback: noxforchristmas
  10. Being the curious type, I clicked the pingback link of noxforchristmas
    And ye verily, on the very first page more miracles appeared…
    Link

    The more I pray the more God is showing me that there are going to be more supernatural events that you cannot explain.

    Sounds like we are on the right track.
    Supernatural events we cannot explain?
    Do go on.

    The other day the leg on the couch broke off. I took the leg to hardware store I asked for man and asked him what I should do. He said just minute he went to his manager and asked if he could go to my house to fix. This does not happen everyday, he fixed and told be Happy Mother’s Day. This was supernatural miracle that I cannot explain. They do not come to people’s house’s everyday.

    Yep, supernatural miracle. No doubt about it. Makes sense really. Jesus was in the timber and furniture industry by trade, after all.
    I’m convinced.

  11. “it becomes understood that the call for a sign is the call for mystery and the supernatural”
    Yes. A million years of evolution might produce a “call for a sign”. But we should have evolved beyond that by now. Maybe in another thousand years.
    “the most important thing was not the miracle but the being who did it and the reason why.”
    You have jumped to a conclusion about a “being” without any evidence.
    “Miracles are not impervious to doubt.”
    Well, we really ought to try to define exactly what is under discussion before we try to discuss it. If any “miracle” can be “doubted”, then the term “miracle” is simply meaningless? The term “miracle” and the term “reality” are mutually exclusive?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s