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About miracles

Miracles in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament)
and in the Christian Scriptures (New Testament)

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Miracles described in the Bible:

Authors Ankerberg and Weldon believe that:

"miracles and the supernatural are inherently a part of what God does in history, because God is a supernatural being. The Bible is checkered with miracle from beginning to end. ..." 1

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Examples from the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) include:

bullet Creation of the "heaven and the earth" out of nothing in 7 days [or 4.5 billion years, depending on the interpretation]. (Genesis 1)
bullet Creation of plants, and animals, again apparently out of nothing. (Genesis 1)
bullet Creation of Adam out of dirt and Eve out of Adam's rib (Genesis 1 & 2; conflicting accounts)
bullet Creation of "The "Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil" with magical powers capable of generating a moral sense in proto-humans who previously lacked an understanding of morality. Eating the fruit of the tree made them fully human. (Genesis 2)
bullet A snake capable of speaking to humans. (Genesis 3)
bullet Guidance of 2 or 7 of every "kind" of animal from various locations in the world across vast distances to the ark. (Genesis 7)
bullet God promised that, in the future, when God pushed a cloud over the earth, he would create a rainbow as a sign of his covenant that he would not perpetrate another mass Genocide of humans by drowning. The miracle here is that prior to the covenant, rainbows did not exist -- in violation of the laws of nature.
bullet The builders of the Tower of Babel all spoke one language; God confounded their languages so that they could not communicate. (Genesis 11)
bullet Destruction of the cites of the plain -- Sodom and Gomorrah -- by raining down brimstone and fire. (Genesis 19)
bullet Instantly turning Lot's wife into a pillar of salt. (Genesis 19).
bullet The worldwide flood deep enough to submerge every mountain under water (Genesis 6).
bullet Noah's ark. (Genesis 7). Although it was constructed of regular materials using ordinary construction methods, its leakage rate was apparently a miniscule fraction of normal, so that a team of 8 people could manage to keep it afloat.
bullet The overnight mass murder/genocide of the firstborns of the Pharaoh and other Egyptians, their slaves and animals, made necessary because God hardened the heart of the Pharaoh. (Exodus 11)
bullet A pillar of a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night to guide the Hebrews through the desert. (Exodus 13)
bullet The Sun and Moon standing stationary in the sky. (Joshua 10) According to a course sold to public schools by the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools, "documented research through NASA" supports this verse from the Bible. They appear to be sincere, but sincerely wrong.
bullet A magical brass serpent that cured people of snake bite. (Numbers 21)
bullet A talking donkey (Numbers 22).

In the above examples, we have not included many events that might have had natural causes, like:

bullet The drying up of the river (Joshua 3 & 4) and the destruction of the walls of Jericho prior to the mass murder of its citizens (Joshua 6). Both of these might have been caused by earthquakes.
bullet The various plagues in Egypt that might also have had a natural cause.
bullet Spontaneous health cures in which the blind see, the mute speak and the lame walk.

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Examples from the Christian Scriptures (New Testament) include:

bullet The presence of the "star" of Bethlehem -- some kind of celestial object -- that provided a fixed point of reference in the sky for the unknown number of Zoroastrian astrologers. That is, they did not rise in the East and set in the West as the stars, planets and comets did.
bullet The virginal conception. (Luke 1, etc.)
bullet Raising Lazarus from the dead after four days in the grave. (John 11)
bullet Re-attaching a severed ear. (Mark 14)
bullet Feeding 5,000 men and an unknown number of women and children with five loaves and two fish. (Mark 6)
bullet Walking on water. (Mark 6)
bullet Feeding 45,000 persons with seven loaves. (Mark 8)
bullet Restoring a man's withered hand. (Mark 3)
bullet Healing a slave's severed ear. (Mark 14)
bullet Turning water into wine at Cana. (John 2)
bullet Moses and Abraham appearing with Jesus during the transfiguration, even though they had been dead for over a millennium.
bullet Many followers of Jesus who had died rose from their graves, walked to Jerusalem and appeared to many people (Matthew 27:57-58)
bullet Jesus resurrection.
bullet Jesus ascension into the clouds

In the above examples, we have not included many illnesses that might have been due to psychosomatic causes, coincidence, sick persons mistaken for dead, etc. like:

bullet Exorcisms that allegedly drove demons out of people. (Mark 5, etc.)
bullet Healing a paralytic. (Mark 2, etc.)
bullet Restoring sight to blind men. (Matthew 9)
bullet Curing leprosy (Mark 1, etc). Actually, the Greek word translated as "leprosy" covered many skin conditions.

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References:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. J. Ankerberg & J. Weldon, "The Facts on False Views of Jesus: The Truth Behind the Jesus Seminar," Harvest House (1997)

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Copyright 2008 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2008-JAN-18
Latest update: 2008-JAN-18
Author: B.A. Robinson

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