When we think of the possibilities of prayer and praying for big things, the word “miracles” always seems to come up. Are all wondrous events and answers to prayer miracles? People these days it seems are describing most great events and healings as miracles. But are all wondrous events technically miracles?
What are miracles? Here are just a few thoughts for our consideration on what true miracles are:
1. Miracles are commonly defined as events that appear unexplainable by the laws of nature; hence, they are occurrences that take on a different power than are exhibited in nature.
2. Miracles are supernatural events, which mean that they exist outside the natural world. Hence, they seem to violate or go beyond natural forces.
3. E. M. Bounds has explained miracles in contrast to nature this way: “Natural laws are simply God’s laws, by which He governs and regulates all things in nature. Nature is nothing but God’s servant. God is above nature. This being true, God can and will suspend the working of nature’s laws, can hold them in abeyance by His almighty hand, can for the time being set them aside, to fulfill his higher purposes in redemption.”
4. C. J. Baldwin, the author of Modern Miracles, has, I think, sort of disagreed with Bounds. He would not say that God suspends the working of nature. Baldwin believed that what God has created is always good and doesn’t need to be altered or violated in any way. He believed that when God performs miracles He gets from nature a wider use. Baldwin said, “Until the contrary is proved, we have the right to assume that the miracles of Scripture were not violations of the real order of nature. They were simply a result of the higher use for the creation by the Creator, for his own special purposes.”
5. Merrill F. Unger, in his Unger’s Bible Dictionary gives us a few more good thoughts on what Miracles are. “In general terms miracles may be defined as supernatural manifestations of divine power in the external world, in themselves special revelations of the presence and power of God.”
In contrast to the natural laws, Unger states: “A miracle… is a putting forth of the same power in the natural world in an extraordinary or supernatural manner.” Like Baldwin, Unger does not believe that Miracles violate natural law. He said,
To speak of miracles as contrary to nature is not to speak in harmony with the Scriptures. Nietzsche properly says “miracles belong to the higher order of things, which is a higher nature also.” We may say that they lie beyond or outside the ordinary method of God’s working in the natural world to which our observation is confined; but still we must think of them as having their appropriate place in the one great plan and purpose of Him whose will is law and who fills the universe with His presence.
In my next post I will show you five terms that are use in the Bible to describe miracles.