Here are four questions about miracles that I will try to answer:
1. Does God still do miracles today? God is certainly able to do whatever He wants to do. If He wants to do miracles He will. However, it seems quite clear that the age of miracles has past. For the most part they ceased when God began to reveal Himself to us in the pages of scripture.
Now I am not willing to say that miracles have completely stopped. Though I think God no longer gives the gift of miracles to men as He did with the apostles, it seems clear that God has occasionally given miracles to us throughout history.
Here are the testimonies of five great men in regard to miracles. Let these be a confirmation to you that some miracles still do happen.
The late Dr. H. A. Ironside said, “There are those who say today that miracles passed away with the apostles. That is not true. Many wonderful miracles have been wrought in answer to prayer during the last 1900 years.”
The late Dr. W. D. Riley, in his little book, Saved or Lost, tells of the wonderful healing of Miss Hollister of Minneapolis. For seven years she lay on a couch, her right lower limb shriveled and drawn; and one day as she and others prayed, she heard Jesus say, “I will; be thou whole.” Instantly she was healed, and from that moment she walked the streets on two good feet.
Dr. Alexis Carrel, a Rockefeller Institute scientist and a Noble Prizewinner, has taken the position that miracles are a fact, often attested by intelligent, reliable people. He once wrote an article in the Readers Digest entitled, “Prayer Is Power,” and proclaimed that he would never forget seeing a cancerous sore shrivel to a scar before his eyes.
Dr. Charles A. Blanchard, the late president of Wheaten College, who was a scholar as well as a devout Christian, has authored a book entitled, Getting Things from God. In this book he tells a story of a man who was raised from the dead in answer to his wife’s prayer.
Charles G. Finney, the great evangelist, in his autobiography, tells of many miracles: men struck dead for opposing revivals; sinners falling, unable to lift themselves up; in one case, how a woman was instantly given the ability to read the Bible, when before she did not even know the alphabet.
Yes, according to these testimonies, and by many others, there is good evidence that God still does some miracles. But for the most part they have ceased. I personally have not seen any miracles and I am quite skeptical of those who report cases of miracles. If you look at the miracles of the Bible you just don’t see those kind of miracles happening today. For instance we do not see today rods that turn into snakes (Ex. 4:3); we do not see today ax heads that float (2 Kin. 6:6); we do not see today people who go into burning furnaces and not burn (Dan. 3:24, 25); and we do not see today anyone walking on water (Matt. 14:25)! No, we just do not see these kinds of miracles today.
Most of the supposed miracles today are supposed miracle healings. I have read many stories of miracle healings, but none of them are like the miracle healings of the Bible. That is, none of them are healings that are immediate or complete. I think they are definitely healings from God, but I wouldn’t say that they are miracle healings, because they don’t really happen instantly. They are wonderful healings but not miracles.
Furthermore, if you have followed the purpose for miracles as I have just written, I don’t think we have the same conditions now as when the miracles in the Bible were done. Christianity is not faced with extinction; there is no immediate or desperate need for miracles in this present age of grace. The church has been established and the Holy Spirit is here with us to help us. Soon when the Holy Spirit is taken out of the world, miracles will return, but I don’t think we can expect many miracles now.
2. Will there be miracles any time in the future? Yes, as soon as believers are taken by Christ out of the world (1 Thess. 4:17) God will bring miracles on the earth for a period of seven years (especially during the last three and one half years) for basically two purposes: (1) To bring wrath on the earth and on the people for their sins, and (2) to help bring repentance and salvation to some who will believe.
God Himself will do all the miracles by His own power, but He will perform those miracles through the beast and the false prophet, by the spirits of three demons, by the two witnesses, and through seven angels.
The beast. God will allow the beast, also called the lawless one, to do all kinds of miracles. These miracles will be the work of Satan for the purpose of deceiving those who are perishing. For this lawless one will try to convince the people that he is God by doing many counterfeit miracles (miracles that Jesus did). Hence, these miracles are really from God in order to seal His condemnation on those who refuse to believe Him. For 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 says “And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
The false prophet. He is also called “another beast” (Rev. 13:11). He will probably do more miracles than the first beast, but all of his miracles will be supposedly by the authority and on behalf of the first beast. Again the purpose of his miracles will be to deceive the people and to bring God’s wrath and condemnation on them (Rev. 13:11-15).
The two witnesses. They are God’s holy prophets who will witness and bring salvation to many. The purpose of their miracles is to convince people to listen to their preaching and for their own protection while they preach (Rev. 11:3-12).
Three spirits of demons. Revelation 16:13-14 says, “And I [John] saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.” Hence, it seems here that these three evil spirits will do miracles for the sole purpose of deceiving certain world leaders in order to convince them to go to this place called Armageddon to do battle against each other (v. 16).
Though these miracles will be of the devil, God will allow them to happen in order to bring His wrath on the nations. For when they begin to do battle (or perhaps sometime during the battle) Jesus Christ, followed by His army (glorified Christians) will intervene. The armies of the world will at that time decide to come together and to go against Christ and the heavenly army. They will of course be soundly defeated; and this will usher in the beginning of Christ’s reign on the earth (Rev. 19:11-21).
Seven angels. These angels will be given power from God to bring disaster on the earth and to torment and kill the people (Rev. 7:1-2; 9:1-5, 14, 18-19; 16:8-12; 16:17-20). They will also be given miracle power to dry up the Euphrates River so that the kings from the east will be able to cross over on their way to Armageddon (Rev. 16:12-16).
3. Are there greater or lesser degrees of miracles? Some may argue that just because the wondrous things that happen today are not exactly like the miracles in the Bible that does not mean they are not miracles. They would say that they are miracles of a lesser degree.
I think the whole test is whether they are supernatural or not—whether they belong to a higher law of nature. If the event can be explained as being natural it is not a miracle. Hence, to be a miracle the event has to be something we don’t normally see.
Yes, I suppose there are lesser and greater miracles, but every miracle must be supernatural.
4. Since everything God created is so wonderful why can’t we say that everything in nature is miraculous? Yes there is an argument to be made that nature itself is a miracle. For by Him all things hold together (Col. 1:16-17), and by Him things are kept alive and in motion. God is the one who created life and He is the one who sustains it. By His power our heart continues to beat, with no other supervision. Without His power all life would cease, and all the planets and stars would fall from their orbits. In fact, without God all matter would fly apart, since, in Him all things hold together. In short, without God there would be no natural laws; there would be no nature at all. All would be formless and void. So then, in a sense, we may argue that miracles are going on all the time, since by the mighty power of God, all things are held together and are kept going.
But even though we are aware of all these natural wonders, I suppose we should not say that all things are miraculous lest nothing be miraculous. For true miracles, in order to stand out as miracles, must be different and beyond the usual power exhibited in nature. Miracles by definition are not natural at all. They are supernatural.
Also, just because miracles are supernatural, wondrous, and impressive does not mean that natural wonders are any less wonderful. Natural wonders are just as wonderful, and just as impressive. The only difference in the two is that they are different. The reason why miracles may appear to be more impressive and powerful to us is because they are out of the ordinary; they are not things that we normally see. God has brought them to us at special times in order to get our attention so that we may listen to Him and obey Him.