Thursday, December 24, 2020

December 24 The Awe-Inspiring Evidence for the Christian Faith from Modern-Day Miracles

Reason #24 The Evidence for the Christian Faith from Modern-Day Miracles

Credible reports of modern-day miracles strongly discredit the anti-supernatural worldviews of atheism.

Of course, by definition, miracles don’t happen “all the time.” If they did, they would no longer be miracles, they would be commonplace. But neither are miracles so rare as to be unheard of among honest and intelligent human beings.

Author Craig Keener has researched miracle reports from around the world and can address the medical documentation and Social Security disability reports behind Greg Spencer’s blindness from severe macular degeneration which was suddenly and completely healed at a Christian men’s retreat. Drs. Thomas Marshall and Harold Adolf can provide first hand documentation for Barbara Snyder’s sudden healing in 1981 from a 15-year battle with severe Multiple Scleroses (involving the Mayo clinic at one point) which had progressed to the point of causing her hands and extremities to curl in atrophy and requiring a tracheostomy and oxygen to help her breathe. Her doctors say there is no medical explanation for Barbara’s overnight healing. In fact, Dr. Keener’s book on miracles includes dozens of recent and credible miracle accounts from the U.S. and elsewhere.

The simple truth is that improbable happenings do indeed occur, and sometimes the improbabilities behind these happenings are so astronomically high, that naturalism and atheism are simply less intellectually satisfying than faith. It is possible to spend so much energy searching for escapes from the obvious—ways to explain away these phenomena—that we become more like zealots than scholars.  


What is the probability, for example, that Paul Rader’s experience should be fully accounted for by coincidence? He had a banker friend in the 1920s who always professed to be too busy for religion. Eventually, the banker came down with a health problem that required him to be admitted to a health resort for complete rest and recovery.  While he was there Rader was impressed by the thought that he should catch a train and pay a visit to his friend.


As soon as the banker saw him, he said, “Oh, Rader, I am so glad to see you.”


Rader greeted him humorously, “I received your telegram.”


The banker answered, “That’s impossible. I wrote a telegram begging you to come, but I tore it up. I didn’t send it.”


Of course, Paul had no idea that his friend had almost sent him a telegram, and then decided against it, but he again retorted in good humor, “That may be, but your message came by way of Heaven.”

By this time, Rader’s banker friend was very ready to accept Christ’s offer of rescue from sin, and he did indeed accept it with a prayer of gratitude. Talking a few minutes later, the banker asked Paul, “Rader, did you ever see the sky so blue or the grass so green?”

Paul replied, “Sometimes we sing a song that has these words: ‘Heaven above is softer blue, Earth around is sweeter green; Something lives in every hue Christless eyes have never seen.'"

Suddenly the banker leaned against Paul Rader, fell into his arms, and died, a brand new convert to the religion of Jesus, and just in time.

Again, what probabilities were standing against John G. Paton’s rescue from agitated and violent islanders in New Hebrides (now Vanatu) in the late 1800s? Two of their former missionary colleagues had already been attacked and killed, and now Paton and his wife were left in similar circumstances for an entire terror-filled night. When daylight finally came, the Patons were astonished that they had not only survived the night, but also that their attackers had simply gone away.

A year later, the chief of that tribe was converted to the Christian faith, and Paton, remembering what had happened on that dark night, asked him what had kept him and his men from burning down the house and killing them. The chief replied in surprise, "Who were all those men you had with you there?" The missionary answered, "There were no men there; just my wife and I."

The chief argued that they had seen many men standing guard—hundreds of big men in shining garments with drawn swords in their hands. They circled the mission house, making the islanders afraid to carry out their attack.

Or what sort of improbabilities stand behind the reports of captured and astonished Nazi pilots who reported being engaged by “hundreds” of fighter aircraft during the Battle of Britain when only a very few airplanes were anywhere near them?

Or what sort of probabilities stand behind Charles Ryrie’s story of an exhausted friend who was obligated to drive all through the night on one occasion, and who prayed for someone who might ride with him to help him stay awake, preferably a Christian?

The hitchhiker he picked up turned out to be a delightful person, one who actually knew some of the driver’s friends. Early in the morning, the hitchhiker asked to be dropped off at a roadside coffee shop where the two men chatted a few more minutes over a cup of coffee before parting.

A few minutes down the road, the driver regretted that he didn’t get his new friend’s full name and contact information, so he did a quick U-turn hoping to catch the hitchhiker before he got away. Back in the cafĂ©, he asked the cook if he had seen which direction the man who was with him had gone. The cook replied, “What other man? I thought it was unusual that you would order two cups of coffee. As a matter of fact, the other cup is still sitting there on the table, hasn’t been touched. I thought you were maybe just sort of talking to yourself there.”

It is a fact that credible reports of hopelessly improbable occurrences do exist—many, many credible reports from honest and intelligent individuals. And if even one of these supernatural accounts is true, then the worldviews of naturalism and atheism are deficient and false. Zealots may be motivated to avoid miracle stories in general, and to appeal to loopholes they claim to find in each miracle story they  ever encounter, but in doing so, they will be required to exercise greater faith in their naturalism, and less sheer reason, than devout Christians exercise when they believe in miracles. 

Credible reports of modern-day miracles strongly discredit the anti-supernatural worldviews of atheism.

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