Re: Miracles

From: Robert Miller (
Date: Thu May 31 2001 - 14:02:38 EDT

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    Hi George,

    > >
    > > George Murphy wrote in part:
    > > >
    > > > But does he - i.e., tell us to pray not just for healing but
    > > > _miraculous_ healing?
    > >
    > > That is the way I read James 5:13-16
    > This says that the sick person is to be anointed with oil - a
    > medication in biblical times (e.g., Is.1:6, Lk.10:34) - in ther name of
    the Lord
    > & prayed for & that "the prayer of faith will save the sick person."
    There is
    > nothing to indicate that _miraculous_ healing is to be prayed for & the
    use of a
    > medication, whether symbolic or not, argues against that. Nor is such
    prayer to
    > be expected: Christians believed that God could heal, & the question of
    > they expected that healing to be natural or miraculous probably didn't
    occur to
    > them.

    Not so! In fact the writer added an illustration, James 5:17, 18, to make
    sure we
    knew he was talking about a miraculous answer to prayer

    > There seems to be misunderstanding here on a couple of counts.
    1st, I
    > have not argued here against miracles. I have argued that they need not
    > understood as phenomena which are beyond the capacity of created agents
    > divine cooperation. 2d, you simply can't equate "act of God" with
    > Everything that happens in the world is an act of God. Your breakfast
    > & cure of a headache with aspirin are acts of God.

    I'm sorry that my "act of God" disconcerted you. I was simply distingushing
    miracle from the act of a person. When Peter raised Dorcas to life we
    that it was not an act of Peter's but of God.We don't say to Peter, "What a
    thing you have done." No, we give thanks to God for what He has done.

    > > reason. Even John Polkinghorne has found room for miracles in quantum
    > > uncertainty
    > > and chaos theory.
    > Precisely. He has "found room for them" so that he doesn't see
    them as
    > completely beyond the capacity of creatures.

    Oh? How do you know?

    > Jesus referred to his _signs_, some of which were miracles. I am
    > denying that miracles, in the sense of extraordinary & marvelous
    phenomena, took
    > place in the ministry of Jesus. But what Jesus appealed to was not the
    > _qua_ miracle but the sign value of the miracle & its correspondence with
    > Messianic expectations. & again, the Bible does not say that miracles are
    > beyond the capacity of created agents with divine cooperation. I aplogize
    > the repetition but apparently this point has not been made clearly enough.

    I'm sorry I seem so thickhead to you. We have had a similar discussion a
    year or
    two ago. My impression is that you are uncomfortable with miracles in the
    of things not explainable by the laws of nature. I see God's revelation as
    with incidences of God's unique interventions into the lives of people and
    miraculous acts that make no scientific sense. You have said that you accept
    miracle of the resurrection and not much else, but in the most recent
    you seem to have expanded your list a little.

    We have also quibbeled over the definition of God's intervention, so let me
    illustrate what I mean by intervention. In Acts 16:17 Paul and his
    companions tried
    to enter the province of Bithynia to preach the gospel but were prevented by
    Spirit of Jesus" (NIV). During the night Paul had a vision of a man of
    Macedonia saying,
    "Come over here." Paul concluded that God wanted them to change course and
    to Macedonia, so they did. That changed the course of history, and it
    occured because
    of God's intervention.

    I see God's miracles and interventions as an intregal, important part of His
    God's written revelation has apparently closed 2000 years ago but His
    miracles and
    interventions have continued to this day and that is part of the reason we
    pray. When
    we are troubled or in need, or have family or friends in need we believe we
    can pray
    and God will answer our prayer, sometimes by doing something miraculous.

    I will give you the last word on this thread and maybe we can discuss it
    again in a
    couple of years.

            Bob Miller

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