Do Miracles Still Exist and Occur Today?
Do miracles still exist today? Does God perform miracles today, or do some people have the power to perform miracles? Miracles such as healing the sick, or the lame, giving sight to the blind, casting out demons, prophesying about the future, speaking in tongues, or even raising the dead.
We’re going to go to the bible and allow God’s word to answer this question. But in finding the answer to this, we might need to ask three more questions.
The first question is this, “What does the word “miracle” refer to, what does it mean?”
The second question is, “When have miracles occurred in the past?”
And the third question is, “What was the purpose for the miracles that have occurred in the past?”
If we first answer these questions, it will be easier for us to understand the answer to the original question, “Do miracles still occur today?” “Do they exist?”
So here we go, lets open up the bible, and see what God has to tell us.
The First Question; What is a Miracle?
People today are in the habit of using the word “miracle” much too casually. If something unexpected happens, people say; It’s a miracle! But that’s not what a miracle is, in the bible.
There’s two words in the Old Testament that are sometimes translated as “miracle” or miracles”. One word refers to something that serves as a token, or a mark, or a beacon, or a monument, or an omen. In other words, it’s something that stands out from the ordinary.
The second word conveys the idea of conspicuousness. So once again, something that stnads out from the rest.
In the New Testament, there’s another two words that are translated as “miracle”, or “miracles”.
The first word translated miracle, means, “a supernatural sign or token, an indication, a wonder”. I think the key word here is “supernatural”.
And the second word means.. “power, strength, ability, and might”. And it has the connotation of “supernatural” power and strength, and ability, and might. So in other words, it refers to a power or ability that comes from beyond the natural laws of nature, and beyond man’s natural abilities. It’s the power, and the strength, and the might, that comes from God Himself!
Let’s focus first, on the first meaning, which is that of “a supernatural sign or token, an indication, a wonder”.
When something is “super natural”, that means that it occurs “outside” or “beyond” the normal laws, and boundaries of nature. So we see that as God uses the word in His scriptures, a miracle is an indication or a sign from God, and it occurs outside of the prescribed laws of nature. It comes about “super” naturally, by the power of God, and so it’s a “wonder”. It’s definitely NOT something that anyone would normally expect to happen.
We’re told in Hebrews 11, verse 3.. “By faith, we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen, was not made out of things that are visible.” Now you wouldn’t expect that to happen would you? But it did!
Now, consider this question..
Is the birth of a baby a “miracle”? I’d have to say, no it isn’t. Even though the creation of new life is truly a wonderous thing, it lies perfectly within the bounds of the laws of nature which God has prescribed.
Now with that being said, has there ever been a time when the birth of a child could have indeed be thought of as a miracle? And I’m not referring to the birth of Jesus, because as we all know, that indeed was a miracle! One day the angel Gabriel said to a woman named Mary.. “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.” (Luke 1:31) But Mary said, in verse 34.. “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”
Well the answer was, it will be a miracle! Gabriel’s exact answer was.. “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; Therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God!” (Verse 35) Now that’s a miracle!
But I’m thinking of another child that was born, when surely, no one would have ever expected that to occur. Not even the mother of the child thought it could ever occur. As a matter of fact, she laughed when the idea was suggested! And of course that woman was Sarah, the wife of Abraham.
Here’s what another “angel of God”, said to Abraham, in Genesis 18, verse 10.. “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son. And Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him.” And what did Sarah do? She laughed.
We’re told in verses 11 & 12.. “And Abraham and Sarah were already old, and well along in years; Sarah had passed the age of childbearing. Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying; After I am waxed old, shall I have delight, my lord being old also?” (It’s interesting to note here, that Sarah considered the thought of bearing a child, to be a “delight”. Another translation of the word is “luxury”. Shall I have this luxury, of bearing a child.
The scriptures tell us in Genesis 11, verse 30, that Sarah had been barren, all her life, and she was now 90 years old. I would imagine that maybe that was one of the things that she felt sorrowful about. The fact that she never had any children. You can see why she laughed to herself, at the suggestion that now, at 90 years old, and far past the age of child-bearing, that she would have a child.
But yet, she did indeed give birth to a son, just like the angel of God said she would, and they named him Isaac. Do you know what the name “Isaac” means? It means.. “One who laughs” or “one who rejoices”. That’s interesting isn’t it? Indeed, Sarah at first laughed, but then, I’m quite sure that she did indeed rejoice! “After I have become old, shall I have delight?”
Well, she did have delight; And it was the hand of God that brought her that delight. It would never had occurred, simply relying on the “laws of nature”. It took something, shall we say, “supernatural” to bring it about. It took a miracle. And so we can see that on this occasion (and in other occasions) God has brought about a miracle, through the use of His laws of nature. He simply had to “bend” those laws a wee bit, to accomplish His will.
One more example of God “manipulating” His own laws of nature, to bring about what we would have to call a “miracle”, is the story of how Elijah prayed that it would not rain, and it didn’t rain; For three and a half years it didn’t rain. And then he prayed again, this time that it would rain, and it absolutely rained; Just like Elijah prayed that it would.
But all that rain didn’t come out of a cloudless sky. It came from the clouds that had gathered, just like nature intends to happen. 1 Kings 18, verses 43 thru 47 describes how it happened. Here’s what the scriptures say.. “And he said to his servant, (this is Elijah speaking) “Go up now, look toward the sea.” And he went up and looked and said, “There is nothing.” And he said, “Go again,” seven times.
And verse 44 says.. “And at the seventh time he said, “Behold, a little cloud like a man’s hand is rising from the sea..”
And then verse 45 says.. “And in a little while the heavens grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain..”
And so it might sounds as if the rain came in the usual way. But this case was different. This was a case of God Himself, “manipulating” His laws of nature, to bring about, a “miracle”.
We know that these were miraculous events, (the withholding of the rain, and then the bringing of the rain), and we know that, because of what the scriptures tell us in James 5, verses 17 & 18. Listen to what it says; “Elijah was a man of like nature as us, and with fervent prayer, he prayed for it not to rain, and it did not rain upon the earth, for three years and six months! And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.”
God tells us right there in those two verses, that the withholding of the rain, and then the giving of the rain, was the result of the prayers of Elijah. (A man of like nature as us. And a powerful example, of the power of prayer!) But my point is.. The laws of nature don’t respond to the prayers of men. What happened with Elijah was no “ordinary” event. And so although nature doesn’t respond to our prayers, our God and Father in heaven, DOES respond, to the prayers of the righteous. And therefore we can easily see, how that on this occasion, God used His own laws of nature, and simply manipulated them a bit, to bring about the miracle that He had purposed.
One characteristic of a miracle, is that it is supernatural in it’s origin. And a second characteristic of a miracle, is that it is an “indication”, or a “sign”. So by it’s very definition, a miracle is for a particular purpose. It’s purpose is to be a “sign”, or an “indication”, that what is happening is specifically, and act of God. And so in both of those two previous examples, we can see a clear indication of God’s hand being involved, and from other scriptures, we also see the purpose behind what God miraculously, caused to occur.
Another Word Translated “Miracle”
The second word that’s translated “Miracle” in the New Testament, which means .. “power, strength, ability, and might”. And again, it has the connotation of “supernatural” power and strength, and ability, and might. So in other words, it refers to a power or ability that comes from beyond the natural laws of nature, and beyond man’s natural abilities. It’s the power, and the strength, and the might, that comes from God Himself!
So that’s what the bible is talking about, when it uses the words “miracle’ or “miracles”. It’s talking about a “supernatural” sign; A sign that this is from God. It’s something that happens outside of the laws of nature, therefore proving that the occurrence is caused by the hand God, or we might say; By the word of God. And also, a miracle ALWAYS serves a specific purpose.
When Elijah prayed for the rain to be withheld, it was at God’s direction that he do so, and it was for the purpose of punishing the evil king Ahab.
And of course when Sarah bore a son to Abraham, it was for the purpose of fulfilling the promise of God, that through Abraham, all the families of the earth would be blessed. And of course that “blessing” would come in the form of the forgiveness of sins, through Jesus Christ, “the seed of Abraham”.
But let me get back to the idea of a miracle, being a display of the power and strength, and ability, of God Almighty. A miracle is something that ONLY the power and might of GOD, could have accomplished.
Along with the previous examples, consider the example of when Moses parted the waters of the Red Sea, in Exodus chapter 14. It wasn’t actually Moses who parted those waters, it was GOD who did it! A supernatural act of God, a miracle! What occurred was beyond the laws of nature, and the mere fact that it occurred, shows the overwhelming power of God, over nature. (Very much like when Jesus calmed the wind and the sea. And the apostles said to one another, in Mathew 8:27; “..What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”
That was the power of God displayed. And so was the parting of the Red Sea. And it’s interesting, that again in this instance, God used nature, to effect His miracle. We’re told in Exodus 14, verse 21; “Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the LORD drove the sea back, by a strong east wind all night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.” Another instance of the power and ability of God “manipulating” His laws of nature.
In John chapter 5, we’re told about a man who had been lame for thirty-eight years, but Jesus said to him, in verse 8; “Arise, take up your pallet, and walk.” Verse 9 says; “and immediately the man became well, and took up his pallet, and walked.”
Some lameness can be cured with medical attention, and therapy; But no man who’s been lame for thirty-eight years, immediately gets up and walks! Therefore, the fact that such a thing happened, shows it to be a miraculous act of God. A sign of God’s hand, and of His power and might, and ability.
What about the story of Elijah and the rain that we considered? It clearly displays God’s power over nature.
The Second Question; When Have Miracles Occurred?
The question of when miracles have occurred, is pertinent to the understanding of how God has used His miraculous power and might, and it is also pertinent to answering the question, “Do miracles still happen today?” As one reads through the bible, it becomes apparent, that miracles were not a common everyday occurrence throughout history. There were specific periods of time in which miracles have occurred. The bible tells us of the various times in history when God used His supernatural power, to effect miracles.
God obviously used his supernatural power during the creation of the worlds; During the creation of the expanse of the sky, and of the earth and the other planets, and of the stars and moon. He used His miraculous power to create MAN, and every other living thing that exists upon the earth.
Many people who call themselves evolutionists, don’t accept the fact that God created all these things. They would rather believe that all this came about as a big “Accident”, a “Big Bang”. But that’s not even logical! When you look around you, and you see all that nature displays, and when you think of the amazing intricacies of life itself. And when you think of the awesome size and power of the universe, and how ALL these things actually work together, and compliment one another, you can’t possibly believe that it’s all just an “accident”, and a “freak” occurrence. There is intelligent design in everything we see, and even in the things we can’t see.
And that intelligence is far greater than the intelligence of any human being. And if there is intelligent design, there is of necessity, a very intelligent DESIGNER! And that designer is GOD!
An evolutionary belief, if followed down to it’s very beginning, core principle, says that physical matter, has come into being, from absolutely NOTHING! But we know, that’s impossible. Things don’t just appear “out of the blue”, for no reason, and without any cause. There’s only ONE explanation, for the existence of everything that does exist. And that explanation is, that there IS an eternal God who was the cause for everything that exists. Everything came into existence, miraculously.
The apostle John, who wrote by the inspiration of the Spirit of God, recorded for us these words, speaking of the Christ, the Son of God, “All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him, nothing came into being, that has come into being.” John 1:3
This is a clear statement that there is nothing that exists, that has come into existence, by any other method, besides by created by God, through Christ.
It states in Heb 11:3, “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen, was not made out of things that are visible.”
The things that we see everyday, all the things that exist, were created by the word of God, in other words, by God’s WILL. And they were made out of things that are NOT visible. Those “invisible things”, are the evidence of God’s supernatural powers, and might, and strength, and ability.
We read in Romans 1:20, “For since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”
Those without excuse, are those who deny God, and who “suppress the truth in unrighteousness”, verse 18.
That doesn’t sound like any category of people that I want to be among, because the first part of verse 18 says, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven, against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men… who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.”
So we can easily see that the creation, was the first period of time in which the supernatural powers of God were used. Does all of creation serve as a sign or an indication? YES it does! Go back again and read Romans 1:20; “For since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse!”
God uses all of creation, to serve as a sign, and as an indication of His presence, and of His power, and His ability. Though God is invisible, His presence is clearly understood, and clearly proven, by what we see!
Here is an Important Point
After God had created all that he desired, as related to us in the first two chapters of the book of Genesis, was it necessary for God to keep performing miracles to keep the entire universe running? Was it necessary for God to keep creating man and woman over and over again, and likewise every other living creature? Well, the answer is of course NO. Within God’s creation, the means by which everything is sustained, was created also.
The plants yield their seed, to reproduce after their kind. The animals yield their seed, to produce after their kind. Read in particular Gen chapter one, verses 11-12, and then, verses 21-25. God said in these verses, that all these living plants and animals should reproduce, “after their own kind”.
In Gen 1:26-27, God tells us how He created man, both male and female.
“In Our own image”, “according to Our likeness”. Then in verse 28, God said to them; “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it, and rule over the fish of the sea, and the over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
God makes it crystal clear from the beginning, that He has given MAN, the responsibility, to rule over all the earth, over every other living thing. And man is to rule as GOD would rule, with respect and care, for all that God has created.
Do you remember the point?
The point to all this is; that once God had finished His creation, there was no need for MORE miracles, with respect to the things already created. God has set things in motion, and now they take care of themselves, and will CONTINUE to take care of themselves, until God says to stop. Heb 1:3 tells us that God, “Upholds all things by the word of His power”.
2 Peter 3:7 reveals that, “The present heavens and earth, BY HIS WORD, are reserved for fire, KEPT for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.” The heavens, and the earth, and all things created, continue to exist, “by His word”. And when God’s word says so, all things will cease to exist. All these things are being “kept” for the day of judgment.
2 Peter 3:10 tells us, “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and it’s works will be burned up.”
God has set things in order, and they will stay in order, until the end of time, or as Peter wrote, until “the day of the Lord”. No miracles are needed to keep the heavens and the earth functioning, as God has ordained. God tells us in Gen 2:1-2; “Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. And by the seventh day, God completed his work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.”
Now God could “sit back” so to speak, and let “nature take it’s course”. All creation came about miraculously, but now it continues “naturally”. The first time that the sun appeared in the sky, it was a miracle. But now when the sun appears in the sky, it’s just a law of nature.
No More Miracles for at least 1656 years
I hope that I have wet your appetite, to learn more about miracles, and about God’s word. After the creation, at least 1656 years went by, before any more miracles are recorded for us. Miracles certainly weren’t an everyday thing, were they?
I’m going to have to close for now, but I promise that I will continue to let the bible answer the question as to whether miracles are still happening today. Be sure to read, “Do Miracles Exist Today? – Part 2”, and also, “Do Miracles Exist Today? – Part 3”. The final Part 4, will be coming soon. I’ll look forward to studying with you more on this subject.
But for now, keep reading God’s word, and if you have any questions about what we’ve covered so far, be sure to leave your questions or comments, in the comment area below. Thank you for studying God’s word with me today, and may God bless you.
Publication by Jim
Buffalo Wy. Church Of Christ
Bible Answers to Spiritual Questions
Brought to you by the church of Christ in Buffalo Wyo.