Some of these are described in the following New Testament passages:. In addition to these miracles, the account of His own miraculous resurrection from the dead is recorded in all four Gospels: Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, and John God continues to perform miracles. Believers in Jesus Christ consider miraculous things that happened to them to be true miracles and believe God intervened to make them happen.
Atheists, agnostics and other non-believers in God often consider such events to be mere accidents or extreme coincidences and try to explain them away. However, those involved are convinced the event in their own life was a miracle. The stories that follow tell of incredible events that have happened to people in recent times as contrasted to those recorded in biblical times.
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Most of these accounts are told about individuals who are still living. The events that occurred cannot be easily explained away—they really happened. There are thousands of such stories. Here are just a few of them. Dan Baumann spent many years as a Christian missionary in Muslim countries. It was a very dangerous undertaking. In January of he and a fellow missionary began a two-week visit to Iran.
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While they were there they came to love the country and its people. All was fine until they prepared to leave Iran and return to the United States. After turning in their travel documents to be stamped, they were detained at the border exit. They were told there was a problem with their papers.
The two men were separated and put in separate rooms where they were beaten and interrogated for the next six hours. Then they were dressed in prison clothes, blindfolded and put in separate cells. Dan and his friend were imprisoned in Iran! There was nothing they could do. They would have to rely on God to perform a miracle to rescue them from their situation. In his isolated cell it was hard for Dan to sense any feeling of God. All he could do was trust the Lord and know that He was true no matter how Dan felt or what his captors did to him.
His cell had only one dim light in a corner, and it was on twenty-four hours a day. It was wintertime and the heater in the cell did not work well. He only left the cell when he was taken each day into a dark interrogation room with blood-stained floors. There he was beaten, slapped, punched and kicked. It was a terrifying experience. There came a time when Dan doubted he could go on, and he resolved to end his life.
He tried four times to drown himself in a small sink in the cell, but each time he was too afraid to carry it through. He was completely broken in spirit and felt great shame.
One day, all of a sudden, the cell was filled with a bright light, and there was Jesus saying to him, Dan, I love you, and I promise to carry you through this time. His encounter with Jesus challenged his attitude towards his interrogator. He was able to see him as God saw and loved him. At the next interrogation, Dan found himself telling the interrogator that if they were going to continue to meet, they should become friends and call one another by name.
At first the interrogator refused, but then Dan stuck out his hand. The man froze and after a few minutes began to visibly shake. Slowly, he extended his hand to Dan and tears started rolling down his cheeks. He looked at Dan, told Dan his name and said he would also like to be his friend.
There is no heart that is too hard for Jesus to soften. He had taught Dan to love his enemy. Later Dan overheard some of the guards talking about him and his friend, how they were Christians and followers of Jesus. The guards had seen how Dan had a reason to live and a reason to die, and they wanted that, too. They wanted to know Jesus and learn about His ways. Dan now knew why he had been put in the prison. Dan was placed under two death sentences, one as a missionary and one as a spy. When it was his time to appear in court before the judge, along with cameras and hundreds of people, he was asked why he had come to Iran.
Dan felt the power of the Lord surge in him. He looked directly at the judge and said, I came to Iran to tell you about Jesus Christ. Dan knew he was free no matter what happened to him on earth—he had a home in Heaven with Jesus. No one could take that away from him. He received the miracle he had hoped for. Bruce Van Natta was a self-employed diesel mechanic who loved his work. He was never concerned about the danger he risked working on huge engines weighing thousands of pounds.
Then, on November 16, , his life changed forever. Bruce had a job to work on the engine of a huge PeterBilt logging truck. The driver of the truck had jacked up the front axle and had removed the passenger side wheel. Without giving it a second thought Bruce slipped feet first underneath the large bumper of the vehicle. He asked the driver to look inside the truck to check the temperature of the engine.
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All of a sudden, the twenty-ton capacity jack that was holding up the truck gave way. It literally crushed him in half as blood splattered into his throat. Bruce realized there was no more than an inch from the bottom of the axle to the cement, and the thickest part of his body was no more than two inches thick. Vertebrae were broken by the crushing weight of the truck. Though he experienced absolutely horrendous pain, he was able to pull himself a short distance so that his head was in front of the bumper. Bruce called out to God twice asking for His help. He became unconscious.
His spirit left his body, and he was looking down at the scene of the accident from above. At this point, Bruce saw two huge angels. Each was about eight feet tall, and they were surrounded in bright light. They never moved or said anything; they just angled their arms towards his body. Bruce felt no pain, just a wonderful peace. Bruce realized he had to make a choice.
He could just shut his eyes, die, and go to Heaven, or he could fight to live, fight as hard as he could. Bruce says, The next thing I knew, my spirit went back down into my body just like a shot. Bruce was rushed to the hospital, where doctors did not expect him to live.
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His ribs were broken, his pancreas, spleen, and intestines crushed. Several major arteries were severed. A medical study done at the University of Southern California in could not find anyone who had ever lived after having five major arteries severed. It was amazing that Bruce had not bled to death. He believes that the angels miraculously held him together.
Bruce was in the hospital for over two months and had five major surgeries that resulted in the removal of almost seventy-five percent of his crushed small intestines. The second element in this epistemological curriculum is a robust theology of creation. It helps little to argue feebly that the Genesis accounts teach existential rather than scientific truths; once the location of creation is placed at the start, it is difficult to focus elsewhere.
To gain a more robust and realistic sense of creation we must turn above all to the psalms and the prophets and the letters of Paul.
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In these writings, creation is something that happens constantly, as God brings into being that which is—whether it be the new creation of the restoration from exile or the new creation that is the Resurrection of Christ. They are all equally miracles. Creation in the fullest sense is not about the what or even the how of the world—these aspects are the purview of science—but rather the sheer existence, the is ness of the world, dimensions to which science has little to contribute.
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The pertinence of this robust understanding of creation to the topic of miracles is clear. The real question, then, is whether we have the capacity to perceive wonders as wonders and signs as signs; whether we, unlike modernity, can imagine a reality that is greater and more powerful behind the veil of mere appearances. And this is, as Augustine already recognized, an epistemological issue. The third element is asserting the validity of personal religious experience. Much of the tragic history of the past hundred years reflects the triumph of theory over individual experience; racism, sexism, and xenophobia signal a process in which generalization becomes stereotype, then caricature, then excuse for suppression.
Once the individual profile, the personal narrative, has no value as evidence, then the individual has no value as a person. The world imagined by Scripture, in contrast, is based entirely on the witness of individual persons rather than statistical theories about social entities.
Witness to personal religious experience must, of course, be tested, through a process of communal discernment such as I have tried to describe in my book Scripture and Discernment. But without the recognition of the religious experience of the saints among us—hardly the experiences of a statistical majority! The present generation actually pushes back against the Enlightenment tradition when it asserts the validity of individual experience—sexual, familial, ethnic—that challenges this or that assumed societal norm.
By entering into the imaginative world of Scripture, and embracing a robust view of creation, Christians are led to a new appreciation of stories told about religious experiences in our own day. Whatever is good and lasting in Scripture, they say, must be stripped of what is false about the construction of the world, so that what is true about God and humans might be saved. Discomfort with the language of myth pervades the religious life of the double-minded. Listening to the stories of fellow-believers eager to share how God is working in their lives is positively painful, and recounting such narratives to others embarrassing.
Teaching or preaching on the miracles found in the Torah or in the gospels becomes an excruciating exercise in avoidance or explaining-away. Even the public prayer of the church gives the sophisticated pastor pause, if he or she really pays attention to the wonders for which liturgy gives thanks and the wonders it seeks from God.
In the process, Christians must remind themselves and each other of the proper i. Mythic language, in this understanding, is necessary simply to speak of intrinsically human realities. Science and technology are unable to express fear and loathing, desire and love, alienation and reconciliation. They cannot comprehend, much less create, the art and music and poetry and drama that liberate and elevate human lives.
Myth is the proper language of the miraculous, and believers above all must remind themselves and each other that the truths by which they live cannot be expressed by the etiolated language of the Enlightenment. What, finally, should we hope for from such a sustained effort at epistemological conversion? I see three things. First, we can hope that believers gain confidence in the legitimacy and importance of the language of faith in the things most pertinent to human existence. Please email comments to letters commonwealmagazine. Can We Still Believe in Miracles? We Can, We Must.
By Luke Timothy Johnson. Share Share Twitter Print. Imagining the World That Scripture Imagines. Creation in the fullest sense is not about the what or even the how of the world—these aspects are the purview of science—but rather the sheer existence, the isness of the world, dimensions to which science has little to contribute.
Celebrating a Robust Theory of Creation The second element in this epistemological curriculum is a robust theology of creation. Privileging Narratives of Religious Experience The third element is asserting the validity of personal religious experience. Embracing the Truth-Telling Capacity of Myth. Published in the February 22, issue:. View Contents. Also by this author Trust the Laity. Related Theology. By Griffin Oleynick.
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