It is difficult to have discussions about the validity of Christianity without the question of miracles coming up. Some skeptics would flat-out deny that miracles happen today or that they have ever happened.
When you get into a discussion about biblical miracles, there is no physical way to verify what happened. You either accept that it happened by faith or you reject it the same way. Miracles that happen today are a different matter. The kind of miracles Jesus did don’t happen today. No one has verified that a person was raised from the dead. By the same token, there are numerous claims of healings by people that seem to be verified by family and/or friends.
A very useful article appeared in National Geographic (December 2016) titled “Mind over Matter.” The basic thrust of the article is that the brain can have chemical stimulation that is natural or artificial which can make a healing take place. Belief, even if it is false, can be a cause of healing. A Parkinson’s victim in a trial at Stanford was given what he believed was a surgery to alleviate Parkinson’s symptoms. The surgeons did nothing to him, but he believed they did and was “significantly improved.” His comment is “Whether it was placebo or some kind of a drug doesn’t matter to me.”
I have learned in my many years of talking to people about miracles they believe they were given, that it doesn’t do any good to try to discredit the miracle. The important questions are: “What was the cause of the miracle?” and “What we are going to do with the new life that has been given?” Healing can happen in many ways. Mental and spiritual parameters can make things happen that we might assume are of a supernatural nature, when they may be a product of the awesome way our minds, souls, and bodies were created by God.
–John N. Clayton © 2017