SUPERNATURAL: What role do miracles play in belief in God?


Miracles can aid belief. Supernatural occurrences point to a supernatural presence. Miracles—things we know are beyond our own power to do—point us beyond ourselves. And the goodness of the miracles done by Jesus (and by others his name) both affirm God’s power over creation, life and death, and demonstrate that his heart toward us is good. John’s gospel tells us that the miracles Jesus performed helped his own disciples to believe in him, and we know that their belief—most importantly their belief in his greatest miracle, the resurrection—was the foundation of the early church.


Rebecca McLaughlin writes, “If there is a God who created the universe, we cannot exclude the possibility of miracles. The one who made the laws of nature in the first place can surely intervene when he chooses.” Jesus knew that some would believe in him solely for the miracles he performed, that some would never believe, no matter how many miracles they saw, and that others who never witnessed a miracle would also believe. But the fact that he performed miracles witnessed by many added such credibility to his claims that it gained him both followers and enemies.


Our worldview can come into play when we consider miracles, just as it did in Jesus’ day. Those who were marginalized, rejected, sick or vulnerable saw Jesus perform miracles, their hearts were touched, and they were more willing to believe in his deity. Those who were powerful, rich and “in charge” (like the Jewish Pharisees) saw a miracle-working Jesus as an offense or threat to their well-established authority. Even today, far more miraculous events are reported among disadvantaged Third World populations than in the West, where self-reliance and personal agency are the norm. Could it be that a recognition of need makes us more receptive to miracles, and therefore, to belief?


Supporting Scripture  

Mark 4:35-41

35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”


Additional Resources to Explore


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