How Human Reasoning Makes Or Breaks the Biblical God of Miracles

When it comes to Biblical faith, the Bible is equal to a chemical catalyst (a substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction without itself undergoing any change). By this I mean that if the Christian believer has the will to believe, then this person also has the ability to explain away exactly why either God or prayer fails to work, or explain a positive random event as the will of God or an answer to prayer.

An example of the Bible as a catalyst would be the story of the Prophet Elijah on Mount Carmel squaring off with the 450 heathen prophets of Baal (and 400 heathen prophets of Asherah: I‘m not sure what happen to them ( 1 Kings 18: 20 -40)).

I can not count the times I heard this preached on at Bob Jones University and in many Baptist churches as an example of what faith in the true God can do. Hey, we all know lighting is a destructive force and how even Jesus (Luke 9: 54) just as Luke in Acts has Paul ( Acts 9: 3 -9 = Acts 22: 6 - 11 = Act\s 26:12 -18) seeing such forces of nature as miracles from God.

On the other hand, I have never heard the wild, but equally truthful Biblical story of Jacob tricking Laban out of his flock by peeling the bark off a stick and placing it near the animal‘s watering hole to cause the breeding animals to produce striped, speckled, and spotted offspring:

“Then Jacob took fresh rods of poplar and almond and plane trees, and peeled white stripes in them, exposing the white which was in the rods. He set the rods which he had peeled in front of the flocks in the gutters, even in the watering troughs, where the flocks came to drink; and they mated when they came to drink. So the flocks mated by the rods, and the flocks brought forth striped, speckled, and spotted." (Genesis 30: 37 - 39).

But whether one story is preached on a lot to show the power of God while the second story in avoided like the plague from the pulpit; as for as the Bible is concerned, they show the power of faith in men blessed by God.

So, if one believes the Bible as written form Genesis to Revelation, it does not matter whether if Elijah is facing down the 400 prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel; Jacob peeling the bark off a stick to make the DNA in animals mutate and produce weirdly marked offspring or Jesus coming back from the dead on the third day, as for as the Bible goes, they all carry equal Biblical truths or Biblical facts.

Now, since these Biblical stories of God working miracles in the past must be accepted on faith if one is to be a Christian (a point we hear all the time from comments posted here at DC), for the faithful and unquestioning Christian, this Biblical catalyst will set in motion human denial of the logical for the religious mind that believes God can and does act today though miracles just as he did in the Bible. Since the believing Christian can not “Throw the baby out with the bath water”, then the miracle of Jacob’s peeled sticks carries the same miracle truth as the resurrection of Jesus; though not the same theological importance.

We usually hear stories from survivors who have experienced an acute situation in which God has saved their life. This is often heard on radio and television newscast following a plane crash in which religious people give tanks to their God for sparing their lives.

If the entire human life on the plane is spared (as was the case of US Airways Flight 1549 landing in the Hudson River in New York recently) then the catalytic Bible with its miracle stories of faith seems to vindicate itself.

However, when an entire plane goes down, leaving no survivors at all or when over half the passengers are killed during a crash, we only hear the praises to God from the humans still alive and able to talk while the majority of passengers killed are strangely pushed aside and silently left out of the miracle of God’s protection in this equation.

As noted above, an acute situation does not leave one time to relax and think logically, but rather the suddenness of the situation makes it a “Knee Jerk Reaction” based on a cry for help from the divine realm ( the old “there are no atheists in a foxhole” reaction).

On the other hand, doing a chronic or long term situation, one has more time to weight in on the Biblical claims and this mostly leads the victim to conclude both God and the Biblical miracle stories just don’t work.

An example of this is my 14 year old daughter went into End Stage Renal Failure in 1999. I vividly remember the night she and her Renal Nurse came home from choosing a peritoneal dialyzer and how she cried stating that she had to pick out a machine she had to be hooked up to every night to remain alive for the rest of her life.

I also remember the good intentions of the many churches which formed Prayer Chains for my daughter’s recovery. I recall the night a pastor stopped by to assure her that God loves her and will take care of her. But I was even more struck by her response to this pastor. She said: “I love my cats and dog and I take care of them because I love them. If God loves me, then why didn’t He take care of my kidneys?” The pastor just stood there.

Again, in contrast to the acute plane crash situation, the chronically afflicted victim has had time to be exposed to God though faith and prayer and has rightly reasoned that they are basically among the dead passengers in a plane crash.

To further prove my point concerning the chronically afflicted victim and their lack of faith in God and the Biblical catalytic miracle stories; every two years we attend the Transplant Games where people who have had kidney, heart-lung, pancreas, bowel, liver and other donor organs (from both living and dead people (given so that others facing chronic illness and death can live)) attend to celebrate life by competing in athletic competition of life and friendship. The ages of these people include anywhere form a one year old child to 80 plus senior citizens.

As a former seminary student and preacher, I wanted to see how these transplant patients (most must take 20 plus pills per day the rest of their life to keep from rejecting their life giving organ) felt about God and religion.

To experience this on a large scale, I attended both the Opening and Closing Ceremonies in which up to 3,000 transplant patients attended and where many gave talks about life and the wonders of modern medicine and their loving thankfulness to the donor families.

Nowhere, and I repeat, nowhere, and at no time was there ever a prayer offered at these opening and closing events! Nowhere and at no time did anyone in these two hour plus ceremonies ever mention, thank or praise God, Jesus or religion as making it possible for them to live (instead, and contrary to the Bible, they praised “sinful man” and his works).

Unlike the acute person who “Finds God” in a panic during a passing time of trouble, these former long term chronically ill transplant people have seen the failure of God, prayer and religion in their lives. Many of the children and youth see themselves born (or created) by the very God the Bible and churches exhort them to turn to. They know and have first hand experience of the futility of religion and Biblical miracles. (Sorry District Supt. Harvey Burnett!)

While the Bible and its God labels humanity as sinful and in need of salvation that can only come from faith and God, these thousands upon thousands of transplanted people know as a fact, that without modern doctors and drugs, they would be just another head stone in some cemetery waiting for Jesus to come back in just another failed Biblically based miracle promise.