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Discovery Magazine 5/1/2010

If God Exists, Why Isn’t He Working Miracles Today?

Thousands of years ago God miraculously created the Universe and everything in it, including Earth and all life on Earth. In the days of Elijah, as well as in the time of Peter and Paul, God occasionally raised the dead. (Remember Dorcas and Eutychus?) When Jesus was on Earth, He miraculously gave sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf. He healed Malchus’ severed ear with the touch of His hand, and changed water to wine simply by willing it to happen. The Bible makes clear that God has worked all manner of miracles in the past, and has the potential to work them at any moment. But, simply because God can perform miracles at any time, does not mean that He chooses to work such supernatural acts.

Today, the reason we do not see one-armed people miraculously given new arms, or blind people given sight supernaturally, or dead people given new physical life, is not because God cannot do these things. Rather, it is because God has chosen to cease working miracles during this time period. Just as God has every right to work a miracle, He has every right to suspend the working of miracles for whatever amount of time He chooses.

Why would God choose not to work miracles for a certain period of time, even for hundreds or thousands of years? To answer this question, we first need to understand the purpose of miracles. Unlike magicians, who perform amusing tricks for entertainment purposes, God did not perform miracles in the past to amuse people. The Bible teaches that miracles happened in Bible times for a very specific purpose: to confirm the Word. Before the New Testament was written, when the apostles and prophets were preaching the Gospel, Mark 16:20 indicates that God worked with them by “confirming the word through the accompanying of signs.” The message that the first-century apostles and prophets preached could be shown to be true by the various miracles that God worked through them (read Hebrews 2:3-4).

When a God-inspired speaker stepped forward to declare God’s Word, God confirmed His Word by having the speaker perform a miracle to show that he was from God. The miracle showed the hearers that God was behind the speaker’s remarks. Recall how Moses’ messages to Pharaoh were accompanied by various miracles (Exodus 5-12). Miracles authenticated the spoken word as God’s Word. Miracles verified the teaching of God’s messengers, as over against the many false teachers (read John 3:2).

However, the apostle Paul stated that miracles would cease and be done away when the “perfect” (or completed Word of God) had been revealed (1 Corinthians 13:8-10; James 1:25). Those things that were incomplete and partial (miraculous gifts) would be replaced by the total and complete (the fully revealed Word of God). Once God revealed all of the information that He wished to make available to people, the need for miracles to confirm the oral Word came to an end. Now, people can sit down with a New Testament, the written Word of God, and, with honest and diligent study, conclude that it is God’s Word. We have absolutely no need for miracles.

Think about the Bible as a large apartment building and miracles as the scaffolding that is used in the construction of such buildings. When the apartment building is under construction, the scaffolding provides necessary assistance. Framers, steelworkers, bricklayers, and other construction workers stand on the scaffolding to construct the apartment building. However, when the construction of the building is completely finished, there is no more need for the scaffolding. People don’t leave scaffolding on the sides of completed buildings for years and years. When it has served its purpose, it is removed.

Similarly, God ceased working miracles to confirm His Word because God’s Word has been completely “constructed.” That is, God has “given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). We have no more revelation from God than the Bible, thus we need no more confirmation than what was given in Bible times. Simply put, the Bible teaches that miracles are no longer necessary since we have everything we need to function in this life, to be pleasing to God, and to survive spiritually.

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*Please keep in mind that Discovery articles are written for 3rd-6th graders.

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