What is the Difference Between Miracles and Magic?

From Issue: Discovery 7/1/2013

Dear reader,

First, magic can be used just for fun. Miracles were not just “for fun.” They were visible signs that a person was acting or speaking on God’s behalf (read Exodus 3:12-4:14). Second, magic can be used to deceive. Miracles, on the other hand, were never used for deception. Rather, they were used to teach important spiritual lessons (like when Elijah asked God to perform a miracle on Mount Carmel to show that Baal was a false god—1 Kings 18:20-40). Miracles also were used to help people (like when Jesus healed a blind man—John 9:1-41). Third, magic isn’t “real.” When a magician makes a woman “disappear,” she doesn’t really disappear into thin air. But miracles were real—very real! When Moses stretched his rod across the Red Sea and caused the waters to part so the Israelites could walk across on dry land, it was no trick. Moses (through God’s power) really did what the Bible says he did (read Exodus 13:14-22). When Pharaoh’s army followed the Israelites, and Moses caused the waters to come back together to destroy the Egyptians, the soldiers and horses really died (read Exodus 13:26-28). Fourth, magic is intended to entertain us and show us the magician’s talent. That is not true of miracles. Their purpose never was to entertain an audience or to demonstrate how talented a person was. They were performed in order to show people the way to heaven. Thanks for your great question. Remember, Bible miracles were not “magic.”


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