Examples of the Supernatural
Do these examples show us the supernature is not real?
THE CLAIMED PROBLEM: There are also accounts of the sun standing still (Joshua 10:13); the parting of a sea (Exodus 14:21-22); iron floating (II Kings 6:5-6); the suns shadow going back ten degrees (II Kings 20:9-11); a witch bringing the ghost of Samuel back from the dead (I Samuel 28:3-15); disembodied fingers writing on a wall (Daniel 5:5); a man living for three days and nights in the belly of a fish (Jonah 1:17); people walking on water (Matthew 14:26-29); a virgin impregnated by God (Matthew 1:20); a pool of water that can cure ailments of those who dip in it (John 5:2-4); and angels and demons influencing earthly affairs (e.g., Acts 5:19; Luke 11:24-26).
I kept the examples from the previous page together so we can look at all of the humanist examples at one time. The point of listing these seems to be given in the next paragraph the humanist writes:
These biblical myths support the belief, which has been held by primitive and illiterate people throughout history, that supernatural beings frequently and arbitrarily intervene in this world.
The humanist defines the "miracles" on the above list as myths, without any evidence to support that assertion. He uses a propaganda technique called "stereotyping" -- likening Christians to primitive and illiterate people -- to make the belief in miracles seem repugnant. But that's propaganda, not proof. All the humanist offers is an assertion that none of these
happened. Why? Because they violate "the laws of nature. As shown on the previous page, since people limit the observable data to what they define as "natural" the definition of "the laws of nature" is circular and thus flawed and no proof at all.
So, what do we have here? Do any of the events on the above lists cause us problems in understanding the universe around us?
Most of these events happened during one of the five major historical periods when God was working supernaturally: creation (including Adam and Eve's time in the garden), Noah's flood, the time of Moses and Joshua, the time of Elijah and Elisha, and the time of Christ and the apostles. God was doing something special and unique during those very limited times. They are not going to be happening today. We can take them off the list.
While Satan cannot do supernatural miracles, he can do things that appear miraculous. Several of the items on the humanist list are not from God, but are from Satan or demons (or angels).
An example is the talking snake (Genesis 3:4-5), which was Satan taking on the form of a snake. Satan and demons can assume the forms of living things, most often humans. This is not a supernatural miracle from God, but it is something we have to deal with today.
There is one event on the list that probably is not miraculous, "a pool of water that can cure ailments of those who dip in it (John 5:2-4)." The part of scripture describing this (John 5:3b-4) is not included in the oldest manuscripts and appears to have been added later. It is not certain whether it describes what people believed or that an angel actually stirred the water. In most translations this addition is placed in brackets so we know it was not part of the original. Since it has no impact on any doctrine or teaching, translators have left it in scripture.
What is left?
- The suns shadow going back ten degrees (II Kings 20:9-11);
- A witch bringing the ghost of Samuel back from the dead (I Samuel 28:3-15);
- Disembodied fingers writing on a wall (Daniel 5:5);
- A man living for three days and nights in the belly of a fish (Jonah 1:17)
- Let's add one not on the humanist's list, Gideon putting out a fleece in Judges chapter 6.
All of these took place in rare, very special circumstances, and are not normal. Each took place for an important reason. Do any of these impact our understanding of the world or science? No. Do we expect any of these to happen today? No.
We could look at each one of these and determine God's reasons for doing them, but that's not the point. The point is that humanists
claim believing in miracles means we believe "supernatural beings frequently and arbitrarily intervene in this world" and that simply is not true.
A few pages back I quoted Dr. James Hannam discussing history, Christianity, and science. We saw that believing in God (and miracles) did not interfere with the work of Copernicus, Johannes Kepler, or James Clerk Maxwell. We could also add many others, such as Gregor Mendel, Isaac Newton, and William Thomson Kelvin.
They all believed in God and miracles, and made major contributions to our scientific knowledge... because of their belief in God.
God does not frequently intervene in this world supernaturally. He enters the world supernaturally on very rare occasions.* So this part of the humanist claim is false.
God does not arbitrarily intervene in the world. His supernatural intervention only takes place in very special circumstances to address a specific situation. It is never arbitrary. So this part of the humanist claim is false.
Conclusion: The humanist claims concerning the supernatural are false.
But humanists have more to say on this: When examined in the light of experience and reason, the Bibles claims about supernatural occurrences do not warrant belief. Our experience is that the natural world operates according to principles of regularity which are never violated. We also know from experience that many people are often mistaken or dishonest. Thus, its far more likely the Bible writers either erred or lied than the laws of nature were violated.
So, were the Bible writers mistaken or liars? Click here to find out...
* In stating this I am talking about supernatural events that would make science impossible. God does act supernaturally every day. For example, saving people from the consequences of sin is a supernatural act of God. However, this is not the type of supernatural act discussed by the humanists, so I do not include it as a part of my reply.