Are the Miracles in the Bible Real?

Updated on January 9, 2018
RonElFran profile image

Ron is the founding pastor of a church in Harrisburg, PA. He is a graduate of Denver Seminary in Colorado.

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Many in our science-oriented world today just don't find the Bible to be credible when it talks about miracles. It tells of people holding two-way conversations with snakes, turning water into wine, walking on water, and coming back to life after they died. Those are not occurrences we are used to seeing in everyday life.

So, here's the question - does it make sense to believe the Bible's accounts of such things?

I think so, and here's why:

Did Miracles Really Happen the Way the Bible Says They Did?

Most Christians believe that as incredible as some of the accounts in Scripture may look to modern eyes, they provide a reliable historical record of what actually occurred. To such believers, the Bible literally is what it proclaims itself to be, the written word of God. And because the accounts of miraculous events in the Bible were inspired by God, we can have confidence that those episodes actually happened pretty much the way the Scripture says they did.

On the other hand, many religions have a holy book that adherents believe provides them with divinely inspired information. Is the Bible any different?

What do you think?

Did the miracles in the Bible really happen?

See results

What the Bible Says About the Credibility of Its Reports

The question of credibility is one the Bible itself anticipates and provides an answer for. The apostle John produced five of the New Testament’s twenty-seven books. In his introduction to one of those books, John wanted to make sure readers understood why they could trust his accounts.

1 John 1:1-3 (NKJV) That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life- 2 the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us- 3 that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.

John’s point is that accounts given by him and the other apostles (men who had been with Jesus throughout His earthly ministry) are entirely trustworthy because they are eyewitness reports. These are not things that somebody told a friend of a cousin of an acquaintance whose name I can’t quite remember. John wants it clearly understood that he is speaking only of things “which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled.” He was there. And that fact is of the highest significance in assessing the Bible’s reliability.

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled...that which we have seen and heard we declare to you.

— The Apostle John
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The Importance of Eye-Witness Testimony

Someone once asked me, “Why wasn't the resurrection of Christ reported anywhere outside the New Testament? Seems like an event that astounding would have been reported all over the place.”

But of course, it couldn’t have been. Who would have carried the story? The New York Times wasn’t yet printing “all the news that’s fit to print,” and CNN wasn't yet broadcasting news reports 24/7 on cable television. The Roman and Jewish authorities wanted to suppress the news of the resurrection, not spread it.

That’s why God prearranged for a group of eyewitnesses, called apostles, who could give first hand testimony about what happened during the ministry of Jesus. These were men who were there when Christ is reported to have walked on water, and when He raised Lazarus from the dead. Because they were on the scene, when they report in the Bible that these things actually happened, they are either deliberately lying, or they are truthfully reporting what they personally saw and heard. And these were men who understood the Scriptural injunction that “all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone” (Revelation 21:8).

If there had been only one of them, it might be claimed that he was somehow confused, or mentally unstable. So, God arranged for there to be at least twelve of them, all giving the same basic account of events.

The Answer to the Question

History records that most of that apostolic group proved their veracity by their willingness to die a martyr’s death rather than recant the claims they made. In the 21st century we know that it is not unusual for suicide bombers, and other fanatics, to be willing to give up their lives for what they believe in. But nobody willingly goes to their death for what they know to be a lie.

Courts universally accept eye-witness testimony as significant evidence, leaving it to a judge or jury to decide how credible that evidence is. The apostle John’s testimony detailing the eye-witness basis of the biblical accounts provides ample reason to rate those accounts at the highest level of credibility.

Questions & Answers

    © 2013 Ronald E Franklin

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      • JMcFarland profile image

        Elizabeth 5 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

        Alrighty then.

      • RonElFran profile image
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        Ronald E Franklin 5 years ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

        A little later in his book the apostle John says he wrote these things "that you may know that you have eternal life." My hope is that this hub will stimulate people to consider the evidence that can bring them to eternal life. I'm sure they will consider your point of view as well.

      • JMcFarland profile image

        Elizabeth 5 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

        Using the bible to claim itself to be true is self-confirmation. A lot of holy books from a lot of different religions claim the exact same thing, but you most likely reject all of them while clinging to the belief that you want to be true. This is not valid evidence.

        Secondly, there is no eyewitness testimony. It is commonly admitted in the current scholarly age that none of the gospels were written by the person whose name is on them. Only two of them claim to be written by eyewitnesses, but since they were written 70-100 years after the fact (and all of the apostles according to tradition were dead before then) it is unlikely that any eyewitness testimony was included. You also run into the problem of Markean authority. Mark was written first (by someone who wasn't there) around 75-85 AD. Matthew (who claims to be an eyewitness) and Luke were written afterwards - and copy the majority of Mark's work. If matthew was really there and really wrote the gospel, why would he need to copy the work of someone who wasn't there at all?

        The fact that people were willing to die for this belief does not prove it true or false. People have been martyred for many other religions, but chances are incredibly high that you don't consider their martyrs death as lending validity to their beliefs. This is a logical fallacy called special pleading - and christian apologetics (which I studied in bible college) is full of it. People die for lies all the time - even if they KNOW for certain that they're lies. Look at what happened in the inquisition. Telling a lie may condemn you to death, but it could potentially save your loved ones from the same fate. Therefore you are dying for something you know to be false in order to save someone else.

        Lastly, courts do put weight on eye-witness testimony, but not only is there NO eyewitness testimony to support your claims, eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable. You can have 4 eyewitnesses in a courtroom that each tell different stories. That's why lawyers also call expert witnesses and don't rely solely on the testimony of one eyewitness without additional verification.

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