I know that this article is going to upset some people, but I would
like to draw the distinction between a miracle and God's providence.
The word "miracle" is often incorrectly used for an event that is
merely luck, good fortune, or one which God accomplishes through
Once there was a basketball player who made an incredible half-court
shot and someone exclaimed: It's a miracle! The fact is that the
shot was no more a miracle than any other shot that day. Men have
distorted the meaning of the word "miracle" to simply denote an
incredible event. Because of this, some folks have confused the
Bible meaning of miracle with the humanistic watered-down version
of the word.
Vine's defines "miracle" as: "power, inherent ability, is used
of works of a supernatural origin and character such as could not
be produced by natural agents and means." So, a miracle is something
that is supernatural - it is something that would be impossible
to accomplish through the laws and agents of nature.
When is a miracle really a miracle? Something is a miracle when
God has intervened on a supernatural level - not merely a providential
(natural) level. This is not to discount God's work in our lives
nor the power of prayer, but we should be accurate in our speech
For example, a person may exhibit great skill, possibly with a
little luck, or a person may rig an illusion to fool the great unwashed,
but these are not miracles. We may pray to God for the sick and
they may become well in time by the providential will of God, but
this is not a miracle. An elderly person may rise from a wheel chair
to be paraded around a stage for a moment in time and then return
to the chair, but this is not a miracle. A person may escape an
accident usually resulting in death, but this is not a miracle.
A surgeon may perform a brain transplant, but this is not a miracle.
God may be providentially working in these events, but they are
not supernatural - they are not miracles.
What are some Bible examples of miracles? Jesus turned water to
wine (Jn. 2:1-12). Feeding five thousand men with five loaves and
two fish having twelve baskets of left-overs (Mk. 6:30-44). Jesus
walked on the sea (Mk. 6:45-52). Complete and immediate healing
of the lame, infirmed, and blind. Jesus and the Apostles raised
people from the dead who had been dead long enough that their body
had time to begin decaying. And, first century miracles were such
that there was no possible doubt that the event was supernatural
- much different from "so called" miracles today.
Frankly, I have never seen a miracle. Yes, I have seen what people
call miracles which are either tricks, happenstance, or God's providence.
And I have read about miracles in the Bible, but I have never seen
one. Should I think this as odd? No, because Paul says that miracles
would cease (I Cor. 13). Whether or not we agree that there are
miracles today, let's at least call a thing what it is - if it is
not a miracle, let's not call it a miracle.