Strong and Courageous
I have been reading and interesting book titled Miracles by C.S. Lewis. Lewis is a very famous author from the early to mid-20th century. He penned The Chronicles of Narnia series, and also wrote many other books defending the Christian Faith.
In the first few chapters of his miracles book. Lewis lays out some poignant ideas about miracles. First he describes that miracles are indeed very rare, and should be looked at in such a way. Second, he explains the aspect of a person’s philosophical viewpoint about miracles predefining how he or she looks at historical evidence. For this blog entry I would like to look further into these two points that he is making.
Concerning the rarity of miracles-
I think that we often choose to attribute something as being a miracle too easily. I want to be very careful on how I state this, because I do not want to discount any aspect of the guidance and working of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers in Christ. However, if we place a “miraculous” label on an ordinary natural event or occurrence, it has the potential to diminish our credibility in the eyes of others. When Jesus turned water into wine, that was truly a supernatural miracle, when someone says that it was a miracle that they made it home when the gas gauge on the car was below E and they should have run out of fuel, that shouldn’t qualify as a truly supernatural event.
It is also good to understand that our faith is not contingent upon a personal experience of a miraculous event of some form. Our validation is found in the atonement of Jesus, rather than on dependence of a personal experience of a miracle. Likewise, we should also be people of faith and belief that God, in His sovereignty is in the miracle working business and it is up to him as to how things will be played out.
Concerning a person’s philosophical perspective on whether or not miracles can occur-
This is where it gets very interesting. Lewis describes a binary proposition in which a person either does, or does not believe that supernatural events can happen, a-priori. This means that the person’s mind is already made up in advance, before looking at the evidence. Particularly for a “naturalist view” where miracles do not occur, this must be viewed as an entire system of thought. Lewis states “If Naturalism is true, every finite thing or event must be (in principle) explicable in terms of the Total System.” While he does make some provision for the idea that as our understanding increases over time, we are able to unravel some of the mysteries of life with a natural explanation, however there is still the nagging suspicion that the naturalist cannot logically completely defend his or her position.
Concerning this idea, I like to look at the example of how information found in DNA is “locked up” inside of its helical structure. DNA is required to make proteins, and proteins are necessary for the DNA strand to be unlocked to release the information to build proteins. This problem is beyond our ability to solve, no matter how long one looks into the conundrum.
The predetermination of a person’s worldview can dramatically affect how he or she looks at scientific evidence or even more significantly how history is viewed. In the prior paragraph, my explanation of the Protein/DNA mystery should have a dramatic impact on exposing the irrationality of a naturalistic perspective, if one is willing to go where the evidence leads. Likewise, the historically accurate records of eye-witness accounts found in the New Testament about the life of Jesus (particularly his working of miracles) are totally adequate documentation for the validity of a belief in miracles.
My hope and prayer is for the Holy Spirit to open the eyes of the spiritually blind, who cannot embrace the possiblilty of miracles.
Miracles, an evening with Eric Metaxas. This is long, but excellent!