Justin Barnett: Do you believe in miracles?
Christmas is a celebration of the miraculous. A virgin conceived, and when she gave birth, Almighty God, the Maker of heaven and Earth, was born into this world to be our Savior. This Savior is Christ the Lord.
Yet, there are many that deny the miracle of Christmas. Many believe it is foolish to believe in miracles. Often, skeptics and atheists demand a sign from God, and by doing so, they are admitting that miracles would prove His existence. I would like to propose to you that if God exists, then miracles exists.
The universe itself is evidence that God exists. Apart from God, there is no reasonable explanation for the universe. If there is no God, why is there something rather than nothing? There are only two options. Either no one created something out of nothing, or someone created something out of nothing. Which option is more reasonable?
No One plus Nothing = Everything? No!
The only logical conclusion is that God exists. If God exists, then miracles exist. Here is the crucial point: We can know miracles are real, because the greatest miracle of all, the creation of the universe out of nothing, has already occurred.
If Genesis 1:1 is true, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth,” then every miracle in the Bible that follows can be believed. Miracles are simple tasks for an infinitely powerful God who created the universe out of nothing. A God this powerful can do anything He desires.
The problem is that many misunderstand miracles. We should think of miracles like a seal from a king. In ancient times when all long-distance messages were sent by hand, a king would place his seal on his message. This seal would be a sign the message really came from the king. For this system to work, the seal had to be something special and unique only to the king, something only the king possessed.
Miracles are special and unique to God. Only God can do the miraculous. This seal is something only He possesses. Through miracles, God could tell the world which person speaks for Him. If God wanted to send a message through Moses, Elijah, Jesus, Paul or anyone else, He could perform miracles through that person. He could put His special seal on their message.
I was recently looking through some of my old notes from when I was a seminary student. I had recorded a story that one of my professors told about one of his friends, another seminary professor, who had taken a trip to Russia to speak to a group of Russian educators. This was a big challenge for him because he wanted to talk with them about God.
He knew they had been taught for many years that God did not exist. The official state religion was atheism for a long time in Russia, so it has been ingrained in their society. For them, miracles were impossible because there is no supernatural.
How could this professor reach them? He thought of a visual illustration. He began by showing them two small cardboard boxes. One was opened, and one was closed. He began by saying, “Here is the difference between your worldview and mine.” Pointing to the closed box, he said, “You believe the physical universe is closed. You believe the universe is all that exists, and there’s nothing outside it.”
He then moved to the open box.
He proclaimed, “I believe the physical universe exists as well, but I also believe the universe is open. I believe that there is something outside the universe, God.”
He paused for a moment of awkward silence, then added, “And God created the box!” He then reached into the open box and said, “Just like I can reach into this box and do whatever I like, so can God. God can reach down into the universe and perform miracles.”
Christians believe the box is open and was created by Almighty God. God can reach down into His box at anytime He chooses. He created the box!
Miracles do occur but less frequently today than they have at other times in history. The vast majority of the miracles in the Bible occurred in three small windows of history, during the lifetimes of Moses, Elijah and Elisha, and Jesus and the apostles. These were the times when God was confirming new messengers with new truth.
We do not see as many miracles today because the Bible is complete. God is not confirming any new revelation and thus does not have His main purpose for performing miracles today. There are no new messages for Him to stamp with His unique seal. There is no new word from God that needs to be confirmed by Him.
This does not mean God has ceased reaching down into His box completely. It just means He does so less often. I am extremely thankful for the miraculous answers to prayer, the healings and miraculous happenings I have personally witnessed.
We have a man in our church family that was miraculously healed of cancer. On his medical records, the doctors credited it “to powers unknown.” The power may be unknown to them, but many Christians around the world know the power of God, that He can and does work in miraculous ways.
God can, has and does intervene in the universe He created. Miracles have happened, and to a lesser degree, they continue to occur today. God is a God of miracles, so embrace and celebrate the miraculous this Christmas season. A virgin conceived and gave birth to the Savior who is Christ the Lord.