If Jesus was a miracle worker, would that prove Christianity is true?

(RiderOnTheClouds) #1

I believe that the disciples of Jesus, James and Paul (skeptics) absolutely saw visions of the resurrected Christ. Something must have happened to be able to convince the last two. I also see coherent evidence that Jesus performed miracles in his lifetime. But I wonder, does it have to be from God?

The Old Testament is clear that a realm of spirits hostile to God exists.

When people began to multiply on the face of the ground, and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that they were fair; and they took wives for themselves of all that they chose. 3 Then the Lord said, “My spirit shall not abide[a] in mortals forever, for they are flesh; their days shall be one hundred twenty years.” 4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went in to the daughters of humans, who bore children to them. These were the heroes that were of old, warriors of renown.

5 The Lord saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually.

For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgements: I am the LORD.

On that day the LORD will punish the host of heaven, in heaven, and the kings of the earth, on the earth.

27 Then he took his firstborn son who was to succeed him, and offered him as a burnt offering on the wall. And great wrath came upon Israel, so they withdrew from him and returned to their own land. (Interesting verse, apparently the other gods do have the power to perform miracles)

So I ask, why couldn’t one or more of these beings be responsible for the miracles and visions of Jesus?

(Mervin Bitikofer) #2

As opposed to being from some other “trickster” spirits do you mean? Your list could include another illustrious skeptic, no less than John the Baptist. He too wondered after a while if he was understanding Jesus rightly, and Jesus’ response was to send word back to him that …
“the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have good news brought to them.”

While we (perhaps both then and now) tend to look more for the “magic show” aspect in any of this, I wonder if that focus hasn’t lost sight of Jesus’ obvious agenda. It wasn’t just about convincing everybody to believe correct things about Jesus’ power. The “proof in the pudding” that Jesus directs attention toward here is that this is and has been good news for the “down-and-outs” of society. We’re reminded (in John I believe) that we’re supposed to share in this same Kingdom agenda with our Lord. So I doubt we’re expected to give in to temptations that Jesus himself resisted (like making a worshipful spectacle of himself by showing off powers) - so the evidence must be about the actual fruit of a person’s labor, not their spectacular or mundane manner of accomplishing it.

Given that we are to be known by our love for each other, and wisdom is known by her fruits, the Christian will take on faith that God is the source of all good. It’s more a brute fact to build theologies on and around than it is something that will be demonstrated to a doubter on some deeper ground.

(Christy Hemphill) #3

I think it is important to keep in mind that Jesus’ miracles were not just extraordinary acts, they were signs people recognized as fulfilling prophesies and establishing his messianic authority. It’s not a coincidence that he made the blind see, the lame walk, and set captives of demonic oppression free. Some miracles set him up as a type of Moses, like when he fed a multitude in the desert (like Moses) or Elijah like when he had power over weather calming the storm, or Elisha curing leprosy. Those were meaningful acts within the whole metanarrative of Jewish history.

(RiderOnTheClouds) #4

Ah, but he did it in order to fool people into believing he was from God. Truly he was helping to turn the Jews away from the true religion.

(not necessarily what I believe, just playing Devil’s Advocate)

(Christy Hemphill) #5

Sure, if you believe that these forces of evil were that powerful. There is no evidence in Scripture that false prophets could successfully mimic true prophets to that degree. When the Pharisees tried to use that argument with the people it came across to them as ridiculous, and they knew it. Matthew 12:23-24

(RiderOnTheClouds) #6

Whilst the miracles are great evidence for a supernatural realm, in my opinion this is all that they definitively prove. I am a Christian for more mundane reasons.

(system) #7

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