Who Doubts that God Does Miracles?


(George Brooks) #1

Once you conclude that God is the Conscious Creator of the Universe … is there any reason to doubt that God can work WITH natural law … or ultimately in ADDITION to natural law?

@Relates inspired this image for me …


(Thomas) #2

I believe He CAN. But I believe He doesn’t.

I still believe God wont answer our prayers. But now I see that it is because His power and influence works best in weakness. Just look at Nick Vujicic. While I do not and cannot believe his claims regarding seeing miracles or Demons. I also cannot say they are definitely lies as he seems a super honest and genuine person. Why would he make it up? What does he have to gain? Surely he isn’t just one of those suit and tie preachers who goes off stage and counts his money? I mean, he has no hands to hold it! And yet, nothing could make me believe that he has seen a Demon. I do not believe the World works that way. I do not even understand how he can get out of bed each day. Perhaps because he has never known anything different?

He also still prays every day for arms and legs. Yet he has never gotten them.

So yes, God CAN work with or in addition to natural laws… But no, He definitely doesn’t.


(George Brooks) #3

@Find_My_Way
Based on these comments, and those you have made in other threads, I see the common theme of disbelief.

How do I distinguish your views from those Atheists who post on BioLogos threads?

George


(Thomas) #4

Because I will never say that God does not exist. Only that He clearly doesn’t do ANYTHING to suggest He does. I have already given ample evidence to show this as being true.

I can’t understand how you all have your unwavering faith in a personal God. I wish I could. I’d even pray to have it but… You know.

According to the Bible, I am not eligible to have my prayers answered anyway. My doubt is too strong, my will goes against God’s and what I seek is almost tempting God.

However, I will then state the fact that I must be less important than Saul, who persecuted the Church, leading to the deaths of many Christians. I must even be less important than a random Roman soldier. Even a prostitute! For they all saw, yet I never can…

Don’t get me wrong. I am not some smug, anti-religious person who delights in pointing out problems with God and believers. I am actually going through a faith crisis and one of the hardest bouts of depression I have ever faced. The Biologos forum is copping a lot of the fruits of that.


(Casper Hesp) #5

@Find_My_Way
Let’s start out by saying this:

  1. There is nothing on earth that can categorically disqualify you for having your prayers answered. That is because we have our High Priest, Jesus Christ, as a mediator between man and God. However, remember that God answers our prayers according to His omniscience. Often this means that He has other, even better plans in mind than us…
  • Nobody has unwavering faith in God, only Christ Himself.

  • Everybody has a will that goes against God’s will at times. Paul said the following in Romans 7:21-25:

So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

How does someone come to belief that a certain person exists, what that person is like, et cetera? Most obvious would be to say: by having a personal encounter with that person. I would say that the central foundation of our faith is the personal encounter with Jesus Christ. In Him we meet who God is. Through Him we learn to recognize and express the fruits of the Spirit as described in Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Through Him we come to understand that God is not dead, not aloof from Creation, but actively involved in the lives of His children.

Like in any true personal relationship, faith in God has this interesting little complication to it that it is never a one-way investment. It is not like God will “install” faith in you when you pray for it. Rather, it is you who can start by taking even the small amount of trust that you can muster and placing it in God’s hands. Even a very small seed of trust can make a huge difference. Jesus said: “The Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds perched in its branches.”

Let’s do a little thought experiment. Imagine a world in which God would do more than He currently does to show that He exists. For example, right here in the 21st century He will start performing all kinds of bizarre miracles like forming a pillar of fire that travels with a group of people for fourty years, splitting a whole sea apart to let them pass, or raising people from the dead. People will be full of awe. However, a few generations later, other people will distrust these accounts and God has to start doing it again. Even if God makes sure to do such straightforward acts for everyone to see in every single generation, there will still be people saying among themselves: “Those burning clouds and stuff, I don’t believe it is actually God doing those things.” or “Nice tricks, but can’t an almighty God do more than that?” This is the same thing that Jesus aimed to express in the parable of Lazarus and the rich man, Luke 16:27-31:

“The rich man answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’
Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’
‘No, father Abraham,’ the rich man said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

The bottom line is as follows: From the perspective of disbelief, no amount of miracles is ever enough. People can just start taking the visible things for granted (or dispute their validity) and disbelief everything beyond it. This is why the personal investment of faith from our human side is so essential.


(George Brooks) #6

Your posting here just goes to demonstrate the unenviable role BioLogos serves:

as lightning rod for people who doubt God’s existence

AND

as lightning rod for people who doubt God’s role in millions of years of evolution.

Pretty challenging circumstances for sure …

George


#7

Please lighten up. Clearly, Find_my_way is going through a difficult time.


(George Brooks) #8

Dear Fine_My_Way,

I am a Unitarian Universalist … where all around me are people of various levels of faith in the Divine and/or in Jesus himself. I think you are being too hard on yourself about your prayers not being answered. I am quite confident that you are qualified to converse with God … and benefit from it.

I have come to see Faith as a “muscle” … a muscle where some are blessed with great amounts of faith, and others with much, much less…

I can’t help but think that God is quite happy with your penny of skepticism … as long as you are sincere in your searching…

George


(Henry Stoddard) #9

God does answer our prayers. He can agree to what you want or he can say “no.” He sees all time; therefore, he knows how to answer you. Personally, I would ignore the atheists. Anyone who believes that something can come from nothing is not thinking logically. I can demonstrate that with this first grade math equation: 0+0 = 0. This equation can help: Creator + 0 = creation.


#10

One of my ministers from long ago used to say that God answers all prayers, but His answers are not our answers. I thought that was very wise. btw, Abraham Lincoln was very disturbed that in the Civil War both sides prayed for victory!


(Mervin Bitikofer) #11

Speaking of disturbing prayer, one should check out Mark Twain’s war prayer (written in the context of his perceptive views of the Spanish-American War). It is not reading for the theologically faint of heart, or for those who want to rest cozily in a religiously patriotic reverie.


(Thomas) #12

I don’t see how anyone can believe this. Say a child who is blind and deaf prays for sight and hearing. God just says no? He sees all time, all the suffering this child will experience throughout his life and thinks THAT is better than healing him? HOW is that better?

Whatever ‘plan’ He has for that little kid involves cruelty. To deny a child the Two most important senses for experiencing and enjoying the World… That is MONSTROUS! All the kid wants to do is run, jump, play with his friends, be beautiful and happy, get married, have kids, hear wonderful music, see the wonders of nature… But he can’t. Because God has a plan. Because God says ‘no’.

Think about it this way. If Superman exists, the strength, the speed etc. and sees a little girl about to be hit by a truck yet keeps walking, everyone will think he is a monster right? But God gets off the hook because you simply MUST believe that He answers for some reason. When He just DOESN’T. You KNOW He doesn’t. Quit kidding yourself. Liberate your mind. Accept it. Stop deluding yourself with this blind faith. Just stop it!

Is it so wrong to simply be reasonable and rational and deny that God answers our prayers? I can still believe the Bible is truth. But the evidence (and this forum is a part of a website focusing on evidence) demands that we accept the fact God does NOT answer prayer.

What are the main reasons people lose their faith and fall away from the church?

Mostly it is due to the problem of pain and suffering. The rest is because of the church crazies who blindly believe clear nonsense and the manipulators who scam the weak. Poverty stricken people need aid? Ah, but the church needs a nicer parking lot!

I have never met a true Christian. And I could never be one. But the fact I have never met a true Christian just goes to show that my main problem is that I do not believe in the ‘church’. I do not believe in the people. How could I? All my problems are most likely because the ‘church’ has warped my understanding of God.


(Thomas) #13

So challenging in fact, that you cannot refute them or give a good enough answer to them.


(GJDS) #14

I have considered moral dilemma for some time - the easy way out for some people is to complain, as you do. The difficult part is to envisage anyone (man or god) who has the power, and would enjoy using it - if such a being healed one child, what of the rest? If he is so powerful, why not eliminate all disease, pain, suffering, throughout the world? If he does this, what does he do when some people refuse to be his creatures and wish to live another way? Should such a being force them to conform, or simply destroy them as defective? Such banal ‘reasoning’ can go on and on, without any resolution.

These themes have been examined for centuries by writer, poets and philosophers - theologian have confined their remarks to theodicy. You seem to take a huge simplification by saying, “Well God can do this and that, so the rest of the moral dilemmas should follow as I wish”.

Perhaps you may spend you intellectual and emotional capital in a wiser manner if you endeavoured a more methodological approach, starting with moral dilemma that we all face in our daily lives, and try to begin with our own choices and acts, and how these stack up within a faith based understanding of life. Once you go beyond this, then tackle even harder questions.

The only true Christian on this earth was/is Christ. If you read the Gospel carefully, you will find even the apostles had more than a few difficulties - but they faced them all with Christ’s help and guidance.


(Henry Stoddard) #15

I am not going to respond to everything here. I hate to say this, but you sound as if you do not want to be Christian. Mervin is correct. I have never read Mark Twain’s prayer; however, I am sure it was not good. Do not question my Christianity. I lack no faith. I made a statement to you that is true. God answers our prayers with yes or no. The LORD knows what is best. I am not trying to be rude to you, but I believe you should seek a Christian counselor with whom you can discuss these issues. If you do not do this, you are just hurting yourself. May God bless you and please do what I say. No one here is a counselor. I am concerned about you; therefore, I can only give you advice concerning this matter.


#16

I wouldn’t say that God planned this. He permits it for sure, and there aren’t any easy answers, so it is a problem.

But don’t assume that the life of a handicapped person is joyless, or rules out marriage and children.


(George Brooks) #18

Dear Find,

Seeking a justification for human suffering, or the suffering of innocents (Babies, Bambies and Baboons…) is a problem that most religions have to face and explain; technically, the term is THEODICY. Coming to the BioLogos forum for an explanation is unlikely to inspire any special insight, because BioLogos are just like all the other folks who believe in God: it’s a challenge to explain!

Creationists think they have a better answer to THEODICY than BioLogos - - because they think they can blame human suffering on Adam. But they also have to blame ALL suffering on Adam, which doesn’t make much more sense to anyone. Why should a deer die of infection or dehydration in a steel trap - - just because of Adam? Why should the millions of animals (and humans, including infants and toddlers) that couldn’t fit on the Ark have had to drown? God could have killed the specific sinners … his pinpoint precision with the first born of Egypt is a demonstration of this fact. So, no, BioLogos has no special insights into the problem of suffering and natural evil.

So, you need to decide which is the most pressing issue to you:

  1. How does God let those innocent animals suffer?

vs.

  1. How did Humanity evolve without God?

@Find_My_Way , can you tell us which is the most important problem to you?

George


(Thomas) #19

Thankyou! At least you don’t just wave away my valid arguments. I have to say issue number 1: How does God let those innocent animals suffer?. Is the most important issue to me. I can easily accept God directed evolution or set the phenomenon in motion. I can easily believe God exists. I can easily believe J.C entered the World to save it from sin. But I just can’t understand how that being can be so… Absent. So seemingly careless. For me, He only seems to exist in the argument. Close the Bible, close a theological or philosophical argument for His existence, and He disappears. The World around me does NOT reflect an all-loving, personal God that answers prayer and is intimately involved in His creation, let alone the church which is insanely corrupt and wayward even at the best of times.

I already accepted that I wont find all the answers to my questions and problems. But I’d be lying if I wasn’t furious at people like Henry that seem to blindly believe something which the evidence does NOT support. That troubles me, It seems to invalidate the suffering in the World, to ignore it or to view oneself as more special than one who does suffer.

It honestly comes across as deluded. Brainwashed. The man I work with is the same. I think I am managing to get through to him though and cause him to question that which he blindly accepted before. Hopefully he can start questioning his Pentecostal church and realize it is not the right place to be. Hopefully he can stop believing in faith-healing scams and learn to question reports of miracles.


(George Brooks) #20

The road you are pursuing might just take you to Buddhism!

The answer they formulate, or at least one of them, is that life – nay existence! - - is suffering. And that the correct philosophy for the enlightened soul is to break one’s attachment to existence.

I assure you, BioLogos doesn’t have any special answer to “the problem of suffering” that Christianity in general hasn’t been working on for 2000 years. But I do think we are more sensible about it all. We are better at accepting that “Nature is not perfect” … that’s why it continues to evolve.

George


(Henry Stoddard) #21

Perhaps the Pentecostal Church is right for him. You should not make fun of someone’s church just because you do not hold that belief system.