The Bible Cannot Be True Because it Contains Miracles and Miracles Violate the Laws of Nature

Is this a valid objection for believing the Bible? Not at all. While it is true that miracles may involve a suspension of the laws of nature, this is definitely not the case with all miracles. Consider the amazing miracle of the parting of the Red Sea (Exodus 14); while this was no doubt one of the most dramatic displays of God’s power in the Old Testament, it did not violate any known law of nature; indeed the scriptures tells us that this was accomplished by God sending a strong east wind (Exodus 14:21). This was very much a miracle but God did not suspend any known laws to accomplish it. On the other hand, there are plenty of miracles recorded in the Bible that most definitely suspend the laws of nature. For example, when Jesus raises Lazarus from the grave (John 11:1-44), God is not doing so by utilizing natural law; rather He is exerting divine power that reversed the process of the death Itself. Is it problematic for the biblical position to suggest that God suspended the laws of nature when He acted in the created order? Not at all!

First, the objection presupposes the immutability and necessary constancy of the laws of nature. However, how does one know and how can one determine that the laws of nature are immutable (unchangeable)? What is a natural law anyway? We formulate natural laws by a process of induction. We observe the normal behavior of the world around us and based upon our repeated experience of nature, we formulate laws that given all the proper variables do not change, what has occurred in the past with regularity will continue to do so in the future. Think about it for a moment. Why do we think that if we drop a ball it will fall to the ground? We think this because of our repeated experience of the ball falling in the past every time we let go of it. However, it does not logically follow that because something has occurred in the past with regularity that it “must” continue to do so in the future. If we hold to the necessity of an event occurring in the future because it has always done so in the past, we can then derive all sorts of silly conclusions from this line of reasoning; for instance, on this basis I can conclude that “I will never die”. For since I have never died in the past, it follows therefore, that I will never die in the future. Of course, this is an irrational conclusion, but this is what results when we adopt this line of reasoning. In reality, the process of induction gives us high probability at best and absolutely no certainty about the future. This was pointed out by the great Scottish Skeptic, David Hume. In philosophy it is known as the problem of induction.

Furthermore, what are the “Laws of Nature” from a Christian perspective? Are the laws of nature these principles put in place by God so that the world functions in a particular way? Well first, I want to highlight that the Christian notion of natural law is not that God cranks up the world in accordance with a mechanistic process that he leaves to its own devices to work on its own. God is active in creation at every point, upholding, maintaining, and controlling all that occurs whether by an active or passive engagement. Indeed, in my estimation, the difference between a miracle and the “normal” functioning of nature according to behavior of regularity is that while God governs both, a miracle is when God governs his creation in a less than regular fashion hence breaking so to speak His normal patter of governing which we perceive to be regulatory. Because this action breaks the pattern of regularity, we perceive it to be miraculous, especially when God does this in confirmation of His revelation.

In conclusion, a miracle does not break the unchangeable laws of nature, since A) Not all miracles require a direct reversal of natural law (Example: Jesus raising the dead), since we have seen that God has often used “natural” means to bring about miraculous outcomes (Example: sending a strong east wind to part the Red Sea), and B) It is impossible to demonstrate that the laws of nature are unchangeable based upon an inductive method that reasons from past regularities to “certain” and “necessary” future events. The faulty and unprovable assumption Is that the laws of nature are unchangeable and necessarily constant. The entire objection begs the question in favor of its own inherent position: The Bible is false because it contains miracles that violate inviolable laws. The objection merely begs the question since whether the laws of nature are unchangeable or not are the very point of disagreement.

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