Is this a miracle, or not?

Posted 19 Sep 2023

I’ve just been reading my Bible, in Numbers chapter 11, it says that the Israelites started to grumble & complain. They had seen God miraculously part the Red Sea to allow them to cross over on dry land, they were being fed heavenly manna (bread) daily by God, they had seen many other miracles too. However, despite all these amazing miracles, when the story gets to chapter 11 it says that the people rebelled & complained about Moses & Aaron, but really their complaint was directed at God.

Numbers 11:11
The Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the signs I have performed among them?

I have heard modern day people say “If God showed himself to me I would believe in him”, or “If I saw a Godly miracle I would believe in God”. But this Bible chapter disproves that idea. After all, the Israelites HAD seen many mighty miracles performed on their behalf by God, and yet they STILL did not believe in him. Instead they wanted to go back to Egypt (were they had lived in slavery for over 400 years!); back to the familiar; back to their slavery.

If modern people saw a miracle, would they really believe it was performed by God? I imagine it rather depends on the disposition of the person seeing the miracle. If they don’t believe in God, then why would a miracle convince them of his existence? It is more likely that they would attribute the miracle to natural causes, or a coincidence, or some other (natural, not supernatural) explanation. If someone already doubts the existence of God, wouldn’t they simply continue in that unbelief?

On the other hand, if someone who is doubtful or sceptical, (but open to the possibility of a personal God), & they see a miracle, I imagine it is possible that such a supernatural event might persuade them of the existence of God.

It seems to me then that a miracle, by itself, will not persuade someone either way. It may help them to move along an existing trajectory (towards or away from God, as they already live), depending on their own personal interpretation of what they have experienced.

As Albert Einstein the famous physicist said “Live your life as if nothing is a miracle, or everything is a miracle.” We can either see everything as a miracle, or see nothing as a miracle, the choice is ours to make. The same facts will exist in either case, but the conclusion (”this is a miracle” or “this is not a miracle”) is down to our interpretation of the experience.

According to Numbers chp 11, the vast majority of the Israelites kept refusing to believe that God was for them; that he wanted to do them good. How about you… what would you believe if you saw a miracle?


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