That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. Romans 10:9.
As the stores, put out Christmas trees and Santa Clauses it is obvious that we are approaching the holiday season. However, let’s pause to think about the reason for the season… the greatest miracle… Jesus Christ. Let’s remember the fact that He is not a fairytale, but the Savior of the world.
However, a common protest is “history has no tools or abilities to investigate miracles” (Habermas 2003, 4). “How does the natural measure the supernatural?” is the question at the heart of this complaint from conservatives and liberals alike (Habermas, 2015). Though, concerns that historical practices alone cannot establish whether a miracle has occurred may be justifiable. That does not mean that it is correct in its assumption that a miracle has not taken place.
Therefore, in addressing the question of history and miracles, let’s distinguish between the historical and the logical scope of a miracle. Particularly, since miracles appear to be a matter for faith (Habermas 2003, 4). Nevertheless, another approach to this issue is to take a step back and establish, just what can be investigated through the tools available to secular scientists.
Habermas, suggest starting with the idea of reviewing a miracle as a miracle-claim. This makes it possible to historically investigate the New Testament claim that Jesus died and afterward was seen alive, now we can address the historical perspective with the natural tools available (Habermas 2003, 3-5) to scientists.
We can say, “Yes” a historical investigation is able to confirm miracle claims with the tools of “oral testimonies, written accounts, archeological evidence and criticism” (Habermas, 2015). In the case of the miracle of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, data is available from numerous “critically recognized historical facts” (Habermas 2003, 31). For example, naturalistic hypotheses have failed to dispel the resurrection claim and at least ten creditable sources of evidences argue that Jesus was seen after his death (Habermas 2003, 31-32).
A miracle is not… just an unusual event that can be determined… to be caused by a natural act. While, the theologians may have a more detailed definition of a miracle, most of us think of a miracle as an “extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs” as described by Merriam-Webster dictionary. For, we know that God is the source of all miracles.
So as I prepare to trim the tree, unpack Santa Clause and find a prominent spot for the Nativity scene. I will remember that Jesus is the miracle and Savior of the world.
God Bless… I am Wiley’s granddaughter.
Habermas, Gary R. The Risen Jesus and Future Hope. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2003.
Habermas, Gary R. “Historical Methodology: Tools, Rules and Miracles.” Presentation. Liberty University. Lynchburg, VA. Accessed September 24, 2015.