Where are the miracles?

Does God exist? As many people on all sides of the “does God exist” debates have agreed, I personally believe that this is something which will never be definitively proved or disproved. To use some legal terminology, that leaves a lower standard of provenance: rather than showing proof beyond a reasonable doubt, we are more concerned with the preponderance of evidence. And for my money, the scales weigh heavily on the “non-existence” side.

Since we can never know for sure that there is or is not a God, it comes down to basically one thing: does the world work in ways that can be rationally understood and predicted (naturalism) or do things happen unexpectedly, miraculously and with no plausible natural explanation (super-naturalism).

In other words: do miracles happen?

Time for a short digression. When I speak of miracles, I don’t mean natural, commonly occurring things that often get labeled as such: a beautiful sunrise, the birth of a baby, or finding one’s lost car keys. I’m not even talking about things like so-called medical miracles. Cancer sometimes goes into remission. Disease is often misdiagnosed and seems to mysteriously disappear. God often gets credit for these miraculous “healings.” But why is it, I wonder, that in every single case, there are other possible explanations, other than the miraculous? If God wants to really show his power, why not miraculously regrow a lost limb or resurrect a cold corpse? Now, that would be a miracle!

Although stories of miraculous occurrences are as old as humanity and as numerous as the stars, the fact remains that in all of human history there has never been even one indisputable instance of a true miracle. All we have are second-hand stories — hearsay. There is not one single solitary shred of concrete evidence that proves conclusively that any miracle has ever occurred.

That should cause one to pause and think. Because if there are no miracles, it means that science is probably correct to assume that naturalism is the way of the universe and not supernaturalism. It means that everything can be understood and explained, if enough data can be gathered. It means that there is no need to resort to explanations that involve spirits, demons, unseen realms, and yes, gods.

Of course, one of the hallmarks of the scientific method is that all knowledge is considered to be tentative and subject to revision. So you will never hear a good scientist rule out anything for certain. It may be that tomorrow morning we wake up to see God himself descend from the heavens, accompanied by 100 million angels, to announce his presence.

But I’m not holding my breath.

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