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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Miracles

What should we say to Christians that say that Miracles were only done in the Biblical times and that we should no longer expect them?

I think that some "Bible Christians" come up with this interpretation for three reasons. The first is that they aren’t recognizing miracles in their own lives. The second is that if they saw a miracle they might not know how to handle it. The third and final reason is that in light of the first two things, they needed to find a Biblical answer and so they twisted some scripture passages to make it say what they wanted.
That verse is 1 Corinthians 13:8-10 8 Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect; 10 but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away.

They point to where it says that prophecies and tongues (these are gifts of the Holy Spirit spoken of in 1 Cor 14) will pass away when the perfect comes. They then interpret "the perfect" to mean the Bible and the end of public revelation.

But is that what St. Paul was talking about when he said "the perfect"? No way and the context gives us the answer as it always does.

St. Paul sandwiches this enter section with the word "love", Which we need to keep in mind
1 Corinthians 13:8-13 8 Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.
9 For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect;
10 but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away.
11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood.
13 So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
St. Paul is saying that their focus needs to be on love, and the perfect that is coming where we will understand fully is the second coming of Christ.

It can’t be when the Bible is finished that would mean that Paul was preaching an incomplete Gospel this whole time. The reason why the greatest is love is because in heaven, we won’t need faith because we will see God face to face and we won’t need to hope because our hope will be complete, but we will still love.

What about the people who say that, they would believe in God if only he would show them a miracle?

This is exactly what the Pharisees said in Matthew 12:38-40 38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to him, "Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you."
39 But he answered them, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign; but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.
40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

So the sign that is given is his resurrection, but there is another sign that was already given in connection with a resurrection. Remember that Jesus has a friend named Lazarus who dies and he goes to Abraham’s Bosom, while the rich man was in fire.

Luke 16:27-31 27 And he said, `Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father's house, 28 for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.' 29 But Abraham said, `They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.' 30 And he said, `No, father Abraham; but if some one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.' 31 He said to him, `If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead.'"

What happens next is a bit shocking; - Jesus goes to the tomb of Lazarus and says John 11:43-53 "Lazarus, come out." 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with bandages, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, "Unbind him, and let him go."
45 Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him;
46 but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.
47 So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council, and said, "What are we to do? For this man performs many signs….
53 So from that day on they took counsel how to put him to death.

See the miracle was the cause not of faith, but of hatred. So people who are asking for a sign, might not necessarily want one. The Catholic Church is not afraid of miracles, in fact we believe in the god of Miracles. You only have to look as close as your local Catholic Book store to find all sorts of amazing stories of how God is still doing miracles today.

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