Natural Explanations and A Supernatural God
by J Warner Wallace
I get lots of email from skeptics. Much of this email is related to miracles. People want to know why Christians are so quick to attribute an event (or healing) to the miraculous intervention of a supernatural God, especially when it appears that a natural force may be offered as an explanation. After all, even Moses reported that a “strong east wind” blew all night prior to the parting of the red sea (Exodus 14:21). Maybe this natural occurrence was simply interpreted as a miracle after the fact. In a similar way, Thallus (the 1st Century Roman historian) attributed the darkness at the crucifixion to “an eclipse of the sun”; another reasonable natural occurrence that may have been misinterpreted as a miracle by those who were inclined toward the miraculous.
Modern day Christians also make claims about the supernatural intervention of God, and to many skeptics, these claims seem unwarranted. When someone claims God healed them from cancer, but admits they underwent a year of chemotherapy and radiation, it’s difficult for non-believers to credit the healing to God. It seems just as likely the “natural” interaction of the treatment was responsible. See the problem? When skeptics find evidence “natural” forces or laws are in play, they quickly dismiss any claim of supernatural activity. But the involvement of “natural” forces does NOT preclude the activity of a “supernatural” God.
Can God Use the “Laws of Nature”?
My dog, Baily, occasionally begs for a chew toy or dog treat. When one of these coveted items is sitting on the dining room table, she is frustrated beyond words (or barks). Bailey’s Corgi stature prohibits her from making the necessary leap to the tabletop. Her incessant whining will usually provoke one of us to come over and knock the treat from the table so it can fall to the ground for her. Without our intervention as a free agent, the natural force of gravity would never deliver the treat to Bailey. Strictly speaking, it could be said…
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