by Ryan Leasure
I can still hear Al Michael’s voice in the background, “Do you believe in miracles?!?!” The United States victory over the heavily favored Russian hockey team in the 1980 Winter Olympics defied the odds. But as improbable as it was, should the “Miracle on Ice” really be dubbed a miracle? Unlikely? Yes. Coincidence? Perhaps. Miracle? No.
We often use the word miracle in vain to describe coincidental events. For example, we say things like “it’s a miracle we got to church on time,” or “it’s a miracle we found a parking spot!” The statements reflect hyperbole rather than a bona fide miracle. Even extremely improbable events like a hole in one or winning the lottery can’t properly classify as a miracle. Which leads us to the question, what classifies as a miracle? And perhaps an even more important question, do miracles still happen today?
Lee Strobel contributes another great work to his growing list of “Case For” books with his newest “The Case For Miracles.” I must confess, I’m a skeptic as far as Christians go. When I hear of supernatural occurrences, I doubt them by default. I like to think of myself as a level-headed Christian who doesn’t fall for fanciful claims. Yet, this “level-headed” Christian wept as he read The Case for Miracles.
True to his journalistic form, Strobel interviews eight leading experts in their respective fields to get an answer to his question, “do miracles happen?” While several define the word miracle in different ways, Strobel prefers Richard Purtill’s definition which states, “A miracle is an event brought about by the power of God that is a temporary exception to the ordinary course of nature for the purpose of showing that God has acted in history” (27).
With the definition in place, Strobel asks the question, “do miracles happen?” To find out, he turns to the experts…
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