Could the miracles of scripture merely be scientific phenomena misinterpreted by people of those times or just coincidence?
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Miracles by their nature are events that ‘supercede’ natural laws by the power of God. Whether alternate explanations exist for a given miracle varies: A) Some events in scripture do find plausible explanations within science. For example, Gideon asked God for a specific sign - a fleece to be wet, while the ground around it dry, in the morning. Judges 6:36–40 Yet this test is easily explained by science - condensation, and evaporation, specifically. One would expect a piece of sheep’s wool to hold water (precipitation or dew) far longer than grass. The implication in the passage is that Gideon also realized this sign was unsatisfactory, so he then requested the reverse - wet ground and a dry fleece, as it would be more clearly opposed to natural laws. B) Some miracles could theoretically happen within the laws of nature, but are either exceedingly unlikely to happen on their own or are very rare. The ‘miracle’ of these in scripture is God directing things so that the near impossible happens, or the timing of several rare events occurring at a specific time. Examples: * The ‘star’ in the East (Matt 2:1–12) - Many scientific explanations have been offered for this odd astronomical phenomenon, some more plausible than others. One very intriguing explanation can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gzWi0tWKoxo * The world-wide flood as described in Gen 7:17–24 and other passages is, interestingly enough, scientifically plausible through known geological processes, such as subduction. It also has its own support through observation, such as tomology, which shows large oceanic plates still descending through Earth’s mantle - showing some massive world-wide flooding event (or events) occurred within Earth’s recent past. So, while science cannot ‘prove’ that this or any other miracle occurred, it can provide an explanation for it: http://www.icr.org/research/index/researchp_jb_runawaysubduction/ * II Kings 3 goes into detail about a miracle that starts with God filling pools without rain (scientifically plausible if hidden springs), then the water looking red, like blood, in the dawn light and scaring the opposing army. It’s scientifically plausible, but the conjunction of events is unlikely on its own. C) Other miracles could theoretically be ‘explained’ by science, but the likelihood of the scientific explanation being the cause is quite slim. For example, Jesus walking on water (Matt 14:25–33) could theoretically be explained by a sheet of spring ice forming on the lake during the night, and Jesus walking on this. It doesn’t seem to be the most likely explanation given the details of the passage (wind and waves would not lend themselves to ideal conditions, and Peter sinking would lead to obvious signs like ice cracking, etc.) However it does provide an alternate explanation for those looking for one and wishing to dismiss all miracles as either fake or natural events that were just misinterpreted. D) Scripture is full of supernatural occurrences that the laws of nature cannot begin to explain. Events of this nature would be the sun ‘standing still’ (Josh 10:13); the creation of the Earth in six days (Gen 1); the resurrection of Jesus from the dead after being crucified, wrapped in about 100 pounds of spices and wrappings, and sealed three days in a tomb; many of the healings of Jesus where the condition of the person was well-known (lepers, woman with bleeding disorder, demoniac, blind from birth, etc.); the multiplication of the oil and flour (II Kings 4:1–7); the death of the first borns in Egypt (Ex 12:29); the virgin birth (Luke 1); feeding the five thousand (Mk 8); etc. This is why miracles are often called 'signs' and 'wonders' - because they cannot be dismissed as life as usual. They establish the authority and power of God to witnesses, mark key points in the plan of God, and build trust for God's people.
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