The word "miracle," as the Bible uses it, does not always refer to something "supernatural" - that is, a violation of the laws of nature. The word simply refers to an expression of power that goes beyond normal human capabilities. When God worked a miracle through one of the apostles or prophets, he could break the laws of nature (which he created), if he wanted to. Or he could use the laws to accomplish his will (a concept called "providence") - by controlling the timing and circumstances surrounding the "miraculous" event, or even by using the laws in totally unexpected ways.
Jesus performed miracles in both of these ways. When he walked on water, or fed the 5000, he was doing things that went against the laws of nature. On the other hand, when he told Peter to catch a fish and to look for a coin in its mouth, it could be explained by natural processes. (A person could accidentally drop a coin into the lake, the fish could try to eat it, the coin could get lodged in the back of the fish's mouth or in a gill, etc.)
Because of this, it doesn't really matter if we can "explain" some specific miracle by the laws of nature - it is still an expression of God's power.
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"Providence" refers to the way God directs and uses what happens in creation, to accomplish his purposes. God uses the "laws of nature" (which he created) and the events of this world to accomplish his will - and he often does so in unexpected ways. Even sin cannot thwart his purposes! Sin cannot cause the laws of nature to stop working.
How does God work? We cannot fully understand how God does this, but we can get a glimpse of what God is doing - as we observe what is happening in the world. The person who loves God will sometimes be able to recognize the good that God is accomplishing. However, most of it won't make sense to us, until after it is all accomplished, and the Day of Justice has come.
Our lives are like a piece of fine embroidery. On one side of the cloth, the threads look very random, with no sense or pattern. This is like life as we see it now. However, on the other side, there is design and beauty. This is like the way we will see things in the future. One thing we must remember, though: This promise is guaranteed only to those who love God (Romans 8:28). Those who reject God have no such guarantee.
Both miracles and signs were done for a purpose. The miracles weren't done for mere entertainment! Though people tended to like the miracles, because they were "spectacular," they often ignored the reason he did them. As for the signs (which weren't always "miraculous"), the people frequently rejected them, and wanted something else. (This article is in outline form.)
This article looks at some of the reasons that signs and wonders were present in the Bible, especially in the New Testament.
The Bible says that miracles will exist during the end times. But it also warns us that miracles don't guarantee that the "miracle worker" or his message is from God.
- All the people of the earth
- are nothing compared to him.
- He has the power to do as he pleases
- among the angels of heaven
- and with those who live on earth.
- No one can stop him or challenge him,
- saying, 'What do you mean by doing these things?' (Daniel 4:35)