A miracle by any other name would be … called science?
Atheists believe in miracles
“The blind men approached Him, and Jesus said to them, ‘Do you believe that I am able to do this?’ They said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord.’ Then He touched their eyes, saying, ‘According to your faith, let it be unto you.’ And their eyes were opened.” Mathew 9:28–30.
This is one of the many miracles witnessed and recorded as history in the Bible. Christians are often mocked by atheists for believing in such miracles as being ‘un-scientific’. Why? Because such things are ‘just impossible’ or ‘un-provable’ they might say. “We don’t see those things happening today!” is a common response. But are miracles truly beyond a rational person’s ability to believe?
What is a miracle?
The World English Dictionary describes a miracle as: “an event that is contrary to the established laws of nature and attributed to a supernatural cause” (as pointed out in Miracles and Science, we believe it is more accurate to say that a miracle is an addition to natural laws).
The word supernatural is described as—“of or relating to things that cannot be explained according to natural laws”. Using these definitions we can start to unravel the supposed irrationality of a belief in miracles within an atheists own framework.
WDJD? (What did Jesus do?)
The Bible says Jesus restored the blind men’s eyes. Although there are many different causes for blindness (glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, retinitis pigmentosa, macular degeneration, cataracts, Leber’s congenital amaurosis, etc.) any restoration of sight would require the arranging/rearranging of tissues made up of millions of cells, the production of thousands of amino acids all folded into specific shapes (proteins) and the tending of such tissues by biological nano machines regulated by programming akin to ultra sophisticated computer software in the brain and integrated through the person’s central nervous system.
Such an arrangement in a similar mechanical construct would require brilliant engineering beyond anything mankind has yet accomplished. ‘Vision’ needs an incredible amount of organization and synchronized processes, and unlike ‘order’ seen to come about naturally in objects like snowflakes or crystals, requires massive amounts of biological information.
As in any code system, biological information is not the result of random or repeating processes (the onus is on anyone who disagrees with that statement to prove that matter without an intelligent mind can produce a code system) so must have required an intelligent agent to create it.
Seeing as how the information in DNA is the most sophisticated multi-code system ever seen we can then assume it came from the most sophisticated mind we can conceive; God. The Bible reveals Jesus as the one true creator God, so it makes sense that God, the Creator of sight, could restore men’s sight if He so chose.
What about the skeptic? They still have to contend with the same challenge of how such biological processes could possibly have arranged themselves, except instead of an intelligent mind providing creative ability they swap in ‘deep time’, chance and ‘natural processes’ as inventive agents instead.
But time and chance are not the best allies as far as creative processes go, as time simply aids the entropic process, the chance formation of a hypothetical functional ‘simple’ cell for example, given all the ingredients (even with a whole raft of assumptions grossly in favour of it happening) is acknowledged to be worse than 1 in 105000 (like guessing a 5,000-digit PIN), and matter’s natural properties have never been seen to create code systems, as evolutionists have admitted;
“How did stupid atoms spontaneously write their own software …? Nobody knows … there is no known law of physics able to create information from nothing … ”1
I believe in miracles!
Enough prodding reveals skeptics believe in miracles just as much as Christians do. For example, because atheists have to explain their existence without God they ultimately have to believe in life coming from non-life sometime in the past. This disagrees with the Law of Biogenesis (life comes only from life, discovered by the creationist scientist Louis Pasteur) and is therefore unscientific (disagreeing with a scientific law is by definition ‘unscientific’).
Atheistic evolutionists have to believe that this scientific law was once ‘broken’ in the distant past and that life did come from non-living matter, but that would mean that this law of science isn’t actually a ‘law’ (after all a single exception to any scientific law would render it falsified). In effect, by breaking a natural law it would have been a miracle!
Stepping back to the big picture of existence, atheists also need to explain the origin of the universe we live in, and the most popular theory is the big bang model. Yet a number of secular scientists have criticized the big bang:
“The big bang today relies on a growing number of hypothetical entities, things that we have never observed—inflation, dark matter and dark energy are the most prominent examples. Without them, there would be a fatal contradiction between the observations made by astronomers and the predictions of the big bang theory.”2
Because of the infinitesimal chance of a big bang (itself ‘supernatural’ [relating to things that cannot be explained according to natural laws] because it would have had to take place before the established laws of time, space etc existed) producing the miracle of such a finely tuned universe, some evolutionary cosmologists have responded by speculating a “multi-verse” theory to improve the odds of our ideal universe existing by chance.
“Short of invoking a benevolent creator, many physicists see only one possible explanation: Our universe may be but one of perhaps infinitely many universes in an inconceivably vast multiverse. Most of those universes are barren, but some, like ours, have conditions suitable for life.”3
However, invoking ‘other universes’ to explain why the universe appears designed to bolster belief that the universe wasn’t designed seems like a stretch—see Multiverse theory—unknown science or illogical raison d’être?
Agree to disagree
So Christians and atheists can agree to some degree regarding miracles as both believe that miracles have occurred in the past. Both believe their own version of ‘creation’ by faith and point to the same evidence to support their beliefs.
Atheists have tried to stump believers by asking “If God created everything then who created God?”, although the answer has long been known (that is, only things which have a beginning need a creator, while God is the Creator of time—see Who created God? It’s an illogical question). But the alleged problem of infinite regress doesn’t just apply to one philosophical viewpoint, it applies to every thinking person. The Christian can ask the same question; “If matter has the innate ability to ‘create everything’, where did matter come from?”
An eternally existent being/substance may appear miraculous in the limited minds of fallible men, but the question of origins ultimately becomes a matter of which makes more sense? Did existence start from an eternal God or from eternal matter? (By the way, to believe in eternal matter defies the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which means the atheist has to believe in another miracle: eternal matter.) Whatever your answer, remember, Christians and atheists both agree in miracles.
- Paul Davies Australian Centre for Astrobiology, Macquarie University, Sydney, New Scientist, 163(2204):27–30 18 Sept 1999. Return to text.
- Lerner, E., Bucking the big bang, New Scientist 182(2448)20, 22 May 2004; cosmologystatement.org. Return to text.
- Folger, T., Science’s Alternative to an Intelligent Creator: the Multiverse Theory, Discover, December 2008, discovermagazine.com. Return to text.