Key To The Understanding Of The Scriptures
by H.P. MANSFIELD
(2) Miracles Really Did Happen
In the modern, scientific age of today, when man can boast great progress in knowledge of the hidden forces of nature, it is fashionable to be incredulous of miracle.
Indeed, the record of miracles in the Bible is perhaps the greatest reason why most people reject its authenticity.
They claim that miracle is an impossibility, and on that score repudiate the Bible as a whole.
We believe that this attitude is unreasonable in this age of scientific advancement.
Man can perform things today that would have been once considered miraculous; why limit God's power to do what seemingly is impossible, seeing that He completely controls all the forces of nature?
The Bible sets forth God as the primordial Force of all things: "In Him we live, and move, and have our being" (Acts 17:28), "Of Him are all things" (1 Cor. 8:6). Miracles are merely a higher form of the work we see performed every day by nature, and the recognition of this fact should reduce the difficulty some experience in receiving the testimony of them. As the late R. Roberts wrote:
"Jesus produced bread sufficient for the feeding of the multitude. The only difference between the bread so produced and ordinary bread was the way it was made. When made, the one was the same as the other. Both were equal marvels when looked at rightly. The bread naturally produced was slowly manufactured from invisible elements in the light, rain, soil, etc. Because slowly conducted, the process does not strike us; but it is in itself as wonderful as any miracle. In the bread that Jesus produced, the elements were gathered and combined instantaneously, that was all the difference -- a great difference truly, and one beyond the power of man, but still a difference more of mode than of essence. The mode is divine and wonderful in both cases, but in the one it is slow, and in the other quick. The quickness was necessary to show undoubtedly the presence and operation, of divine power. This is the case In all miracles." -- (From The Trial.)
Science Confirms Bible Miracle.
The science of archaeology has unwittingly given support to the record of Divine interposition in man's affairs, as recorded in the Bible. Take, for example, the Flood, referred to in Genesis 7. Though this was once refuted, it is acknowledged today that it has historical reality. In 1922-29 factual evidences of a flood of unprecedented proportions were discovered by the eminent archaeologist, Sir L. Woolley. In his book, Ur Of The Chaldees, he records how he unearthed evidences in the Middle East of a flood "of a magnitude unparalleled in local history," and which, he claimed, was that recorded in Scripture. In describing his findings, he declared:
"The clay bank marks a definite break in the continuity of the local culture; a whole civilisation which existed before it is lacking above it, and seems to have been submerged by the waters."
He claimed that an entire generation was destroyed by the waters of this flood.
In short, a Bible story that was once dismissed as myth, is now recognised to have been a fact.*
*Archaeological research has confirmed Bible history upon every point where it has touched. It was once common to challenge that Moses wrote the first books of the Bible on the assumption that writing was not then known, but it has now been proved that writing was practised long before Moses' day. Critics of the Bible used to dispute the existence of Belshazzar (Daniel 5:30-31) because profane history taught that Nabonidus was the last king of Babylon, but hundreds of cuneiform tablets of that period have now been found in Babylonia, and establish that Belshazzar was made co-regent with Nabonidus, his father. The Science of the Spade has enabled Bible students to fill in many details to the background of the Bible, and so create anew the environment in which men such as Abraham, David, Moses, Jeremiah, and others lived.
Another notable miracle recorded in the Bible, was the fall of Jericho (Joshua 6). The city resisted the invading Israelites, and seemed impregnable to attack. Joshua was ordered to command the army to march around the city once every day for six days, with the priests bearing the Ark of the Covenant. On the seventh day, they were to march around seven times, at the completion of which, the priests were to blow with the trumpets, the people were to shout, and the walls would collapse to permit entry to the Israeli soldiers.
For centuries sceptics ridiculed the story.
Archaeologist, Professor Garstang, however, excavating at the site of Jericho, claimed that the Bible record is true. He did not always believe it to be so, and originally believed that his research would disprove the whole account. But, to his amazement, the excavations revealed that the walls had fallen down as recorded in the book of Joshua.
This seemed so incredible, that the Professor believed that they might have been undermined, and propped up by timbers, which were set on fire, during the seven perambulations round the city on the last day. In other words, he expected to find evidence of a pious fraud rather than those proclaiming a miracle.
But he found that the soil beneath the walls had been undisturbed, and that the only possible explanation is that which is recorded in the Bible!
Summing up the evidence, he declared:
"One conclusion indeed seems certain: the power that could dislodge hundreds of tons of masonry ... must have been superhuman."
The Professor, who had been sceptical of the Bible story, was convinced by the evidence of his eyes. God had interposed at the right time-possibly by earthquake (Psalm 114:3-6) -- and caused the walls to fall! Thus modern science helps to confirm an ancient miracle.
Meanwhile, the world has advanced to the nuclear age: the epoch of radio, radar, television, nuclear power and space travel. Man is able to accomplish today what would have been considered miraculous a hundred years ago. If man is able to do so by his limited knowledge of what is possible, how much more can an omnipotent God accomplish!
Nothing is impossible with Him!
We can, therefore, with full assurance, extract the greatest measure of comfort and hope from that most wonderful and significant of all miracles: the resurrection of Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:20).
On the other band, if we reject belief in God what remains?
The hopeless theory of evolution: a theory that is not only unproven, but which demands more in the way of credulity than does belief in the Bible.
To imagine that the amazing creation about us, in its infinite variety, and its marvellous order, came into existence by mere chance, demands more in the way of faith than does belief in the miracles of the Bible.
Truly the Bible declares:
"The fool hath said, There is no God" (Psalm 14:1).
The utmost confidence can be placed in the record of the Bible. It is as a light shining in a dark place, illuminating the pathway that leads to salvation. Let the reader open his eyes to its wonderful teaching; let him step inside the portals of Bible knowledge, and drink deeply at the fountain of living water found within. Let him not be deflected from such a course by the ridicule of the so-called wise. Let him take heed to the counsel of Paul who declared that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called, but that God has seen fit to call humble men and women to a knowledge of divine wisdom to bring to nought the mighty, that "no flesh should glory in His presence" (1 Cor. 1:26-29). The Bible teaches:
"Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches; but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth Me, that I am the Lord which exercise loving kindness, judgment and righteousness in the earth; for in these things I delight, saith the Lord" (Jeremiah 9:23-24).
QUESTIONS TO STUDY No. 2
- Who is the basis of all created matter?
- What is a miracle?
- Which incidence in Israel's history was once considered a myth, but has now been established as fact?
- What can rightly be declared to be the greatest of miracles?
- A miracle is a marvel which God is able to perform by His is omnipotent control of the forces of nature.
- Science has given partial confirmation of Bible miracles in certain instances.
- Granted the existence of God, we must accept the probability of miracle.
- This enables us to extract hope from the greatest of miracles -- the Resurrection of Christ.
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