- The Will
I have found that a lot of people will hold beliefs due to emotional reasons rather than what the facts say. In fact, some people reject plain facts because they simply do not want to believe them. So if the fact of a miracle smacked someone in the face would it change their mind? I doubt it. Facts do not simply speak for themselves, one must interpret the facts. Interpretation of facts & your experience of events depends on preconceptions. Our preconceptions can highly influence how we look at a situation. A naïve man will think his wife faithful when she is not and the jealous man will think her unfaithful when she is: the question of actual fidelity remains to be settled on some other grounds.
I have often heard it said by skeptics that the ancient man readily accepted miracles because they did not understand the Laws of Nature. I think this is rubbish. Here are a few biblical examples:
- When Joseph discovered that Mary was pregnant he decided to put her away quietly instead of having her stoned to death for adultery. Why did he suppose she committed adultery? Because he understood enough about biology to know that women are not A-sexual; pregnancy requires a partner. When he accepted the testimony of his vision he regarded it as a miracle because he understood it must be a suspension of the regular Laws of Nature
- When the disciples saw Jesus walking on water they were scared out of their minds. Of course they would not have become so frightened unless they had known the Laws of Nature; that men cannot walk on water.
Therefore, ancient man understood the regular order of nature. For unless he did, then he would not have noticed a departure from it. If ancient man were so ignorant of the Laws of Nature then he would not have noticed a supposed miracle at all. To experience a miracle there are two conditions required:
- We must believe in a normal stability of nature
- We must believe in some reality beyond nature.
For the materialist, they deny the second condition. Therefore, they are forced to explain away any fact that might point to a miracle. But what is more incredible? Having to explain away the facts or believing in the possibility of miracles? The old Testament says that Sennacherib’s invasion was stopped by angels (2nd Kings 19:35). Herodotus tells us that a plethora of mice came up and ate all the bowstrings of his army. An honest man will admit there is nothing intrinsically unlikely in the existence of angels. But we can all admit that mice do not do such things as described by Herodotus. So what is more likely? That angels exist or that mice acted in a completely uncharacteristic fashion? Unless you start by begging the question you must admit, until evidence tells you otherwise, that angels do exist. Therefore, it is more likely that a miracle occurred than mice eating bowstrings.