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Believing is Seeing

What Is a Miracle?

As we navigate the norms of the laws of nature, we encounter events or circumstances that transcend our understanding. Some may label these as miracles or divine interventions. Others, however, may dismiss them as mere freaks of nature, explained away by the scientific theories of our time. For the sake of this discussion, let’s refer to them as miracles.


An explanation of what a miracle is might be helpful. I found several definitions in my research to clarify this term:


  • Any beneficial event that is statistically unlikely but not contrary to the laws of nature,

  • A non-natural phenomenon, physically impossible or impossible to confirm by nature,

  • An event that is inexplicable by nature or scientific law, often attributed to some supernatural or praeternatural cause,

  • A beneficial event brought about through divine power that mortals do not understand and of themselves cannot duplicate.


We can further categorize miracles into three types of occurrences.


  • An event that we can’t explain or duplicate but others with more information or knowledge can explain,

  • A sleight of hand or trick that magicians or religious manipulators perform to produce astonishing results,

  • An event or occurrence that we cannot duplicate or explain that occurs through our faith in God and his powers.


Possibility or Probability?

Whatever we believe about miracles, our conclusions are not the final determination of whether miracles exist. There are too many variables in the formula. We may lack understanding of the laws of nature and how they work, jumping to the wrong conclusions or overthinking the results. Some believe miracles once existed where the Bible is concerned but do not see how they can exist today. Others profess that the possibility or probability of such quandaries is implausible because they have never witnessed a miracle or do not understand an unexplainable event. 


Seeing Is Not Believing, Believing Is Seeing

Many have experienced a boatload of evidence for the acceptance of miracles. Still, because their core belief stems from skepticism, that evidence fails to convince them of the reality of the situation. C. S. Lewis said, “It depends on the philosophy we bring to the experience for such an event to convince us of its truth.” In other words, seeing is not necessarily believing. 


Scripture stories and diary entries have provided ample proof that people who have witnessed inexplicable occurrences don’t always believe their eyes. The events do nothing to change their minds about happenings beyond the norm. President Howard W. Hunter, a former President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, expressed that “to deny the reality of miracles on the grounds that the results and manifestations must be fictitious simply because we cannot comprehend the means by which they have happened is arrogant on the face of it.” It’s safe to conclude that if we believe in miracles, we are more likely to experience them than someone who believes there is always a logical or natural way to elucidate the inexplicable.


Sign Seekers Beware!

Through many scriptural accounts, the Sadducees and Pharisees wanted Jesus to perform more miracles than He had already provided. When they asked him to show them more evidence, he answered, “An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign.” (Matt. 12:39)


Does this mean we should never look for signs of the miraculous? I don’t think so. Those religious leaders of the Bible thought they had all the answers and lacked the faith to see beyond their engrained and short-sighted views. Seeing further miracles would have failed to convince them of Christ’s divinity. Their only goal was to trap the Savior so they could prosecute and get rid of him. Again, seeing is not necessarily believing.


Christianity’s foundation came from the premise that Jesus Christ’s Atonement and Resurrection were the greatest miracles of all time. Christ demonstrated superhuman events during his earthly presence in the meridian of time for the profit of and convincing the Jew and Gentile alike that he was a healer, miracle worker, and the literal Son of God, the Eternal Father. Faith in one miracle tended to incite a search and belief in others. Believing is seeing.


The difference in purpose between believers and non-believers in pursuing these signs, and thus our resulting reward or condemnation, lies in the intent of one’s motives. Signs often offer increased faith and understanding, pointing to God’s love and future events. They incite hope to the believer. However, to the unbeliever, seeking signs has nothing to do with discovering the integrity of an occurrence; it is only to prove trickery and show that the perpetrator cannot duplicate his feat. Which, in this skeptical and vindictive world, causes a problem. If miracles cease, it is most likely because faith has ceased. 

 

Be Still and Believe

Albert Einstein said, "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle.

The other is as though everything is a miracle. It matters not what the reader believes is true. I do not doubt that miracles are products of faith for those with open minds and the ability to see life in all its astonishing beauty and extraordinary displays. I’d rather err on belief in an all-knowing God, in goodness, joy, and feasting on the possibilities. All I have to do is stand still and look around me at a newborn, the night sky with its endless stars, the light and hope shining in people’s eyes, and my grandson’s smile. By definition, these small miracles are impossible in a skeptic’s mind, or at least they see nothing spectacular about such occurrences while dismissing all other things they refuse to accept and understand. But in the sense of a believer, joy and awe are the resulting rewards, and the possibilities before such a person are endless. The following poem says it all:


Miracles

Why, who makes much of a miracle?

As to me I know of nothing else but miracles,

Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,


Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,

Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of the water,

Or stand under trees in the woods,

Or talk by day with any one I love, or sleep in the bed at night with any one I love,

Or sit at table at dinner with the rest,

Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car,

Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive of a summer forenoon,

Or animals feeding in the fields,

Or birds, or the wonderfulness of insects in the air,

Or the wonderfulness of the sundown, or of stars shining so quiet and bright,

Or the exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in spring;

These with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles,

The whole referring, yet each distinct and in its place.


To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,

Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,

Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the same,

Every foot of the interior swarms with the same.

To me the sea is a continual miracle,

The fishes that swim—the rocks—the motion of the waves—the ships with men in them,

What stranger miracles are there?


Walt Whitman


Yes, what stranger miracles exist when we look at life like that? Such positivity renews my Spirit and affects those I interact with. Awareness, belief, and thankfulness are contagious. Isn’t that leaving the world a better place to live?

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