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What are miracles? Do they still exist?

Weekly Q&A

What are miracles? Do they still exist?
Posted on June 22, 2021  - By Dr. Scott Shiffer

Do miracles still exist? Is it because we don’t have faith that we don’t see them more often today? Jesus and His disciples performed many miracles. Is it possible for such miracles to be seen in the world today?

Yes, miracles do still exist. We often read the Bible and think that miraculous events were happening so regularly that they were like everyday expected occurrences. 

The stories of Scripture take place over a very long period of time. From Abraham to Moses is about 500-600 years. From Moses to David is about 500 years. From David to Malachi is about 500 years. From Malachi to the birth of Christ is about 400 years. Scripture records miraculous events because they were important events, but they were far from the norm of everyday life. Miracles were the exception to the rule.

Miracles occur less often in Scripture than the natural progression of events. Sometimes God breaks or appears to break natural laws when miracles occur, but this is not always the case.

Scripture records miraculous events because they were important events, but they were far from the norm of everyday life

Remember the purpose of miracles

Miracles could be defined as events that are contrary to expected outcomes. Miracles always display the power of God and point to the gospel. Today most miracles are best understood in light of the spiritual gift of performing miracles.

The purpose of the gift of miracles is to be a sign to authenticate the gospel message. The gift often involves anointing with oil, laying on hands, and prayer; and the faith of the healer and the one being healed (James 5:14-15).

Jesus performed miracles of healing and more, but the apostles virtually always performed miracles that had to do with healing or reverse healing, like the time that Paul blinded the magician (Acts 13:5-11).

Sometimes God chooses not to heal someone, but even if this is the case, we should still trust God and give Him praise (1 Thessalonians 5:18; James 1:2-4; and Psalm 119:67-71).  

In addition to the gift of healing, it is acceptable to use medicine. Medical aids are clearly a part of God’s plan (Genesis 1:31; Psalm 24:1; Luke 4;12; 2 Chronicles 16:12-13; and 2 Kings 20:7), and they are miraculous in the sense that God granted humanity the ability to reason and create medicines to aid in our sicknesses.

So why not more miracles?

People think that miracles must be grandiose and so we often forget to look for small miracles in our lives or in the lives of those around us. An example of a miracle would be if someone goes to a doctor and is told they have a tumor, but when they return to the doctor for further investigation later, the tumor is no longer there.

We should pray to be more cognitively aware of miracles as they take place around us today. We should ask God to help us see the ways He is intervening in our world.

Miracles always display the power of God and point to the gospel

When miraculous things do not occur as we expect them to, it in no way diminishes the ability or power of God. Neither does it speak directly to a lack of faith on our part.

Miracles occur when they are within God’s will. He does not always plan to intervene in a miraculous way.

I have a friend who lost her sight. She became very ill and her vision went away. She was told that she would essentially be blind for the rest of her life. She prayed and her church prayed with her. Miraculously, after about three weeks of prayer for her vision, her sight returned at 100%.

Look with eyes of faith

Miraculous things do occur, but they are always to be a witness to God’s power and glory. They are to point people to Christ. When we pray for the miraculous, we must not forget about the God who makes the miracles happen. We must also use the miraculous things that happen as a way to point others to faith.

In other words, we should not expect miracles to happen for our own benefit alone. We should expect them to happen in conjunction with showing the world that our God is real.

I think one reason we don’t see as many miracles today is because we desire to explain everything naturally. We seek to think about everything from a scientific perspective. If we want to see miracles occur, we must also look through the eyes of faith, trusting that God is performing miracles in the world around us.

Dr. Scott Shiffer

About Dr. Scott Shiffer

Dr. Scott Shiffer has a Ph.D. in Christian Theology from the B.H. Carroll Theological Institute and has been teaching religion classes since 2006. He leads Faith and Culture Now, an organization to help believers think biblically about culture in America. Scott has given numerous presentations, including one at Oxford. He has spoken at church retreats, youth retreats, conferences, and has taught discipleship classes for many years. Scott is married and has four children. He has a heart for helping believers draw closer to God and for aiding them as they are faced with new challenges every day.



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