Are you or do you try to be a reasonable person? Do you believe in ’cause and effect’? Can you or do you believe in miracles?
I consider most of my Christian friends as reasonable people and many of them believe in miracles or at least they believe miracles are possible.
Many more say miracles once occurred but they do not occur any longer, or very rarely.
These same Christians say they still believe in God and that Jesus will, one day, appear in the skies at the sound of a trumpet and we all will be raptured to heaven to be with Him for eternity. A miracle. (So, you do still believe they happen? Or not?)
Webster’s dictionary describes a miracle as an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs.
But, I believe that definition is subjective and leaves the matter open to personal experience and bias.
Wikipedia says, “A miracle is an event not explicable by natural or scientific laws. Such an event may be attributed to a supernatural being (especially a deity), magic, a miracle worker, a saint, or a religious leader.
Informally, the word miracle is often used to characterize any beneficial event that is statistically unlikely but not contrary to the laws of nature, such as surviving a natural disaster, or simply a “wonderful” occurrence, regardless of likelihood. Some coincidences may be seen as miracles.
A true miracle would, by definition, be a non-natural phenomenon, leading many writers to dismiss them as physically impossible (that is, requiring violation of established laws of physics within their domain of validity) or impossible to confirm by their nature (because all possible physical mechanisms can never be ruled out).
The former position is expressed for instance by Thomas Jefferson and the latter by David Hume. Theologians typically say that, with divine providence, God regularly works through nature yet, as a creator, is free to work without, above, or against it as well. ” ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miracle )
I am a Christian. I believe in miracles. I believe I have experienced a miracle several times in my lifetime. I can tell you about those experiences, but I cannot prove them.
In their search for a miracle, I believe many people overlook the obvious which is the most spectacular: You are a miracle living in a provable miracle. (And, PS: I do believe that God Created the heavens and the earth IN SEVEN DAYS).
For example, a new study suggests that there are around 700 quintillion planets in the universe, but only one like Earth. It’s a revelation that’s both beautiful and terrifying at the same time.
AGAINST ALL ODDS
Astrophysicist Erik Zackrisson from Uppsala University in Sweden arrived at this staggering figure — a 7 followed by 20 zeros — with the aid of a computer model that simulated the universe’s evolution following the Big Bang. Zackrisson’s model combined information about known exoplanets with our understanding of the early universe and the laws of physics to recreate the past 13.8 billion years.
Zackrisson found that Earth appears to have been dealt a fairly lucky hand. In a galaxy like the Milky Way, for example, most of the planets Zackrisson’s model generated looked very different than Earth — they were larger, older and very unlikely to support life. The study can be found on the preprint server arXiv, and has been submitted to The Astrophysical Journal. (excerpt by By Nathaniel Scharping, Discover Magazine)
The solar system is comfortably nestled in a safe harbor between major spiral arms, and its nearly circular orbit helps it avoid the galaxy’s perilous inner regions. There are
relatively few stars near the sun, reducing risks to Earth from gravitational tugs, gamma-ray bursts, or collapsing stars called supernovae.
A STABLE AND LONG-LASTING STAR
Stars more massive than the sun burn hotter and usually don’t live long enough for planets to develop life. Less massive, younger stars are often unstable and are prone to
blasting their planets with bursts of radiation.
THE RIGHT DISTANCE
We’re at just the right distance from the sun. Earth orbits in the so-called Goldilocks zone, where the planet receives enough energy to allow water to exist as a liquid
on its surface. Too far, and the vital compound stays locked up as ice. Too close, and the water would rapidly evaporate into the atmosphere.
A DYNAMIC CORE
The interstellar cloud of gas and dust that gave rise to Earth contained enough radioactive elements to power a churning core for billions of years. This creates a magnetic field that protects the planet from dangers like solar flares.
A BIG MOON
Our moon stabilizes our axial wobble. Earth is tilted with respect to the sun, and teeters as it spins. This tiny wobble can shift the climate from hot to icy every 41,000 years—and might vary more without the moon’s stabilizing pull.
We have an ozone layer to block harmful rays Ancient plantlike organisms in the oceans added oxygen to the atmosphere and created a high-altitude layer of ozone that shielded early land species from lethal radiation. (https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2018/03/one-strange-rock-interactive-earth-solar-system-milky-way-galaxy/)
Earth has a breathable atmosphere. Oxygen is the gas that is required for the life of most creatures. This is present in Earth’s atmosphere and also in water. Oxygen is constantly put into the atmosphere by plants and trees. Earth’s atmosphere also contains a small amount of carbon dioxide. This is a poisonous gas which makes up most of the atmosphere of planets like Venus and Mars and makes them unable to support human life. However, its smaller presence on Earth is useful as it helps to moderate the planet’s temperature and is absorbed by plants during photosynthesis to produce oxygen.
Earth has a suitable climate. This is caused by the moderate amount of carbon dioxide in the planet’s atmosphere, which is constantly refreshed whenever there is a volcanic eruption. The temperature on Earth does not go from one extreme to the other either. Mercury can be anything from 200°c below freezing to 375°c above. At 375°c, water would only exist as a gas, and the planet would be completely dry. Venus has a surface temperature of 480°c, which would be much too hot for anybody to live in. Mars, although it can reach 25°c, is usually freezing and can be as cold as -140°c, a temperature which would freeze blood and water. Other planets are colder still.
Earth has water! Water is considered to be the most important chemical necessary for life. It contains the oxygen needed for life. Other liquids can contain poisonous elements. Water doesn’t burn skin (like liquids containing acids do), it is drinkable, and it allows life-providing molecules to move around easily. Other moons in the Solar System, such as Europa, a moon of Jupiter, are believed to have oceans of water under its icy surface. Scientists believe that the presence of water on other objects in the solar system greatly increases the chances of life existing on them. Water on Earth is abundant and can be found in its three states of matter. It can be frozen, taking the form of ice. It can be liquid, seen in seas and oceans and lakes. It can also be a gas, seen as clouds. In the picture below, we can see water in its three states; a solid, a liquid and a gas. The blue glow at the top of the Earth is the planet’s thin atmosphere.
All planets receive light from the Sun, but no planet uses it as usefully as Earth. Trees and plants on the planet produce oxygen through a process called photosynthesis. Plants need the Sun to grow. Look at plants in windows and notice how they usually seem to grow towards the Sun. Try growing a plant in a dark room and in a light room. Notice which one grows quicker. The one which has grown quickest is the one which also produces more oxygen. It is believed that if we were able to get plants to grow on another planet, such as Mars, they would begin putting oxygen into the planet’s atmosphere and increase the possibility of life. This process is sometimes referred to as terraforming and is a requirement for the possible existence of human beings on other planets. Something else which helps the plants to photosynthesise on Earth is the length of time the planet takes to spin once on its axis. Taking just under 24 hours means that each side of the planet receives sunlight regularly. If we look at a planet like Venus, which takes 243 days to spin on its axis, it means that for a large period of time certain parts of the planet are in complete darkness. So even if the planet could support life, it would struggle to do so. But Mars, with a day length similar to that of Earth, and quite a bit of light, it could be a possibility. (https://www.bobthealien.co.uk/earth/life.htm )
The fact that Earth has a metallic, molten core creates a magnetic field around the planet called the Magnetosphere. This invisible “gravity shield” deflects radiation from the sun and space and protects organisms on the planet from the solar wind. Mars was once a highly volcanic planet (an indication of a molten core), but its volcanoes have long-since become dormant and it appears to have a very weak and fluctuating Magnetosphere. This may be why its atmosphere is virtually non-existent. The solar wind simply stripped it away without the protection of a strong and steady Magnetosphere.
JUPITER AS A VACUUM CLEARNER
Jupiter acts as a vacuum clearer for earth, sucking up asteroids, comets and meteors that might otherwise strike earth. Astronomers watched in amazement as the comet Shoemaker-Levy broke into 9 pieces and slammed into Jupiter in 1994. The impact on the planet was frightening and a reminder of Jupiter’s value in our Solar System. In many respects, its immense gravitational field acts like a system wide vacuum cleaner attracting rogue asteroids, comets and meteors to its surface and away from other planets including Earth.
STABLE SOLAR SYSTEM
3.3 to 4.5 millions years ago, our Solar System was a highly unstable environment. The orbits of the gas giants on the outer rim of our Solar System were closer and not as concentric resulting in a maelstrom of rocky debris and icy comets in constant collision across the planets. Any life at that time didn’t stand a chance beyond the most resilient and buried bacteria. No doubt, there are millions and millions of solar systems enduring the same. Fortunately, our Solar System is relatively stabilized in terms of planetary orbits.
Our location in the Milky Way Galaxy is at the edge of a spiral arm called the Orion Arm, and is about two-thirds of the way from the center of our galaxy to the edge of the starlight. That’s a very good place to be. Stars and systems closer to the center of the Milky Way are in a very crowded neighborhood where collisions with celestial bodies and high radiation exposure is statistically higher. There’s also the affect of that super-massive black hole at the center of our galaxy. Our location is a very good one that once again provides relative stability and safety.
I could go on into the hundreds and hundreds of ‘scientific coincidences’ which scientists observe and can explain the observable but they cannot say WHY. All the odds say, it should not have been, logically speaking.
A DISAPPEARING MIRACLE?
But, all of these observable, yet inexplicable ‘coincidences’, are fading away. Scientists tell us that the entire observable universe (and beyond?) is moving apart and will one day cease to exists, if you choose to believe them.
THE BIBLE SAYS
The Bible is a remarkable document. It is referred to by various sub-titles, such as an historical account, a book of religion or faith, The Word of God and so forth. But, the one thing that is undeniable, at least by a reasonable person, it that has been able to peer far into the past and into the future and tell us things science is just now discovering.
The Bible tells us scientists are right about this: Revelation 21:1
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.
2And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, 4and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”
5And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” 6Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. 7“He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. 8“But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
9Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying,
Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.
10And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, 11having the glory of God. Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper. 12It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names were written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. 13There were three gates on the east and three gates on the north and three gates on the south and three gates on the west. 14And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
“I was blind, but, now I see!” It is a matter of faith.
Your Brother and Friend,
NEXT on Miracles: AN INTRODUCTION TO