Are Miracles for Today?

Should Christians today expect miracles, or did miracles cease at the end of the Apostolic Age? Can Satan and his demons perform miracles?

MIRACLES DEFINED

The narrow definition used by theologians is that a miracle is an extraordinary work performed by the power of God, an act against nature that only God can do, such as raising the dead.

Some people say that anything amazing or fascinating, such as the birth of a baby, is a miracle. However, babies are born every day; there is nothing extraordinary about it. If ordinary things are actually miracles, then miracles should not be thought of as extraordinary.

Miracle in the broad sense refers to God’s ongoing supernatural activity in the life of His people – His answers to our prayers and the changing of our souls.

During most periods of biblical history, miracles were absent. Miracles happened in clusters during short periods of times, for example during the life of Moses, and later in the life of Elijah. The most notable of these periods, of course, was during the life of Christ.

PURPOSE OF MIRACLES

The concept of miracles comes from three words in the Bible: powers, wonders, and signs. Miracles are manifestations of divine power; they inspire wonder and awe; and they signify something.

Signs point to something beyond themselves. The Bible says that God confirms the truth of His Word through miracles (John 3:2; 14:11; Hebrews 2:1-4). The Scriptures say we know God’s Word is true because its authors have been authenticated by miracles (Exodus 4:1). In the Bible, only agents of divine revelation performed miracles.

SATAN AND MIRACLES

Satan can be clever and deceive people, but he cannot do things that only God can do. The Bible says Satan can perform lying signs and wonders that are able to deceive even the elect (Mark 13:22; cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10).

The Egyptian magicians claimed to have supernatural powers. They performed extraordinary acts in their contest with Moses, but it was all trickery; and they ran out of their bag of tricks in a short time.

The Roman Catholic Church claimed miracles to argue against the Reformers. The Reformers replied, “We do have miracles to prove our teaching, and they are recorded in the New Testament.”

 

[Adapted from Everyone’s a Theologian by RC Sproul]