Keener on Miracles

Here is a little taste of my colleague Craig Keener’s wonderful two volume work on Miracles.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/craig-s-keener/miracles-in-the-bible-and-today_b_1274775.html

  • Dieter

    God is the God of the universe the author of the natural laws. There should be no doubt that the author has the ability to tweak his creation a little, if he deems so necessary. Caution should however be taken if we want to manipulate God to do our biding. God will not be put in a box where He becomes our vending machine

  • Steve

    Just bought the books. Magnificent. We serve a God who is and does the supernatural. Without miracles, there is no Christianity and our faith is meaningless.

  • Trey

    Has God ever restored the limbs of an amputee? It seems to me that if God is an interventionist God who regularly intervenes in the natural order of things to perform such spectacular feats as giving sight to the blind and raising the dead such an intervention (that would be impossible to deny as miraculous) would likely have occurred at some point in history. However I have never heard of any such miracle occurring. But perhaps it is not under God’s purview to do such things or perhaps God is not a God who defies natural law.

  • TNF

    Dieter,

    Your comment is interesting. First, I agree with you that God is demonstrably not a vending machine. Further, let me say now that your comment is way too brief to learn anything really deep about you. That said, your comment has interesting and typical reactions that are deeply held by many, regardless whether you hold them deeply or not.

    I’ve looked at the issue of prophecy, healing, miracles, etc. in multitudes of ways and times over the last 20 years. It’s fascinating how western culture has turned people into something like magnets on this issue, pushing and pulling people toward one extreme or the other, one might think that our choices are raving word-faith pentecostalism or seek-not-teach-not-warn-a-lot cessationism. Does it bother anyone that the NT teaches and models neither (and arguably the latter least of all?). But we feel compelled to these extremes, even when miracles get nothing more than a mention. For instance, in your comment, you refer to miracles as God “tweak[ing] his creation a little” which, though I doubt you consciously meant it, is belittling to what God does through miracles of various kinds. (For instance, I don’t think the apostles or the people healed would refer to Christ’s healings or the NT church’s practice of gifts as “tweaking creation a little.”) Your other reaction to this very brief post and link is to urge caution against manipulating God and making him into a vending machine.

    Now, as far as I can tell, neither Ben nor Mr. Keener have come anywhere near advocating anything like “word-faith” teaching. But you still felt the need to caution against the mere possibility of it. It’s really not the NT testimony that points us toward such a posture. Indeed, Jesus seems to be routinely challenging his disciples about their lack of faith that he or even they can do the miraculous with God. Further, he praises the faith of those who do believe he has the compassion and ability to help. Again, I’m opposed to word-faith, but based on Jesus’ own interactions, isn’t there any caution for those who are in danger of settling into a “faith” that Jesus challenged in his disciples? I wish we could more commonly find the kind of posture towards all things supernatural that we see in the NT. Paul, James, Jesus, Peter are all wonderfully grateful that God works through people for others in ways beyond our muscles and brains. They all also seek and/or promote the same for themsleves and the church. I fear that too many people’s attitudes and beliefs on this issue are shaped by bad examples, bad theology and western bias much more than scripture. As Keener’s book points out, it would be great if we were even shaped more by the modern testimonies in the global church (or even our own families many times). But the “dangers” and the wackos and the western paradigms have crowded out the Christ and his church on this issue. We don’t respond to Him and the good examples on this anymore, we just react to the bad.

    I’m not saying that you are doing all of this at all. Your comment points in this direction, but I’m not presuming to know where you are on this in any deep way. Your comment though is typical of what is deeply true of many.

  • TNF

    Trey,

    You would probably enjoy Keener’s book. He passes along multiple reports of people rising from the dead, some even in his extended family.

    But, as I mentioned, the place to start with this is scripture. I seek to be prima-scriptura in my faith, letting scripture be the primary voice in forming my faith. I don’t want to assume that you approach things the same way. But if you do, scripture is the place to begin. Obviously, we don’t have “amputees” in the NT, but we do have people being raised from the dead, blindness healed, etc. Keener’s book shows we have the same reports today. I’ve seen some things myself that didn’t include anyone rising from the dead, but were miraculous nonetheless. I could tell you my own stories, but would it change anything? At least in reading Keener you could have some semblence of trust because of his academic credentials and references.

    But I will tell you that even if you personally witness such things, even if you do them with God, the issue of whether and what you will trust will not be forever resolved, though such experiences can change the scales considerably.

  • Trey

    I tend to be very matter of fact in my approach to these things. The facts are what they are. God does not need me or anyone else to be a cheerleader for him by making dubious claims that are not supported by sound evidence. Life is spectacular enough as is, in my eyes. Still if someone made the claim that an acquaintance was resurrected from the dead I would be very curious to know the particulars. While I have not personally experienced any miracles of the supernatural kind I have had a few happy coincidences in life – call them
    minor miracles – that I’m very much grateful for.

  • Sunnymadeline

    God does what he wants. He wants your soul to join him in Heaven.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brian.roden Brian Roden

    It’s not a regenerated limb, but I knew a man who had undergone surgery for kidney disease twice, losing one kidney the first time and half of the other the second time. When he went back for follow up, the surgeon told him, “I don’t know how to tell you this, but you have a whole kidney where you had a half kidney.” And we heard that there was a 3-year-old boy in the church that had prayed for God to give the man a whole kidney.


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