Important question about God's silence and lack of miracles

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Important question about God's silence and lack of miracles

#1

Post by DRDS » Wed Jun 01, 2011 3:35 am

Greetings,

This would be a good question for anyone who happens to know a bit about early church history. Since the main part of my question involves this time period. And what I mean by the early church history, I guess I need to clarify. I guess I should say early/mid church history. Mostly pertaining to the first few generations of early church leaders that followed after the death of the apostles. I'm mostly concerned about that particular era, since that is the era I'm mostly uninformed about.

Now this question mostly has to do with God's "silence" or lack of communicating with believers and or performing major biblical new testament style miracles. And what I mean by new testament miracles, I mean the kind that even get enemies to attest to them, such if one like of that kind of magnitude were to happen today even in front of atheists even they would have to admit they happened. Basically how did we get to a time where during Christ's life miracles happened quite a bit, and during the lives of the apostles but ended up dropping off either gradually or significantly following the deaths of the apostles?

Ok, now that these things are established I need to establish something else. The time periods in which God has communicated with man.


1. Old testament times: Granted, God did NOT communicate on a average or constant basis at least during this time. He would usually do something every couple hundred or more so years apart and when He did that he would either do one or about a handful of miracles at a specific time.

2. Time of Christ: Now granted again, Christ did not perform many miracles during the course of his life. He mostly did the bulk of them and possibly nearly all of them during the short few years of his ministry. And during that time he was doing them quite regularly. But granted, it was for a short period of time.

3. Start of and the early Christian church. This is immediately after Christ's resurrection appearances and ascension, based on what I've read in the new testament, the miracles did drop off somewhat in terms of number and in quality that occurred in Christ's ministry but they still happened on a slightly above average basis. It was sort of like in between what happened in Old Testament times and what happened during Christ's ministry on earth in terms of quantity and quality. For example the apostles were visited and rescued from prison by angels, they performed healings on people and cast out demons. They were given dreams, visions and other mystical revelations from God. Not to mention they received many instances of comfort, love, and peace from the Holy Spirit such as what happened in the upper room at Pentacost.

4. Early to early/mid church. This is the area in which I'm very unsure about and I was wanting to know if anyone knows if miracles started to greatly drop off during this time, especially after the deaths of the apostles. Did any of the first students of the apostles who later took over their roles as church leaders did they experience miracles with the same kind of quantity and quality that the apostles experienced or was it much less?

Now what I'm trying to get at is how has the number and intensity of God's direct communication and or miracles dropped off from back then to today? Now granted, many of the new testament time period miracles and even old testament miracles were done for the sole purpose of revealing new crucial information or revelation that God wanted humanity to know.

And since God may no longer have anything major to reveal to humanity at least until the second coming of Christ there is no need for those kinds of miracles. But what about healings, (genuine healings not just mind over matter, body healing itself or televangelist fabrications) I mean real genuine healings like uncureable diseases, amputees, dead people being raised things that would even baffle doctors and scientists today? What about having dreams and visions from God like the kind that Acts 2:17 talks about?

And most importantly why isn't God doing anything about the mass exodus of young people today leaving the faith because they don't even think God exists? Or about the mass surge in overall skepticism of all things supernatural? Why hasn't He done something or at least something small that would at least take the sting or the wind out of their sails?

Quite possibly if you ask me, could this be the generation of people who will have turned their back so far on God and the warnings presented in the Bible that they will fall for the leadership of the antichrist? Because after all, since people are spiritual by nature and they long for some kind of god or some kind of god like figure whether it be the state, a president or even a lover. With them fully rejecting the God of the Bible along with His very existence, it would make them very vulnerable in filling that emotional and spiritual void with someone like the antichrist. Or at least that is my take on it.

So have we indeed seen a major or gradual drop off in miracles and signs from God since the deaths of the apostles and if so is that expected given what the Bible says and from what we know as far as how God operates with humanity? The main concern that I hope will not arise is the possibility that the Bible indicates that we should really be seeing more of the supernatural and more miracles and signs from God today in our generation or at the very least as much as was experienced during the lives of the apostles.

I'm nervous that if that is indeed what the Bible indicates than from what I can tell reality may not be living up to that expectation. But if the Bible does NOT indicate that than there is no problem. If the lack of miracles today is either predicted by the Bible or fits nicely with the Bible than to me, there's no such problem. Only if the Bible indicates that there should be no drop off in the number and intensity of miracles, and signs. But anyway I look forward to seeing what you have.

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Re: Important question about God's silence and lack of mirac

#2

Post by Byblos » Wed Jun 01, 2011 6:01 am

Hey I'm Catholic so from where I'm sittin' there certainly ain't no shortage of miracles. :esmile:
Let us proclaim the mystery of our faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

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Re: Important question about God's silence and lack of mirac

#3

Post by Canuckster1127 » Wed Jun 01, 2011 6:48 am

Actually, that's a good first question to ask before going further. Are miracles less frequent today than they have been in the past? It's one thing to say that in the midst of a western culture which is skeptical by nature (and didn't Jesus indicate that miracle in places were dependent upon the faith of those involved?)

There's more to the world than just our small geographic and cultural corner of it. It seems to me that there are regular reports of miracles from the so-called third world countries and cultures. Are we projecting our skepticism upon them and discounting their experiences and reports?
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Re: Important question about God's silence and lack of mirac

#4

Post by PaulSacramento » Wed Jun 01, 2011 8:25 am

Miracles are irrelevant to faith and only ONE needs to be focused on - The Ressurection.
Miracles don't mean much either, many people saw the miracles of God and Christ and it meant nothing to them.

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Re: Important question about God's silence and lack of mirac

#5

Post by Byblos » Wed Jun 01, 2011 10:17 am

PaulSacramento wrote:Miracles are irrelevant to faith and only ONE needs to be focused on - The Ressurection.
Miracles don't mean much either, many people saw the miracles of God and Christ and it meant nothing to them.
Precisely.
Let us proclaim the mystery of our faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

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Re: Important question about God's silence and lack of mirac

#6

Post by narnia4 » Wed Jun 01, 2011 11:00 am

Another thing about miracles that are described in Biblical times, so many of those are a part of the "central events" in all of history. Like freeing Israel from bondage, the founding of the early church, etc. If you're talking about number of miracles today vs. the number of miracles over hundreds of years in the Bible, there's really no way to measure it.

Also, some miracles may have occurred that have been "written off" by skeptics who refuse to believe in miracles under any circumstances. And frankly in Western culture, pretty much everyone (including most Christians) is going to assume a natural explanation first. If you take the emergence of Israel as a nation, its really amazing and I think God was involved with that.

Finally, there are a lot of the "little miracles" that at least seem to occur today that are described in Biblical times as well. Imo there's something to those, the ones that could easily pass as coincidence or a natural event, but it's something that a Christian needed or was praying for... I think Providence is involved in some of those. One Biblical example is Hannah praying for Samuel.
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Re: Important question about God's silence and lack of mirac

#7

Post by kevdog19 » Wed Jun 01, 2011 11:18 am

I've experienced god's miracles on a few occasions, and I'm a heathen theistic satanist so go figure. The first miracle occured when I was a Christian who had faith, but then they kept occuring when I became a Satanist, but god's miracles work in a myriad and miracolous ways. From seeing the true nature of reality, to meeting different gods, to discovering the meta-computer, or seeing your first memory in a moment of clarity even from in utero.

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Re: Important question about God's silence and lack of mirac

#8

Post by DRDS » Wed Jun 01, 2011 1:59 pm

Thanks for the responses, I'm still wondering if you all think there has been a drop off though in terms of quantity and perhaps quality of miracles since the deaths of the apostles. If anyone knows much about early church history please let me know.

And Kev, dude, we are like, so over you talking about satan and satanism. Satanism is so late 80s early 90s. If you really want to serve the evil one, go join militant or "new" atheism. I tend to see more of satan in that area (and in militant Islam) than I do in satanism.

Now preferably I would want you to come back to the good side, our side of course. I mean, come on, there is like hardly any satanists in existence nowadays. I could probably count all of them on one, maybe two hands! :mrgreen:

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Re: Important question about God's silence and lack of mirac

#9

Post by kevdog19 » Wed Jun 01, 2011 2:04 pm

I'm sorry, I didn't know I was supposed to base my belief system on what's popular at the time. I would also like to note that I have respect for any effective belief system.

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Re: Important question about God's silence and lack of mirac

#10

Post by DRDS » Wed Jun 01, 2011 2:42 pm

Well anyway back to the original topic, I was curious, didn't the miracles of Christ and the apostles once they happened become the "big news" of the communities? And with how widespread the media today is, if something of that magnitude were to happen today, wouldn't it be all over the news or at least, all over Fox news?

One of my main motivations for starting this thread is to find out whether or not God still does major things in the lives of people today. I personally have not had or have even witnessed any major miracles in my life but I guess you can say I've had minor moments of divine providence or at least possible moments of divine providence. And I guess you can say God has "spoken" to me through the Bible and through apologetics even.

But I guess I have that inner urge and desire to hear from God more often and to get God's direct and specific guidance for my life and to just get His overall current opinion of me and how I'm doing in life according to Him. I also just want to be more in tune to what God is doing in the world and within the church as a whole.

I basically just want a closer relationship with God at the very least. When you are close friends with someone or even with family members whom you really love, you don't want things to be so distant you want to have more two way conversations with them and that's the way I feel about God. I need to if possible, establish more of a two way relationship with Him at least before I die. Anyone know how to do this?

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Re: Important question about God's silence and lack of mirac

#11

Post by kevdog19 » Wed Jun 01, 2011 2:48 pm

Sometimes God will do you a favor and produce a miracle for people that need that to have faith. Maybe God knows that you have faith already and doesn't need to produce a miracle for you. Perhaps it's my weakness that I need to see miracles in order to keep my faith in God.

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Re: Important question about God's silence and lack of mirac

#12

Post by Legatus » Fri Jun 03, 2011 8:33 pm

Do miricles sometimes happen, yes http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=922C0MNU Or maybe one of these http://www.google.com/search?q=%22focus ... 32&bih=729 Note that this one happened when the person it happened to did NOT ask for it, no "holy man" prayed over him, or anything like that. In fact, it happened just as he had accepted that God might NOT do a miricle, and heal him, a preacher and singer, of his voicelessness. I think that THAT was why it happened, because he accepted God regardless of whether God did what he wanted God to do or not. You can hear the tape here and actualy hear when he was healed, and exactly what he was saying just as he was healed. And, in fact, he was talking about...miricles, and not because he planned it, but because that what was next on a schedule made years in advance (coincidence?). What he was saying, in fact, may be an answer to what you want to know about miricles (the part just before he was healed).

In fact, at the monent he was healed in the above, he had come to the point where he "looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys", which is where God wanted him, and so God healed him to show others what God wanted THEM to believe about miricles. I think the full passage from The Screwtape Letters is usefull (Screwtape, a demon, is speaking to one of his underling tempters, "the Enemy" is God):
"And that is where the troughs come in. You must have often wondered why the Enemy does not make more use of His power to be sensibly present to human souls in any degree He chooses and at any moment. But you now see that the Irresistible and the Indisputable are the two weapons which the very nature of His scheme forbids Him to use. Merely to over-ride a human will (as His felt presence in any but the faintest and most mitigated degree would certainly do) would be for Him useless. He cannot ravish. He can only woo. For His ignoble idea is to eat the cake and have it; the creatures are to be one with Him, but yet themselves; merely to cancel them, or assimilate them, will not serve. He is prepared to do a little overriding at the beginning. He will set them off with communications of His presence which, though faint, seem great to them, with emotional sweetness, and easy conquest over temptation. But He never allows this state of affairs to last long. Sooner or later He withdraws, if not in fact, at least from their conscious experience, all those supports and incentives. He leaves the creature to stand up on its own legs—to carry out from the will alone duties which have lost all relish. It is during such trough periods, much more than during the peak periods, that it is growing into the sort of creature He wants it to be. Hence the prayers offered in the state of dryness are those which please Him best. We can drag our patients along by continual tempting, because we design them only for the table, and the more their will is interfered with the better. He cannot "tempt" to virtue as we do to vice. He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there He is pleased even with their stumbles. Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger, than when a human, no longer desiring, but intending, to do our Enemy's will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys."

And what happens when miricles happen, do people rush to beleive in God, no. In fact, Jesus did many miricles which had the exact opposite effect, causing people to rush to proclaim him king so they could go oppress Romans, like they did after the feeding of the 5000, or rush to have him killed, like they did after he raised Lazerus from the dead, or claim that it was done by the power of Satan, like some did in Jesus time. This still happens today, when people crowd into "miricle meetings", where miricles are faked by televangilist types, where miricles are demanded of God, or it is said that God MUST do them (thus making God a slave), and people are MUCH more interested in the miricles than in the God who might do them. And, of course, when they schedule Gods miricles between 7:30 and 8:30, and God doesn't show up on schedule as commanded, they fake it (and have been caught doing so on several occasions). In fact, people seem a LOT more interested in the miricles than the miricle doer, and the more miricles done (or faked), the more this is seen.

Besides, God has the ultimate rich man with the young wife problem, does she love me or just want my money? Do people love God of just want to be bribed by God doing stuff for them, or providing them with excitment? Are they "rice Christians", who show up at the missionaries church meetings only so long as the free rice holds out?

With all these problems with miricles, I can see God only doing them for specific purposes, like to show that This Is My Son, or MY Apostle, or My Prophet, or to accomplish some other specific purpose, and always taking into account what effect it will have on those who see it. I see nothing in the bible that promises that lots of miricles will always happen, or that miricles will stop altogether. God will do a miricle when he is darn good and ready to, and not one moment before!

Just remember the two great truths of life:
1. There is a God.
2. Your not it.

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Re: Important question about God's silence and lack of mirac

#13

Post by Legatus » Fri Jun 03, 2011 9:24 pm

kevdog19 wrote:I've experienced god's miracles on a few occasions, and I'm a heathen theistic satanist so go figure. The first miracle occured when I was a Christian who had faith, but then they kept occuring when I became a Satanist, but god's miracles work in a myriad and miracolous ways. From seeing the true nature of reality, to meeting different gods, to discovering the meta-computer, or seeing your first memory in a moment of clarity even from in utero.
First, "seeing the true nature of reality, to meeting different gods, to discovering the meta-computer, or seeing your first memory in a moment of clarity even from in utero", well, frankly, those don't sound like miricles. They do not sound like real physical things happened, merely like something you "saw". One can see such things with LSD, with mushrooms, with an active imagination, with delerium in a disease, one can be hypnotised to think you really really saw things that you never did, or one can really WANT to see things and thus "see" them. In a real miricle, something physical happens, the blind see, the lame walk, or, as above, the mute speak. You might want to rethink the status of these as "miricles", if they are only "miricles" in your own mind, and cannot be seen by anyone else, they are suspect.

And then there is Satanism. Well, where do we read about Satan? In the bible. And what does it say about Satan there. It says God wins, and Satan loses, loses BIG. Betting on Satan is like going back in time in your time machine, and betting the rent on the team you know will lose. You might want to rethink that.

And as for "theistic evolution", you might want to check out the bible, such as here " Gen 1:11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass" . You see, there nothing is said about this being a miricle, such as God making plants out of thin air, or anything. In fact, it says it was EARTHLY, ie. a natural (natural laws) process, and thus, evolution. The only tiny problem is that so far, it has been shown that evolution is impossible by chance alone, thus, it must have been planned by a being of infinite intelligence. Now that we have gotten rid of all that creationist nonsence (which is not biblical, expect for the exception of human creation), we see that this verse and the ones after it describe the exact order that life DID appear on this planet, first plants (starting out very simple), then fish (sea critters, starting out as zillions of trilobites) and birds (starting out as dinosaurs), and then mammels, and then mankind. The question you want to ask yourself is, how did Moses know all that? I mean, was Moses studying fossils worldwide, or something? In fact, how would ANYONE know that, since it happened LONG before there was anyone to see it? So we see that the bible is the only ancient or religious source that accuratly describes the apearence of life on this planet, and in the correct order. Conclusion, only the bible describes evolution accuratly, therefore, if you want to beleive in evolution of any kind, there is pretty much the bible, or nothing. Your choice.

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Re: Important question about God's silence and lack of mirac

#14

Post by Sharna » Sat Jun 04, 2011 11:50 am

I am blessed enough to know several people who have had HUGE miraculous events in their lives. My dear friend Bill has a really cool story, and Time did an article on him a while back. You can read it here: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/artic ... 91,00.html and I would love to tell you more about how God has worked in his life.

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Re: Important question about God's silence and lack of mirac

#15

Post by jlay » Sat Jun 04, 2011 1:42 pm

MIracles by definition are supernatural. What is recorded in the bible as miracles leave little question that what was happening was supernatural and not merely providential. When a man crippled since birth instantly regains the ability to walk, then there is little doubt that the body did not just heal itself through natural methods.
How much of this do we see today?

IMO, not much. And I think there is good reason as to why. When we examine the miracles in the NT we see that they were there for a purpose. To demonstrate to Israel that the messiah had come. (John 10:25)
Jesus also said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to the Father." As we later see in Acts, the Apostles walked in this power after Pentecost, just as Jesus said. Peter raised the dead. People were healed just by being in the shadow of the disciples. Angels were intervening in obvious ways. Obvious supernatural events.
The problem is that this verse also says that "he who believes in me," which implies that more than just the disciples in attendance would have this power. But that this power would be for future generations. Yet, where is that power today? IMO, this is a good indication that something dramatically changed in regards to this program. Replacement theology says that what we call 'the church' has replaced historic Israel. Yet, it is pretty clear that this isn't the case. We do not see 'the church' operating in this authority. No offense to our RCC participants, or charasmatics. But the simple truth is that this kind of activity has ceased. If you disagree, then you are welcome to present your evidence. As a 'believer' you shouldn't have to rely on 2nd hand testimony or YouTube videos.

The reality is that what we call 'the apostolic age' was in reality the 'Kingdom Age' for Israel. Just as Christ had been preaching and teaching. Jesus hadn't been preaching about the Gentile church. Not even a bit. Israel was the chosen people. Chosen and commissioned to preach the Gospel of the KINGDOM to the ends of the earth. But something happened. Initially we see a reception of this Gospel. Acts 2. But then things take a bad turn. Arrest and persecution. From who? Israel. Specifically the religious authority. This culminates in the stoning of Stephen. An outright rejection of the Messiah. Which results in Stephen seeing Christ, not seated as King, but standing. What happens? The church is scattered. Chronologically what happens next? Paul is called. Does that make sense? The 12 were called to go and make disciples. Yet Paul is picked directly by Jesus. As we continue through Acts we see the emphasis move more from Peter and the other 11 to Paul's minsitry. Accompanied by a new revelation to Peter in Acts 10. Something that Jesus did NOT reveal in His earthly minsitry. Something new. Something different.

One thing that is consistent in Paul's Gentile directed letters is the absence of the miraculous, or promises to believers similar to those in John 14. I think people's failure to rightly divide the Word of truth has led to such confusion. People read Jesus' words in the Gospels and haphazardly just assume that nothing has changed.

I would be more concerned if you are seeing miracles today. We are warned about false signs and wonders. (Matt 24:24) (2 Thessalonians 2:9) (1Tim 4:1) We know how much our skeptical culture clamours for miraculous evidence. People demanding that God appear to them or put on a magic show to appease their skepticism. And here we have a Satanist claiming to be experiencing all kinds of supernatural things.

I can give you many examples of what I would call divine providence, both personally and from others. I see this much more in line with how God is operating in this time of the Gentiles.

1 Corinthians 1:22-23 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness
-“The Bible treated allegorically becomes putty in the hands of the exegete.” John Walvoord

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