Do we dare question the power of God today? Does He not now have the same eternal, unlimited power as always? Do we presume to limit the power of God in affirming that no miracles occur today? The answer to these questions is an emphatic "no"! Being omnipotent, God is able to do anything. What God is able to do and what He wills to do are completely different issues.
God once created man from the dust, and woman from man's rib. He once parted the Red Sea to permit the escape of Israel from Egypt, and rained manna from heaven upon them. He provided quail in the wilderness, and water from the rock to supply Israel's needs. He gave commandments inscribed on stone with His finger. He once caused His Son to be born of a virgin, and Jesus performed numerous miracles ranging from feeding the hungry to raising the dead. None of these miracles are being witnessed in our time. To say that they are not is not to entertain doubts or define limits of divine power. It is merely to raise the question of what His will is for our day.
The term "miracle" has been subjected to indiscriminate usage in our time. Almost anything unusual is incorrectly styled a "miracle". God is present and active throughout our universe through instrumentality of natural laws, but even natural laws are those of whom God is author. A miracle is an instance of God's direct action, as distinguished from His mediate or indirect action through natural laws. For instance, when Jesus fed the 5,000 with a lad's lunch of five loaves and two fishes, this was a miracle. If the lad had fed himself with the lunch he had prepared, this would have been a perfectly natural event. (Matthew 14:15-21). The difference is that the latter would have been in perfect conformity with natural law; the former required utilizing divine power.
But is there not voluminous evidence that God is working today in the performing of miracles, such as supernatural healing, tongues-speaking, and many such things? We do not believe so. The evidence is far from conclusive. We have no evidence that any miracles of Biblical character are present today.
Some of the futile attempts to reproduce miracles of Biblical caliber are shabby and sometimes tragic replicas. Last August, the parents of a California youth was charged with manslaughter for withholding insulin from their son. The son died, but the father steadfastly insisted the Lord would raise the son from the dead in three days. This delusion did not come to pass. The minister of a 40 member church in Tennessee was freed of a manslaughter charge last summer when two of his members died after drinking strychnine to "demonstrate their faith" in divine, supernatural powers.
These are two of many tragic illustrations that are available. It is significant that they appealed to Mark 16:17-18 as authority for their faith and action. This text speaks of believers casting out devils, speaking in tongues, handling serpents, drinking poison, and healing the sick. All of these miracles are authorized by the same text - the same text others very selectively choose as their basis for tongues-speaking or healing.
Do not many people today believe in modern-day miracles? Yes, but such belief does not mean that it is authorized of the Word of God. Throughout human history there has been the spurious as well as the genuine miracle, error as well as truth, and the false as well as the factual, There have been people whose faith sincerely was based upon delusion, as well as those whose faith was anchored in Biblical truth. Themagicians of Pharaoh sought to duplicate the miracles of Moses, and error is always a counterfeit of truth.
There have been groups claiming supernatural power that have had no connection with Christianity. Attempted healings and miracles have always occupied a conspicuous place in pagan religions, and mighty world rulers have gone to Delphi, Greece to seek oracles from the pagan temple to advise on their
battles. The sensational revival of the occult in our time illustrates the susceptibility of many people to accept the mystical and inexplicable. These occult groups can perform fetes just astonishing as anything offered by the modern-day faith healing advocates of Christianity.
God's Word is ultimate truth, and nothing is true that does not agree with that source. (John 17:17). To believe error about the continuation of supernatural powers beyond the limits of the apostolic age is an error as gross as any other occultism. Tile Lord acknowledged that many would claim to prophesy, expel demons, and perform many wonderful works that He would not know, and whose works He would not therefore authorize. (Matthew 7:22-23). There would arise, Christ warned, "false Christ, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders. . ." (Matthew 24:24). Servants of Satan would be able to display "power, and signs and lying wonders" (II Thess. 2:9). The Apostle Paul explained that we should not be astonished that such false teachers would appear, "for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light" (II Cor. 11:14).
A crucial question is how are we to discern true and false miracles? By what rule of Scripture would a "faith healer" establish that his work is authorized by God? Or that his "healing" is any more genuine than that of an African witch doctor?
Some pertinent points regarding the healings of Christ will serve as practical tests for professed healings today. (1) Jesus did not publicize His healings to create a sensational reputation, nor as an excuse for raising money; rather He at times commanded those healed to "tell no man' (Matthew 8:1-4, 9:27-31). (2) He healed all sorts of infirmities, with special attention to hopeless situations, for divine power does not fail. (3) He performed no partial healings. People were "made whole" by Christ. (Matthew 15:29-31; Mark 7:31-37). (4) Jesus never failed to heal a person He attempted to Heal. He never had any embarrassing explanations to make for failures. (5) No question was ever raised of the genuineness of His healings - as to whether the patient had actually been ill, or was actually healed. (6) Jesus did not heal by faith alone but by divine power. In only one case out of 31 examples did Jesus require faith. (Matt.9:27-3 In some situations the patient had no faith at all. (Luke 7:11-17; John 5:2-13).
Since modern miracle workers cannot conform to these conditions under which Christ ministered, they do not represent the same power He utilized. Miracles such as were performed by Christ and the Apostles were never intended to continue throughout all generations. Their primary purpose was never simply to cure the physically sick, for if this had been the case, Jesus would have traveled far more widely into all the countries of the world instead of remaining in Palestine.
The real purpose of New Testament miracles was to show that Christ and his inspired Apostles were speaking by divine authority. (Mark 16:19-20; Hebrews 2:3,, A fact once proven is always proven. After the inspired teachings which make up our New Testament were confirmed by the miracles of the First Century, they stand proven forever. The Bible teaches that we must now simply study the written accounts of these miracles in order to be convinced of the truthfulness of the Bible. (John 20:30-31). Modern-day miracles, therefore, are simply not needed in this age. (Luke 16:27-31).