MIRACLES YET TO BE RESOLVED
have been searching for explanations regarding miracles reported in the
will list some 22 miracles I am struggling to accept as being
164, 2015 September)
|The burning of Taberah
before the ark
||1 Samuel 5:1-12
|Men of Bethshemesh
||1 Samuel 6:19
|Uzzah struck dead
||2 Samuel 6:6-7
|The Destruction of
||1 Kings 13:3, 5
||1 Kings 13:4-6
|Elijah fed by ravens
||1 Kings 17:6
|Widow of Zarephath's
|Widow's son raised
||1 Kings 17:17-24
|Drought at Elijah's
||1 kings 17:1; 18:1
|Fire at Elijah's
||1 Kings 18:19-39
consumed by fire
||2 Kings 1:10-12
carried up into heaven
|| 2 Kings 2:11
|Waters of Jericho
||2 Kings 2:21, 22
||2 Kings 3:16-20
|The widow's oil
||2 Kings 4:2-7
||2 Kings 4:32-37
|Syrian army smitten
army cured of blindness
||2 Kings 6:20
|Elisha's bones revive
||2 Kings 13:21
Meshach, etc. delivered
|| Daniel 3:19-27
|The Writing on the
to "22 MIRACLES YET TO BE RESOLVED"
165, 2015 November)
(Investigator #164) lists 22 miracles that he is "struggling to accept
as being historically factual."
His list may
have come from three websites:
are run by ministries that promote the Bible and have statements of
belief. Their starting position assumes the Bible to be "inspired of
God" and true throughout.
however, does not accept this starting position and wants evidence that
the 22 miracles took place.
For the purpose
of investigation I do not assume the Bible to be true or false, but
test it statement by statement whatever seems testable. My starting
position is science; and I investigate how far scientific discoveries
can take us in assessing the Bible's accuracy.
Most of the
people mentioned in the miracles Biggums listed lack archaeological
confirmation. Therefore we cannot currently confirm the miracles as
"historically factual". Is there an alternative to archaeology?
editions of Investigator I
presented evidence to support about 25 of the Bible's reported
"miracles". Often the answer lay in rare natural events occurring at
just the right time to influence human history. Such an explanation
changes the "miracle" to a miracle of coincidence.
Many of the
Bible's miracle stories include statements about natural things that we
may be able to check or confirm. If certain details or components are
testable and confirmed then we have partial support for the miracle,
and this is better than no support.
We should also
note that the scientific details came to light after thousands of
years. If we want scientific explanations we have to wait for science
to discover them! Scientific support of the Bible is progressive, one
verse or one statement or even just one word confirmed at a time — but
the process has continued for centuries.
Three of the
"miracles" in Biggums' list are resurrections.
These could be explained
by the "rare-events-at-the-right-time" interpretation — i.e. the exact
time when Elijah prayed (I Kings 17:17-24), and the exact instant when
the "dead" man was tossed into Elisha's grave. (II Kings 13:21)
using the words "dead", "death" and "died" did not know 21st-century
definitions and what they called "death" might not be so-called today.
Investigator #30 reprinted an
article from The Advertiser
about a dead man who was about to have his organs removed for
transplant when the surgeon noticed his Adam's apple move. The article
says: "two in every 100 people in Britain are being labelled dead when
they could make a full recovery." (October 28, 1980)
Society of London, founded by doctors William Hawes (1736-1808) and
Thomas Cogan (1736-1818) in 1774, was initially the "Institute for
Affording Immediate Relief for Persons Apparently Dead from Drowning".
Soon after its founding one member attended an infant girl who fell out
of an upper story window and was pronounced dead because she had no
pulse or respiration. He administered electric shocks to her chest with
a portable electrostatic generator and she recovered.
(2014) describes some amazing cases of people who did not breathe for
up to an hour and were clinically dead but who recovered!
living people as dead was more common further in the past when criteria
for pronouncing people dead were less clear. The 18th and 19th
centuries saw a thriving industry of "safety coffins" for people who
feared being buried alive. Safety coffins might have air tubes, strings
to ring bells above ground, and escape hatches.
Testament resurrections, therefore, may refer to natural recoveries
from "death" or coma at a crucial moment to appear miraculous. If this
suggestion is accepted then the Old Testament resurrections become
"miracles" of coincidence.
drought that followed prayer — the drought was a natural event but
Elijah picked the right time to pray. (I Kings 17-18)
What about the
"crows" that brought Elijah "bread and meat" during the drought? (I
Most Bibles say
"ravens". However, crows and ravens belong to the same family and the
phrase "every raven of any kind" (Leviticus 11:15) indicates that the
Hebrew word includes crows. (Cansdale 1970)
Knowledge magazine, October 2015,
reports that crows have "incredible intelligence", and may respond to
kindness by bringing "gifts". One crow brought gifts to a young girl
for four years such as buttons, key rings, paper clips, coloured
stones, screws, ear rings, shells, etc. Another crow brought food in
the form of insects to an injured kitten. For more information enter
"Crows Intelligence" into Google Search.
have the possibility that Elijah had befriended the crows, perhaps fed
them on earlier occasions, and they responded in kind.
The Bible quotes
the "LORD" as saying to Elijah: "I have commanded the ravens to feed
you…" The "LORD" saying this would be a supernatural event and not
testable. That crows could potentially bring "bread and meat", however,
is supported by modern observations.
What of "Daniel
in the lions' den"?
We know of 20th
century cases where lions grew up alongside human households and did
not attack their human masters — e.g. Carr (1965). Perhaps
Daniel's lions were such a case and this was known to the King of
Babylon — after all it says "he made every effort to rescue him."
(Daniel 6:14) The King did not want Daniel dead but had him thrown to
the lions because the law required it. (6:12, 15)
That lions might
not harm people who raised them is scientifically confirmed, but
Daniel's claim that an "angel shut the lions' mouths" is not.
Nevertheless, a bit of confirmation is better than nothing.
At least six
"miracles" out of Biggums' list of 22 could be in part natural events.
Some of the others I may consider when more information comes to hand.
Remember however, that these six and the approximately 25 others I
discussed on previous occasions required thousands of years for
scientific explanations to be found.
With about 47
miracles (i.e. 22+25) considered and about 31 (i.e. 25+6) having
partial or possible explanations it points to a trend. And when we see
a trend we can extrapolate and make predictions.
1970 Animals of Bible Lands,
Paternoster, p. 181
Carr, N. 1965 Return to the Wild, Fontana
2014 Shocked! Adventures in Bringing
Back The Recently Dead, Current
Knowledge, October 2015, The
Incredible Intelligence of Crows, 68-71