February 16, 2006

Miracles / crystal

... in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk.

The Acts of the Apostles is full of miracles like the one Peter performed in healing the lame man. The miracles are all done in Jesus' name and are perhaps meant to be the proof of his resurrection and his gift of the Holy Spirit to the apostles.

Though I believe in the miracles performed in the gospels by Jesus, I'm having some trouble accepting that the apostles had the power to do the same. I know this isn't really logical ... the evidence is just as good for the miracles in Acts as in the gospels ... but I remain unconvinced. It doesn't help that the author of Acts has perhaps contrived to create a parity in the miracles of Jesus and the apostles, and of Peter and Paul.

Having written this, I have to admit that the sucessful spread of the early christian church hardly seems possible without the miracles indeed having taken place. As John A. Hardon, S.J. writes in The Miracle Narratives in the Acts of the Apostles ...

Miracles helped establish the new church .... except for the apostolic miracles, Christianity would not have been so rapidly and firmly established throughout the ancient world. Without the signs and wonders in the early Church, the boast of Tertullian could not have been made within less than two hundred years after the death of Christ: .... "We are but of yesterday, yet we have filled every place among you - cities, islands, fortresses, towns, market places, camp, tribes, town councils, the palace, the senate, the forum. We have left nothing to you but the temples of your gods." (Tertullian / The Apology)

So I'm left with the uncomfortable feeling that I'd rather the Bible had ended with Jesus' resurrection, knowing I'd probably not even be a christian if it hadn't been for the miracles of the apostles. Lots to discern here :-)


At 11:08 a.m., Blogger Larry said...

I don't have any problem with miracles, Crystal. There are all kinds of miracles; I've experienced some in my own life.

The church of course has all sorts of miracles in its tradition; I find some of them questionable. But I don't know what God may be doing with those events; I'm sure that many people have been encouraged, helped, even cured through miracles. (The doctors will tell you that half their patients have an imaginary illness.)

I do believe that God wants the best for all his creatures and intervenes in various ways in our lives-- for our good.

For me Christianity is not something that happened back in the first century; God is just as present with us as he was with them.


At 2:48 p.m., Blogger crystal said...

Hi Larry. I believe in miracles, I guess ... don't know why I have such resistance to the disples performing them - maybe I'm jelouse of them :-)

At 10:58 a.m., Blogger Marjorie said...

Hi Crystal, my gut response is to agree with you, though I don't know that I have any real basis for that, at least not theologically.


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