Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Supernatural acts of God

I have been really enjoying Miracles by C.S. Lewis. I thought I would share a few concepts about God from a chapter called "The propriety of Miracles". He answers the question that some of us may ask. Why would God need to do miracles, wouldn't He be able to plan out nature so that it would fulfil all His purposes without the need to apparently break His own laws of nature?

Lewis begins the chapter with:

"If the ultimate Fact is not an abstraction but the living God, opaque by the very fullness of His blinding actuality, then He might do things. He might work miracles. But would He? Many people of sincere piety feel that He would not. They think it unworthy of Him. It is petty and capricious tyrants who break their own laws: good and wise kings obey them. Only an incompetent workman will produce work which needs to be interfered with." 

He came up with a couple of potential answers to these questions that I found worthwhile thinking about.

1. Lewis suggested that God is like a poet or a painter when it comes to His ultimate plan. He follows basic rules known to everyone, rules that are consistent most of the time, ones that we can generally rely on. But what can surprise us is when the Poet or Painter is so skilful that He appears to break the rules of painting and poetry. The inexperienced may see a poem as half completed or a painting as incomplete, not because they are experts on art, but because they are not. It is the true artists who follow greater rules that are known to fewer of us. The true Artist is able to create a more beautiful and creative art work because of His knowledge and scope of what really is great art. Or I think about Jazz, it is music that appears to break rules but in fact follows a greater understanding of creative music. 
Hence if God does a miracle, it is not because He is incompetent but because He is competent. He is our lecturer, we are the students, in fact, are we the art? :)

2. The next concept that Lewis describes about story telling, is that a badly done story is where the plot is destroyed by unexpected or misplaced miracles. An example he gives is where a realistic story may be left at the end with a cliffhanger, only to finish with an unexpected miracle as an easy way out. The miracle that happened, destroyed the story because the miracle was not the theme of the story. How many movies have we watched where story writers do this! You are enjoying movie, wondering what could be happening, only to find it explained away by a seemingly random alien or ghost! 
However, as Lewis points out, a story where supernatural miracles are what the story is about, can then make a fantastic story.

Here I'll let Lewis describe how these ideas relate to God and His art.

"Now there is no doubt that a great deal of the modern objection to miracles is based on the suspicion that they are marvels of the wrong sort; that a story of a certain kind (Nature) is arbitrarily interfered with, to get the characters out of a difficulty, by events that do not really belong to that kind of story. Some people probably think of the Resurrection as a desperate last moment expedient to save the Hero from a situation which had got out of the Author’s control. The reader may set his mind at rest. If I thought miracles were like that, I should not believe in them. If they have occurred, they have occurred because they are the very thing this universal story is about. They are not exceptions (however rarely they occur) not irrelevancies. They are precisely those chapters in this great story on which the plot turns. Death and Resurrection are what the story is about; and had we but eyes to see it, this has been hinted on every page, met us, in some disguise, at every turn, and even been muttered in conversations between such minor characters (if they are minor characters) as the vegetables. If you have hitherto disbelieved in miracles, it is worth pausing a moment to consider whether this is not chiefly because you thought you had discovered what the story was really about?—that atoms, and time and space and economics and politics were the main plot? And is it certain you were right? It is easy to make mistakes in such matters....
To be sure, God might be expected to make a better story... But it is a very long story, with a complicated plot; and we are not, perhaps, very attentive readers."

The cross of Christ is not a last resort, ditch effort to restore a story gone wrong, but the intended outcome hinted to us throughout scripture. God, the Author of life as we know it, plans the future in as much detail as He sees the past, and we are partakers in His ultimate story. What part will we play?  

Quotes retrieved from


  1. Wow. Awesome concept! I love how Lewis describes good and bad miracles. There is an overarching story which we don't grasp fully, where the death and resurrection of Christ is the whole point.

  2. I have experienced miracles in my life. Once when my friend and I were prison visitors on a lifers' wing, one of the prisoners asked us to go to visit his mother and gave us her address. We left the prison but was not sure where the address was. We travelled along the road we always took when we left the prison about half a mile. Suddenly, in a split second, everything changed and we were on a different road. I pulled in to the side of the road and there, across the road, was a large house with the name of the prisoner's mother's house written on its large iron gates.

  3. Daniel,

    Good Post!

    My favorite is the art analogy.

    When you sit down to read a book from your favorite author or view a work of art, drawn by your favorite artist, you realize that there are things that sets the author’s writing or the artist’s strokes apart from others. These things are of particular interest to and for the edification of the true fan. The same can be said about the masterpiece of creation.

    Miracles are fingerprints or the master strokes of our creator across the canvas of creation.

    Sure, God has the capability of making a sterile perfect rendition of his creation. However, how is his creation supposed to realize, appreciate or praise his true mastery without slight deviations from what is natural.

    In a free will reality, miracles are expected in a creation where it appears that God is absent from the day to day. We need occasional reminders that show God is still in control. Also, these reminders have to be supernatural in nature in order not to have a natural explanation that could be written off as a natural occurrence, and build the faith of those who recognize the fingerprint of God. That is how God works.

    God planned these slight deviations before the beginning of time. I don’t want to go off on a predestination tangent, but it plays right in.

    On our side of the window, our reality is natural and we have the free will to do and believe anything we want. On God’s side of the window, he sees the beginning from the end and has determined when a Godly fingerprint could be place upon his canvas in order to say, “Don’t worry, I’m here.” He has determined, or predestined, when to perform his miracles, without upsetting the applecart, and giving the observer a choice to believe or not.

    On our side of the door that separates our reality from God’s, there a sign that says, “Enter, if you so desire.” Once you enter, you notice a dinner banquet where you are the guest of honor. God says, “Welcome, you were expected.” You turn and notice the sign on the inside of the door. It says, “Preordained before the beginning of time.” God is in control and is the Master Painter.


  4. I like it. I see things a slight bit different. Yes, there are laws of the universe and such. But this is not the true picture! The real picture is as you said the ultimate story. God has a bigger picture. Our existence is just a small piece on the canvas. Our piece may have rules but the rest of the canvas may not. And even better, this canvas is not 2D. This analogy means God can weave in and out of our piece of the story or painting anytime, anyhow, or anywhere. We can't understand that because we are IN the picture and story and can not see the whole thing.

    Okay. What I just said really made sense in my head. I hope it came through as though I am sane.

  5. By the way, that is why I believe in miracles. Because it is only a miracle to us. To God it's just a breath of air.

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  7. Tim,

    Good Point! Even though God is infinitely dimensional, Quantum Physics tells us that Y'shua has to enjoy at least six plus dimensions to command the elements in order to perform most of his miracles and at least ten dimensions to perform the miracle of appearing to the disciples, as described in John 20:26. I think this is a glimpse into what our new bodies will be like.

    I'm kind of feeling like a new body right about now.

    Come Lord Y'shua, come!

  8. Simply put, miracles are meant to get our attention when we have been taking far too much for granted for far too long, which is what No Doubt and Tim were getting at, I think. Yes, everything in nature points to Him, but we fall victim to not being able to see the forest for the trees when it comes to our Heavenly Father/Creator at times.

    By the way, I would love to participate in discussions here when I have the energy to do it, but my declining eyesight makes solving the word verification monstrosity nearly impossible for me most of the time. Furthermore, the audio option has proven to be of little help the times I have tried to use it. So, I hope you will consider turning it off and going with manually moderating comments to keep spammer at bay.

  9. Jerry, thank you for your comment. I want to be as accommodating as I can. I have disabled the word verification and set to moderating comments. The other option in the future I could choose, is to allow only followers of the blog to comment. This would mean no word verification, and no comment moderation, which will be easier for people to have discussions without me needing to let the comments through. I will do my best to publish comments when I can, but there may be times when you will have to wait :)

    Thanks for your comments everyone, they sound great! I don't have much time at the moment, so I hopefully can respond soon.

    God Bless!

  10. Thank you so very much, my dear Daniel! Be assured that I did not see word verification as being much of a problem before my eyesight started going downhill after a minor stroke a couple of years ago. In fact, I looked at it as being a challenge much of the time, but I now understand it to be like making a building harder for the lame to enter, which is not good for business in a number of ways. Anyway, I hope your willingness to be accommodating leads to many more wanting to get involved here without having to moderate comments becoming too much of an added burden upon you.

  11. Good to have you aboard Jerry. I know I have talked to you somewhere before but I can not put my finger on it. But, yes, "miracles" are meant to grab our attention. But actually they are only miracles because of our weak faith at times. Do we all know that if our faith was as strong as what God wanted it to be then "miracles" would be everyday occurances!!!!!! The art work we are in that Daniel brought to our minds here would be fuller and more real to us. We would be able to see more fo God's plan. Our eyes would be open! Open the eyes of my heart Lord...kind of thing.

    Thanks for the post Jerry.

    Thanks for the topic Daniel.

  12. Wow, that was absolutely wonderful, my dear Tim! For our Heavenly Father has been actively involved in our (as in all of mankind) daily lives since the very beginning, and everything He does should be considered miraculous. For how can any of us be so arrogant to think that we should really matter to Him, and yet, everything He has done, is doing, and will do in this world has been for the purpose of proving Himself worthy of receiving all of our love and trust. Of course, it sure seems much more likely that most (if not all) of us were created to be the objects of His scorn--certainly not His affections from our own own ground-based points of view, but if we would just want to truly hear what He actually says is absolutely true, which is quite contrary to far too much of what has been so widely taught in His name for far too long, we would find what is truly in His heart, which makes what we have been subjected to in this world more worth it than what we can even start to naturally comprehend.

  13. Jerry,

    Welcome and good to see you here. I hope this is the beginning of many edifying discussions.

    I pray right now that God will perform a miraculous healing upon your eyes, both spiritually and physically. Amen.

    You wrote:

    "Yes, everything in nature points to Him, but we fall victim to not being able to see the forest for the trees when it comes to our Heavenly Father/Creator at times.

    Totally agree!!!! Sometimes, I'm so far into the weeds that I forget about the trees. That is why I make it a point to stop and observe God's creation and Praise him on a daily basis. Baruch atah Hashem!

    You are correct that all of nature, including ourselves, proclaim the Glory of God. As you know, in Romans 2:12-15, God and his Law are proclaimed by nature to the point that we have no excuse with or without the Messiah. God reigns supreme.

    In your response to Tim, you stated:

    "For how can any of us be so arrogant to think that we should really matter to Him, and yet, everything He has done, is doing, and will do in this world has been for the purpose of proving Himself worthy of receiving all of our love and trust"

    It is amazing that God, in his righteousness, doesn't just wipe us from his creation. In fact, he has done some miraculous things, in order to show his love to us and to bring us back into his fold.

    However, what amazes me more than that is that, in the end, he doesn't get what he wants out of the deal, "...for all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth." In the end, unfortunately, God gave so much, even his only begotten son as a perfect sacrifice, for only a few, a remnant in every generation.

    Shalom Aleichem,

  14. Thank you so very much for the encouragement, my dear Keith! There is much about what our Heavenly Father actually says is absolutely true that came as a great shock to me after He started making Himself real to me around 21 years ago. For I had been raised in a very conservative Southern Baptist household to believe that it is expected of us to prove ourselves as being worthy of His favor while the absolute truth of the matter truly is that it is our Heavenly Father who wants as many as will to want to truly be one of His children by faith.

    No, that is not something that those who want to believe that they are doing just fine will readily accept. For it is naturally appealing to think that they have what it takes to make the grade in the way of that appears to work in this world, and it is in this regard that our Heavenly Father made it easy for me to accept the way it really is. Be assured that I would have chosen a different way. For He took away everything that I could have confidence in about myself and my life. You can read about it in The Nineteenth Crumb of The Crackerhead Chronicles, which can be read for free on FishHawk Droppings.

    When all of the religious minutiae is moved out of the way, our Heavenly Father's absolute truth is actually really simple. For how is it possible to prove anything to the One has known everything that there will be to ever know about a person?

    What you said at the last of your comment is something that we would all do well to focus upon. For it goes to prove just how glorious our Heavenly Father truly is. For He chose to subject Himself to all of the anguish that He has just to come away with a very small percentage of the amount of children by faith He should have. Ah, but it would not fulfill His purposes to force anyone to spend all of eternity with Him in His Kingdom of Heaven as an heir to all that is His in glory against their will. So, He gives all a choice of whether or not they want to accept Him as truly being their own Heavenly Father while knowing who will and who will not long before they came into existence. Many have been led to believe that He does not care about those who do not care about Him, but the crystal lake will we see when we enter into His Kingdom of Heaven will be filled with the tears He shed for those who rejected Him.

  15. Isn't it cool Brenda when God moves in ways we cannot explain! Reminds of Philip's experience :)

    ND "Sometimes, I'm so far into the weeds that I forget about the trees. "
    So agree! It is soooo easy to forget about the big picture. Remembering and trusting in the sovereignty of God takes me out of the weeds many a time.

    I have enjoyed reading the comments peoples! Thanks for the expanded material :)