Tough Questions Answered

A Christian Apologetics Blog

Why Don’t We See Miracles Today? – #5 Post of 2009

Post Author: Bill Pratt

Many people wonder why we don’t see miracles such as the parting of the sea, the raising of the dead, and people walking on water.  It seems like miracles were pretty common in the Old and New Testaments, but today nothing like that seems to happen.  Why?

First of all, I believe there are indeed miracles being performed by God today, as I have certainly heard many accounts from Christians that I know and trust.  Most of these accounts, however, are hard to verify as true supernatural events, and they are never captured on CNN for the whole world to see.  So even though miracles seem to be occurring today, they still aren’t typically the public displays of supernatural power displayed in the Bible.

I think one reason we don’t see these public miracles is that God is not confirming new revelation today.  You see, the Bible records some 250 miraculous events, but they are concentrated, according to Norman Geisler and Frank Turek, in three time periods: 1) the time of Moses, 2) the time of Elijah and Elisha, and 3) the time of Jesus and his apostles.

According to the Bible, God used miracles as signs to confirm his messengers (prophets)  to skeptical populations.  Read the Gospel of John to see how John records seven miraculous signs performed by Jesus to prove he was from God.  Likewise, consider Elijah on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18).  One of the ways God confirmed his messengers was through miracles.

There were hundreds of years recorded in the Bible with no miracles, so it is false to say that miracles occurred all throughout biblical times.  They did not.  They primarily occurred when God was confirming a new revelation from his prophets.  By the way, this is one reason why Jews and Christians rejected Muhammad as a prophet of God while he was alive.  He did not perform any miracles (Sura 3:181–184).

So, today we do not have new revelation coming from one of God’s prophets, because Jesus and his apostles were the final revelation from God.  Everything God wants us to know about himself, through his prophets, is recorded in the Holy Scriptures.  Since there is no need for new prophets to tell us new things about God, then the need for public displays of supernatural power is absent.

Can God do miracles today?  Of course.  But we should not expect the same kinds and numbers of miracles today as when Moses, Elijah, and Jesus lived.


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Comments

  • kay

    Comments from a C of C book I have:
    Jesus had to perform miracles to establish the clair that He was the Son of God. These miracles stamped Christ’s work with a divine seal. The warranted signs of Christ were recorded for the purpose of producing faith. The miraculous gifts of the Spirit ceased after the completion of the work for which they were given, namely sthe revelation and confirmation of the complete will of God.
    This goes along with what you said.

  • kay

    establish claim not clair. sorry.

  • Adam

    Perhaps we should view a lack of miracles in our lives as an issue with our faith and/or our doctrine. God is vast and has much to share with those who willingly listen with a meek heart. Some serious prayer and meditation about this issue might help — asking God to reveal more about living with Him and wielding power on His behalf. If we think our knowledge of an area is already complete (ie… from our studies of the Bible) He can’t teach us anything more.

    Reading a book by Bill Johnson called “When Heaven Invades Earth : A Practical Guide to a Life of Miracles” might provide additional insight as well. It’s available on amazon.com.

  • http://winteryknight.wordpress.com/ Wintery Knight

    God does still provide miracles to those who need them today. For example, the miracle of the entire physical universe coming into being out of nothing, or fine-tuning of the initial conditions of the creation for intelligent life, the miracle of biological information or the creation of body plans in the Cambrian explosion. Outside of science, the resurrection is a miracle that is historically testable.

  • http://winteryknight.wordpress.com/ Wintery Knight

    But I agree with you, God is not doing miracle today at this time. I think he makes up for it by letting us discover his past miracles as science progresses.

    Hey, in 1900, everyone thought the universe was eternal. No one thinks that today. The progress of science shows the handiwork of God.

  • kay

    Pastor Hagee tells of miracles that have happened to him or someone he knows. I think some people do receive a form of miracles. Don’t know how God picks who gets them. Pastor Hagee told of being shot at in church from about 8 feet away, I think he said. When all over and done with, there were three bullets in each side wall. He said no way could the man have missed him 6 times standing that close.

    And the daughter of his music minister was healed after some of the people fasted and prayed. The doctor was shocked. There was NOT an incorrect diagnosis. There are tests and xrays to prove it.

    I guess just like Jesus did not do miracles for everyone, God does not now.

  • http://irreligiously.blogspot.com Terence

    Hi,

    Good post there. Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection is an extraordinary event, and what you say about miracles happening at special periods in history makes some sense.

    However, like some of the above posts, the charismatic camp might disagree with you. To them, miracles can and do happen on a regular basis, in healing services and in the mission fields. But coming from a charismatic church myself, sometimes I do doubt the veracity of these miracles.

    Certainly in our times we do not see the splitting of the red sea. But then again, it all depends on how you define a ‘miracle’. I think science certainly is a miracle. I read somewhere that during Jesus’ time, you would be fortunate if you live to be in your thirties, due to medical conditions then. Look at where science has brought us to today.

  • http://luke1616.wordpress.com/ jeremiah17

    Jesus said “If you love me, then you’ll do my works, and greater works you shall do”. There is no time limit on this. Later he says true believers will be characterized by talking in tongues, raising the dead,etc.It does not say they will stop doing these things, or that the miracles will change in substance or frequency. We are left with a choice, that they no longer exist, or we can be honest and say that when some of us preach, miracles just dont happen.

  • rbarnes793023

    Miracles are happening ask we speak. I think God/Jesus is waiting for their time to come to the Earth again, then we will see Their miracles take place…

    I am had an amazing miracle! I had to have a traumatic brain injury from an accident 18 yrs ago. Since that time it has been a long road, learning life. I just published a book called, “MY MIRACLE by Rodney Barnes” which can be seen on http://www.Authorhouse.com and other websites. Its before, during, after, and up to this point in my life. God/Jesus is SO powerful… This book is very good and educational. Read what a couple people are saying about it:

    Mr. Phelps:

    Rated 5 stars
    “Rodney Barnes has written a very strong, inspirational book of his near death experience. He reveals the poor choices made as a teenager, harmless yet potentially dangerous. His traumatic brain injury went unoticed for days and nearly caused his death. With the love and strong support of family and friends, he was able to endure months of rehabiliation, learning the most basic skills from scratch. He has, as a result, found the importance God plays in every human beings’ life. He has overcome…”

    Michael Phelps’s full review » Shelfari.com

    Mrs. Boyd:

    “My Miracle” is a great book. I sat down and read the entire book as soon as it came 2 days ago- without putting it down. I started reading as soon as I got into the car after leaving the bookstore! It spoke to me in a special way, knowing that our God works in the miraculous way that He did for Rodney, who attends our church here in Tampa Bay, Florida. My husband is currently reading “My Miracle”. What you need to know is that he does not enjoy reading like I do; he just about never reads a book! But when he was reading it this afternoon and it was getting close to the time for us to leave to attend church, he said, “Just 10 more minutes- til I finish this chapter”.
    I will be sending “My Miracle” to my brother in New Hampshire whose son is now in his early 20’s and remains in an inpatient rehab center, where all of his care is provided for him, subsequent to a traumatic brain injury. My nephew Luke has had multiple critical surgeries over the past 3 1/2 years of a physical, emotional and spiritual roller coaster, since his near fatal car accident, unable to walk, talk, eat, drink, or perform any usual activities that we mostly take for granted . We remain hopeful that Luke will perhaps someday experience his miracle, too.
    Thank you, Rodney, for finishing your story, “My Miracle”. I pray that you and many, many others will be blessed through it.
    Your sister in Christ

  • Bill Pratt

    Hi Jeremiah,
    Can you refer me to the verses in which Jesus says that all true believers will do the things you mention?

    God bless,
    Bill

  • http://luke1616.wordpress.com/ jeremiah17

    Mark 16 for starters

  • Bill Pratt

    Hi Jeremiah,
    The signs that Jesus promised would accompany believers in verses 17-18 did indeed occur in the early church in order to authenticate the apostles’ message. These signs may occur today when God sees fit (He can perform miracles whenever he wants), but these verses don’t seem to be saying that every single believer will perform these signs. In fact, we know that can’t be true because in the book of Acts these signs were not equally present in the early church. Some believers performed some signs, some believers others, and some believers performed no signs. Nowhere in Acts does it indicate that every believer was performing these signs, at least not that I’m aware of.

    In addition, many Bible scholars believe that these promises of signs were only applicable to the apostolic age. That is the audience Mark 16 was written to. God used miracles to confirm the apostles’ message, and to seed and grow the church. There is no new apostolic message today, so sign miracles would not be normative today.

    God bless,
    Bill

  • http://luke1616.wordpress.com/ jeremiah17

    I pray you get revelation , god bless you

  • http://www.hotmail.com Grace

    I am a french speaker and hope I will be understood. I just can’t understand why we can’t see miracles anymore. Jesus is the saviour of the universe and I just can understand why a devoted member of our church (and others) suffering with a liver cancer can’t be healed after intense prayers. I just can’t understand. Jesus said that with a small amount of faith we can move mountains and if after praying I can see a sign related to those who believe such as to speak news languages i have never learned before so why can’t we see people being healed from incurable deseases? Is there any explanation to that?

  • Bill Pratt

    Grace,
    Your English is great! Now, to answer your question. God never promises to heal every person that is prayed over. This is a misunderstanding of the Bible. When Jesus and the apostles talk about God answering prayers, those prayers are always aligned with God’s will.

    When Jesus refers to moving mountains in Matt. 17:20, he is speaking to the disciples about being able to exorcise demons, a specific ability that Jesus had given them at that time. To take this verse and make it mean that any believer at any time can accomplish anything if they have enough faith seems like a stretch.

    We know, for example, that even Jesus died and the Father did not spare him. We know that all of the apostles died, may of them in unpleasant ways. Surely they had a lot of faith and were praying for God to spare them, but he did not.

    So why does God not save everyone from their physical illness? Because death is not the end. Our true home is with God and he welcomes some of us home sooner than others. Remember that Paul claimed it would be better for him to die and be with God. God has appointed a time for each of us to die. It is only when the new earth is created (see Rev. 21) that we will have resurrected bodies that never perish. Until then, we must all die.

    From time to time, God does save people from illnesses and allows them to live more years on this earth, but nobody ever lives on this earth forever. It may be that God is ready for your friend to come home. I don’t know, but remember that God knows best and never makes a mistake.

    I hope this helped,
    Bill

  • http://sonsothunder.wordpress.com sonsothunder

    Great discussion here,
    I have experienced many Divine Interventions in my life that I know without a doubt were miracles from God. As far as those great signs and wonders of Biblical proportions from the Old and New Testaments, However, Jesus said to the Pharisees of His day in Matthew 12:38-40 that an evil and adulterous generation would not have a sign given them , but the sign of Jonas the Prophet, which of course was saying they would not believe even if He did a miracle before them, therefore, they would not be given one except for His resurection to come. We as a generation will according to the Bible see signs and wonders however, in the last days, in fact, just as Jonas being in the belly of the whale for three days and three nights, was a precursory view of the Gospel of Christ, so is the the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, a view of the modern day Children being taken with Jesus in the end of times. So, when we see the “Eastern Sky” being split upon Jesus’ return, we will have seen our “Red Sea” being split. But, for those poor souls who have for what ever reason hardened their hearts to the calling of God, the Wrath of God will come crashing in upon as did the Red Sea onto the Egyptian Army, so lets get busy spreading His good news of Salvation. ( Matthew 9:37 )
    Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;

  • Mr. Litigastor

    Bill/Grace,

    Consider that a mustard seed DOES move mountains and so do we, everyday. Yes, we do, through consistent and determined Christian walk. Drop a seed in the crack of a rock and given time, water and sunlight, the mustard tree will spit open the mountain with its consistent growth. Ever watch a blade of grass push through the pavement of a road? A blade of grass!

    Consider our desire to see miracles is not because we want more of Christ, but because our flesh wants a sign. Suffering in this present world will drive one to Christ. Is this not a good thing? Let this mind be in you . . ..

    I do not propose that we seek suffering, but that we embrace that which comes as an opportunity to be the mustard seed or the blade of grass pushing through the mountain of challenge. God is real as are such trials and tribulations. Do not be like the Pharisees who seek out signs and wonders. Mat 16 Christ directed them to the miracles of nature itself, and then told them you have been given the signs such as Jonah.

  • Mr. Litigastor

    I should have read on before posting above. Thanks. Good post

  • perfectlyperfect

    It is not always as I expect, but at every turn the Lord works small and great things in my life from health to financial to life achievements issues. I’m amazed at how He can do all these things.

    I don’t know of anywhere in the bible where anyone ever came to Jesus to ask him for healing or deliverance and he responds with “sorry that’s not Gods will”. So I say HOPE HOPE HOPE and let’s trust in the Lord for great things in our life. And when it seams like the Lord isn’t going to respond to our prayers… lets just keeping hoping a little longer.

  • Bill Pratt

    I agree we should hope, but in 2 Cor 12:7-10 Paul specifically prays for deliverance, and God denies his request. God must reject our requests sometimes because what we request is often not the best thing for us.

  • perfectlyperfect

    Absolutely, if the Lord says “No” to a particular request then it is because He has something better for us. Sometimes the Lord’s deliverance or healing does not come in the form we want or expect. I have experienced this in my life, but I have never been left without deliverance.

    I am familiar with the passage you are referring to. I think that it is often assumed that Paul was asking for deliverance from a physical ailment. I do not believe this to be the case. Paul says that his thorn in the flesh was a messenger from satan. What would a messenger of satan tell Paul? I think that the Lord’s response to this Paul’s request give us the answer. The Lord says “My grace is sufficient…”. I have been taught that grace is unmerited favor. We know that Paul was responsible for at least one of the first Christian martyrs and severe persecution of the church. Also, satan is referred to as the ‘Accuser of the Saints’ in the bible. I believe that it is possible to conclude that a messenger of satan had been plaguing Paul about his past and Paul was suffering from the guilt that he felt because of what he had done.

    What could the Lord have done? He can’t erase Paul’s past. He only has one solution to this particular issue… grace. My point being that the Lord had already accomplished the deliverance that Paul needed when Jesus died on the cross, and that the only thing that Paul could have received from the Lord in order to ‘fix’ his problem was the Lord’s grace, which is exactly what he got.

    Thanks for the reminder on this passage. It is one that definitely needs to be discussed in light of this subject. I don’t understand all of the Lord’s ways in the area of miracles and I would be interested in being directed to any other passages that you feel are evidence that the Lord would deny someone deliverance or healing. Thanks.

  • Gus

    God may not be doing miracles in your life but He is certaintly performing miracles in my life.

    Don’t you believe that God can still bring someone back to life? Don’t you believe that God can heal you from any deadly disease? Isn’t our God an awesome God? Isn’t He the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow?

    Who am I to limit His powers?

    My God is a god of wonders.

  • Gus

    Is your God the same as mine?

    I believe in the God who can “still” perform the same miracles He performed in the Bible. Who am I to say He can’t? Maybe your faith is not strong enough.

    Perhaps you need to have “real” experiences with the True God. Ask God to open your eyes and you will see the wonders He has in store for you.

    My God is an awesome god. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He did not and will not retire.

  • Bill W.

    This is a great conversation, and I appreciate the faith that everyone is showing in God. From what I have read, we all agree that God can heal today. The question is, will He. That is a question that we cannot answer until we pray. I believe that we are to pray for healing until we get a definite answer from God. The Bible teaches us to pray persistently and to pray in such a way that it provokes God to action. i.e. Man begging bread for a neighbor (Luke 11) We need to be more persistent in our prayers. The Bible also teaches us that some things won’t come about without prayer and fasting. (Mark 9:29) This being said, I believe that sometimes, God simply says no. Other times God says not right now. I have been to the I.C.U. on more than one occassion and prayed for someone only to watch them slip away and die. I do not believe that this was because we did not have enough faith to keep that person alive. I have been sick for the last three years. I have been in and out of hospitals. I have many, many people praying for me. I have been anointed with oil. The deacons in our church have laid hands on me. I have fasted and prayed. I still struggle. Does this mean that I simply don’t have enough faith? I don’t think so. I believe that God is using my sickness to refine me, and to do a work in my life. I now embrace it as a part of God’s current will for my life. I still pray for healing, and I believe that I will get the healing in His time. God heals, but He does it in His time, His way. It we could force God to do our will when we wanted it done, we would be god, not Him.
    God is good,
    Bill W.
    Hebrews 11:6

  • Bill Pratt

    Bill W.,
    Very wise words. Thank you for your contribution.

    God bless,
    Bill P.

  • Val

    John 14:12
    Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

    Hebrews 13:8
    Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

    Miracles are still happening today.

    Praying for healing and waiting to see if you are healed is not faith. If you have faith you will know that you are healed. Faith is now, its present tense. Faith for healing comes by hearing the word of God on healing (Romans 10:17). You can hear the word of God on healing by reading healing scriptures out loud or by listening to preaching or teachings on healing. Also you need to believe that God is healing you when you pray and ask him to heal you.
    Mark 11:24)Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

    25And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.

    A mistake people make is believing the symptom instead of the word of God. Believe the word of God, keep taking your medicine until your healing is manifested.

    Psalm 103:1-5
    Psalm 107:19-20
    Isaiah 53:4-5
    Jeremiah 30:17
    James 5:14-15
    IPeter 2:24

  • http://www.merequestions.wordpress.com Spencer D.

    Don’t you think God ought to do Miracles to confirm his existence to a society that is becoming increasingly atheistic?

  • Dan

    Assuming a miracle is something that we can’t accomplish through our own means or methods. If we aren’t praying for miracles, what in the world are we asking for?

    It is faulty logic to assume that because we see fewer miracles today, God wants it that way; “IF” we are supposed to participate. Using the example of Jesus, the disciples, and the New Testament Christians, it is clear that we have a role to play. Why did Jesus send them out to perform miracles? Why didn’t God just do the miracles “remotely”? If God wanted the people healed and set free, why rely upon man’s help? For that matter, if God’s desire is for all to come to the saving knowledge of Christ, why enlist man’s help?

  • http://danoe-hotgospel.blogspot.com/ Danoesam

    Why not see them He’s the same yesterday,today and forever more.He can trust us with His powers if we have the love.

  • Aarti

    no he doesn’t do miracles to confirm his existence but to respond to the faith that people have on him ,he also confirm his existence but not through these meansssssss,,,,,,,,,confirm his existence in the sense ‘i am these for you ………….’

  • Eric J

    God is doing miracles today. The same kind He did when He walked on this earth. I am saddened that you are not seeing them. They are happing all the time. I have seen the lame walk. I have seen demons flee. I have seen the sick immediately and miraculously healed. I have seen sinners repent. I have seen addictions immediately disappear. “These signs will follow those who believe.” Not only will we do what Jesus did, but even greater things because He has sent us the Holy Spirit.

  • Emanuel

    John 20:29. The greatest miracle is believing without seeing. I believe that when we look for a miracle is easy to lose focus on the person of God, and become preoccupied with things that pass away such as miracles, tongues, healing. I believe God still can perform miracles today but He doesn’t have to respond to our much prayer and vain words and so called super faith. It is better to concentrate on knowing the God of the Scriptures and handle the Scriptures accurately rightly dividing the Word of truth

  • Blug

    “1) the time of Moses, 2) the time of Elijah and Elisha, and 3) the time of Jesus and his apostles:’ in other words, conveniently long ago, so as not to be verified by independent thinkers. Just like “miracles” today, actually!

  • kay

    just watch some bible movies if you want to see them happening.

  • Andrew Ryan

    Sorry to break it to you kay, but I’ve seen films getting made – they use special effects, they’re not real.

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