Category Archives: Miracles

Are the Miracles in the Old Testament Meant to Be Understood as Historical Events?

In 1 and 2 Kings, Elijah and his disciple Elisha perform, or are associated with, more than 20 miracles. Miraculous activity characterizes their ministries like no other prophet since Moses.

Some Christians accept the miracles of Jesus as historical events, but doubt the historicity of the miracles in the Old Testament (OT). C. S. Lewis, a great champion of Christianity, took this position. Is it consistent for a follower of Jesus, though, to doubt the historicity of the OT miracles?

It seems that the answer is “no,” for the simple reason that Jesus and His followers constantly referred to events in the OT, both miraculous and non-miraculous, as real, historical events. Theologian Norm Geisler explains in his book Miracles and the Modern Mind: A Defense of Biblical Miracles.

The creation of the world is not only repeatedly cited in the New Testament but the events and persons involved are taken to be historical. Adam and Eve are referred to as historical figures (Matt. 19:4; Rom. 5:12; 1 Cor. 11:8–9; 15:45; 1 Tim. 2:13–14). The Romans passage is unmistakable: it is through one man that sin entered the world and thus death by sin, and thus death spread to all people. What could be clearer: we die physically because a physical Adam sinned and brought physical death on himself and all his posterity. The New Testament takes the literal creation of Adam and even so historically that Adam is even listed as the first name in Jesus’ genealogy (Luke 3:38). Likewise, Adam is called ‘the first man Adam’ in direct comparison to Christ who is the ‘last Adam’ (1 Cor. 15:45).

The authenticity of many of the supernatural events in the Old Testament are used as the basis for New Testament teaching. For example, Jesus based the truth of his resurrection on the fact of Jonah’s miraculous preservation in the belly of a great fish, saying, ‘For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, [even] so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth’ (Matt. 12:40 NASB). The strong contrast (‘just as’), the emphatic manner in which it is cited, and the important historical truth with which it was associated (the resurrection of Christ) all reveal that Jonah’s deliverance was not a myth. Given the context, it is inconceivable that Jesus meant something like: ‘Just as you believe that mythology about Jonah, I would like to tell you about the historicity of my death and resurrection.’ The same is true about Jesus’ reference to the historicity of Noah and the flood, saying, ‘[even] so shall the coming of the Son of Man be’ (Matt. 24:39 NASB).

Jesus referred to numerous miraculous Old Testament events as historical, including the creation of the world (Matt. 24:21), the creation of Adam and Eve (Matt. 19:4), the flood (Matt. 24:39), the miracles of Elijah (Luke 4:26), Jonah in the great fish (Matt. 12:40), and the supernatural prediction of Daniel (Matt. 24:15).

In brief, in view of Jesus’ use of the Old Testament miracles, there is no way to challenge their authenticity without impugning his integrity. So accepting New Testament miracles as authentic, while rejecting those of the Old Testament, is inconsistent.

Why Was Hume Wrong about Miracles? Part 4

David Hume’s epistemology of strict empiricism is unworkable, unlivable, and unbelievable. Craig Keener, in Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts, continues his discussion of Hume’s theory of knowledge:

As a more general methodological consideration, Hume’s unduly strict form of empiricism values experience above testimony, yet the vast majority of our general knowledge depends on testimony (the report of others’ experiences) rather than our own more limited personal experience. Granted that all eyewitness testimony is conditioned by observers’ interpretations, jurors are expected to be able to infer significant aspects of events behind such testimony; without this assumption, the modern court system would collapse.

Hume’s sword is so sharp that it cuts away at all knowledge of the past, not just miracle claims.

Virtually all historical claims depend on interpreted testimony and other interpretations of evidence; most of us would not for that reason discard any possibility of inferring information about some past events based on our extant sources. While this observation about testimony’s value is most obviously true and relevant regarding history, it applies even to most of our knowledge of science. . . .

The approach Hume applies to miracles would, if applied equally strictly elsewhere, rule out any newly observed event incompatible with or challenging current scientific understanding of nature. Hume’s skeptical approach would thus make scientific progress impossible.

How would the reigning king of the sciences, physics, fare if we adopted Hume’s skepticism of testimony?

As one scholar points out, particle physicists have never verified a proton’s decay, but this deficiency does not stultify investigation to detect proton decay. A physicist suggests that, even in its merely epistemic form, Hume’s “argument can be used to prevent a scientist from believing another scientist who announces a major discovery” that violates earlier understandings.

Physicists do not follow Hume’s approach; they were surprised by the announcement of “high temperature superconductivity,” impossible as it appeared by current understandings, but they did not reject the claims. They investigated the claims to confirm or disconfirm them; although anomalies face stricter interrogation, they are frequently recognized “even before the advent of rival theories which can accommodate them.”

Do historians and legal experts, both of whom heavily rely on testimony, accept Hume’s views? Hardly.

Moreover, whatever may be said of Hume’s relationship to physics, his epistemological arguments privileging norms over testimony do not allow the normal practice of historiography and legal testimony in their own spheres (as I shall note below). Yet these are the sorts of disciplines most often relevant to evaluating testimony, and are therefore more experienced in evaluating testimony than Hume is.

For example, even when we mistrust ancient historical sources on other points, we normally accept eyewitness testimony in them (though not always their interpretation), unless we have compelling reason not to do so. Is the existence of some fictitious information, usually outside eyewitness material, compelling reason to exclude all claims that do not fit our worldview? Historical events may be evaluated by analogy with kinds of historical events, but one can use this analogy to deny the miraculous only by presupposing that all historical testimony to miracles is invalid.

Perhaps most damning of all is the fact that Hume didn’t apply his skepticism to his own historiography.

Indeed, Hume does not follow this stringent approach to testimony in his own historiography. (It was Hume’s historiography that made him famous in his own day, though the rise of critical historiography ultimately made his approach to historiography obsolete. Hume’s epistemological approach, if followed to its logical conclusion, undercuts normal reasoning, including his own. One scholar explains that Hume’s epistemology excludes all beliefs as irrational and unjustifiable, but notes that Hume explained that he himself lived by that perspective, itself no more than a belief, only when doing his philosophic work. Hume may have helpfully pinpointed the question of what factors could tip scales to allow belief in events that would normally not be believed, but in his polemic against uncritical credulity he uncritically rejected the sufficiency of any evidence.

As Keener observes, “the evidence of testimony must be given ways to surmount prior improbabilities; otherwise ‘there is no way to underwrite the sorts of inferences made in everyday life and science,’ such as a newspaper report of a winning lottery ticket.”

In the end, Hume so stacks the deck against testimony of miracles that he cuts us off from most knowledge of the past. Thus he is of little help in the investigation of miracle claims, unless, of course, your goal is to do no investigating.

Why Was Hume Wrong about Miracles? Part 3

David Hume’s criteria for believing the eyewitnesses of miracles sets the bar so high that it is doubtful that we should believe anything anyone says about events that occurred in the past.

Craig Keener, in Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts, discusses the consequences of applying Hume’s criteria to other disciplines. First, here is a review of this criteria as it applies to miracle testimony:

For this sort of case (eyewitness testimony for miracle claims), Hume thinks it unreasonable for people to depend on testimonial evidence, requiring instead direct experience. The fairness of this criterion should be questioned, however; those with such direct experience are in this case (but not in most others) considered unable to be trusted by others. Presumably Hume himself lacked this personal experience, but his uniformity argument generalizes from this lack in his immediate circle to that of all humanity.

On Hume’s epistemology, “uniform experience” involved passive recollection of a sequence of events known to oneself and possibly one’s colleagues, and no more. Such a generalization rests on too small a sample size to be legitimate (as his own epistemology warned); while he may speak authoritatively about his own experience, how can he speak in this way for the entire human race? His own “uniform experience” can hardly be used to exclude the experience about which another person testifies.

Is it reasonable to demand direct experience of something before we will believe that it has occurred?

Hume’s insistence on rejecting others’ testimony without personal knowledge, following the egocentric approach of Cartesian rationalists and Pyrrhonian skeptics, stood in bold opposition to contemporary English science, which stressed communal research and knowledge. Not surprisingly, moderate empiricists generally viewed Hume’s rejection of testimony as irrational. Few today follow Hume’s fairly thoroughgoing epistemological skepticism on other fronts; its survival with respect to the question of miracles may suggest the readiness of many to treat claims offered in religious contexts as a special category of lesser value than other sorts of claims.

In fact, many modern-day miracle skeptics reject Hume’s skepticism on every topic except for religion. Religious claims are singled out in a completely ad hoc manner.

Further, one critic rightly objects, “If Hume’s criteria for accepting testimony as true were employed outside of miracle claims, we would probably have to dismiss the vast majority of what we believe we presently know about the past,” since much of it depends on a single, untested source. This observation seems damaging to Hume’s argument; he advances the argument in terms of “general principles about evidence, reasonable credibility, and the like,” yet we clearly do not employ his approach outside of religion.

Where events are not explained spiritually, even when they are otherwise unbelievable, historians normally accept or check them if witnesses are credible, rather than simply rejecting the testimony. Granted, this might not be the case for an isolated testimony if the events in question were particularly unusual, but it would certainly apply to multiple, independent ones.

In part 4 , Keener continues to draw out the consequences of Hume’s epistemology.


Why Was Hume Wrong about Miracles? Part 2

Continuing from part 1, we’ll look at Craig Keener’s analysis of Scottish philosopher David Hume’s views on the testimony required to make a miracle claim credible.

Keener, in Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts, writes:

Further, some of Hume’s criteria for witnesses’ acceptability are too vague to quantifiably support his case: he insists that witnesses be highly reputable, with much to lose by lying. One may assent to these demands in principle, but Hume appears to implement them in a tendentious way. How highly reputable is highly reputable? How much to lose is too much to lose? If one adopts his criteria for witnesses to the maximal possible extent, one might choose to rule out any historical testimony to any event.

As I shall observe, Hume does in fact rule out highly reputable witnesses with much to lose, as defined by normal standards used in court, suggesting that he applies these criteria tendentiously. Moreover, Hume requires witnesses to be of “unquestioned good sense,” but this standard proves impossible to meet, since Hume appears to question the good sense of anyone who claims to have witnessed miracles. By contrast, if we employ such criteria in the ordinary sense of their everyday usage, we end up with plenty of witnesses that we might consider reputable and sensible, but whom he dismisses as unsatisfactory. If he simply will not deem anyone’s testimony satisfactory, it seems somewhat disingenuous to expect his critics to go to the trouble of evaluating witnesses before he informs them of this caveat.

I, myself, can understand Hume demanding that witnesses be reputable with good sense. If there were only a handful of miracle reports available to us, or even 100 or 1000 such reports, and each time we investigated these reports we found that the individuals involved were gullible fools who would believe anything, then I think Hume would have a case against miracles. But that simply isn’t the situation. As Keener documents, there are literally millions of miracle reports, and a great number of them are reported by people who are not gullible fools.

Keener again explains that Hume and his followers simply argue in a circle:

Again, he seems to employ an a priori definition to exclude the need for examination: defining a miracle as the sort of event “that has never been observed,” he simply dismisses or ignores the perspective of all those who claim to have seen, or believe the claims of others to have seen, such events. Analogously, as noted above, he excludes from being a miracle anything that can be observed to occur in the ordinary course of nature, yet he excludes the possibility of anything that does not occur in the ordinary course of nature. This sort of reasoning simply restates his presupposition rather than offers an argument. This mere reformulation of his own presuppositions is not, as one scientist and theologian points out, the open-minded posture normally appreciated in scientific endeavor.

How does Hume so easily dismiss the eyewitnesses of miracles?

Hume must assume the error or lack of integrity of many eyewitnesses to maintain his theory, yet he lacks grounds independent of his theory to accuse eyewitnesses of deception. (This concern is important in view of the significant number of testimonies collected later in this book and elsewhere.) Hume essentially dismisses all witnesses as “fools or liars,” as one scholar puts it. Yet this suspicion of witnesses is arbitrary, dependent entirely on Hume’s theory and increasingly implausible as the number of normally reliable witnesses increases. His warning that people are prone to credulity and deception does not apply equally to all individuals, so one cannot dismiss all claims without evaluating them on a case-by-case basis. Using this standard, and a priori suspicion of any antecedently improbable information, would undermine ordinary communication.

In fact, Hume’s criteria for witnesses would effectively rule out almost all the testimony we have about our past. More on this in part 3.

Why Was Hume Wrong about Miracles? Part 1

The 18th century philosopher David Hume claimed that there had never been credible testimony offered by anyone claiming they witnessed a miracle. Numerous skeptics who have commented on this blog have basically said the same thing. There is no need, they claim, to investigate the claims of New Testament miracles because there has never been any evidence of reliable and credible testimonies about miracles.

This is, by far, the easiest position to take if you are too lazy to actually do the work of investigating miracle claims. By fiat, the skeptic asserts that there has never been credible testimony of a miracle, so it is a waste of time for them to look into it themselves.

Craig Keener, in Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts, takes on Hume and the skeptics who follow him. Are Hume’s views on testimony convincing?

Hume, seeking to make his case, quickly denies that sufficient credible witnesses exist to substantiate miracles. By contrast, my subsequent chapters on miracle claims will emphasize that we have an overwhelmingly greater number of witnesses today than were available to Hume, an observation that should make his case far more tenuous for interpreters today than it appeared in his day. But let us consider his argument in more detail: Are the witnesses and their miraculous interpretations potentially reliable?

According to a common reading of Hume (which I think most probable), he rejects in practice the possibility of any witnesses reliable enough to challenge the unlikelihood of miracles. He circularly bases this denial on the assumed uniformity of human experience against such miracles, a uniformity that would deconstruct if there were any adequately clear instances of such miracles.

How can Hume claim uniform experience against miracles? How could he possibly know that?

Claiming uniform experience against miracles is not really an argument, scholars often note, because it “begs the question at issue, which is whether anyone has experienced a miracle.” Or as one critic puts it, “Hume used the unproved conclusion (that miracles are not possible) and made it a datum of his argument (miracles do not happen).” Some supporters of miracles articulate this logical problem even more bluntly: “It amounts to saying ‘miracles violate the principle that miracles never happen.’” . . .

Claims about nature and miracles both rest on experience, so claimed experience of the former cannot cancel out claimed experience of the latter. If experience is reliable in knowing that water is normally not turned to wine, why would it not be reliable in recognizing when water is turned to wine?

What would it take for Hume to accept testimony about a miracle?

Hume avers “that no testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle,” unless the authentic miracle would be less extraordinary than the inaccuracy or deceptiveness of its reporter. Far from maintaining openness to this possibility that a reporter could be sufficiently reliable to establish such a claim, however, Hume essentially excludes it in practice.

He grants in principle that one might accept witnesses who were unquestionably reliable, claiming public events, and would have much to lose by lying; yet scholars note that in practice he rejects individual testimonies that, so far as anyone can discern by normal means of inquiry, would meet this very criterion.

Hume’s denial of any historical eyewitnesses qualified to testify about miracles is no more than a bare assertion offered on his own authority; by contrast, one of his early detractors offered more than one hundred pages of argument in response to such claims, which one might hope could count for more than bare assertions.

There are more problems with Hume’s skepticism about miracle claims. We’ll continue in part 2.

How Are Western Academics Prejudiced Against Miracle Claims?

Many western scholars take the position that miracles don’t occur because they’ve never experienced one and they don’t know anybody credible who has either (this was David Hume’s position as well). But there’s a serious problem with this assertion: they are discounting the testimonies of millions of people they don’t know and to whom they’ve never listened.

Craig Keener, in Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts, brings this point home with the following analysis:

If even a handful of miracle claims prove more probable than not, Hume’s argument fails, removing the initial default setting against miracles. Without a special burden of proof against miracle claims, they can be evaluated on a case-by-case basis by normal laws of evidence like any other claims.

To reject all eyewitness claims in support of miracles (when we would accept in court eyewitness claims of similar quality for other events) simply presupposes against miracles from the start, rigging the debate so as to exclude in advance any supportive testimony as reflecting misunderstanding or deception. At present, however, the primary issue is whether witnesses can claim firsthand knowledge of what they believe are miracles, and here the evidence is overwhelming from the outset.

How is the evidence overwhelming? Surely western scholars would know about this overwhelming evidence. Keener continues:

Even if outside the experience of most Western scholars, today’s world is full of firsthand claims to have witnessed miracles, and there is no reason to suppose that the ancient world was any different. Western scholars may readily dispute the explanations for such phenomena, which may vary from one claim to another, but when some scholars deny that such phenomena ever belong to the eyewitness level of historical sources, they are not reckoning with the social reality of a sizable proportion of the world’s population.

Indeed, millions of intelligent but culturally different people will be compelled by what they believe to be their own experience or that of others close to them to dismiss such scholarship as an experientially narrow cultural imperialism. In the face of far less information about other cultures than is available today, in fact, Hume and the thinkers he followed unashamedly assumed cultural superiority over supernaturalist cultures . . . .

Bad news for western skeptics of miracles. It turns out you will actually have to get up off your couches and go look at the evidence for miracle claims. Your ignorance of the data is embarrassing and you need to so something about it, but that’s going to mean some work. You can get started by reading Keener’s book.

Was Jesus a Miracle Worker?

There continue to be liberal Christians, and even non-Christians, who really like the moral teachings of Jesus (e.g., “Love your neighbor”), but who set aside the accounts of his miracles (e.g., raising Lazarus from the dead). They chalk them up to legend or they insist that the miracles were not what his ministry was about. In their mind, a serious Bible student can ignore the miracle accounts in the Gospels and just focus on the Sermon on the Mount or Jesus’s other ethical discourses.

But are you a serious Bible student if you ignore the miracle accounts? Are the wonders Jesus performed peripheral to his mission, a sideshow that can be carved out?

Setting aside the issue of whether you believe miracles can occur, there is absolutely no doubt that Jesus and the people who witnessed his ministry thought that they could and did occur. Craig Keener, in his book Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts (2 Volume Set), teaches us that a modern person simply cannot ignore this part of the Jesus traditions.

Although limited in kind (i.e., no artifacts), the available evidence for Jesus as a miracle worker is substantial. Although the evidence is limited concerning most particular miracles, all of the many ancient sources that comment on the issue agree that Jesus and his early followers performed miracles: Q, Mark, special material in Matthew and Luke, John, Acts, the Epistles, Revelation, and non-Christian testimony from both Jewish and pagan sources. . . .

Most scholars today working on the subject thus accept the claim that Jesus was a healer and exorcist. The evidence is stronger for this claim than for most other specific historical claims that we could make about Jesus or earliest Christianity. Scholars often note that miracles characterized Jesus’s historical activity no less than his teaching and prophetic activities did. So central are miracle reports to the Gospels that one could remove them only if one regarded the Gospels as preserving barely any genuine information about Jesus.  Indeed, it is estimated that more than 31 percent of the verses in Mark’s Gospel involve miracles in some way, or some 40 percent of his narrative! Very few critics would deny the presence of any miracles in the earliest material about Jesus. (emphasis added)

Where is the consensus of historical scholarship on the issue of miracles in Jesus’s ministry?

It is thus not surprising that most scholars publishing historical research about Jesus today grant that Jesus was a miracle worker, regardless of their varying philosophic assumptions about divine activity in miracle claims. For example, E. P. Sanders regards it as an “almost indisputable” historical fact that “Jesus was a Galilean who preached and healed.” Using traditional historical-critical tools, John Meier finds many of Jesus’s reported miracles authentic. Raymond Brown notes that “scholars have come to realize that one cannot dismiss Jesus’s miracles simply on modern rationalist grounds, for the oldest traditions show him as a healer.” Otto Betz regards it as “certain” that Jesus was a healer, arguing “even from the Jewish polemic which called him a sorcerer.” The miracles, he notes, are central to the Gospels, and without them, most of the other data in the Gospels are inexplicable. Even Morton Smith, among the recent scholars most skeptical toward the Gospel tradition, argues that miracle working is the most authentic part of the Jesus tradition, though he explains it along the magical lines urged by Jesus’s early detractors.

Keener continues:

These observations do not resolve the question of individual miracle stories in the Gospels, but they do challenge one basic assumption that has often lodged the burden of proof against them: against some traditional assumptions, one cannot dismiss particular stories on the basis that Jesus did not perform miracles. One need not, therefore, attribute stories about Jesus’s miracles purely to legendary accretions. Nor should one expect that the church’s later Christology led them to invent many accounts of Jesus’s miracles; it may have influenced their interpretation and shaping of the accounts, but there was little reason to invent miracles for christological reasons. We lack substantial contemporary evidence that Jewish people expected a miracle-working messiah, and nonmessianic figures like Paul were also believed to be miracle workers (2 Cor 12: 12). Rather than Christology causing miracle claims to be invented, claims already circulating about Jesus’s miracles, once combined with other claims about Jesus, undoubtedly contributed to apologetic for a higher Christology. (emphasis added)

Where does this evidence leave us? It would seem that the miracles Jesus performed were an integral part of his ministry. The hope that historical Jesus can be separated from the wonders he performed is a lost cause. It’s really a package deal. Jesus loved his neighbors not by talking to them about good morals, but by miraculously healing them.

If We Witness a Miracle, Will We Believe?

Some skeptics claim that if they only see a miracle, they will believe in God. If God would write something in the clouds, or appear in a burning bush and speak directly to them, they would believe.

Let’s test this theory out. What we find when we read the Book of Exodus is that God performed one miracle after another for months, even years. First, there were the 10 plagues that God brought on the Egyptians. Then there was the crossing of the Red Sea. There was the cloud pillar by day and pillar of fire at night.

In Exodus 16 we see even more miracles. God provides food (manna) for the Israelites every morning. On every 6th day, he provides a double portion of manna. He also miraculously preserved the manna for 2 days so that it wouldn’t rot.

The miracle parade goes on and on for the Israelites. So, according to our skeptic, the Israelites who witnessed all of these miracles day after day should have all trusted and believed in God, right? Those of you who have read the rest of Exodus and the following books of the Old Testament know that the Israelites time and again did not trust God. In fact, their lack of faith in God is a central theme of the entire Old Testament!

Even though miracles may help many people to believe in God, they clearly do not convince everyone. A person who simply does not want to believe in God can shove aside any and all evidence that might convince them. Their problem is not with the evidence, but with their heart.

Did the Israelites Cross a Reed Sea or Red Sea?

Post Author: Bill Pratt 

Many Hebrew scholars have noted the words for “Red Sea” (yam suph) can also be translated as “sea of reed” or “reed sea.” This leads to the question of whether the Israelites merely crossed a marsh rather than a deep body of water. A marsh of reeds, after all, would cause the Egyptian chariot wheels to get stuck, and maybe this is how the Israelites escaped.

By looking at the rest of the Old Testament, we can see what other biblical authors thought. Robert Bergen, in the Apologetics Study Bible, notes that the

biblical text states that the waters were deep (Is 63: 13), but that God split them and made them stand “like a wall” (Ps 78: 13) on either side of the fleeing Israelites (Ex 14: 22, 29). When the waters returned to their original position they covered the Egyptians’ chariots, horses, and soldiers (v. 27; 15: 1; Dt 11: 4; Jos 24: 7; Ne 9: 11; Ps 78: 53), thereby killing all the enemy (Ex 14: 27-28, 30; Ps 106: 11).

Bergen also notes that in the NT, “three times the body of water is referred to as a sea (Ac 7: 36; 1 Co 10: 1; Heb 11: 29).”

The bottom line is that regardless of whether it is translated “Red Sea” or “Reed Sea,” all of the biblical authors understand it to be a deep body of water east of Egypt and adjacent to the Sinai Peninsula.

Were the Ten Plagues Natural Occurrences or Miracles?

Post Author: Bill Pratt

Many scholars have noted that many, if not all, of the ten plagues in Exodus 7-12 can be explained by natural causes.

According to Robert Bergen in the Apologetics Study Bible,

Some have suggested that bacteria turned the waters red, and the poisoned waters killed the fish and forced the frogs to seek cool, moist places away from the Nile. When the frogs died their corpses were a breeding ground for two types of small insects. These, in turn, spread communicable diseases among both animals and humans, resulting in death to the livestock and boils upon the people. A well-timed locust plague followed by a spring hailstorm devastated Egypt’s crops. Shortly thereafter a desert sandstorm or dust cloud darkened most of Egypt. Finally a devastating plague, perhaps one caused by the insects, killed both humans and beasts among the non-Israelites.

If some or all of the plagues can be explained by natural causes, does it follow that these were not miracles? No. God may use natural or supernatural causes to perform a miracle. In cases where God uses natural causes, the timing, intensity, and redemptive purpose behind these events are indicative of God’s intervention.

The greatest skeptic in Egypt, Pharaoh, eventually became convinced that God was behind the plagues, and that they were not just natural occurrences. The people of Egypt came to the same conclusion.

Why? Moses and Aaron, prophets of God, were predicting the plagues in advance (timing) and describing their intensity and reach. They were also explaining that the plagues were meant to force Pharaoh to let the Israelites go, and this is exactly what happened. There was simply no doubt that the ten plagues were directed by God.