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Jesus, God and miracles - is this what we would expect?

Discussion in 'Christian Apologetics' started by InterestedAtheist, May 13, 2019.

  1. InterestedAtheist

    InterestedAtheist Veteran

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    I was enjoying reading Marshall Brain's book/website recently, and thought I would share this: his thoughts on Jesus, the Bible, and miracles:


    If someone were to come to you today and say, "I am God!", what would you do? Yes, you would immediately ask for proof. Of course you would. And you would not want goofy proof.You would want real, solid, tangible proof.

    No normal person, and I mean no one, would accept anything less than rock solid proof from a person who claims to be God.

    Why should it be any different with Jesus? Jesus was a man who claims to be God. If he is God, then he ought to be able to prove it in a real, inimitable way. If he cannot prove it then, quite clearly, he is not God.

    A Christian would say, "But Jesus HAS proven it! Just look at all of the miracles he did in the Bible! He healed the sick! He changed water into wine! That PROVES that Jesus is the Lord!" Does that make sense to you? Imagine that someone, today, were to come up to you and say, "I am God, and I will prove that I am God by healing the sick and turning water into wine!" What would you say? Be honest. You would not believe this person because:

    1. Everyone has seen all sorts of "faith healers" who can "heal" the sick. And we all know that this sort of "healing" is quackery. If it were true, then we would not need doctors, hospitals or prescription medicines.
    2. Turning water into wine... Doesn't that sound like something that a B-grade David-Copperfield-wannabe magician would do in a nightclub act? There are a dozen ways that you could stage things to make it look like water is turning into wine. There is no reason why a normal person would accept a magic trick as proof that someone is God.
    3. Neither of these miracles left behind any evidence. Nothing that we can see, nor anything that can be scientifically tested today. Not one of Jesus' miracles left any tangible evidence for scientists to study.
    It is as simple as that. If someone claimed to be God today, you would never believe it if the evidence consisted of faith healing and magic tricks. Never. Yet billions of people claim that Jesus' faith healing and magic tricks prove that he is God.
    Let's imagine that Jesus truly is God. What might he have done to prove it? He could have started by taking one of his most famous quotes from the Bible and acting on it. In Matthew 17:20 Jesus says quite clearly:


    • For truly, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.
    To prove that he is God, Jesus would have moved a mountain. Especially since it is so easy. And Jesus would have written something down to explain himself. Here's what the first page of Jesus' book might have looked like:

    • My name is Jesus, and I am God. I know there are a lot of people out there who will doubt that I am God, so let me start off by proving it to you. Take a look at Mount Sinai. Everyone knows that, until today, Mount Sinai stood near here. It is the mountain where God, my father, gave Moses the Ten Commandments.
      Mount Sinai vanished this morning, and what was left in its place was a perfectly smooth, polished stone base measuring four miles square. Hundreds of years from now, people will find that Mount Sinai landed near a place that will be called Newark, New Jersey. When scientists dig into the mountain, they will find that the bottom of the mountain is also completely smooth and polished, and that the bottom of the mountain in New Jersey perfectly matches the polished plain nearby. Scientists will be able to align the mountain and the plain, looking at it rock crystal by rock crystal at a microscopic level. I have said many times that, if you have faith, you can move mountains. I moved Mount Sinai to show how easy it is, and to prove that I am God.

      I know that that may not be enough, so let me offer a second proof. If you draw a circle, you know that there is distance across the circle. Let us call it the diameter of the circle. There is also a distance around the outside of the circle. Let us call it the circumference. If you divide the circumference by the diameter, you get another number. Let us call it Pi, and its first 6 digits are 3.14159. Pi is an irrational number. It is a number that is made up of an infinite number of non-repeating digits.

      There will come a day when machines called computers will calculate billions of digits of Pi. If you calculate Pi out to the millionth trillionth digit, here is what you will find:

      9823456451237823492278583495083498745....

      Now, having proven that I am God to any rational being, through my documentable movement of a mountain and through my foreknowledge of Pi at the millionth trillionth position, here is what I want to say to the human race as your creator, and as the creator of the universe...
    Wouldn't that be awesome and amazing? If we had such a book, and if Mount Sinai had actually moved, then there would be no questions about Jesus. We would all believe that he is God. How could we not? Imagine what such a book would say on the following pages. A book like that, I am sure, would leave all of us in awe.
    Why would Jesus not do that? God, supposedly, has already written a book called the Bible. And God, supposedly, has already done all sorts of things according to that book. God, supposedly, parted the Red Sea, carved the Ten Commandments into stone, went to the trouble to incarnate himself, etc. So why not have Jesus write a book, and leave behind real, tangible evidence for all of us to see?

    For any normal, rational person, the reason is obvious -- God is imaginary. We would not believe that anyone today is God without concrete proof. Jesus doesn't get a pass because he lived 2,000 years ago. Jesus, if he existed at all, was a human being just like you and me. All of the stories in the Bible are just that -- stories.
     
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  2. Sanoy

    Sanoy Well-Known Member

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    No miracle, even moving a mountain proves you are God. It just proves you can move a mountain, or that the mountain moved. That is especially the case back then as they were already acusing Jesus of casting out devils by the devil himself.

    Whether I would believe a man claiming to be God really depends on who I am, who he is, and my innate reaction to that correlation. From there I can create epistemic hurdles so high as to keep him out, or so low as to let anything in. Either way I am still just following my intial gut relationship to the proposition. When Jesus called the disciples, they already knew His voice, and followed without a single Miracle.
     
  3. yeshuaslavejeff

    yeshuaslavejeff simple truth, martyr, disciple of Yahshua

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    No. I would not ask for proof. Why ask for proof ?

    Just ignore them.
     
  4. InterestedAtheist

    InterestedAtheist Veteran

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    If a man came up to me and said that he was the son of God, and that he would move a mountain to prove it, and then he did move a mountain, I would believe he was the son of God.
    Wouldn't you?

    And if a man came up to me and said he was the son of God, and that he would turn water into wine, and then he did turn water into wine, I would not believe he was the son of God.
    Would you?

    And if someone came up to me and said that the son of God lived two thousand years ago, and we know he was the son of God because there is a book written about him that says he turned water into wine, and came back from the dead - really, it says so in the book! - then I would not believe him, and I don't think any sensible person should.
     
  5. InterestedAtheist

    InterestedAtheist Veteran

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    Oh, I don't know. It sounds like an interesting claim.
    If I read about him in the newspaper, and then I checked out the miracle myself, and then I found out it was true, and then I prayed to Him, and then He appeared before me, like He did to Paul and to many other people...
    ...then I would believe Him.
     
  6. yeshuaslavejeff

    yeshuaslavejeff simple truth, martyr, disciple of Yahshua

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    Well, He is the Potter.

    We are the clay.

    We don't get to tell Him how to behave.

    He tells us.
     
  7. Sanoy

    Sanoy Well-Known Member

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    No, I don't see how moving a mountain means that someone is the highest God, or the son of God. It definitely puts that person in the realm of possibly being a god, but the action itself doesn't carry anything regarding ones personal identity. It says what they are capable of, but not who they are. This is perhaps more clear in our eschatological beliefs. That there will come a man like Jesus, claiming to be God while performing signs and wonders.

    I think that a mountain moving is a lesser miracle than all creation and that is presently doubted, so there are some other things going on here that are the source of being hypothetically convinced. I think the real convincing force is the effect that personal experience has on epistemic hurdles. That we would need a mountain to fall into the sea to yield ourselves to God. We could very well experience that and our response might just be to raise the epistemic hurdle, or reconfigure it. Maybe we tell ourselves, what's more likely an earthquake caused it or God did it. Even if we did accept the miracle, it would expire in two thousand years. Eventually we would run out of mountains sea, and math.

    (This passage regarding the mountain isn't suggesting a Jedi performance, Jesus is talking about the road blocks they will encounter in preaching the Gospel.)
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2019
  8. Tom Farebrother

    Tom Farebrother Optimistic sceptic Supporter

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    Could be interesting but a bit too much cut and paste there, no? What do you think about it, and why?
     
  9. Kenny'sID

    Kenny'sID Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Could someone please sum up the point?
     
  10. InterestedAtheist

    InterestedAtheist Veteran

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    Fair point.
    In summary, he's saying that if someone made the same kind of claims that are made on behalf of Jesus, you would dismiss them immediately. Why, therefore, do we take the Bible stories seriously?
    In the second part it outlines the kind of thing we would expect Jesus to have done it He actually were God - not cheap party tricks, but real miracles that could genuinely convince people.
     
  11. InterestedAtheist

    InterestedAtheist Veteran

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    That would be one, then. Because right now we have zero people who have performed the kind of miracles that God would be capable of.
    If someone did perform a miracle like this, I would believe him to be God, because of he was a fake then the real God would be even stronger, and would show Himself. If He didnt, the mountain-mover would do nicely.
     
  12. Sanoy

    Sanoy Well-Known Member

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    Here is the thing though. In our eschatological beliefs there will come one like Jesus who will perform great signs and wonders, even signs in the heavens. So ones identity isn't revealed by this, just their capability.

    Let's say this miracle does happen and you are convinced. What about everyone else who has to see it take place? If every miracle requires personal witness we will run out of mountains, sea, and math. The entire world would be progressively destroyed for the sake of an extreme epistemic hurdle that would not itself lead anyone to salvation.

    There is also a set probability for the mountain arriving there naturally, that to me, seems effectively similar to what we are already being asked to believe in composite naturalistic theories. If I am inclined to believe naturalistic theories over supernatural ones then I have to take the natural explanation no matter how improbable.

    Here is another way to perceive the thought experiment. On the last day the most visible and certain miracle will occur. The veil will fall, all will know who God is, all will bow. But that will not change who they are in respect to who He is. The same who loved Him will love Him, and the same who hated Him will hate Him.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2019
  13. redleghunter

    redleghunter Thank You Jesus! Supporter

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    Even after witnessing miracles the religious leaders of Jesus' time still demanded signs and wonders aka miracles. Tough crowd and Jesus answered them:

    Matthew 16: NASB
    1The Pharisees and Sadducees came up, and testing Jesus, they asked Him to show them a sign from heaven. 2But He replied to them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ 3“And in the morning, ‘There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times? 4An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and a sign will not be given it, except the sign of Jonah.” And He left them and went away. (NASB)

    The sign of Jonah being the bodily resurrection of Christ Jesus.

    Again even after seeing lepers healed, the dead raised and lame walk the Pharisees kept demanding a 'sign' Jesus was the Son of God.

    He did. And God does come to us on many things. He became a man. He also allowed His resurrected body be examined.

    John 20: NASB
    19So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 22And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23“If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.”

    24But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 25So the other disciples were saying to him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

    26After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” 27Then He said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.” 28Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” 29Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.” (NASB)​

    Meaning if God does not answer the demand of His creation He is not God? Actually, if He did so, meaning answer His own creation on demand He would not be a Sovereign God and a God who is not sovereign cannot save.
     
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  14. yeshuaslavejeff

    yeshuaslavejeff simple truth, martyr, disciple of Yahshua

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    No. Better not in fact.

    That is identical to how hasatan deceives multitudes all over the world today, in the past, and in the very near future even more.
     
  15. redleghunter

    redleghunter Thank You Jesus! Supporter

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    "Believe" in what sense? I've asked atheists the following question which is pretty much your OP:

    "If God came down to your living room, gave you proof of His existence to meet your subjective standards and left you without a doubt, would you then obey His commands?"

    The answer is either "I don't know" or "no."

    At the heart of the atheist skepticism is not a proof of existence but a matter of obeying the will of another who is greater. Such can only be remedied by the New Birth and can only be accomplished by the Holy Spirit.
     
  16. yeshuaslavejeff

    yeshuaslavejeff simple truth, martyr, disciple of Yahshua

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    In any case,
    have you also asked believers who claim to be Christian if
    they would obey His commands ?

    The answer is usually NO! and includes "WE DON'T HAVE TO" ! ! ! !
    (i.e. wrong answer)
     
  17. Tom Farebrother

    Tom Farebrother Optimistic sceptic Supporter

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    Too many layers for me - I mean too much that would need to be covered to make it a useful discussion. I think you have to look at each instance separately to quantify the purpose of it. The gospels aren't just 'this happened, then this happened' type accounts, for myself I've found that discussions of this sort don't go very far because it's just not possible to cover all of the relevant material in any kind of meaningful way.
     
  18. Halbhh

    Halbhh The wonder and awe of His Creation! Supporter

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    1) -- I have been in about 50 different churches over the years, and haven't seen "all sorts" of faith healers, though I have seen prayers for the sick a few times.

    For me the only way to have known that a prayer works as a total certainty in my own personal viewpoint, being skeptical, is for it to be pretty much impossible naturally.

    Otherwise it could have been natural healing, even something like merely a psychological gain which aids natural healing.

    So, instead of that, I needed to see an outright miraculous healing, personally. And that's precisely what happened to me (but notice below, it happened after faith).

    I had a foot problem in my left foot that hurt about a year and a half -- that's about 500 days of persistent sharp pain.

    Then I prayed for it to be healed, once, before falling asleep. The next day the pain was gone. It has stayed healed. That was over 2 years ago.

    What are the odds? 500 days pain, then zero for over 2 years.... low odds, but maybe you could imagine it just luck or psychological aid to natural healing.

    But there's another part --

    The other foot, my right foot, had a much less serious but similar pain, but only occasional, so I did not pray for that right foot, because it had not hurt for days at that time I decided to pray, even while the left foot got worse than ever (provoking me to finally pray).

    Now, even after over 2 years of zero pain in the left foot, I still have occasional sharp pain in the right foot, most days, continuing.

    If the healing was only natural, why only for the foot prayed for, and not the other foot that was less bad?

    It's clear even enough for me -- prayer was the difference, because if it was just lucky natural healing, the right foot should have improved. It did not.

    (Suppose one wants to think it just really powerful psychology. Ok, it turns out I have several such instances of differing types, including a miraculous rescue from a dangerous fall, so that the odds then mathematically multiply, because it works in every instance. The odds have become astronomically low for me personally, something similar to buying 30 lottery tickets over years of time, and every one won money)

    But, I would not have believed this kind of testimonial type evidence (as I just wrote above) unless I knew someone very very well. I'd believe it only from a close friend, alone.

    But this isn't how we have faith.

    The goal of life here according to scripture is for us to have faith.

    But faith isn't merely to see evidence.

    Your example of evidence, like stating the digits of pi out to some unlikely amount -- that would not be a faith type belief, because it is merely clear evidence.

    I don't have faith my car is in the driveway, but instead knowledge that it is.

    Clear evidence would preempt faith, preclude, prevent. Replace.

    Any clear and easy evidence would extensively contradict scripture, where we learn over and over God wants the trust that is 'faith' from us.

    The goal is to believe first, 'faith'. Then, after faith, evidence can happen on a personal level.

    Any kind of easy proof would contradict scripture.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2019
  19. Halbhh

    Halbhh The wonder and awe of His Creation! Supporter

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    My answer just above also shows why God did not say how old the Earth is in scripture, such as

    "...and the Heavens were 9 thousands of thousands of thousands of years old, and the Earth very young and the sun not yet shining, and then God said, "Let there be..."
    --what scripture does not say.

    And would never say anything like.

    Scripture could never be like that without contradicting itself -- it could never give such a clear evidence and proof of God, for the reason stated in the post just above to you.
     
  20. yeshuaslavejeff

    yeshuaslavejeff simple truth, martyr, disciple of Yahshua

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    QUOTE="InterestedAtheist, post: 73943512, member: 158168"]Fair point.
    In summary, he's saying that if someone made the same kind of claims that are made on behalf of Jesus, you would dismiss them immediately.
    ==================
    No. Why dismiss them when they are true ?
    ==================

    Why, therefore, do we take the Bible stories seriously?
    ==================
    Obviously "WE" do not. (unless you do)
    ==================

    ..... but real miracles that could genuinely convince people.
    ==================
    real miracles DID NOT convince most people
    ==================

    [/QUOTE
     
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