One of the common obstacles to faith is belief in miracles. In fact, after the enlightenment, there was a move even among some church leaders and theologians to remake Christianity into an miracle-less religion. The thought was that modern people don’t or at least shouldn’t believe in miracles. The idea of God intervening in the natural course of things and changing the way things work seems to be just crazy.
Or is it? Our every day expectation is that technology will allow us overcome our natural limitations. Is it natural for a human being to move at 12o km/h? No, but if you intervene in the natural way of things and place that person in a car, then it is possible. Is it natural for a person to fly? Not at all. The design, construction and flying of a jet that can carry large numbers of people in comfort is a pretty radical intervention.
Think about it in terms of medical treatment. There are a number diseases that are deadly in nature. If left untreated, they would lead to death. That is the natural way. But then a doctor intervenes with medication and the natural outcome is averted. Think about a person whose organs are diseased or damaged. Is it natural for a person to have another person’s organs transplanted into them. Not at all. Naturally, we should be stuck with the parts we were born with. But doctors intervene and change the path of life, allowing people to live much longer than they would naturally.
We can think of many examples of how doctors, scientists and engineers intervene in the way humans naturally live and operate. They help us to overcome our natural limitations. In a way, what they do is supernatural. Not that it is magical but the things they accomplish are not natural to who we are as humans.
So why do so many people have a hard time accepting a God who performs miracles? We believe a doctor can perform a new and creative treatment that would save a life but can’t imagine how an omniscient and omnipotent God could do the same thing. I don’t know how Jesus performed all the miracles he did, in terms of the mechanics. What did he do too allow himself to walk on water or multiply bread? I don’t know. But I can imagine with all the things we can do today with the technology we have, that “divine technology” should be able to do much greater things.
For some people, having a God intervene in the natural way of things creates a far too chaotic world. However, there are miracles that happen every day on a human level. Technological interventions allow us to overcome natural limitations. If the concept of God is intelligible, so should the concept of miracles.