Tuesday, September 25, 2007


My daughter spoke up this weekend and admitted that she had trouble believing the miracles in the Bible. "They seem like magic," she said. My wife frowned at me and said, "She is your daughter."

I was thrilled about this on several levels. One, she recognizes the unreality of magic. (She's crazy about Harry Potter, so I wasn't sure.) Two, she's thinking about the Bible. Three, she's questioning things. Four, she's talking to me about her doubts. How long can I hope that will last? My two biggest fears as my daughters develop in their faith are that they won't question anything and that they won't talk to be about the things they question.

So, we talked about it and I did my best to leave things open-ended enough for her to think about it and come to her own conclusion. Frankly, I'm not sure what I think of miracles.

But today, as I was thinking back on this conversation, I formed this fanciful mental image of a lost scene from the movie "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"

Delmar: I just don't see how all them things coulda happened the way it says in the Bible.
Everett: Well, Delmar, many people believe that the universe is possessed of a kind of sensitivity such that it reponds to the presence of goodness and justice, and so when a purely righteous man comes into the world, nature itself is at his beck and call.
Pete: What about that story of Elisha causin' them she-bears to maul a bunch o' boys?
Everett: The Bible's just a dusty old book written by superstitious people. What do you expect?


D.W. Congdon said...

I share your skepticism of miracles. If I am going to use the word, I think I have to use it to describe a subjective perspective on the world rather than on objective reality. In other words, all reality is or can be miraculous if one's vision is properly sanctified - if you "have eyes to see," so to speak. But to speak of miracles as something objective and empirical just doesn't make sense to me.

Pastor Eric said...

I think it is great your daughter is questioning things. Praise God! I think I learn the most when children ask questions.

David said...

Wow, what a great conversation to be having with your daughter. I always love it when my kids come to us with such questions and willingness to talk. Alas, it only gets harder to have such conversation as they grow into their teens. enjoy it while it lasts and hopefully it will last a lifetime.

Christopher said...

Funny you were discussing miracles today. We talked some about miracles in New Testament today and I got a little frustrated, the consensus seemed to be that miracles aren't what's in the bible, but the smell of rain in the morning, the beauty of butterfly wings and the birth of a child.

Tom in Ontario said...

I've always figured miracles are possible...and sure they seem a lot like magic. I also figure they're not something very common, at least not miracles like the Bible describes. I'd say miracles are possible and I'd probably be skeptical about any claims of miracles.

Andy said...

Like Tom, I actually don't rule out the possibility of miracles. Like Chris, I think that the Bible is certainly claiming more than that the world is a special place.

I think the mircales described almost always (if not always) point beyond themselves and mean more than the literal. It seems like this is the way ancient people told stories (like in the movie "Big Fish").

But, and this is the big thing, I believe in the resurrection of Jesus. The NT writers don't seem to be merely using it as a symbol.

Pastor David said...

Well, I have always been drawn to the story of Elisha, the boys of Bethel, and the She-Bears - I think the lesson is quite simple: don't pick on the bald or balding, or God will smite you. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of a balding God.