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Introducing the Miraculous Argument for God’s Existence

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When debating with atheists, Christian apologists and evangelists use a  variety of arguments for the existence of God, such as cosmological, teleological and moral arguments. I go through several of these in my video on seven reasons why God exists. There I also talked about the argument from miracles, which has often been used historically and which is being used a lot by evangelists, although apologists have not started to use it until recently for reasons I will give towards the end of this blog post.

Let me briefly introduce the argument and add some comments on possible counter-arguments. I would love to unpack this argument in greater depth in the future but for now I would just want to give you a glimpse of how the argument can be formulated. my suggestion is:

1. If miracles occur, God exists.
2. Miracles occur.
3. Therefore, God exists.

As for the definition of “miracles”, I’d use the first half of the Oxford Dictionary definition: “A surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency”. Alternatively, I’ve come up with my own definition: a supernatural act impacting nature as demanded by human beings.

One should then not define miracles as “acts of God”. That would give the argument a circular nature. Rather, whether it is God or another spirit or even demon that’s doing the miracle is secondary, because even if the miracles in question are caused by the devil, I’d still say that they prove God’s existence.

This relates to the basis for the first premise. I would argue that a world where spirits and miracles exist but God doesn’t exist is impossible. Even though atheistic new age is somewhat popular in the West it is irrational and self-contradictory when relating to established religions.

What about the second premise? I would first of all refute David Hume’s circular argument against miracles and point to medically verified healings as well as the millions of eyewitness reports throughout human history.

Somebody might object that the argument doesn’t prove which God exists, that is, if it’s the Christian, Muslim, Hindu or any other God. And that’s correct, just like the cosmological, teleological, moral and ontological arguments it can be applied to several religions. Other arguments deal with why Christianity is true, such as the resurrection argument.

The miraculous argument for God, in contrast, can even be defended by using miracles that are caused by demons. As such, the latter part of the Oxford definition isn’t even needed. The Bible uses words such as signs and wonders even when describing false miracles (Deut 13:2, Mt 24:24) and so the causal agent that produces the miracles are of secondary interest.

Finally, why hasn’t this argument been used that much in apologetic circles? I think it’s because modern apologetics grew out of reformed theology, which is cessationist, and so many early apologists didn’t believe in miracles today due to their presumptions about miraculous Spiritual gifts having ceased. This idea is getting out of fashion since it’s unbiblical and boring, and so an apologist like Gary Habermas now embraces the miraculous argument and endorses the research of Craig Keener who is a proponent of it as well:

There are many other things that could be said concerning this argument that I will return to in the future. I hope you find it fruitful when debunking atheists!

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10 Comments

  1. Steve Kimes says:

    I think that this is the best argument for God, apart from personal experience. A miracle not only says that God exists, but also what kind of God exists– a God that cares for human beings, a God of compassion. I suspect that most apologists avoid this topic because it almost always ends in a “he said/she said” argument of minutia of specific miracles. Of course, no one will believe anything if they begin with a ultimate skeptical point of view. But significant, life changing miracles do occur and they offer substantial evidence of God’s being and nature.

  2. lundean says:

    Hej Micael.

    Jag fann din blogg av en slump genom gemensamma väner vi har på Facebook.

    En liten fundering, ser du några potentiella problem med argumentet du presenterat ovan?

    • Hejsan!

      Jag tycker förstås att det finns starka skäl att anta både premisserna som sanna, annars skulle jag inte försvara det. Men största delen av både blogginlägget och youtubeklippet går ju ut på att bemöta potentiella problem, eller motargument. Första premissen kan bemötas med att andar som inte är gudar kanske orsakar mirakler, men jag skulle då argumentera för att deras existens förutsätter Guds existens. Andra premissen kan bemötas med att säga att allt vetenskapligt oförklarligt som sker i relation till bön kanske har en naturlig förklaring som vi inte upptäckt än, men då skulle jag peka på bönesvarets religiösa kontext och existensen av “kombomirakler” som kombinerar exempelvis helande och profetia som stöd för att det faktiskt är övernaturliga händelser som äger rum.

      Allt gott!

  3. […] for God’s existence such as the cosmological, teleological and miraculous arguments are all logically valid and, I would argue, sound. Logic has never been an enemy to […]

  4. […] I’m developing a formulation and defense for the miraculous argument for God’s existence I’ve enjoyed listening to lectures on YouTube by other Christian apologists where they defend […]

  5. […] Three Apologetic Def… on Introducing the Miraculous Arg… […]

  6. Matt says:

    Hey Micael,

    I had a few thoughts after reading your post. It seems that you are well-read; But, as you know, the validity of the truth of a syllogism rests on the truth of the premises. So if one wants to attack a valid proof, one must show that the premises are faulty.

    I’ll start with premise #1, “If miracles occur, then God exists.” I don’t think it follows that the occurrence of miracles equals the existence of God (who you left undefined). I could replace “God” with “fairies” and make just as convincing an argument for the existence of fairies (or anything else I want to posit). In order for the concept “God” to fit well, the “evidence” (miracles) must be best explained by the cause, over and against all other proposed causes. So premise #1 does not do the work you think it does.

    I’ll skip premise #2, because even if I granted that miracles do exist (a debatable topic), my main problem is with what you propose that “evidence” does for you.

    Premise #3, “God exists” is misleading. As you note, miracles could have a host of causes (demons, angels, other gods, etc). So what you have actually made the case for (if I granted all the premises), is simply an unknown cause. If it could be a host of beings that cause miracles (ghosts, demons, fairies), then one needs specific evidence that the cause is only one of them (the God you are arguing for). So, unfortunately, mate, the best you have done (if miracles do happen) is to argue that something caused it, and that cause is still unverified.

    • Hello Matt!

      I briefly touch in the video on why atheist miracles are impossible and how miracles thus show the existence of God even if another supernatural agent is responsible for a certain miracle. But right now I’m also writing a longer defense for the argument which I hope to be able to publish later this week. Thanks for being interested!

      Blessings

    • Hello again Matt! Here it is: https://holyspiritactivism.com/2016/06/10/a-defence-for-the-miraculous-argument/

      In short, God cannot be replaced with fairies simply because all supernatural activity indicate the existence of God but not the existence of fairies. Fairies or angels or demons are lesser beings than a maximally great being, which is the usual definition of God. Even if all miracles were indeed performed by fairies, that still shows that God exists since the existence of fairies must have some sort of explenation. If they are eternally existent and caused the universe, it is they who are gods or, collectively, God. And so the argument still goes through. Remember that this argument is religiously neutral, its only goal is to refute atheism, not show which religion is correct.

      Blessings!

  7. […] Micael Grenholm on Introducing the Miraculous Arg… […]

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The author

Micael Grenholm - a Swedish charismactivist residing with the Jesus Army in the UK.

Micael Grenholm - a Swedish charismactivist residing with the Jesus Army in the UK.

Check out my YouTube channel!

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