Do Miracles “Violate” the “Laws” of Nature?

I remember reading the work of a popular apologist not too long ago in which radical higher criticism was briefly analyzed in order to expose its anti-supernatural presuppositions. The author did a great job in showing how the claims of radical higher criticism cannot be substantiated without first presupposing that (i.)God does not exist or (ii.)if God exists then He cannot violate the Laws of Nature by performing miracles, but I had a problem with the language he used for (ii.). I found the wording of (ii.) to be problematic in two ways. Firstly, for the Christian, the wording presupposes that particular metaphysical claims espoused by the unbeliever are true and must be accepted as such (i.e. the wording makes an unnecessary concession to the unbeliever’s implied worldview); and secondly, for the unbeliever, asking whether or not God can violate the Laws of Nature involves assuming (a.)a particular worldview that Biblical Christianity does not teach, and it also (b.)is guilty of the fallacy of equivocation.

The question of whether or not miracles violate the Laws of Nature presupposes a theology that has more in common with deism than it does with Biblical theism, as it presupposes that Nature was created by God only to be left to sustain and perpetuate its own existence apart from the perpetual exercise of His omnipotence. In other words, the question of whether or not miracles violate the Laws of Nature presupposes that God is not currently working with His creation, but has left it to itself. However, Scripture teaches us that God currently upholds all things by the power of His Word.[1] This means that although it is true that God made all things to fulfill a particular task, and has equipped them with the necessary means of fulfilling their appointed tasks, it is ultimately by His omnipotence that they exist and continue to exist.[2]

Not only this, but when we look to the Old Testament we see that God promises Israel agricultural prosperity on the basis of their obedience to His Law.[3] Therefore, creation obeys God whenever He speaks (whether in His blessing it,[4] or in His cursing it[5]). God cannot violate the Laws of Nature because He sustains all things, upholds all things, constantly and, therefore, never stops exercising Omnipotent power over all of His creation. Christians need to state this clearly: God can only be said to violate the Laws of Nature from a human standpoint. In truth, the sun rises and sets because God has (i.)created the sun to fulfill that particular task and (ii.)chosen to allow it to continue to so function. God is not under obligation to sustain all things, but is free to allow them to fall apart, or cause them to behave in a way that they never will behave again. God is the Author of Life and the One who sustains it.

The unbeliever who tells the Christian that miracles cannot happen because they violate the Laws of Nature is, as I’ve already noted, working with a deistic theology and not a Trinitarian/Biblical theology. God does not violate Laws of Nature that would otherwise operate on their own, apart from the perpetual exercise of His omnipotence, by causing His creation to do something unrepeatable and unique to a particular time and place. In addition to this, the unbeliever who says that miracles are a violation of the Laws of Nature mistakenly understands the Laws of Nature to be prescriptive Laws and not descriptive Laws. Ironically, the unbeliever, when told that God determined the Laws of Nature to be x or y will vehemently remind the Christian that Natural Laws are merely descriptions of what is the case and not prescriptions as to how things are to function! Either the Laws of Nature are prescriptive and can be said to be violated, or they are descriptive, in which case it is logically impossible for them to be “violated.” The unbeliever could, of course, assert that the Laws of Nature are prescriptive and can be “violated,” but then they would be stuck with the embarrassing question:

What Lawgiver prescribed these Natural Laws?

Miracles, then, are not a violation of the Laws of Nature for the following reasons: (i.)Christianity is not a deistic system of belief and (ii.)if the Laws of Nature are descriptive it is logically impossible for them to be “violated.” Beyond the problems already mentioned in this article, the question of whether or not miracles are a violation of the Laws of Nature begs the question of whether or not miracles are possible by identifying them as violations, thus stacking the deck against the Christian.

-h.


[1] Cf. Hebrews 1:3

[2] Cf. Psalm 104:10, 14, 20, & 24-30;  Matthew 6:26-30; Colossians 1:15-17; Revelation 4:11

[3] Cf. Deuteronomy 28:1-5, 12, 15-18, & 23

[4] Cf. Genesis 1:11-12

[5] Cf. Genesis 3:17-18

About Hiram Diaz

Hiram Diaz has written 18 post in this blog.

Hiram Diaz is a New York native currently residing in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and children. His interests are philosophy and presuppositional & exegetical apologetics. He maintains Involuted Speculations, a blog about pretty much anything that pops into his head and can't find its way out until it's written down.

2 Responses to Do Miracles “Violate” the “Laws” of Nature?

  1. Just desire to say your article is as astounding. The clarity in your post is simply great and i could assume you are an expert on this subject. Fine with your permission let me to grab your RSS feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please keep up the gratifying work.

  2. david kite says:

    GOD IS GOD AND HE CAN DO WHATEVER HE WANTS HOWEVER HE WANTS WHENEVER HE WANTS!AND THAT’S THAT!

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