Unusual acts of divine self-manifestation in the spiritual and natural world. In the OT, miracles are described as extraordinary manifestations of God's presence (Nm 16:30; Jos 10:1014; 2 K 20:811) and recognized as being from God by faith (Ex 712; Ju 6:1124; 1 K 18:3839). They are involved in God's saving activity (Gen 18:14; Ex 15:11; Ps 72:18) and are signs of His overruling power (Ex 7:3; 11:910; Jos 24:17).
In the NT miracles correspond to OT miracles and are described as acts of power (dynameis, Acts 19:11); signs (semeia, Lk 21:25; Jn 2:11) whose significance is perceived by faith (Jn 11:2527, 3840; 20:3031); wonders beyond laws as known (Jn 4:48; Acts 2:19; 2 Co 12:12). The miracles of Christ show that the kingdom of God has come (Mt 12:28; Lk 11:20). Paul contrasted his preaching of the cross with the Jewish request for a sign (1 Co 1:2223).
Various interpretations and conceptions of miracles have been held since ancient times. Miracles in the Bible were distinguished from magic. Miracles of Christ were used as evidence for His deity. The view that miracles demonstrated the authority of the OT and NT became prominent.
M. Luther* emphasized the faith-strengthening function of miracles and stressed the inner miracle of faith more than the external phenomena of miracles. He and J. Calvin* hesitated to acknowledge contemporary miracles.
Religionsgeschichtliche-Schule theologians try to trace Scriptural miracles to the Gk. or Jewish world. Rationalists look for natural explanations.
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission
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The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod
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