Unambiguous miracles


#1

It has been said that French poet and journalist Anatole France, upon visiting Lourdes and observing a stack of discarded crutches, exclaimed, “What?? No wooden legs?” I once asked myself if anyone actually missing a set of limbs or both eyeballs ever went to Lourdes and actually prayed for a new pair. But I can’t see anyone (well, except for old Anatole) having such arrogance, at least at Lourdes. As the scriptures say, “You shall not put your Lord to the test”.

However, when dealing with agnostics and atheists, what does the Catholic apologist say to those who are seeking the “unambiguous miracle”, though not at Lourdes, but in the gospels themselves? All the miracles of Christ seem to leave much room for interpretation and indeed skepticism: from the “loaves and the fishes”, to the raising of Lazarus, to walking on water, to the blind being given sight. In the case of the blind, for example, never is it stated that a blind man who was in fact missing BOTH eyes was given his sight by Christ. Never does Christ work a miracle where an amputee (or one missing a limb due to a birth defect) is suddenly given a fully functional limb, though I do acknowledge that a skeptic would doubt miracles as “explicit” as those too. The gospels DO talk of Christ healing the man with a “withered hand”, and to my point, that leaves much room for interpretation and skepticism – the agnostic will not be convinced.

Even in the miracles needed for evidence of sainthood today, never are any due to an “unambiguous miracle”, as my atheist friends would say…the remission of a cancer seems quite “common” lately. And I agree with them. There is ALWAYS room for doubt, and often much doubt. At least the ambiguity of these healing miracles seems consistent throughout history. So is that (the ambiguity) by God’s design, and if so, why?

As Christ said to Thomas, “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” But then, were not SOME explicitly clear, unambiguous miracles (his resurrection in the case of Thomas – “Put your hand into my side”), witnessed by many, not absolutely required for Christ to have gotten to that point such that he could even make that very statement…that those who believe and who have NOT seen are “blessed”? Did not Thomas “put his Lord to the test”? And was he not rewarded with unambiguous proof (for him personally)?

Now in no way I am I suggesting that the miracle itself be divorced from the deeper and more profound (for believers) messages associated with these same miracles – conversion of heart and how to follow Christ. But for the skeptic who is not yet there, the unambiguous miracle is almost needed first. Yes, Christ did warn against those seeking only signs. But if in our time, the only true way to belief is the suspension of skepticism and the conversion of heart due to belief in Christ’s word and message, were any “unambiguous miracles” in fact ever needed, now or then?

In the case of some many of my skeptic friends, they cannot make that leap. The real truth seekers among them want both – the instruction of Christ (as in the beatitudes) AND the unambiguous miracle. I don’t know how to answer them, other than hope that they have some conversion of heart.


#2

Luke 16:31 - “But he said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.”

The only truly unambiguous miracle I can think of is the regrowth of an amputated limb. Even rising from the dead is not totally unambiguous. A skeptic could say the person was not actually dead, but in a sort of hibernation. In our Lord’s day, as in today, regrowth of a limb would be truly miraculous. But people back then believed in miracles, big and small, whether Jew, Christian or pagan. Everyone believed in some sort of deity, so that level of proof (the unambiguous miracle) was not needed.

Unambiguous proof seems to be needed today in order to suspend disbelief. But our Lord does not wish to give unbelievers that level of proof. Consider it casting pearls before swine. Look at it this way: If today someone, somewhere had an amputated limb grow back after prayer would the modern skeptic declare it a miracle? I doubt it. Most likely they would say, oh, it’s Photoshop. It’s a hoax. A good surgeon attached a new arm. Let’s see the before and after pictures. I still don’t believe it. Ridiculous.

If they didn’t believe Moses and the prophets, and didn’t believe a man raised from the dead, they will not believe a regrown arm. Unless, of course, it happened to someone they knew personally. How many people pray for the regrowth of a limb? Not many, I imagine.


#3

Is it not simply a matter of Faith, like Transubstantiation, The Virgin Birth, The Trinity etc etc.
Should we not just accept Sacred Mysteries as exactly that.

God bless you.


#4

There are unambiguous miracles. They just aren’t believed to be true. For instance, Jesus reattached a man’s ear. There isn’t much room for ambiguity, unless someone is suggesting he sat and stitched it back on. And then there is Gemma di Giorgi, a blind girl healed by the prayers of Padre Pio. Of course that could be ambiguous if doctors could figure out how she could see. She was born without pupils, and they never returned. God gave her sight without giving her pupils. Seems pretty scientifically impossible to me. Even miracles are simply not enough for some people, though.


#5

I would.


#6

If there never seem to be any, then we probably aren’t going to get them. Why? I don’t know, but that seems to be the way God wants it.

With regard to the regeneration of missing limbs, it might not be as miraculous as we currently think:
[LIST]
*]New Hope For Regrowing Severed Limbs, Just Like Lizards’ Tails
*]Humans Could Regenerate Tissue Like Newts By Switching Off a Single Gene
[/LIST]Maybe God knows something about the future that we don’t and doesn’t want our faith to depend on something like regrowing missing limbs.

Just a thought . . .


#7

Hi codesmith :slight_smile:

I have never heard of the French poet and journalist Anatole, so I am not too sure as to what you are getting at in this section.

Yup.

I don’t believe so, I am usually shocked when someone tries to refer to the miracles as metaphor’s, I believe they don’t contain any ambiguity.

*Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind

John 9:1-39

9 As Jesus walked along, he saw a man who had been blind since birth. 2 Jesus’ disciples asked, “Teacher, why was this man born blind? Was it because he or his parents sinned?”

3 “No, it wasn’t!” Jesus answered. “But because of his blindness, you will see God work a miracle for him. 4 As long as it is day, we must do what the one who sent me wants me to do. When night comes, no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the light for the world.”

6 After Jesus said this, he spit on the ground. He made some mud and smeared it on the man’s eyes. 7 Then he said, “Go and wash off the mud in Siloam Pool.” The man went and washed in Siloam, which means “One Who Is Sent.” When he had washed off the mud, he could see.

8 The man’s neighbors and the people who had seen him begging wondered if he really could be the same man. 9 Some of them said he was the same beggar, while others said he only looked like him. But he told them, “I am that man.”

10 “Then how can you see?” they asked.

11 He answered, “Someone named Jesus made some mud and smeared it on my eyes. He told me to go and wash it off in Siloam Pool. When I did, I could see.”

12 “Where is he now?” they asked.

“I don’t know,” he answered.

The Pharisees Try To Find Out What Happened

13-14 The day when Jesus made the mud and healed the man was a Sabbath. So the people took the man to the Pharisees. 15 They asked him how he was able to see, and he answered, “Jesus made some mud and smeared it on my eyes. Then after I washed it off, I could see.”

16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man Jesus doesn’t come from God. If he did, he would not break the law of the Sabbath.”

Others asked, “How could someone who is a sinner work such a miracle?”

Since the Pharisees could not agree among themselves, 17 they asked the man, “What do you say about this one who healed your eyes?”

“He is a prophet!” the man told them.

18 But the Jewish leaders would not believe that the man had once been blind. They sent for his parents 19 and asked them, “Is this the son that you said was born blind? How can he now see?”

20 The man’s parents answered, “We are certain that he is our son, and we know that he was born blind. 21 But we don’t know how he got his sight or who gave it to him. Ask him! He is old enough to speak for himself.”

22-23 The man’s parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. The leaders had already agreed that no one was to have anything to do with anyone who said Jesus was the Messiah.

24 The leaders called the man back and said, “Swear by God to tell the truth! We know that Jesus is a sinner.”

25 The man replied, “I don’t know if he is a sinner or not. All I know is that I used to be blind, but now I can see!”

26 “What did he do to you?” the Jewish leaders asked. “How did he heal your eyes?”

27 The man answered, “I have already told you once, and you refused to listen. Why do you want me to tell you again? Do you also want to become his disciples?”

28 The leaders insulted the man and said, “You are his follower! We are followers of Moses. 29 We are sure that God spoke to Moses, but we don’t even know where Jesus comes from.”

30 “How strange!” the man replied. “He healed my eyes, and yet you don’t know where he comes from. 31 We know that God listens only to people who love and obey him. God doesn’t listen to sinners. 32 And this is the first time in history that anyone has ever given sight to someone born blind. 33 Jesus could not do anything unless he came from God.”

34 The leaders told the man, “You have been a sinner since the day you were born! Do you think you can teach us anything?” Then they said, “You can never come back into any of our meeting places!”

35 When Jesus heard what had happened, he went and found the man. Then Jesus asked, “Do you have faith in the Son of Man?”

36 He replied, “Sir, if you will tell me who he is, I will put my faith in him.”

37 “You have already seen him,” Jesus answered, “and right now he is talking with you.”

38 The man said, “Lord, I put my faith in you!” Then he worshiped Jesus.

39 Jesus told him, “I came to judge the people of this world. I am here to give sight to the blind and to make blind everyone who can see.”*

I don’t see any ambiguity here. :slight_smile:

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#8

***Peter and John Heal a Lame Man

Acts 3:1-10**

3 The time of prayer was about three o’clock in the afternoon, and Peter and John were going into the temple. 2 A man who had been born lame was being carried to the temple door. Each day he was placed beside this door, known as the Beautiful Gate. He sat there and begged from the people who were going in.

3 The man saw Peter and John entering the temple, and he asked them for money. 4 But they looked straight at him and said, “Look up at us!”

5 The man stared at them and thought he was going to get something. 6 But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold! But I will give you what I do have. In the name of Jesus Christ from Nazareth, get up and start walking.” 7 Peter then took him by the right hand and helped him up.

At once the man’s feet and ankles became strong, 8 and he jumped up and started walking. He went with Peter and John into the temple, walking and jumping and praising God. 9 Everyone saw him walking around and praising God. 10 They knew that he was the beggar who had been lying beside the Beautiful Gate, and they were completely surprised. They could not imagine what had happened to the man.*

I can’t see any ambiguity in this. :slight_smile:

haha. One week someone has cancer, the next week *“Don’t worry, the remission of cancer is quite common these days.” *lol, yea, nothing out of the ordinary happening here. :shrug:

*The Pharisees Try To Find Out What Happened

13-14 The day when Jesus made the mud and healed the man was a Sabbath. So the people took the man to the Pharisees. 15 They asked him how he was able to see, and he answered, “Jesus made some mud and smeared it on my eyes. Then after I washed it off, I could see.”

16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man Jesus doesn’t come from God. If he did, he would not break the law of the Sabbath.”

Others asked, “How could someone who is a sinner work such a miracle?”

Since the Pharisees could not agree among themselves, 17 they asked the man, “What do you say about this one who healed your eyes?”

“He is a prophet!” the man told them.

18 But the Jewish leaders would not believe that the man had once been blind. They sent for his parents 19 and asked them, “Is this the son that you said was born blind? How can he now see?”

20 The man’s parents answered, “We are certain that he is our son, and we know that he was born blind. 21 But we don’t know how he got his sight or who gave it to him. Ask him! He is old enough to speak for himself.”

22-23 The man’s parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. The leaders had already agreed that no one was to have anything to do with anyone who said Jesus was the Messiah.

24 The leaders called the man back and said, “Swear by God to tell the truth! We know that Jesus is a sinner.”

25 The man replied, “I don’t know if he is a sinner or not. All I know is that I used to be blind, but now I can see!”

26 “What did he do to you?” the Jewish leaders asked. “How did he heal your eyes?”

27 The man answered, “I have already told you once, and you refused to listen. Why do you want me to tell you again? Do you also want to become his disciples?”

28 The leaders insulted the man and said, “You are his follower! We are followers of Moses. 29 We are sure that God spoke to Moses, but we don’t even know where Jesus comes from.”

30 “How strange!” the man replied. “He healed my eyes, and yet you don’t know where he comes from. 31 We know that God listens only to people who love and obey him. God doesn’t listen to sinners. 32 And this is the first time in history that anyone has ever given sight to someone born blind. 33 Jesus could not do anything unless he came from God.”

34 The leaders told the man, “You have been a sinner since the day you were born! Do you think you can teach us anything?” Then they said, “You can never come back into any of our meeting places!”*

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#9

I believe the Eucharistic Miracles may help you. :slight_smile:

However as in the passage above about the Pharisees questioning the man who was born blind, I would say to be careful as Bishop Fulton J. Sheen once said “Giving truth to someone who doesn’t want it, only gives him more reasons for misinterpretation.”

Search and you will find - Matthew 7:7 :slight_smile:

What are Eucharistic Miracles? Throughout the history of the Catholic Church, Jesus has proven beyond any doubt that He is truly present in the Holy Eucharist. Why did He have to prove this to us? It is because at certain times in history, there were heresies that denied the Real Presence in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. On other occasions, some priests doubted the Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. And yet, on other occasions, the Holy Eucharist was abused by believers and non-believers alike.

What follows are some of the Eucharistic Miracles that took place throughout the history of the Catholic Church. All of these have received the full approval of the Catholic Church.

Eucharistic Miracles of the World - therealpresence.org/eucharst/mir/engl_mir.htm

I would like to draw particular attention to two recent Eucharistic Miracles that have undergone vigorous scientific analysis.

**Eucharistic Miracle of Poland, Sokólka, October 12, 2008 **

Sokólka, October 12, 2008 (Part 1) – (PDF: 1.41M)
Sokólka, October 12, 2008 (Part 2) – (PDF: 1.31M)
Sokólka, October 12, 2008 (Part 3) – (PDF: 1.41M)

And -

**Eucharistic Miracles of Argentina, Buenos Aires, 1992 - 1994 - 1996 **

(Note: The scientific investigations into this Eucharistic Miracle were actually instigated and approved of by Pope Francis, then known as the Argentina Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio)

Buenos Aires, 1992 - 1994 - 1996 (part 1) - (PDF: 1.46M)
Buenos Aires, 1992 - 1994 - 1996 (part 2) - (PDF: 1.42M)
Buenos Aires, 1992 - 1994 - 1996 (part 3) - (PDF: 1.25M)

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#10

The Sacred Heart Image (St Margaret-Mary Alacoque) -

http://s7.postimg.org/4jx43bm1n/Christ_7.jpg

This is the revelation which took place in June 1675 when St Margaret Mary was adoring the Blessed Sacrament (The Holy Eucharist). Our Lord said to her:

**"Behold this Heart, Which has loved men so much, that It has spared nothing, even to exhausting **(Crucifixion) **and consuming Itself, **(Last Supper, Eucharist) **in order to testify to them Its love; and in return I receive from the greater number nothing but ingratitude by reason of their irreverence and sacrileges, and by the coldness and contempt which they show Me in this Sacrament of Love. **(Referring to how people treat His real presence in the Holy Eucharist). But what I feel the most keenly is that it is hearts which are consecrated to Me that treat Me thus. Therefore, I ask of thee that the Friday after the Octave of Corpus Christi be set apart for a special feast to honour My Heart, by communicating on that day and making reparation to It by a solemn act, in order to make amends for the indignities which It has received during the time It has been exposed on the altars. I promise thee that My Heart shall expand Itself to shed in abundance the influence of Its divine love upon those who shall thus honour It, and cause It to be honoured."

What I also find interesting, is this revelation occurred in 1675 before any Eucharistic Miracle could be scientifically studied as thoroughly as the ones above have, and in the Eucharistic Miracles above, we find that it is not just any human tissue, but more specific heart muscle tissue (Cardiac muscle tissue), from the left ventricle that gives the heart it’s beat.

I hope this has helped

God Bless

Thank you for reading
Josh


#11

Here is a story about regrowth of a leg…for those interested.

therealpresence.org/eucharst/mir/english_pdf/Calanda.pdf


#12

Hi again and thanks to all who replied to my original post. I appreciate all of your time.

It seems that so many skeptics/atheists/agnostics want the miracle to happen to them personally – or to “at least” be there and observe it as it happens to someone else. As I wrote earlier, did not Thomas “put his Lord to the test”? And was he not rewarded with unambiguous proof (for him personally)? :confused:


#13

As for putting the Lord to the test, what of this?

patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism/essays/a-modern-day-doubting-thomas/


#14

Jesus also warned us in the end times, there would be alot of false prophets going about performing great signs and wonders, some would even fool the elect, meaning some of these signs/wonders would be so impressive, people would literally think they are seeing miracles right in front of their eyes…while these people may be getting truly healed, I dont think the origin of these miracles is that mysterious, we should all know where they are coming from, and its not from God!!


#15

Jesus told us ahead of time. Be watchful. Do not be disturbed. Pray to God for discernment.

God bless,
Ed


#16

One last take on this in trying to understand the skeptic’s side.

I agree that it WAS easier to believe in miracles “back in the day”, and before scientism had so permeated education, philosophy, and society in general.

So, turning to the fall of Adam/man, did Adam ever doubt God’s existence and was such doubt in any way related to “the fall”? Can the reading of “the fall” in Genesis and “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” also be taken (as far as Catholic doctrine allows) as a story about ceasing to believe in God?

If Adam NEVER doubted the existence of God but still fell, can today’s skeptic (who starts with doubt of God’s existence), be accused so harshly for his extreme skepticism as to miracles?


#17

I dont think theres any difference in biblical times versus modern times, when it comes to miracles, Im smart enough to realize NOT everything can be explained by science today,Im sure many other people know this too.

Its the people that dont believe, that have the real problems, they rely 100% on modern science and our ‘experts’ of today…LOL What they dont realize is, it was not that long ago that the ‘experts’ thought Radium was a good cure all for just about anything!, as well as many other nutty and strange things they believed in…again, NO DIFFERENT than today…you can be sure, in 50-100 yrs from now, people living then will be laughing at some of the things the experts thought was solid science in 2014. lol


#18

People want miracles explained yet the very fact that it is a miracle means we cannot explain it. But how does one raise the dead? If one can create the universe out of nothing by just speaking it into existence then what challenge is there in growing a new leg? Augustine watched a boy trying to empty the entire Mediterranean Sea into a whole he dug in the sand. When told that what he was atempting was not possible the boy told Augustine that so was his attempting to understand the Trinity. Miracles are like that. We can’t understand them; we just accept them.


#19

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