Answers in Genesis Explains Miracles

There is symmetry in the world, dear reader. A while ago we wrote The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Miracles. Today we have the flip side, from the creation scientists at Answers in Genesis (AIG), the on-line ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the ayatollah of Appalachia.

Before we get to the AIG version of things, we’ll briefly remind you of your Curmudgeon’s view. We said:

We sort miracles into two groups — and we unimaginatively call them Category One and Category Two. Both types are impossible, but Category One miracles are those that, having been said to occur, don’t leave any contradictory evidence to discredit the tale — other than the event’s inherent impossibility, of course. It requires faith to attribute any credit to such tales, but that’s the nature of faith — it’s belief in the absence of evidence or logical proof.

Category Two miracles occupy the next level. They’re also miracles, but — like the claims of innocence from a criminal whose crime was recorded on videotape — they’re easily refuted because they’re contradicted by verifiable evidence. The best example of this category would be the whole package of young-earth creationism. … Belief in a Category Two miracle requires far more than mere faith — which is difficult enough. It also requires a truly massive amount of reality denial.

As you could have guessed, AIG has a different view of things, which is explained in their new article: Supernatural or Science: How Do We Explain Miracles? It’s written by two people we haven’t run across before: Avery Foley and Troy Lacey. They say, with bold font added by us:

Christians frequently run into the argument that “The Bible can’t be trusted because it has miracles, and they are clearly not possible because science doesn’t accept the miraculous.” How should believers respond?

Aaaargh!! It’s not that “science doesn’t accept” miracles, which sounds like it’s an arbitrary rejection. It’s because miracles are, by definition, events that are literally impossible according to the well-established laws of nature. Anyway, we’re off to a good start. Let’s read on:

Some events recorded in Scripture seem to be clearly outside of the normal physical processes which govern our world. We do not know all the laws of nature and processes in the world, so it is possible that God worked many miracles within the bounds of the laws of nature that He created and sustained (e.g., miracle of timing, using the creation to do His will).

A miracle of timing? BWAHAHAHAHAHA! What’s that supposed to mean? AIG continues:

But it is also the case that God works some miracles completely beyond the limitations of the laws of nature that He created (e.g., creation).

Ah, now we’re getting somewhere. Here’s more:

Creation ex nihilo (from nothing) was a six-day week of supernatural activity by God beyond what we see today. Unlike most miracles, creation is not bound by being “outside the normal physical processes which govern our world.” There were no processes in place at creation, and since creation is a completely unique event, it is difficult to gauge and classify it other than to say it occurred beyond the laws that were later operating within creation.

Wow — creation didn’t violate any natural laws, because there weren’t any! What kind of miracle is that? Moving along:

Since creation, God has imposed natural laws that He established and ordained during Creation Week, and continues to sustain [scripture references].

We have learned something new. In addition to what’s described in Genesis, AIG tells us that God also created the laws of nature during those six days. We’re not told when, but he probably created gravity before he made Adam & Eve, or they’d have been floating around. Another excerpt:

However, God is not bound by these same laws that He upholds for creation; He transcends them and gives them their force. And although He usually allows things to occur naturally and can work miracles within that natural law (such as miracles of timing), at times He acts in supernatural ways, which we also call miracles.

[…]

The notion that miracles are impossible because they would (potentially) go beyond the laws of nature is not a rational argument. It merely presupposes the very thing it is supposed to be proving and is thus arbitrary. When someone says miracles are impossible, they are claiming to have all knowledge and are placing themselves in a position to say miracles are impossible. … When it is pointed out that they have a narrow temporal and historical perspective, they usually reply, “If miracles did occur, then they would be rare occurrences,” to which we would respond, “That’s the point! Miracles are indeed rare events.”

We don’t know how to respond to that, because the authors are living in a world where no one knows anything. Then they devote several paragraphs to discussing a few miracles found in scripture: the Resurrection, the parting of the Red Sea, and Jesus walking on water. For each, they reject various natural explanations that have been offered, such as Jesus didn’t really die on the cross, the wind allowed the Hebrews to cross the shallow Sea of Reeds, and Jesus wasn’t really walking on water, but on a submerged ledge. They dismiss all of those explanations and declare that each event was a true miracle.

Then, in their conclusion section, they tell us:

Naturalistic scientists presuppose that the universe is structured and follows rational physical laws which can be determined by experimentation and observation. The Bible actually teaches this concept. But why is there constancy in the universe and why does it follow rational laws? Because there is a Creator, because God is logical and has imposed order on the universe. The universe obeys laws because God established them. And God has given us the capability for these laws to be discovered by man; God created our mind — we are made in His image. God also wants us to search out knowledge and understanding [scripture references].

Now we’re really confused! Do we know the laws of nature or don’t we? Let’s just keep reading:

Does this of necessity mean that science must exclude the miraculous? Since God is capable of creating the universe and establishing the natural laws which govern it, would He not also be able to supersede those laws occasionally when He chooses? It is illogical to think that God could create the universe out of nothing but then would be powerless over it.

We certainly don’t want AIG to think we’re illogical, so we’d better accept all those miracles. On with the article:

In fact, if the suspension of natural laws by definition were impossible and “unscientific,” then the supposed big bang is also impossible and unscientific because it presupposes that matter and energy were created by it, which is inconsistent within its own story. In essence, whether an evolutionary scientist wants to admit it or not, they are allowing (and in this case as well as in the case of abiogenesis are actually requiring) miracles within their naturalistic paradigm.

Aaaargh!! And now we come to the end:

Therefore, the claim that science must exclude the supernatural ultimately is unsupportable. Furthermore, there is a Book which tells us when God performed miracles in the course of history.

So there you are, dear reader. Now you understand miracles. That wasn’t so difficult, was it?

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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19 responses to “Answers in Genesis Explains Miracles

  1. Anyone else getting the sense that “Hamster and AIG dost protest too much”? They’re really trying very hard to wrap some sense into their Bronze Age mysticism. The psychology of this suggests that they know it’s bogus. Let’s don’t let creationists use the term “miracles” – what they really mean is “magic”. They cringe at that word, ‘cuz it makes them seem sillier. Miracles are magic. There’s no such thing as magic. (I like Harry Potter stories, by the way.)

  2. > “there is a Book which tells us when God performed miracles in the course
    > of history.”
    ———————–
    Were you there? What observations lead you to accept this?

  3. Arthur C. Clarke’s “Third Law” says essentially that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. So who’s to say that our “universe” just isn’t some super intelligent alien’s kid’s science project.

  4. Based on this either Ken Ham is going ga ga or an imbecile is now riting his blogs for him. 100 per cent different?
    Either way the man is a LIAR (or Burgess is but I doubt he makes the claim cited by Ham):
    http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/blogs/ken-ham/2014/10/03/the-uniqueness-of-man/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+KenHam+%28Around+the+World+with+Ken+Ham%29
    (A further link to this misinformation DVD:
    https://answersingenesis.org/store/product/uniqueness-man/?sku=90-2-176#fullDescription)

  5. There are many other ancient writings that tell the stories of other gods performing miracles. What logic or test does AIG employ to disprove those miracles while accepting miracles described in the bible? None have any corroborating evidence, and all were believed at the time.

    In a more recent and relevant case, take the miracle of Mohammad’s night flight from Mecca to Jerusalem to Heaven and back to Mecca. It is a miracle at the core of one of the world’s great religions, believed by about 1.6 billion people. I am going to go out on a limb and assume that the authors do not believe this miracle occurred, but using their logic, how can they argue that it didn’t?

    For that matter, how do we distinguish between conflicting miracle stories within the bible itself – e.g. the different resurrection tales? Which one is real and which one was “misremembered” by the author?

    As soon as a writer says God can do everything, his argument ceases to mean anything.

  6. Explain Miracles? Easy! They are lies and there is no evidence for such things.

  7. Hambo’s insanity is now spread by know-nothing, eager morons who I’ll wager are homeschooled and then possibly bible college indoctrinated. They remind me of second graders sitting around just makin’ stuff up as their school mates nod and drool.

    The willfull ignorance and sheer stupidly displayed by Foley and Lacey boggles the sane mind. Hambo must be very proud, as I’m sure he sees their inane babbling as the very pinnacle of creationist thought.

  8. @Ed
    As soon as a writer says God can do everything, his argument ceases to mean anything.
    I don’t mean for this to seem like I am differing from you, but it suggests a variant which is in particular appropriate for various forms of evolution-denial:

    It is only by restricting the consequences of a hypothesis that it accounts for anything.

  9. michaelfugate, I don’t know why your comment got stuck in the spam filter. I deleted the duplicate, which was also there.

  10. Creationists talk abut a Designer, but their image of Him is as–not that they’d put it this way–an incompetent.

    They want to believe in a God who created a universe he has to keep running by intervening all the time, turning every crank, twiddling all the knobs and pulling all the levers, and every so often banging the side to make it do what He wants (miracles). That’s what they mean when they say God “sustains” the laws of nature: in their view, those laws will break down without constant divine involvement.

    A mortal human designer who put a complex machine together that way would be fired, and would deserve to be. And God the Designer, creationists claim, is doing this all over the universe, from the subatomic level on up. So much for divine wisdom.

  11. The whole truth

    There is a “Book” that tells us that Dorothy, Toto, a Scarecrow, a Tin Man, and a Cowardly Lion went to see The Wizard of OZ, and a “Book” that tells us that Horton Hears a Who, and a “Book” that tells us that Sherlock Holmes lives at 221 Baker Street. All of those characters and claims must be real and true.

  12. The whole truth

    Make that 221B Baker Street.

  13. There are many claims of medical events that are often said to be proof of miracles such as the spontaneous regression of particularly deadly and untreatable tumors. However, such an event would not violate in physical laws and is not impossible just highly improbable.

    While practicing medicine I never witnessed anything that was impossible because it would violate natural laws but I often saw things that were not impossible, just extremely unlikely to occur.

    It struck me how easily and quickly people were to ascribe things that are rare but possible to divine intervention.

  14. michaelfugate

    michaelfugate, I don’t know why your comment got stuck in the spam filter. I deleted the duplicate, which was also there.

    Perhaps because it linked to a creationism site?

  15. Fooley & Lackey, Clowns-R-Us Inc., gibber:

    “Since creation, God has imposed natural laws that He established and ordained during Creation Week, and continues to sustain.”

    Aha, so the Great Ringmaster in the Big Top was needed not only to forge all the natural laws, but is also still needed to sustain them. That’s a testable proposition, at least in principle. Please suggest an appropriate experiment to demonstrate said “sustaining” action. One of several conservation laws should do nicely.

    Soon followed by:

    “[W]ould [God] not also be able to supersede those laws occasionally when He chooses?”

    But why would s/he want or need to do that? After all, any such tinkering would suggest troubling imperfect foresight and/or limited power, neither of which sits comfortably with the proposed theology of AiG.

  16. “It’s because miracles are, by definition, events that are literally impossible according to the well-established laws of nature.”
    That’s quite a bad summary of David Hume’s On Miracles. It’s a short piece in all its excellence, so I just provide the link:

    http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/hume-miracles.asp

    “God also created the laws of nature”
    Ah – so god created Schrödiner’s Equation and Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle as well. The god of Ol’ Hambo loves to play a game of dice.

    “We don’t know how to respond to that”
    Ol’ Hambo lackies already did it for you: “presupposes the very thing it is supposed to be proving and is thus arbitrary.”

  17. @SC:

    I like your concept of C1 and C2 miracles. Not because it gives many “Darwinists” an excuse to believe virgin births and resurrections, but because it is one more example of how creationism is a bait-and-switch scam. Not only has it never been science, it can no longer be called even a mere “belief system.”

  18. Actually we can’t say that either C1 or C2 is impossible, only that there’s no evidence of C1 or C2, plus evidence that specifically refutes C2. Einstein also suggested a “C3 miracle,” which is what has happened and is happening. The word “miracle” itself is meaningless at best.