Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Tests for determining true from false miracles - Points to the True God

Deuteronomy 13:1-3a “If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,’3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams...".

Introduction and Review
We have been taking time to consider the simple question: what is a miracle? In the past four posts, we have explored various passages of scripture to arrive at a full answer to the question. The proposed answer and definition of a miracle that emerged from our study is the following: "A miracle is an irregular, direct act of God that has attending signs that confirm God's personal identity, message and messenger." 

We labored to show that contrary to what skeptics may say, the world in which we live and the scientific laws used to describe such a world do not exclude the possibility of miracles. Dr. Norman Geisler in his book: "Unshakable Foundations", quotes a helpful insight from C.S Lewis' book "God in the Dock": "This point of scientific method shows (what no one to my knowledge ever denied) that if miracles did occur, science, as science, could not prove, or disprove, their occurrence.What cannot be trusted to recur is not material for science: that is why history is not one of the sciences. You cannot find out what Napoleon did at the battle of Austerlitz by asking him to come and fight again in a laboratory with the same combat - go to the records. We have not, in fact, proved that science excludes miracles: we have only proved that the question of miracles, like innumerable other questions, excludes laboratory treatment."  

From the above quote and the observations made over the past few posts, there can be no doubt that to say there are absolutely no such thing as miracles is not based on scientific findings but rather skeptical worldview assumptions. 

With the above point made clear, and the definition of a miracle stated, we need to explore whether or not we can tell the difference between "true miracles" and counterfeits. Why? Because other non-Christian religions make claims to miracles. Mormonism for instance claims that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that the "Book of Mormon" was a revelation from God. Mormons will claim that their religion is a continuation of Biblical Christianity and actually corrects some of what was lost in the ensuing 2,000 year history of the Christian church. Can such claims be truly evaluated? This blogger thinks they can. This blogger will propose that three tests from the Bible can evaluate whether a given miracle claim (whether it be a sign, wonder, working, revelation or vision) that claims to be from God is actually from God. Today's post will consider the first of those tests.

How to tell the difference between true and false miracles

True miracles point to the True God
In our proposed definition for miracles we stated: "A miracle is an irregular, direct act of God that has attending signs the confirm God's personal identity, message and messenger." Out of all the words in this definition, the most important one is the term "God". When looking at a potentially miraculous event, we need to ask whether or not the miracle points us to the God of the Bible or to a demonic source. Deuteronomy 13:1-3 is an interesting text in that it does not deny the possibility of false prophets and counterfeit miracles. 

In the opening text of today's post, the assertion being made by Moses is that just because a miraculous event has been done does not necessarily mean God is the source of it. The key phrase in the passage is found in Deuteronomy 13:2, where the worker of the alleged miracle tells the people to go after other gods and serve them. According to the remainder of Deuteronomy 13:3, we read that God in His Sovereignty permits such activity to test the people to see where their heart are at. 

So a counterfeit miracle will not point to the true and living God but rather will point to the demonic forces behind such counterfeit signs. Let the reader be reminded that any god or deity worshiped by man is a demon (1 Corinthians 10) and is not the True and Living God of scripture. 

So would Joseph's Smith's alleged visions, Book of Mormon and the other Mormon literature (Pearl of Great Price and Doctrine and Covenants) pass the above test? In having read those documents, we discover from Mormonism that God is not the One God revealed in Three Persons of the Bible. Rather the Mormon deity is a multitude of gods that were men who became deified. The god over this world of ours was, in Mormon teaching, a man like us who became a god. The Mormon Jesus is going through the process of development. Just by viewing the Mormon teaching on God, we discover that their view of deity and the Biblically revealed God are totally different, thus marking Mormonism as a non-biblical religion and the Book of Mormon and its attendant volumes as books of a man's imagination. 

In a future post we will consider another test we can use to determine if a given miracle claim is a true miracle from God or a fraud.

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