A Religion Of Miracles – Part One

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.  And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, Born of the Virgin Mary, Suffered under Pontius Pilate, Was crucified, died and was buried.   He descended into hell.  The third day He rose again from the dead.  He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.  From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.  I believe in the Holy Spirit, The holy Christian Church, The communion of saints, The forgiveness of sins, The resurrection of the body, And the life everlasting. – The Apostles’ Creed

Is Christianity a religion of miracles?  In other words, can someone claim to be a Christian and, yet, not believe in miracles?  Probably not.  Why?  If the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed are accepted as statements of basic Christian faith and, if a miracle is defined as “a supernatural act which cannot be explained by the scientific examination of natural events,” then the Christian faith contains events which must (or should) be considered miraculous.  The following analysis of the Apostles’ and the Nicene Creeds as statements of basic Christian faith and the definition of the word “miracle” shows that Christianity is a religion of miracles.

The First Article of the Apostles’ Creed says that God made “heaven and earth.”  It doesn’t say how God did it.  The Nicene Creed doesn’t say how God did it, either.  This leaves the creation narrative from the Book of Genesis (see the first two chapters) as the best source of information for the First Articles of the creeds.  Other than making Adam out of “the dust of the earth” (2:7) and making Eve out “of one of the man’s ribs” (2:21-22), Genesis really doesn’t say how God made anything.  He simply says “let there be” this and “let there be” that and, then, there is this and, then, there is that [example: “‘let there be light,’ and there was light” (1:3)].  In Genesis, God makes this and that [example: “God made the wild animals according to their kinds” (1:25)], but it doesn’t say how He does it.  In Genesis, God creates this and that [example: “God created the great sea creatures and every living and moving thing with which the water teams” (1:21)], but it doesn’t say how He does it.  Does God use natural events and means to create things?  Genesis doesn’t say.  God uses natural events and means at other times.  For example, God uses the wind to part the Red Sea during the Exodus: “Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land” (Exodus 14:21).  However, the Parting of the Red Sea is still considered a miracle because God directed it, even though He uses a natural event.  The same is true with the creation narrative referenced in the First Article of the creeds.  Although God may use natural events and means to create this and create that, He still directs it.  Therefore, it should be considered miraculous.

The Second Article of the creeds mentions three miraculous events: (1) Jesus’ divine conception and virgin birth, (2) His resurrection and (3) His ascension.  The Apostles’ Creed says that Jesus “was conceived by the Holy Spirit” and was “born of the Virgin Mary”.  The Nicene Creed says that Jesus “was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary and was made man”.  Jesus is God and, therefore, He must be born of God.  In this case, God the Holy Spirit.  The Nicene Creed is more explicit than the Apostles’ Creed: “The only-begotten Son of God…Being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made”.  There’s no way to scientifically test Jesus’ divine conception.  Therefore, it must be a miracle, as is the connected and related event of Jesus’ virgin birth.  Although certain species can produce asexually (for example: certain kinds of fish, like the hammerhead shark, and certain kinds of reptiles, like the boa constrictor snake), it is unheard of in the human species.  Except for Jesus, of course.  This biological and scientific aspect of Jesus’ virgin Birth is as miraculous as is the religious and theological aspect.  Why?  Because any child “born of the Virgin Mary” would have to be female because the mother does not possess the vital Y chromosome necessary for maleness.  And Jesus is, of course, male.

The remainder of the Second Article of the creeds and the Third Article of the creeds will be discussed in A Religion Of Miracles – Part Two.

I believe in one God, The Father Almighty, and Maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible.  And in one Lord Jesus Christ, The only-begotten Son of God, begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of very God, Begotten, not made, Being of one substance with the Father, By whom all things were made; Who for us men and for our salvation Came down from heaven And was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary And was made man; And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate.  He suffered and was buried.  And the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures and ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father.  And He will come again with glory to judge both the living and dead, whose kingdom will have no end.  And I believe in the Holy Spirit, The Lord and giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, Who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified, who spoke by the prophets.  And I believe in one holy Christian and Apostolic Church, I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins, and I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. – The Nicene Creed