Some of our most ardent atheists claim that if a miracle could be legitimately demonstrated they would reverse their disbelief and agree that God exists. But this is not how miracles ever worked. Even the miracles God grants to Moses to secure the children of Israel’s release from bondage only serve to harden Pharaoh’s heart. Pharaoh says, “Prove yourselves” (Ex. 7:9), but even when his demand is met, he is not satisfied (v. 13).
The miracles in the Bible do not serve so much to prove that there is a God but that the Lord is God and we are not. It’s a subtle distinction, to be sure, but the miracles in the Bible never appear to serve God proving himself so much as God showing himself. And what we eventually learn is that in a fallen and broken world groaning for redemption, the miraculous is the normal. By contrast, what we have come to call “normal life” is not normal. Miracles don’t turn things upside down, in other words, but rightside up.
What if the miracles in the Bible—and miracles today, should they still occur—are not God trying to convince us he’s looming “up there somewhere,” in heaven trying to get us to acknowledge him, but are actually God showing us that he is right here and right now in charge? What if, in other words, God is not an interloper in our world, but the things we find so familiarly “everyday”—sin, corruption, injustice, decay, death—these very “laws of nature,” are interlopers in his?
We may keep building our Babel towers, be they monuments to religion or rationale, and even as we keep declaring our view of how the world is, we remain confused on the way it was meant to be. Our counterfeit heavens are both too earthy and not earthy enough. And part of God’s plan in the revelation of the gospel of Christ and his kingdom is the merging of heaven and earth, in which each becomes what it was meant to be in relation to the other and each is revealed in the uniqueness of its truth and beauty.
The miracles speak to this reality. The real heaven. Heaven as it is, breaking in and bringing the light of truth. The real earth. Earth as it once was and as it will one day be—earth as it is right now becoming. The miracles of Jesus reveal what we go through such great pains to deny and what some of us go through great pains to affirm. The miracles present the vision of what every human heart is yearning for.
Heaven on earth. Can it be?