Miracles or Magic…You be the Judgeon July 4, 2012 at 9:04 am
This past Sunday the topic of miracles in the Bible was discussed. Part of the discussion focused on some views that the miracles of the Bible were simply magic tricks designed to deceive the primitive people of the time. I was surprised when I first heard this statement and asked myself, “How could anyone believe the miracles were just magic?” So, I decided to look at two definitions of the word magic, a definition of the word supernatural and finally, a couple of miracles to see for myself.
Dictionary.com defines magic as “the art of producing a desired effect or result through the use of incantation or various other techniques that presumably assure human control of supernatural agencies or the forces of nature.” This definition suggests that there are people who can control things that man cannot understand. Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry stated “…if magic were a reality then it would mean there is a set of laws related to the supernatural realm that could be manipulated by people in our realm.”
Dictionary.com defines supernatural as “of, pertaining to, or being above or beyond what is natural; unexplainable by natural law or phenomena; abnormal.” Therefore, for anyone to believe the miracles of the Bible were magic, within this definition, would have to also believe that God exists. You cannot have the existence of magic (manipulation of the supernatural) without acknowledging that the realm of the supernatural exists. If the realm of the supernatural exists, then God must exist. Man by no sense of the imagination can control God and therefore he cannot control the supernatural.
Another definition of magic found at Dictionary.com suggests that magic is “the art of producing illusions as entertainment by the use of sleight of hand, deceptive devices, etc.” This is the definition of magic we are most familiar with. If you subscribe to this theory of magic when contesting miracles then it would be necessary to take a good look at a couple of miracles found in the Bible.
Dictionary.com defines a miracle as “an effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause.” There’s that word, supernatural, again. If you believe in miracles than you must acknowledge that the event surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause. The bottom is you must believe that man could not have done it and God did it. Let’s examine a couple of miracles that fit that definition.
In John 6:1-15, Jesus fed a multitude of people with two fish and five loaves of bread. Now the scripture tells us that there were 5,000 men by the Sea of Tiberias that day. There were also women and children there but the scriptures were not specific on how many women and children were present. Jesus was sitting on the mountainside as He looked out on the multitude.
Here’s what we’re looking at; there were 5,000 men present that day, and so to account for the women and children, I will add a modest amount of 2,500. I’m sure it was more but I will stick to a modest total of 7,500 people.
Livingstrong.com tells us that the average serving size of fish today is about 3 to 6 ounces. Considering fish and bread is all the people ate on this day we will use the 6 ounce number. If everyone ate 6 ounces of fish that day it would have amounted to 45,000 ounces or 2,813 pounds of fish consumed by the people.
So now the simple question is where would the magician have hidden 2,813 pounds of fish on the mountainside? In advance of all the people arriving a cave would have to have been carved out in the side of the mountain with a tunnel out of the view of the people to allow the magician to continually receive more fish and bread. He could not have done this without the help of his others because they would have seen someone passing the fish and bread to him. Using 3 ounces for the bread and you have to throw in another 1,406 pounds of bread. The cave is getting bigger. Finally, there were 12 baskets of leftovers so you have to estimate more than 2,813 pounds of fish. This one seems to have passed the miracle test.
Another major miracle in the Bible involved Moses’ parting the Red Sea. This one was brought up in church as well. The World Atlas tells us that the Red Sea is approximately 190 miles across at its widest part, 1,200 miles long and over 8,000 miles deep. The only way I could see this one being pulled off is with three very large panes of clear plastic or glass. Since they didn’t have plastic in those days, we will stick with glass.
Each pane of glass would have to be at least 190 miles wide and at least 9,000 miles in height to sit from the bottom of the sea and above. As the water hit the pane of glass it would begin to rise, therefore, the extra 1,000 miles is to compensate for the rise of the sea. Each glass would have to be over 529 billion square feet. Tempered glass (which they didn’t have back then) is a strong glass and at a 1/2 inch thick weighs 13.2 pounds (see professionally researched answer at The Answer Bag). Of course, 1/2 inch thick glass would not hold back a mighty sea, so it would have to be thicker than 1/2 inch.
You would lay these two large pieces of glass on top of the third large piece. When Moses raised his hands two cranes, one on each side and strong enough to pull over 13 trillion pounds would then pull the large pieces of glass upward blocking the water. Of course, that 13 trillion doesn’t compensate for the force of the Red Sea hitting the glass. Since the ground would be muddy and uncrossable for the people, the third pane of glass would be lying on the ground, allowing the people to walk across with any trouble.
The part I have trouble with (among many) is how would you keep the people from seeing the cranes and the feeling the glass under their feet? Not to mention how they would have pulled over 13 trillion pounds back in Moses’ day. Again, I think this one has to be a miracle.
Well that’s a look at two definitions of the word magic, a look at the words supernatural and miracle, then finally two miracles of the Old Testament. Now you be the judge, do you think the miracles were real or magic?