Here’s the latest in the series of questions from skeptics and atheists.
Question: Why have we not seen God reattach severed heads, restore someone who has been burned alive, or regrow amputated limbs? If God wanted us to know Him, He would be doing these miracles all over the globe. These would be miracles difficult to deny. Until I see this, I will remain an atheist.
First, the Bible has many such miracles. We see God save people who were thrown into a blazing fire (Daniel 3:23ff), grow a dead limb (Mark 3:3-6), stop the normal pattern of the sun and the earth (Joshua 10:13), and raise the dead (John 11:43-44). There were many eyewitnesses of these things, up to 500 at once (1 Cor. 15:6) and some of the most educated people of the day….people who would pass the witness test of the king of the skeptics, David Hume (see here). Yet even these eyewitnesses did not believe.
The passage in Mark 3 and John 11 tell us an interesting thing. The educated leaders of the day were eyewitnesses of these miracles, and many others, yet immediately after they saw the miracles they went out to plan Jesus’ death (Mark 3:6, John 11:53). Why would they do such a thing, rather than bow in submission? Because they were more interested in themselves than in the truth, and more interested in going their own way than in submitting to God. Therefore we have no reason to believe that even if God were to do miracles today, people would act any different. Indeed, Jesus did many signs and wonders, but people did not believe.
Further, as Richard Howe has pointed out, I seriously doubt if any skeptic or atheist would believe even if miracles were happening on a regular basis around the globe. Say, for example, that every time someone had a severed body part, God miraculously fixed it. Every time someone wanted it corrected, God did. We then go to the skeptic and say, ‘see, every time a limb is severed, it is God that heals it.’ The skeptic would then say, ‘But that happens all the time, as a regular occurrence. That’s not a miracle from God.’ Such denial would be a safe assumption, because greater miracles than severed heads happen all around us today. People that hate God are changed right before our eyes and become lovers of God (see here). Yet the eyewitnesses of such regenerated lives dismiss it routinely, acting the same as the eyewitnesses that saw the healing miracles of Jesus.
Lastly, saying that we know what God would do or what God ought to do is presumption at best. We cannot be so bold as to say, as finite and sinful creatures, what an infinite and holy Being would do.