If miracles are genuine then they might tell us something about the nature of God (or gods); about what sort of thing he is. The Abrahamic Faiths (Christianity, Islam and Judaism) all claim that God is:
- Omnibenevolent – that he loves and cares for everyone.
- Immanent – that he is here, with us, now.
- Omnipotent – that he is all-powerful. There is nothing that he cannot do.
Miracles might help us to understand exactly what religious believer mean when they use these words.
The fact that Jesus used his power for healing tends to show that Christians think that God is omnibenevolent. He did not use his power to harm or to destroy. The Gospels tell the story of man who did not oppose the power of Herod or Caesar or use his power to attack them. Rather, he used it to teach and to heal. For Christians the most important miracles is the resurrection of Jesus. This is an act of supreme love, when God sacrifices his only son so that other people can be saved:
“For God so loved the World that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16
The very fact that God performs miracles shows that he is immanent as he is active in the world. In Jewish and Christian history he parted the waters of the Red Sea to allow the Jews to escape form Egypt, he responds to the prayers of those who seek his guidance or healing, as is the case at Lourdes and Varanasi. If God responds in this way then he must be here with us, now, as he was there with those people then.
Miracles and God’s Omnibenevolence
Many, though not all, miracles break the laws of nature. If this is true then the God who performs then must have the power to do things that we cannot. Parting the Red Sea is not something that ought to be possible, but according to the Bible, God did it. The healings at Lourdes seem to have no scientific explanation – they do not follow the laws of nature. It is almost like God ignored these laws and did it anyway, because he has the power to do that!