How Common Are Miracles?

Miracles are not as rare as we assume

Aren’t they pretty rare?

That’s what I used to think—but then I started my investigation into the miraculous. As I began researching this topic, my curiosity prompted me to commission a national scientific survey, which was conducted by Barna Research.1

What did we discover? Interestingly, half of US adults (51 percent) said they believe that the miracles of the Bible happened as they are described. The numbers, however, were lower among millennials (ages eighteen to thirty) compared to baby boomers (ages fifty to sixty-eight) by 43 percent versus 55 percent.

Asked whether miracles are possible today, two out of three Americans (67 percent) said yes, with only 15 percent saying no. The others weren’t sure. Again, there were generational differences, with young adults less likely (61 percent) to believe than boomers (73 percent). Incidentally, Republicans were more likely to believe in modern miracles (74 percent) than Democrats (61 percent) — a statistic on which I offer no comment.

I was interested in what was generating the skepticism of those who don’t think miracles can occur these days. The biggest reasons turned out to be a lack of belief in the supernatural (44 percent) and the contention that modern science has ruled out the possibility of miracles (20 percent). While only 12 percent of those age sixty-nine and older cited science as their obstacle, that number doubled among millennials.

Most of all, I wanted to know how many people have had an experience that they can explain only as being a miracle of God.

I found that a surprising number of Americans believe God has intervened supernaturally in their lives.

As it turns out, nearly two out of five US adults (38 percent) said they have had such an experience — which by extrapolation means that an eye-popping 94,792,000 Americans are convinced that God has performed at least one miracle for them personally.2

Even weeding out instances that were actually just coincidences, as many of those undoubtedly would be, that still leaves a surprising number of seemingly supernatural events. Among various age groups, the data stayed fairly consistent: 35.5 percent among millennials and 39.7 percent among boomers.

The conclusion? It seems that miracles are not nearly as rare as we might assume.

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Can God still raise people from the dead today?

On October 20, 2006, a fifty-three-year-old auto mechanic named Jeff Markin walked into the emergency room at Palm Beach Gardens Hospital in Florida, then collapsed from a heart attack. For forty minutes, emergency room personnel frantically labored to revive him, shocking him seven times with the defibrillator, but he was unresponsive.

Finally, the supervising cardiologist, Chauncey Crandall, a well-respected doctor and medical school professor, was brought in to examine the body. Markin’s face, toes, and fingers had already turned black from the lack of oxygen. His pupils were dilated and fixed. There was no point in trying to resuscitate him. At 8:05 p.m., he was declared dead.

Crandall filled out the final report and turned to leave. But he quickly felt an extraordinary compulsion. “I sensed God was telling me to turn around and pray for the patient,” he said later. This seemed foolish, so he tried to ignore it, only to receive a second — and even stronger — divine prompting.
A nurse was already disconnecting the intravenous fluids and sponging the body so it could be taken to the morgue. But Crandall began praying over the corpse: “Father, God, I cry out for the soul of this man. If he does not know you as his Lord and Savior, please raise him from the dead right now in Jesus’ name.”

Crandall told the emergency room doctor to use the paddle to shock the corpse one more time. The doctor protested: “I’ve shocked him again and again. He’s dead.” But he complied anyway, out of respect for his colleague.

Instantly, the monitor jumped from flat- line to a normal heartbeat of about seventy- five beats per minute with a healthy rhythm. “In my more than twenty years as a cardiologist, I have never seen a heartbeat restored so completely and suddenly,” Crandall said.

Markin immediately began breathing without assistance, and the blackness receded from his face, toes, and fingers. The nurse panicked because she feared the patient would be permanently disabled from oxygen deprivation, yet he never displayed any signs of brain damage.1
Indeed, in light of the circumstances, natural explanations seem hollow and forced — and they can’t account for the two mysterious urges that made Crandall turn in his tracks and pray for a victim who had already been declared dead. Absent those divine promptings, Jeff Markin would be in his grave today.

Can God still raise people from the dead? He can — and sometimes he does!

  1. A random, representative study of one thousand US adults completed this questionnaire. The sample error is +/- 3.1 percent points at the 95 percent confidence level. The response rate was 55 percent. The survey conducted as research for this book began in 2015.
  2. Based on 2016 US government estimate of the population over the age of eighteen at 249,454,440. See www.census.gov/quickfacts /fact/table/US/.

Excerpted with permission from Miracles Answer Book by Lee Strobel, copyright Lee Strobel.

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Your Turn

What about you? Do you believe in miracles? Have you had God answer a prayer (or prayers) in your life in an undeniably miraculous way? Come share with us on our blog! We want to know! ~ Devotionals Daily

 

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Lee Strobel

Lee Strobel was the award-winning legal editor of The Chicago Tribune and is the best-selling author of The Case for Faith, The Case for Christ, and The Case for a Creator, all of which have been made into documentaries by Lionsgate. With a journalism degree from the University of Missouri and a Master of Studies in Law degree from Yale, Lee wrote 3 Gold Medallion winners and the 2005 Book of the Year with Gary Poole. He and his wife live in Colorado. Visit Lee's website at: www.leestrobel.com.

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