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Faith vs Naturalism

Are miracles real or not? Most people can answer that with a simple yes or no. This article will conclude with two “miracles” that we all agree occurred. But first, let’s discuss the two types of people out there: ones who believe in miracles and ones who don’t. When the trials of life come, those with faith can find hope where others can’t because they believe anything can happen. They believe anything can happen because they believe miracles exist. 

The other camp, who we will call the “Naturalists,” are often appalled that another adult could believe in “magic.” They liken such notions to believing in the Tooth Fairy or Santa Clause. Many Naturalists love to criticize those who believe in the Bible. And of the Bible stories, one that gets the most criticism is the story of Noah’s Ark. A Naturalist cannot fathom every kind of animal on earth fitting on a single boat. (Here is a reputable article, critical of the biblical account, which ultimately states that it is, in fact, possible to float pairs of all known animals on a single boat –

First, I should point out that there are some persuasive arguments that this would be possible in the natural world, no “magic” necessary. But let’s assume for a moment that it did require a miracle to perform. Why is this story singled out for ridicule above others. There are plenty more unlikely, miraculous, stories in the Bible. 

Enoch never died (Genesis 5, Hebrews 11). Lazarus died twice (John 11-12 tell how he rose from the dead but he must have died another natural death. At least, I’ve never met him). To give the Israelites extra daylight to win a battle, God held the sun in the sky for an entire day (Joshua 10:14). Three boys were thrown into a fiery furnace so hot that it killed the guards doing the throwing. The boys survived without losing a hair or thread of clothing, except the ropes that bound them. And the Son of God was seen in the flames peacefully with them (Daniel 3).

Some can believe these stories simply because they believe God made everything and can do whatever He wants. Others deny God, claiming to believe in “science.” Well, being a fan of science myself, I would like to point out some beliefs held by Naturalists which are rather unscientific. Actually, quite miraculous. 

Medicine is a field of science but what is a Naturalist to do when medicine fails and miracles abound? What can they say when a boy is dead for hours and then comes back to life ( AIDS and cancer continue to confound doctors but they are no match for faith and prayer ( 

Maybe you’re skeptical of the stories above. After all, you can’t trust everything you see on the internet. So let’s look at two science-defying miracles we can all agree took place.

First, the presence of life on this planet is a miracle. The Latin expression Omne vivum ex vivo, meaning “all life (is) from life” sums it up pretty succinctly. Painting a picture that all life on earth came from a single-celled organism only kicks the problem down the road and solves nothing. If this fallacy driven fairytale were true, how did the first single-celled organism come to life? Similar to the Latin above, the central conclusion in all of Cell Theory is, Omnis cellula e cellula, “all cells (are) from cells.” A single cell springing to life from non-life is actually more miraculous than a fully formed man springing to life from Life itself (God), because only one of those statements breaks the scientific rule that life comes from life. 

The second miracle that we all agree occurred is the presence of our planet at all; or matter in general for that matter (pun intended). Parmenides was the first to say, “nothing comes from nothing,” ex nihilo nihil fit. Modern physics confirm the sentiment. I’ll try to cover the complex explanations for this as simply as possible.

The laws of Thermodynamics govern everything in the known universe. The first of its laws is called the Conservation of Matter. It states that matter/energy can neither be created nor destroyed, but it can only change in form. The second law of Thermodynamics is Increased Entropy. This means that all energy decays from usable to unusable energy. Think of a match which, after being burnt, cannot burn again. The implication of this law is that the universe will eventually spend all of its usable energy. It must have an end and it must have had a beginning, a point of “zero entropy,” in which all energy was usable. 


Both of these laws make sense if God made matter and the laws that govern matter at the same moment when He created the universe. A naturalistic explanation of the origin of matter falls apart from the very beginning. If there is no God, or law/energy/matter giver, outside the dimensions of the natural universe, then there is no logical way to account for the usable energy left in the universe or where the matter and energy came from at the point of zero entropy (the beginning). 

Clearly, these are pretty big issues. Some of the smartest people ever have dedicated their whole lives to understand one aspect or another about reality and barely scratched the surface. Since there remains so much we do not understand, wouldn’t it be prudent to leave room for the unexplainable? We can barely understand what “has” happened, can’t we be humble enough to admit we have no idea what “could” happen? 

So whatever your view on miracles may be, we can all agree that the existence of life and this planet are utterly amazing! 

– Pastor Jon Helms