Sunday, February 21, 2016

Miracles and memories

Unbelievers think an account that includes a miracle greatly lowers the credibility of the account. Is that true? 

What makes an event memorable? Off the top of my head, I'd say several things can make an event memorable: is it unusual, interesting, significant, or emotionally resonant? How much attention did you pay to it? 

Any one factor can make an event memorable, and combining two or more factors can make it all the more memorable. In addition, the factors can interact in constructive ways.

For instance, the death of parents is extremely common. However, that's statistical. It's hardly common experience for you when your mother or father dies. For you, that's a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Moreover, that's a very emotional experience. You only have one mother and father. 

Likewise, the death of parents in general is not significant to strangers. If your parent dies, that's not normally significant to me. But if my parent dies, that's highly significant to me. Some events are intrinsically significant, or personally significant, or both. 

By the same token, people typically pay great attention to the death of their parents. That's not something they only notice in passing.

On a related note, whether or not we find something interesting is often subjective. What one person finds fascinating may be boring to another person. 

Now, consider the miracles of Christ. Take the raising of Lazarus. That would be an extremely memorable event. Memorable on multiple grounds, and each factor would magnify it's unforgettable character.

To say it's unusual or out-of-the-ordinary would be an understatement. And by definition, it's an attention-grabbing event. 

Mortality is emotionally resonant. The fear of death. Separation from loved ones. A reversal of death would be at least as emotional–if not more so, because it's unexpected. 

The possibility of restoration to life is universally interesting. We all have a stake in that. 

It is both intrinsically and personally significant. Directly significant to his sisters. But significant to onlookers. After all, if Jesus can do that for their brother, he can do that for me and my loved ones. 

A miracle like that is unforgettable. A life-changing experience.

Not all of Christ's miracles have that direct, intrinsic importance. But they all point to the power of Christ. How he can provide for his people. 

Take the multiplication of food. If he can do that, is there anything he cannot do? More to the point, what he is able to do for me or my loved ones. 

The upshot is that the most memorable events in the Christ would not be what he said, or even what he generally did, but his miracles in particular. The supernatural aspect of his ministry. 

No comments:

Post a Comment