The Finger of God

By Steve Jones

My experience of answers to prayer is that even miraculous things don’t often feel that miraculous in the Hollywood way of things. It’s more like, you blink and things seem different and you gradually realise something amazing has occurred.

For example, when people released from evil spirits, it’s nothing like the film, ‘The Exorcist’! They quite often give a little cough and feel an inner peace, but it usually takes time for them to observe the real changes in their life that show they have really been set free.

A while ago, I was prompted to look at the ‘Finger of God’ videos of YouTube, which document various supernatural experiences. Part 3 (click here) shows a guy walking around a university campus offering healing prayer, and it’s fascinating to watch.

Now, I am not someone who believes every report of a miracle, because it’s possible for people to be mistaken in their perception of events. So, I quite understand why unbelievers are unwilling to accept the report of miracles.

The sceptic’s argument was put well by the Enlightenment philosopher, David Hume (1711-1776). He held that whilst miracles could perhaps happen, they are (by definition) unusual events. So, since people can be mistaken in their perception of events, Hume thought that it would always be more likely that people were mistaken than that a miracle actually happened.

One problem with Hume’s approach is that he defined miracles as being really rare events. He didn’t consider the possibility that miracles might happen often. But if you were to hear a report of a miracle every day, every hour, or even every 5 minutes, then at some point you have to revise Hume’s definition of a miracle, and to ask whether a miracle is really so unlikely.

Sometimes, we Christians long for one superstar miracle that would win over sceptics. But I’m not sure that any one miracle, however dramatic, will win over a really sceptical mind. I wonder whether it would not be much more persuasive for there to be an everyday ground swell of supernatural happenings, in which reports of even undramatic answers to prayer become commonplace.

In other words, if the supernatural power of God is going to flow out from the church, it’s not about ordinary Christians becoming superstar supernatural ministries, but rather about God’s ordinary people praying everyday prayers and not being afraid to speak about what we then experience.

Steve Jones