Re: "Perfect"?

From: David Moore (
Date: Mon Nov 06 1995 - 22:39:26 EST

Eric Vaughan <> wrote:

>I would just like to answer this one question. I'm sure we humans
>could find countless number of "purposes" for miracles. But God has no purpose
>for miracles. Miracles in the Bible were never in one instance used strictly
>for someone's personal benefit. Jesus would rather have starved to death than
>to turn that stone into bread (Matt 4:1-4, etc.). Fulfilling his physical
>desires would've served God no function. As I said before, miracles were God's
>witness that the one teaching was truly from God. Remember the story of the
>man sick of the palsy who was let down through the roof? Jesus didn't heal him
>at first. He just told him that his sins are forgiven, which He had all
>authority to do. His opposition thought it outrageous that He felt He had the
>authority to do so. Jesus rebuked them and healed the man. Why? Not because
>he felt sorry for the man. But to show He had the authority from God to do
>what He did and say what He said. That's the only use that God's ever had of
>miracles. I agree that if my child were sick, that a miracle would be pretty
>"useful" but I wouldn't expect God to perform a miracle.

        Aren't you making up straw men, Eric? No one has maintained that
biblical miracles were "used strictly for someone's personal benefit," nor
has anyone denied that "miracles were God's witness that the one teaching
was truly from God."

        Nevertheless, it seems to me you underestimate the Lord's mercy,
compassion and love as motives for His healing. There is the leper, for
instance, who came to Jesus saying, "Sir, if you want to, you can make me
clean." The Lord answered him, "Of course I want to. Be clean" (Mat.
8:2ff., Phillips). And in the case of His healing the woman who was bent
over and could not straighten up, He likened the healing to the
consideration and compassion that one has for a domestic animal in giving
it water on the Sabbath (Lk. 13:10-17).

        Then, there is the matter of blind man of Bethsaida whom Jesus
took with Him to a spot outside the city to put His hands upon him and
heal him. If Jesus had only been interested in establishing a miraculous
witness to His teaching, why did he take the man outside the town, and why
did He command the formerly blind man not to go back into the town? And
when He healed the deaf and dumb man (Mk. 7:32-36), why did He take the
man away from the crowd, alone, to heal him? And why did He charge the
man and the friends that had brought him that they say nothing to anyone
if His only purpose in doing miracles was to establish a miraculous
witness to His teaching? The very thrust of what you are maintaining runs
aground on the whole matter of the Messianic secret.

        IMHO, you have bought into a theological system that would like to
limit God. It is ironic that those who resisted the Lord during His
earthly ministry questioned His authority to forgive sins but never
questioned his power to do miracles and to heal. Today, the converse is
true. His authority to forgive sins is readily recognized, but His power
to do miracles is denied. This is a matter of grave concern to anyone who
believes in God, and it is of concern to the scholarly community as well,
since how one understands this matter can influence the process of
exegesis, as we have recently seen on this list. Has God really limited
Himself as Eric maintains, or is this just someone's idea of what God
should be? Or to put it in terms of the Scripture: does the NT indicate
that God's miraculous working (apart from the miracle of salvation) is to
end with the death of the Apostles. Eric's arguments in favor of his
position, for the most part, have not really addressed this question. His
citations from Scripture do not show that the NT writers contemplated a
cessation of God's miraculous working. The contention that God had no
other purpose in miracles than to establish the authority of the one
speaking appears to be an untennable position. What justification can
there be for trying to limit God where He has not limited Himself?

David L. Moore Southeastern Spanish District
Miami, Florida of the Assemblies of God Department of Education

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