Weren’t Jesus’ Miracles just tricks that fooled people?
Magicians have been around for a long time. Today we think of them as entertainers that impress us with their illusions and sleight of hand tricks. We gasp with amazement, but we know that there is nothing supernatural about their performances.
Because of the possibility of being duped by the “illusion of magic”, some skeptics of the Bible have tried to attribute the miracles performed by Jesus to trickery and illusion. In other words, they claim that the his “miracles” were faked. These skeptics understand that if these miracles are true, then the message of salvation in Christ is genuine. After all, only a supernatural being has the power to suspend the laws of nature and human limitations to perform the kind of miracles recorded in the Gospels, e.g. turning water to wine, healing the sick, raising the dead, giving sight to the blind.
Mere mortals have no supernatural power, so either Jesus is God, the power behind the biblical miracles, or those stories have amplified illusionary tricks perpetrated on a superstitious culture. Detractors of the Bible are motivated to find natural explanations for the miracle stories in order to discredit the claims that the Bible is the inspired revelation of God.
For the prophets of the Old Testament as well as Jesus and his apostles, miracles validated their credentials as men of God who were uniquely empowered to perform miraculous works. Men in the New Testaments never claimed to have miraculous power on their own. Their power to perform miracles was entirely God-given and was give as demonstration of God’s power and a verification that these men stood as envoys of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 2:4). These miracles functioned as signs, validating the apostles’ claims to speak in Christ’s name.
Miracles stories are integral part of the message of salvation. The Bible makes no sense without them, for it is the hope that there greater powers than blind natural forces which inspires human beings to live better lives, seek to improve their societies and to live for something greater than themselves.
The tendency to label Bible miracles as tricks is just another example of an anti-supernatural bias where science becomes the sole source of truth. However, the God of the Bible is just the kind of God who reveals his power, attributes and purpose through miracles. What else would we expect an all powerful being to do? Supernatural events are the perfect way to get our attention since they go beyond what we experience on a day-to-day basis.