Does God Still Act Supernaturally Today?

It is true God does not today still perform the miraculous through the hands of men in order to confirm His word (I Cor 13:8-13, Zech 13:1-4), but does that mean God never acts supernaturally today? If someone denies He does, that usually reveals a misunderstanding of I Cor 13:8ff. Why else would they think such?

God has always acted supernaturally in the affairs of men (in ways that man cannot necessarily see) and nothing in the Bible indicates He has ceased doing this. To prove this, let’s start with the classic case found in James 5:16-18 which is given as an example for our prayers today. When we combine what James says with the story of Elijah and the rain in I Kings 18:41ff, we see that God sent rain (I Kings 18:1) based upon the prayer request of Elijah. Some might say God used natural means (a cloud) to send the rain, and that is true, but it is obvious God also used supernatural means to form/send the cloud in answer to Elijah’s prayer. The meaning of James 5:16-18 is that if only nature had run its course, it might not have rained, but God intervened in nature to make sure it rained to Elijah’s advantage.

What do we mean by God acts supernaturally in the affairs of men “in ways that man cannot necessarily see”? Think of the case of God providing the ram (caught in a thicket) in Gen 22:13 for Abraham to sacrifice instead of Isaac. An outside human observer might have concluded the ram was there by accident/coincidence, but reading the whole story, we know that God supernaturally “provided … a lamb” (verse 8). The ram wasn’t just there by the natural course of events; instead God intervened in nature to make sure it would be there – He did not leave it to chance.

Another illustration of such would be a number of Biblical examples of God causing women to conceive, such as Hannah in I Sam 1:11-20 and Ruth 4:13.  I think it is safe to say God overruled the natural course of events in these cases, sometimes as an affirmative answer to a prayer request.

Another example of how God acts supernaturally today is found in Rom 8:26-27 where God says the Holy Spirit helps us with our prayers by making “intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” This is something the Holy Spirit does in addition to the word and is obviously not acting within the laws of nature, therefore it is supernatural.

Another way the Bible reveals that the supernatural occurs today is found in the Heb 1:14 assertion that angels are “ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation.” Obviously these angels do not act solely through the laws of nature (since they are spiritual beings); instead they function supernaturally to help Christians.

Recently my nephew mentioned to me another way God acts supernaturally on a regular basis today that I had never thought of. A baby is born of course through the laws of natural procreation that God set up in the beginning. Only Adam and Eve have been created supernaturally. But that only explains the physical part of man’s existence. What about the spiritual? The Bible also teaches man has a Spirit (James 2:26). Eccl 12:7 says at death the “spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” Well, when did God give that Spirit? At conception, right? Is the giving of the spirit only done through natural means? Obviously not. So every time a child is conceived, God performs a supernatural act to make that child a spiritual being – God gives the little one a spirit.

The short of it is that God has always performed supernatural acts; that is what He does – He is a supernatural being. And there is no reason to think such has ceased.

Just why is this point so important? Because it affects our prayers. If the “effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man” does not “availeth much,” if it never causes God to change the course of nature (what would have happened anyway if we had not prayed and God had not intervened), then we will lose confidence in the real power of prayer. Why would we pray for rain if we don’t think God might change the course of nature and cause it to rain when it wouldn’t have rained otherwise? Why would we pray for a person with cancer if we don’t think God might change the course of nature and help that person get better when they wouldn’t have gotten better otherwise?  Why would a barren young wife ask God for a child if she doesn’t have confidence God might grant her request and cause her to conceive?

There is no reason to box up God when the scriptures don’t. We should have confidence in our prayers that God might change the course of nature if He decides to answer such prayers “yes.”

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