New Testament scholar Craig Keener investigates contemporary accounts of “signs and wonders,” while suggesting that many grounds for skepticism are behind the times.
In the halls of the academy as well as on the street, there is no more controversial aspect of the Bible than its accounts of miracles. Skepticism about supernatural intervention in human affairs—rooted in the Enlightenment, especially the writings of philosopher David Hume—has become mainstream in the modern mind. At the same time, however, there is a growing body of documented evidence, as well as compelling stories by credible witnesses, of miracles taking place.
Ten years ago, prominent New Testament scholar Craig Keener assembled a large collection of this evidence in his two-volume work Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts, and he returns to the topic in his latest publication, Miracles Today: The Supernatural Work of God in the Modern World. Freelance writer and editor of The Worldview Bulletin Christopher Reese spoke with Keener about the reasons for widespread skepticism of miracles and about some of the amazing stories his new book recounts.
You wrote a two-volume book on miracles in 2011, a topic you revisit in this current book. Why has this been an important subject for you to write about?
My regular job is as a New Testament scholar, and one of my interests is historical study about Jesus and his first followers. Sometimes critics have dismissed miracle stories in the Gospels and Acts simply because they recount miracles. (They often do make exceptions for potentially psychosomatic cures, but normally not for instant healings of blindness, raisings from the dead, or stilling storms.) The idea is that such reports must be legends that couldn’t really go back to eyewitnesses.
Yet I always found that approach problematic, since I know of many eyewitness reports like this in my …