Blessed to be a Blessing

In Defense of Miracles: A Comprehensive Case for God’s Action in History – R. Douglas Geivett and Gary R. Habermas. E.d.

The Goal of In Defense of Miracles is to present a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary approach to understanding whether or not God has worked in history through miraculous events. The book is organized into a four part structure of chapters written by different authors, “commissioned because of their expertise in each case.”[1] The editors begin with the case against miracles and then the parts explore different approaches to understating miracles. Part two deals primarily with the philosophical problem of the possibility of miracles. Part three discuss the ideas surrounding miracles and the ideas of God’s involvement in creation. Part four presents case studies for specifically Christian miracles. The 51HXKzpq0KL__SS500_major premise of the book comes in the conclusion, the fact that after observing and discussing miracles in philosophy, history, theology, science, etc… the case for miracles stands. The authors believe that the case they have laid out to defend miracles in these disciplines is not just for the intellectuals but for everyone. “In our view, the case for miracles is strong and needs to become better known outside the academy.”[2]

The major strength of the book is the editor’s multi-disciplinary approach. Their goal was to create a comprehensive work and they accomplished it. Their approach leaves no area untouched as they survey many disciplines. The scholarship and authors are very thorough and knowledgeable in their topics. I specifically appreciated how each author takes the space in their chapter to answer counter points or arguments that may be presented from opposing viewpoints. This helps make the book practical for apologetics and even devotional thought. The major criticism of the book is that it seems to be entirely focused on being a rebuttal for David Hume’s Of Miracles from 1779. The editors write in the introduction, “In many respects, the chapters by Hume and Flew set the agenda for the rest of the book.”[3] This seems to make the book feel dated. There must surely be a better work against miracles to respond to since 1776. I believe that the book would reach a wider audience if the authors did not specifically intend to address Hume and Flew in every chapter. Aside from that organizational issue, the book may be too scholarly for some. The language and concepts may be too academic for individuals outside of the academic circle. The authors need to take time to explain complex concepts so that readers can have a conversation across disciplines without needing higher education in each. Overall the book is well-researched and full of helpful information to serve as a primer for a multi-disciplinary study of miracles.

[1] R. Douglas Geivett and Gary R. Habermas, In Defense of Miracles: A Comprehensive Case for God’s Action in History, Downers Grove, InterVarsity Press. 1997, 25.

[2] Ibid, 280.

[3] Ibid, 19.


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