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Is the Bible Skeptical About Miracles? – The Timing Test for Miracles

Let us consider perhaps the closest we could get to testing whether a miracle has taken place.

Previous entries on this subject:
Is the Bible Skeptical About Miracles? (IBSAM)
IBSAM: Moses as Skeptical Scientist
IBSAM: The Fleece
IBSAM: Malta’s Viper
IBSAM: Show Yourselves
IBSAM: Jesus’ Baptism
IBSAM: Lazarus Comes Forth

The New Testament presents a very interesting occurrence which provides one of the very best tests for ascertaining whether a miracle took place—from John 4:46-54.

So Jesus came again to Cana of Galilee where He had made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman whose son was sick at Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to Him and implored Him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. Then Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe.”
The nobleman said to Him, “Sir, come down before my child dies!”Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your son lives.” So the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way.

There you have it; the nobleman asked for a healing and Jesus claimed to have granted it.

Next we find that,
And as he [the nobleman] was now going down, his servants met him and told him, saying, “Your son lives!”

There it is; Jesus claimed to have healed the son and it was so.

And now comes the test:
Then he inquired of them the hour when he got better. And they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.”
So the father knew that it was at the same hour in which Jesus said to him, “Your son lives.” And he himself believed, and his whole household.
This again is the second sign Jesus did when He had come out of Judea into Galilee.

This is quite a test; matching up the time of the claim to have preformed a healing to the time when the healing actually took place—and it was so.


  1. But given that there are a vast number of alternative non-miraculous explanations the claim that the timing was co-incidental really carries no weight. Just one such possibility is that this 'skepticism' was just an embellishment to a miracle story in order to give it the air of veracity. This is a literary motif found in many urban legends and in the miracle stories from other religions.

  2. That makes no sense for a simple reason. How did Jesus know the boy was going to be healed? And how did he know that he would be healed when he said he was? There is to much there for it to be a coincidence.

  3. Nice blog and nice topic to discuss. He will surely bless you for this. Keep it up the good work.