It’s hard if not impossible these days to find anyone who hasn’t heard the term “fake news.” But as I was mulling over this fairly new tag, I thought that, in fact, fake stuff has been around for quite a long time. Think about it – we have fake jewelry, fake meat, fake grass, fake Christmas trees, and even fake “people” riding in the passenger seats of cars driving in carpool lanes. Strange sight, I’m sure!
I recently read about Colonel Baker, a landowner in 1839 who died and left behind an enormous estate valued in excess of $3 billion. Quite a tidy sum back then! A gentleman by the name of William Morrow Smith stepped up and formed a legal association open to anyone who shared a surname with Colonel Baker. Smith & his partners alleged recovery of all the Colonel’s assets. Everyone was required to pay a fee to join this association, but the ‘guaranteed’ returns, if the venture succeeded, made their small fee seem negligible. Unfortunately, Colonel Baker was a figment of their imagination, resulting in Smith and his crew bringing in nearly $25 million before their fake scheme was shut down.
Fake history! So who dreams up these bogus narratives anyway? I, for one, am always amused when I watch TV documentaries covering Biblical events – you know the ones – they explain how these miracles “really” happened. Trouble is, if you can explain how a miracle really happened then it really isn’t a miracle, is it?!
How exactly do we define a true miracle? Here’s a great definition: “An event that involves the direct and powerful action of God, transcending the ordinary laws of nature and defying common expectations of behavior.” Works for me! But unfortunately, many throw out Biblical miracles because of the “science” excuse. If it doesn’t follow science it can’t happen.
Nonsense! Since God established our natural laws, He is more than able to supersede those laws as He so chooses. It’s illogical to think that He would create this spectacular universe and then be powerless over it. I’m with David Ben-Gurion here: “Anyone who doesn’t believe in miracles is not a realist.”
Mind-bending occurrences have occurred over the course of history, including the parting of the Red Sea, the 10 plagues in Egypt, Jesus walking on water, raising the dead, healing the sick, etc. It’s actually amusing to watch TV accounts attempting to discredit historical Biblical miracles with their wholly inadequate theories, only to have their narratives fall flat. Of the documentaries I’ve seen, it appears to be a severe case of Romans 1:22: “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.”
For a sampling, let’s take the case of the parting of the Red Sea; our “scholars” usually assert it was really the Sea of Reeds, a shallow, marshy area. The story goes on from there but they never seem to explain how Pharaoh’s army drowned in a marsh, while the Hebrews walked on through – over dry ground no less! As Orson Bean likes to put it: “Miracles aren’t necessarily good for everyone. The parting of the Red Sea, great for the Jews, not so hot for the Egyptian soldiers.”
And Jesus walking on water – “No way!” – the critics claim. “He walked out along a ledge,” but again, they never quite wade through the challenge of the disciples boat being tossed about in a horrific storm, and Peter almost drowning while walking out to Jesus. Once again, I invoke Romans 1:22.
But “Fake News” continues on their merry way, persisting to work hard on discrediting Biblical miracles and truths. But why? What could possibly be their agenda? Well – I have a theory on that. They believe if these historical events – which were witnessed by scores of people and duly recorded – can be “exposed” as frauds – then who’s to say the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the most important of these miracles to humankind, is not also a complete deception?! But studying the Bible and history, one quickly finds that there are facts surrounding the miracle of the resurrection, if one bothers to look.
Even as you read this, archeologists continue to unearth ancient Biblical texts and artifacts, confirming truth upon truth. I feel sorry for people who don’t believe in miracles – I think their world is small. Someone once noted: “Healing and miracles have been a mystery to men of all times. To some, the phenomenon is frightening, while others find it exhilarating!” But as G.K Chesterton noted: “The most incredible thing about miracles is that they happen.” I couldn’t agree more!
Susan Beckett | Dwelling Place City Church
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