On Craig Keener’s Magisterial “Miracles”

November 28, 2012

Seldom does a book take one's breath away, but Craig Keener's magisterial Miracles is such a book. It is an extremely sophisticated, completely thorough treatment of its subject matter, and, in my opinion, it is now the best text available on the topic. The uniqueness of Keener's treatment lies in his location of the biblical miracles in the trajectory of ongoing, documented miracles in the name of Jesus and his kingdom throughout church history, up to and including the present. From now on, no one who deals with the credibility of biblical miracles can do so responsibly without interacting with this book.

At a session of the 2012 annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, I helped celebrate and comment on this extraordinary two-volume set. The books present a broad defense of the reality of miracles and it's special contribution lies in its documentation of genuine miracles done in the name of Jesus throughout church history and especially around the world currently.

During the question and answer time, a near revival broke out as people began sharing their own miracle stories, including two from medical doctors who were in attendance. I highly recommend the books. One implication of the evidence Keener compiles is that it enhances the credibility of biblical miracles by showing that Hume's dictum--the uniform testimony of human experience is that miracles don't happen--is patently false and that Hume was just hanging around with the wrong sort of people! See the below enjoyable video clip as Keener reflects on his Miracles project:

Moreover, given the presence of widespread, carefully documented miracles done in Jesus's name going on all the time, this background knowledge increases the prior probability of miracles happening before we begin our investigation of a biblical miracle. All in all, Keener's books are crucial parts of the apologetic enterprise.

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