Best-selling Author Reveals the Truth behind Science, Faith, and Miracles
Eric Metaxas was born in New York City and raised within the church but never heard about salvation. His brilliant mind got him into Yale University where he made a literary splash as editor of the Yale humor magazine. The culture at Yale was composed of sophisticated people who thought questions like “Why we are here?” have no answers and to pursue them is foolish. Eric adopted distaste for religion and valued reason above all. After he graduated he expected to conquer the literary world but soon found himself living with his parents and working a "horrible" job as a proofreader. He worked alongside a born again Episcopalian, Ed Tuttle, who consistently witnessed to Eric. When Eric's uncle was hospitalized, Ed told him that people at his church were praying for his uncle and he asked Eric if he could pray with him. Eric was deeply touched that people he didn’t know were praying for his uncle and believed their prayers would be heard and answered. Several weeks later, Eric had a dream in which God spoke to him using his own metaphor about life and revealed himself as God. Telling Ed about his dream, Ed asked Eric what he thought the dream meant. Without hesitation, Eric said it meant he had accepted Jesus. Eric knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God was God and gradually grew in understanding of truth. He has never looked back and now shares that Jesus is God and defends Christianity through reason and science.
FAITH & SCIENCE
Eric says, “Whether one believes in miracles or the miraculous has mostly to do with the presuppositions one brings to the subject.” One strong presupposition carried throughout history is that science and faith are pitted against each other. Many people today do not believe that science and faith are compatible. Eric believes that the idea of science and faith being at odds is nonsensical. He says that science is about examining the natural world and faith is outside the natural realm. If faith is outside the realm of what science can examine, then it shouldn’t even be able to comment on it. At the very best, science can say it doesn’t know. Eric says its like a mathematician dealing with art.
However, Eric does believe that science can point towards the miraculous. He lists many different scientific reasons that indicate divine intervention. Two of the most significant reasons he examines are the creation of the universe and how the moon came into being. If the explosion that created the universe were a tiny bit faster or slower life wouldn’t be possible. Precise nuclear force, a superabundance of carbon, and the presence of at least forty different elements were essential to creating the universe but extremely unlikely. He says, “If the moon were slightly bigger, it would cause our tides to be much more extreme, since a larger moon would of course exert that much more gravitational pull.” If the moon were any smaller, then the tides on Earth wouldn’t be enough to cleanse coastal seawater and replenish its nutrients. The rough Mars-sized mass that hit Earth and created our moon was so perfectly aligned that the variables are undeniably miraculous. Eric says, “…the towering odds against our existence begin to become a bit unsettling. When we come to see the superlatively extreme precariousness of our existence and begin to understand how by any accounting we ought not exist, what are we to think or feel?”
If we believe that God created the universe out of nothing then it only makes logical sense that we would believe He is capable of performing infinitely smaller miracles. However, Eric believes that many Christians can be too gullible when discerning whether or not something is a miracle. He says, “It’s one thing to be innocent and another thing to be naïve or willfully ignorant.” God is the God of what is true and no one should be afraid to examine a miracle because of what science will say. He says, “If they are real miracles and are from God, they can stand being poked at and examined.” He also believes that many non-believers can be too cynical by discounting every story. He recommends we make a reasonable verdict based on the evidence at hand just as in a court of law. He says, “Serious questions are to be tolerated and encouraged, but thoughtless gullibility on the one hand, and flippant, dismissive cynicism, are not.”
Eric believes, “Miracles are signs, and like all signs, they are never about themselves; they’re about whatever they are pointing toward. Miracles point to something beyond themselves. But to what? To God himself. That’s the point of miracles––to point us beyond our world to another world.” He has experienced miracles in his own life and believes they also exist to strengthen and deepen one’s faith. However, the existence of miracles also begs the question, “Why do miracles happen to some people and not others?” Eric says, “Miracles seem to attest to the presence of a loving and compassionate God, one who wants to help us, who wants to speak to us and encourage us. But as soon as we think of when miracles do not happen, we think the opposite is true, that God is indifferent and unloving and doesn’t care if we are crushed and discouraged. So which is it?” Eric says if God were to answer every prayer then it would hardly be a miracle but would be a predictable formula for people to get results. It would make God a “god” that can be controlled through our own efforts. If we believe that God is a loving father, then we can trust that whether He performs a miracle or not He has our best interests in mind. Some people believe that miracles can be made through one’s own faith but Eric shows that “our” faith is not always required. He reveals how Lazarus was dead when Jesus raised him up, therefore he had no faith at all. Eric says that many times, “…we end up believing that it is our faith that brings about the outcome. We think that if we can only believe strongly enough, we can make God hear our prayer and answer it.” He believes that our faith matters but if you emphasize that too much it becomes about what you can do and not about what God can do.
Eric believes that miracles stories are “perhaps the best evidence we can have for miracles.” Therefore, he shares numerous miracle stories as testimonial evidence that miracles are real and happening today. One story he shares is of his friend Eva Meyer who at thirteen years old spent the night with some new friends from school. She discovered that they were involved in the occult and wanted to invoke demonic spirits. After explaining to them that she didn’t want to do that, they all went on a walk to the beach. They came upon a solid six-foot fence that was blocking the bridge they needed to cross with a sign indicating roadwork. One of the girls said that she had gone over it before and it was only to stop cars from crossing. They insisted that Eva go first and boosted her over the fence. When she was dropping over the fence, Eva quickly realized that there was no bridge at all on the other side of the fence. She lost her grip and starting falling towards the active highway beneath. She screamed “Jesus!” as she plummeted to her certain death. She felt something grab her and lift her up in midair. She was carried back over the fence and set down like a parachute had brought her in for a soft landing. The other girls screamed and ran away. Eva knew without a doubt in that moment she was saved miraculously by Jesus.