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Miracles: What They Are, Why They Happen, and How They Can Change Your Life Paperback – October 13, 2015
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Not since C. S. Lewis in 1947 has an author of Eric Metaxas’s stature undertaken a major exploration of the phenomenon of miracles. In this groundbreaking work, Metaxas examines the compatibility between faith and science and provides well-documented anecdotal evidence of actual miracles. With compelling—sometimes electrifying—evidence that there is something real to be reckoned with, Metaxas offers a timely, civil, and thoughtful answer to recent books by Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris. Already a New York Times bestseller, Miracles will be welcomed by both believers and skeptics—who will find their minds opening to the possibilities.
"[Metaxas] has taken a difficult and often controversial topic and presented it with clarity. Both erudite and intimate, Metaxas invites even the scoffer to wonder." -- Kirkus Reviews
“Miracles is the sort of book that -- once you've read it -- you'll wonder where it's been all your life.”
—Kathie Lee Gifford, Emmy-award-winning host, The Today Show
“If you’re a skeptic, read this book with an open mind and you might just discover that miracles are real. If you’re already a believer, be ready to be inspired.”
—Kirsten Powers, columnist for USA Today and The Daily Beast
"Alluring." -- Library Journal
"With this beautiful and moving and thoughtful new book, Eric Metaxas proves yet again to be a writer of the first order....Miracles is a cool rain of intelligent truth."
—Bret Lott, Best-selling author of Jewel; Non-fiction editor, Crazyhorse
“Take the brilliant mind of Eric Metaxas, add the provocative topic of miracles, and get ready to change the way you see reality forever.”
—Erwin Raphael McManus, Founder of MOSAIC and author, The Artisan Soul: Crafting Your Life into a Work of Art
“Metaxas's Miracles mixes storytelling with logic and inspiring beauty with profound mystery. It’s an intoxicating combination.”
—Patricia Heaton, Emmy-award-winning actress, Everybody Loves Raymond and The Middle
“In his inimitably entertaining way, Eric Metaxas shows us that it is okay to believe in a world in which God still speaks and shows up in the cosmos and the lives of people just like you. By opening this book, you'll embark upon a divine conspiracy. Are you ready?”
—Gregory Alan Thornbury, PhD, President, The King's College, New York City
“As Metaxas himself says, feel free to gulp. Reading Miracles is one of those life altering experiences.”
—Caroline Coleman, author of the novel Loving Soren
“Metaxas provides a compass for our intellect and inspires our journeys with profound miracle stories -- with his attuned humor shining throughout.”
—Makoto Fujimura, Artist and Founder, International Arts Movement (IAM)
“Eric Metaxas is like C.S. Lewis but with jokes: intelligent, spiritually profound, and full of wit. In Miracles, Metaxas himself is a testament that genius and religious faith are not mutually exclusive.”
—Susan E. Isaacs, author Angry Conversations with God: A Snarky but Authentic Spiritual Memoir
“Read this book to confront your doubt. Read this book to face down your fear of the afterlife. Read this book to re-enchant your humanity.”
—Owen Strachan, Author, Risky Gospel
“As a secular reader, I come to such books with a certain resistance. Metaxas won me over instantly by meeting me where I live. His intellectual honesty, coupled with an open-hearted wonder at the sheer breadth of human experience, is irresistible.”
—Christopher Noel, author, Impossible Visits
With wit and wisdom, Eric Metaxas will blow your mind with stories of phenomena beyond anything we might classify as merely natural. And he will bless your heart with what can happen in your life personally as you read stories of people (very smart people I might add) who "extra-ordinarily" encountered God's majestic purpose converging with their daily lives, stunning and humbling them forever. Are you next?”
—Emerson Eggerichs, author of 2007 ECPA Book of the Year, Love and Respect.
“A dense, edgy and awe-inspiring report on the possibility of the impossible.”
—Dr. Markus Spieker, Reporter for German National Television and bestselling author of Hollywood Cinema in Nazi Germany
“Miracles is a clarion call to any who, like Dante, have lost la speranza dell altezza. The rich variety of testimonies sing a song of hope and should rekindle in us the glorious certainly that there is a loving God, who is always there willing to help us.”
—Dame Alice von Hildebrand, author, Memoirs of a Happy Failure and The Privilege of Being a Woman
“No Christian thinker today combines reason and wit, argument and imagination, to greater effect.”
—Joseph Loconte, Associate Professor of History at the King's College, NYC and author, God, Locke, and Liberty: The Struggle for Religious Freedom in the West.
"Metaxas has done it again....he presents hope for the tone deaf who cannot hear the splendor of the music of the spheres, and he brings in sunlight for modern cave dwellers who have become accustomed to only shadows on the wall of our increasingly windowless world."
—Os Guinness, author Long Journey Home
“Miracles is just what I needed to remind me to keep asking to see the miraculous."
—Joy Eggerichs, Creator, The Illumination Project, and Founder of Love and Respect Now.
“The miracles in Miracles -- and Eric's own amazing miraculous experience -- bring out the
fact that the miraculous gift of eternal life that God provides can be experienced here on earth.”
—Luis Palau, International Evangelist
About the Author
- Publisher : Penguin Books; Reprint edition (October 13, 2015)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 352 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0147516498
- ISBN-13 : 978-0147516497
- Reading age : 18 years and up
- Item Weight : 9.1 ounces
- Dimensions : 0.7 x 5.3 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #76,150 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
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Initially, I was engrossed with the book, appreciating his depth of insight on science (with one caveat I explain below), his whimsical take on "dead religion" and "true faith," and was a bit surprised, though I suppose I don't know why, when he dove right in to the Biblical miracles using both reason and faith. However, when he finally went into Part II of the book, which began dealing with all the various noted miracles of people he's met and known, including what he calls a miracle about a dream or two he had, is where I began to be disappointed. It's not that I don't believe that these things did or could have happened, I certainly do believe that, but rather the way that he began framing the various miracles as direct evidence of God's presence and purposeful revealing of Himself to humankind. Let me explain.
To me, it seems that Metaxas, as often is the case with other various evangelicals and charismatics, often look to the supernatural as evidence of God, His Spirit, and His presence as a or the defining reality of who God is. Metaxas is smart enough not put all of his eggs in that basket, as is evidenced by his appeal to the resurrection of Jesus and particularly to the necessity of Jesus Christ at the end of this book. But that's what is so problematic about the way he has framed all these miracles.
To be sure, these miracles, many of them subjective as they are, can certainly point toward the presence of a god, but not necessarily the triune God of Scriptures, as especially revealed through the incarnate Son of God, Jesus Christ. In other words, Metaxas assumes a Christian lens for the telling of these miracles. Admittedly, some of them would be better described as claimed charismatic subjective manifestations of the Holy Spirit, unobservable to anyone else but the one having the emotional and/or spiritual moment. In any case, in our pluralistic age, what is to say that most or all of these claimed miracles are from the God of the Bible rather than, say, Allah, Karma, or even The Force, if there is no direct revelation of Jesus Christ? Again, I am not disputing their occurrence, nor even that they did come from the God of the Bible, but I'm just not convinced of the seeming quasi apologetic/charismatic nature of the book as entirely edifying. Rather, it appears to be that he's making a case for a particular flavor of Christianity, with some wit and reason interspersed throughout the book.
Ultimately, two fundamental flaws were unhelpful for me. One was logical, the other theological. First, in his initial and wonderfully brilliant investigation into the science and mathematics of our existence, he sides with a particular view of earth's age. Namely, that it is millions of years old. That's fine in itself. Many Christians uphold that, though they do so based on the priority of science rather than God's Word. But again, no biggie from my perspective. However, when the book is about miracles, and miracles that defy the observable, one has to be logically consistent in his claims. If the earth was made by an intelligent designer (as the Scriptures say) and as it seems science, physics, and mathematics point to, why does Metaxas seem to doubt the miracle of a six day young earth creation according to the Genesis account and defer to the implied "evidence" of scientific (radiometric and carbon) dating, noting that God would not lie to us through this evidence.
The irony, of course, is that the final word has not been had about such dating procedures and methods, much like the state of science was before Copernicus and Galileo. So I find it amusing that a book on miracles would opt for what science would say, rather than believe the Word of God, as he does in numerous other places, most notably, the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Medical science certainly does not support the possibility of a dead person becoming alive again after one's heart and brain have ceased to work for three days. But yet Metaxas is sure, as he should be, that in Jesus' case, it did happen.
This leads me to my theological query, which even it seems Metaxas himself tries to make up for throughout his book. If the point of all of these miracles is for God to communicate Himself to us, to what end is that communication? Is it merely to say that He is present? If so, how are we to know which god is present and why we should bother about believing in him, her, or it? Metaxas seems to know that it's all for not if people who experience a miracle do not believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. That's why I surmise he puts in stories that have references to the classic Evangelical, but non-biblical, "sinners prayer" to accept Jesus into their heart. It's very likely also why he circles back around to Jesus at the end of the book, because he instinctively knows that miracles in themselves offer nothing toward salvation apart from seeing them through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Thus, in sum, though the book has some interesting qualities about it, I did not find it a compelling read, but rather more of a sort of testimony for the superiority of his Evangelical version of faith.
However, I was disappointed to see Metaxas venturing into at least one area in which he is obviously poorly informed and presenting his naively-formed belief as obvious fact. Although I enjoyed much of the book, I did not enjoy Metaxas using his well-deserved stature as an author to misinform sincere believers who might tend to think that his expertise in biographical story-telling makes him an expert in all matters about which he might choose to write. Readers should always be careful not to do this, but most do.
In an early chapter, Metaxas discusses the miracle of creation, rightly placing it at the forefront of all miracle-claims ever made. It becomes clear without reading far that he is a devotee of Hugh Ross, of the “ministry” Reasons To Believe, where one can read that the narrative history presented in Genesis and beyond, reinforced by the apostles Peter and Paul, not to mention the Lord Jesus Himself, is poetry and myth; not to be believed by rational Christians. God must have used the “Big Bang” and billions of years of evolution to work His “miracle” of creation. Why does Dr. Ross sell this idea to devotees like Mr. Metaxas? Because some created men (who happen to have Ph.D.’s), overruling their creator, believe they have “proved” differently. In other words, presented with a choice between the Word of the Creator and the word of The Creator’s rebellious creatures, Mr. Metaxas chooses the word of the created. Let’s take a brief, but closer look at this author’s thinking.
Metaxas wants us to believe that miracles are indeed possible —that the accounts of the miraculous events of Scripture can be accepted as true. However, the very first miracle-claim in that same Scripture must be some sort of ancient Hebrew poetry (despite its clearly narrative form) since what it claims is not physically possible. Later, Metaxas chides liberal scholars for trying to explain away miracles like the feeding of the five thousand and the resurrection based on their naturalistic assumption that these miracles are not physically possible! Does anyone besides me see an inconsistency in this thinking?
Most important for me is the fact that this kind of magisterial cherry-picking confuses those Christians who do not have time or access to the truth about the matters he’s discussing. If Metaxas' claims about the events of creation are true, what other narrative scripture is to be seen as dreamy poetic ramblings or mythical half-memories? How does he distinguish the two? Does he accept only those passages approved by atheist scientists? Clearly not, since he decries that very thing with respect to other miracles.
Still, I was willing to ignore all that in view of the strength of the book in other areas, until I read this In chapter seven where the author is discussing how we can sense the veracity of miracle claims:
“…some people believe that the universe was created a few thousand years ago, but when confronted with geological evidence to the contrary, they respond that God “can do anything,” including creating geological “evidence” that is deliberately misleading. When asked why, they say that he did that “to test our faith.” Some have even maintained that God planted dinosaur bones in the rock strata for the same reason.”
Metaxas then goes on to declare this inconsistent with the character of God. Well, of course such nonsense is inconsistent with the character of God, so no young-earth creationist with any level of information would make such silly claims. This little straw man about what some Christians believe is what one would expect to read from the least-informed weekend atheist blogger. An informed Christian reader doesn’t expect to see it in a non fiction book about miracles by a respected Christian biographer. The damage done by propagating such baloney, in my mind, outweighs any good the book might do. We get enough of it from atheists, who I’m sure are happy to have Mr. Metaxas’ support.
Add to all this his laughable support of Benny Hinn’s sham “ministry,” and you have a very flawed work.
I suggest Mr. Metaxas stick to biographies and do more study on the current young-earth creationist thinking, including that of many Ph.D scientists (as if that title mattered more than the Word of the Creator) who begin their thinking by assuming the truth of Scripture, as any follower of Christ should do.
Because I Think, I Believe
Top reviews from other countries
The first part of the book is about other evidence pointing to the existence of God, such as the fine-tuning of the universe for intelligent life.
A great read, worth every penny and more.
The first part, about the scientific specifics of our universe, is fascinating and among the best I’ve ever read. This portion alone is worth the purchase.
Loved every page of it!