Eric Metaxas is rolling out his new book “Miracles” tomorrow. I had the privilege of reading it in advance. I read “Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy” last year and enjoyed it so much I read several of Eric’s other books. Many of Eric’s latest books were biographical so Miracles in combining theology and biography was a bit of a twist from his most recent offerings. Being part of a church that is Charismatic in expression and Reformed in theological practice, I was interested in the direction Metaxas would take on the supernatural. Knowing his background of Greek Orthodoxy, and that he has attended primarily more mainline denominational churches, I became even more curious on his thoughts concerning the miraculous. To say I was pleasantly surprised is an understatement.
Eric in Miracles does something few authors, theologians or pastors ever do he maintained the delicate balance between knowing God and experiencing God. Most of us fall to one side or the other in theological debates. To maintain the tension of knowing God (theology and apologetics) and experiencing God through personal interaction with God through various means. This tension is maintained implicitly throughout the book and explicitly in the layout. The first half of the book is an excellent apologetic of the miraculous. His treatment of the miraculous is C.S. Lewis like it its simplicity and yet deep in its imagery. The second half of the book is a catalog of personal friends of Metaxas that have had verifiable miracles take place in their lives.
I found the opening chapters truly fascinating. As someone who has grown up in Charismatic churches and has seen and experienced countless miracles, I found the first half of the book particularly interesting. Eric explains the absolute exactness in which our world, universe and lives were formed. He asserts, correctly in my opinion, that if the world was created in such an exact miraculous way why do we think that someone’s back being healed or marriage restored is beyond the realm of possibilities. I particularly enjoyed his chapters on Miracles and Science, Is life a Miracle? and The Miracle of the Universe. While some of his assertions could be challenged he clearly articulates a case for intelligent design.
In the opening chapters of his book Eric demonstrates so well this tension he maintains. Where he uses thought and facts to elevate and celebrate the miraculous rather than as a platform to castigate them. Here is one example from the opening part of the book:
True faith is not a leap in the dark; it’s a leap into the light. We shouldn’t be afraid of the facts. If God is God, he is the God of reality and facts and science and history. So facts matter. They are not besides the point. If something turns out to be genuinely miraculous, then we are free to enjoy it, to rejoice in it, and to celebrate the true wonder of it. We don’t need to hedge our bets. When we finally know something to be true and real, we can really leap and shout with abandon, because we’ve determined that the thing we are leaping and shouting about is worth leaping and shouting about.
Growing up in charismatic churches and now having a greater appreciation understanding of the reformed theological viewpoint, I found Miracles both challenging and inspiring. In the age of reductionism that we live in we so badly want a side to choose and defend it to the death. Miracles for me was more “both and” than “Either or” kind of book. It pushed you to think deeply about faith and at the same time allowed for the wonder and paradox that true faith demands.
Lastly I so enjoy Metaxas’ wonder filled passion for God that moves him to worship. He says the following in his chapter on “The Miracles of the universe”
Our existence seems to be not merely a virtually impossible miracle but the most outrageous miracle conceivable, one that makes previously amazing miracles seem like almost nothing…The slimness or our being here is so slim that it’s enough to leaves us googgle-eyed with terror-until in the next moment we realize we are indeed here and explode with gratitude for our very existence. This really can be the only proper and logical response to it all, to marvel and rejoice and rest in the genuinely unfathomable miracle of our being.
I strongly recommend that you pre-order today or buy tomorrow Eric’s new book as he expands his humor and unique style beyond biographical works to the much-needed conversation about the reality of Miracles.