When I was about 6 years old, my family was having a picnic at Lake Allatoona. Little Oliver, to prove his strength, was picking up big rocks and carrying them around the campsite. One of my conquests lay right beside my sleeping baby sister. As I lifted the rock right over her head, the unthinkable happened; I dropped the boulder over my baby sister’s skull. As the rock fell, it changed direction and landed harmlessly a few inches from my sleeping sister’s head.
Was that story an incorrect recollection? Did it happen as I explained it but there was a natural explanation, or did I just make it up and it never really even happened? I can honestly and sincerely say, “no” to those three questions.
I believe that it was a miracle.
A miracle is an event that is contrary to the established laws of nature and attributed to a supernatural cause.
But, do miracles happen?
The universe. Most of us take for granted that the universe exists, but why and how does it exist? For most of modern history people thought that the universe simply always existed, but in the 1940’s evidence began to point to the fact that the universe, which is all matter, energy, space, and time, popped into existence in a cataclysmic event now known as the Big Bang. But how? One of the first rules of metaphysics is that “from nothing, nothing comes” or to quote the great Billy Preston, “Nothing from nothing leaves nothing. You gotta have something if you want to be with me.” So, there is no current explanation for the beginning of the universe.
The moon. Our moon is unique in the solar system. Firstly, we only have one. Some planets like Mercury and Venus have none and some planet like Jupiter and Saturn have upwards of 50 moons. Relative to their planet, our moon is far and away the largest. The moon gives us our gently ebbing and flowing tides, but if the moon were slightly bigger the tides would be hundreds of feet and your beach property would be worthless but if the moon were smaller, the tides would be insufficient to cleanse coastal seawater and replenish nutrients. The moon is the perfect distance from the earth to stabilize our rotational axis which allows seasons and regulates our temperature. Also, do you take eclipses for granted? The sun is almost 400 times the size of the moon but because of the earths distance from the sun, the sun and moon look the same size therefore, total solar and lunar eclipses are possible on earth. No other planet in our solar system has that distinction. So, the moon seems to enable life on its planet.
Life on earth. I, as a child, before I started trying to drop rocks on my baby sister’s head, would look up at the night sky and think there’s got to be another little kid on another planet somewhere in the galaxy looking back at me. We all thought that. Even the government. They funded a project called the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence or SETI. But, the more scientist studied the universe, the more they realized that the conditions for life are far more stringent than we thought. One condition is the size of our planet. If our earth were more massive, methane and ammonia with molecular weights of 16 and 17 would stay close to the surface of earth. Anyone with kids knows that if methane stayed near earth, the surface would be unlivable. But, if the earth were just a little smaller, water vapor, which has a molecular weight of 18 would not stay close to the surface. No water, no life, right? If the earth’s rotation was slower, the days would be too hot and nights would get too cold and the consequences would be deadly. If the earth’s rotation was faster, catastrophic high winds would be produced. Scientists have calculated that the odds of a planet supporting life are less than one in ten to the seventy-third power which is one followed by seventy-three zeros. Considering that there are only ten to the twenty-third planets in our galaxy, it doesn’t make sense that earth beat the odds. So, in the 60 years that the SETI project has been looking for life in our galaxy, what have they found? Bupkis (maybe that’s why they were defunded in 2011.) So, the odds tell us that we shouldn’t even be here.
The universe popping into existence, the moon’s helping to enable life on earth, and the fact the we live on earth despite the incomprehensible odds go to show me that miracles do indeed happen.