“Is it more probable that nature should go out of her course, or that a man should tell a lie? We have never seen, in our time, nature go out of her course; but we have good reason to believe that millions of lies have been told in the same time; it is, therefore, at least millions to one, that the reporter of a miracle tells a lie.”
(Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason, 1794)
Cults that had existed for hundreds or thousands of years all had miracle performing prodigies. Isis, an Egyptian goddess, healed the sick. Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea, walked on water, as did Horus, an Egyptian deity. Dionysus, the Greek god of the grape harvest, turned water into wine. Aesclepius, the god of medicine and healing, raised the dead. Buddha fed five hundred men with one loaf of bread, cured lepers, and helped the blind to see. Jesus’ miracles were all rather “old hat” by the time the Gospel authors wrote about them.
It could be argued it was just coincidence Jesus shared similar miracles with others, or that he mimicked them to raise his own status. Both are weak arguments, as it is obvious the authors thought they could borrow attractive accounts from other cults.
The Old Testament had hundreds of miracles. Jesus, portrayed as the next prophet of Israel, was made to work miracles like Moses and Elijah.
If Jesus was really God, he should have pulled off some pioneering pranks, like conducted a concerto, turned on a television with a remote control, or water-skied on the Sea of Galilee. If he had cured the world of smallpox, leprosy, or cancer, he would have a convincing case for his divinity.
There were cures, exorcisms, and risings from the dead. Those with paraplegia, leprosy, insanity, cerebral palsy, blindness or had given up breathing were fixed in a flash. The social security system must have saved a stack of sheckels.
Consider how today’s faith healers can attract crowds of thousands with only the hope of heaven’s help. If Jesus’ miracles were genuine, news of him would have spread like wildfire. There would have been no doubt he was divine, someone special, much more than a “dime a dozen” preacher pushing pre-owned parables. He would be exalted above sectarian squabbles with Romans, Sadducees, and Pharisees, not someone who was plotted against, mocked by crowds, scourged, and crucified. The description of his demise makes it indisputable he was no superstar in his own time, so he didn’t do miracles.
Paul, who met the original disciples, didn’t document a single miracle. His writings predated the gospels, so he had no idea his Christ was a wonder worker. Nor does a scrutiny of all the first-century Epistles in the Bible – James, Jude, 1 and 2 Peter, and 1, 2, and 3 John – reveal any mention of miracles. They too were written too early. The only place miracles are mentioned is in the Gospels, and those writers copied each other and similar accounts from other cults. Evangelical authors invented Jesus’ miracle stories, a fact easily deduced from an objective appraisal of the Bible!