The Time Crunch Phenomenon and Miracles

When we watch movies and/or television shows, we never suppose that we are seeing every detail of the characters’ lives. Huge chunks of time and events are skimmed over, implied or simply left out. However, we tend to subconsciously put the puzzle together without asking about the missing pieces. Just because Batman is never shown brushing his teeth does not lead us to conclude that Bruce Wayne has terrible oral hygiene. And we do not assume that the events in the character’s life begin and end with what we see on the screen. However, if something happens with regularity on the show/movie, we assume that it is always happening. We don’t consider the possibility that after Jack Bauer saves the world from a crisis (in a single day) that he sits around in his underwear eating Cheetos and playing video games for other 364 days. No. In our minds and hearts, Jack Bauer is always saving the world. I call this the “time crunch phenomenon.”

The time crunch phenomenon also comes into play when we are reading the Bible. We are viewing history through a very small window. We do not have satellite footage of what was happening everywhere on earth simultaneous to the events described in the Bible. It is like watching a movie or T.V. show. Presumably, in the fictional world of the movie/show, a whole lot is going on that we are not seeing. Somewhere, someone is cooking dinner. Somewhere, someone is bowling. Somewhere, someone is picking his nose. But that isn’t in the movie, because we are just following the plot and characters that are featured for the purpose of the story. The Bible is like that. There are a virtually infinite number of unrecorded happenings that were concurrent with the events of the Bible. The apostle John flatly admits that there are details of Jesus’ life that are not recorded. He says, “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written” (Jn 21:25).

On the one hand, we are content to fill in the gaps on our own. We don’t assume that after Moses fled from Egypt and got married that he was cryogenically  frozen for 40 years before being thawed out by the burning bush. Neither do we conclude that Jesus never went to the bathroom simply because the Bible never mentions it. However, on the other hand, there is a tendency to assume that everything we read in the Bible was the norm for that time. We never consider that while the Red Sea was parting, someone hundreds of miles away was biting his fingernails. We cannot bring ourselves to imagine that while Jesus was raising Lazarus from the dead, there may have been someone in a nearby village dying of cancer. No. In our minds and hearts, the seas were always parting, God’s voice was always audible, blind people were always being healed, the dead were always rising, and fire was always falling from the sky. Thanks to the time crunch phenomenon, we mistakenly imagine the world of the Bible to be very different from our own. That causes a number of problems. I will only take time to mention one in this space.

One such error is the assumption that miraculous activity has dramatically decreased over the past 2000 years. Many Christians wonder, “If God was always doing huge miracles in the Bible, why doesn’t he do that now?” “Isn’t it convenient,” skeptics ask, “that God has stopped doing miracles at exactly the same moment when we discovered scientific explanations for things?” When, in response, a Christian points to some “mundane” answered prayer,  report of a miracle in some remote part of the world, or something that happened hundreds, even thousands of years ago, the skeptic confidently declares “checkmate.” The assumption is that, according to the Bible, God used to do huge, public miracles constantly. Where did they get that idea? Not from the Bible. From the time crunch phenomenon.

Not only is this an unfounded assumption, the Bible explicitly says that there were long periods of time where virtually no one experienced God in an overtly supernatural way. When God spoke to Samuel as a child, we are told that he did not expect it because, “in those days, the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions” (1 Sam 1:3). Beyond that, there are huge chunks of time when very few miracles, if any, are reported in the Bible. After the Exodus and conquest of the land, hundreds of years pass with very little mention of the miraculous. They increased again during the time of Elijah and Elisha, but after their deaths, there was another span of a few hundred years before the miracles reported in Daniel. After the time of Daniel, there is a period of 400-500 years before we see many miracles showing up again in the biblical record. When you consider that the majority of these reported miracles were limited to a fairly small geographic area, there may well have been periods of thousands of years where people in particular locales did not witness much, if any, overt miraculous activity. Unfortunately, the time crunch phenomenon has caused many people (including many Christians) to glaze over these facts. To finish reading this article follow the link >>>>> http://www.becauseitstrue.com/2/post/2014/03/the-time-crunch-phenomenon-and-miracles.html

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I am a husband and father. I teach apologetics, theology, and hermeneutics at a private Christian high school. I run the apologetics website becauseitstrue.com. I am also the chapter director of Ratio Christi at the University of Georgia.

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