The Providence of God and Miracles

by Osamagbe Lesley Egharevba
via Unmasking Sophistry, Vol. 4, No. 2, April-June 2024

It is a common teaching among the Pentecostals that miracles exist today. We often hear various claims among different churches about certain miracles that were performed. Sadly, even among some members of the churches of Christ, there seem to be those who believe this view. Some brethren have advocated that God is still performing miracles as He did in the first century. Recently, a church of Christ organized an all-night special prayer in Lagos, Nigeria. It was reported that certain preachers conducted deliverance sessions for people with various spiritual problems. As I write this article, I have a flyer by a congregation of the Lord's church (church of Christ 44b Ligali Street) inviting people for a "Revival Night, October 2023 Edition." The theme of the Revival Night is tagged: "Deliverance from darkness dominion of witchcraft” (sic).

It is important to state at this point that the Bible speaks of deliverance from the power of darkness into the kingdom of Christ (Colossians 1:13), and this refers to the conversion of people from the world of sin into Christ's kingdom (the church) after they have obeyed the gospel by hearing, believing, repenting, confession of faith in Christ and baptism in water for the forgiveness of sins. The Bible teaches that the Lord adds the saved to the church after baptism (Acts 2:41, 47). God himself does this deliverance. So, one wonders what type of deliverance this congregation would like to do. Besides, would one imagine that God has not properly delivered them and that they needed another deliverance? If the deliverance is meant for the unbelievers, does the Bible speak of anything like a special night of deliverance service? These questions are pertinent.

The surprising thing is that when these issues were brought up to be discussed in social media groups comprising of gospel preachers, there were ministers of the gospel who defended these churches and their practice. The claim was made that anyone who says miracles have ceased limits God's power. But how true is this? Indeed, without an iota of doubt, God is all-powerful, and He is still alive. But He chooses how He does His work. In this writing, we will look into God's Word to understand certain concepts, such as providence and miracles, in relation to how God works today.

What is Providence?

"Providence" can be defined as "the care or benevolent guidance of God." The dictionary defines providence as “exercising foresight; divine guidance or care; intervention.” The English word comes from the Latin "providere," which is made up of two words, "pro" (before) and "videre" (to see), thus "to see before" or "to foresee." The corresponding Greek word is "pronoia" (forethought). Thus, the idea "to see before," which expresses the idea of foresight and forethought, implies a future end or goal with a definite purpose and plan for sustaining that end. This word is used in Acts 24:2, not about God's providence, but man's. That said, the concept of divine providence is, however, clearly taught in the Scriptures are pertinent.

One problem encountered in a study of providence is the thinking of some that God can only exercise His providence through miracles. And when we say (as clearly taught in the Bible) that the age of miracles has now ceased, they assume that we are saying that God's providential care has also ceased. In so doing, they think we are limiting God's exercise of care and guidance to the past ages. But this is not true at all. While it is true that God sometimes used miracles to accomplish His will, on other occasions, He used natural means, often unseen by man, to bring about His purpose. We must remember that the Creator controls both the natural and the miraculous. By a miracle, God created the universe and then established natural laws by which it would continue. Both are expressions of His will. Both employ a supernatural source. While the supernatural means have ceased, the supernatural source in ways unseen by human eyes continues to control His universe and His people today.


That miracles are a reality in Biblical teaching is a fact that no believer could deny. However, many individuals have a wholly inadequate view of the true nature of miracles. In general, a “miracle” can be said to be an event in the external world wrought by the immediate power of God, intended as a demonstration of His purpose and will. In Scripture, three terms define and describe the idea of a miracle. They are signs, wonders, and powers. These three terms come together in the work of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:22), the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 2:4), and the Apostles (II Corinthians 12:12).

These are the kinds of miracles we read of in the Bible:

  • a man is raised from the dead (John 11),
  • a lame man walks instantaneously (Acts 3),
  • blind people are given their sight immediately (Mark 10:49-52), and
  • a man's ear is automatically attached back to his head (Luke 22:50-51).

But we must admit that these kinds of miracles are not happening today. Most importantly, it must be understood that the ultimate purpose of Bible miracles was to confirm the Word of God (Mark 16:17-20; Hebrews 2:1-4; John 20:30-31. See II Timothy 3:16-17 and Jude 1:3; Romans 10:17 cf. Romans 1:16; I Corinthians 1:18).

Many today claim to have the power to perform miracles. But, when you take a look at the teaching of the Bible on miraculous spiritual gifts, I Corinthians 13:8-10 teaches without an iota of doubt that:

  • Miraculous gifts (prophecy, tongues, knowledge) will stop at a certain time and will not continue forever.
  • These miraculous gifts are “in part” (I Corinthians 13:9)
  • They will all be done away “when that which is perfect has come” (I Corinthians 13:10)

A popular understanding of the “perfect” is that this refers to the return of Jesus. So many interpret this verse to mean that Paul is saying that miraculous spiritual gifts will continue until Jesus returns. However, there are many problems with this understanding of Paul's teaching.

First, what is the point of saying that the miraculous spiritual gifts will end at the second coming of Christ? Of course, those gifts would end! Everything will end at the second coming of Christ, according to I Corinthians 15:23-24.

Second, what is the point of saying that we cannot know all of God's will right now, but when Christ returns, we will know fully? Again, this is not helpful, especially to these first-century Christians arguing over spiritual gifts.

Third, Paul says three things will remain: faith, hope, and love (I Corinthians 13:13). However, faith and hope cannot remain after the Second Coming of Christ. The Scriptures are very clear that hope that is seen is not hope (Romans 8:24). No one hopes for what he sees. Hope is necessary until we are joined with Christ. Hope will not remain after the second coming. Further, faith will not remain either. The writer of Hebrews teaches that faith is the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). There is no need for faith in Christ when we are gathered at home with Him. So, Paul is describing a time after the ending of spiritual gifts when faith, hope, and love will remain.

Also, many jump to I Corinthians 13:12 and state that we have not seen God face to face. Therefore, Paul is talking about the second coming when we will see God face to face. But this is not what Paul says if we carefully read it. The text does not say we will see God face to face. Paul simply says that we will see clearly like being face to face, rather than dimly.

Since the partial refers to the limited knowledge and information the Christians had in the first century through the spiritual gifts, the most natural understanding of “the perfect” is a time when that knowledge would be complete and no longer limited. Thus, the perfect is the complete Word of God. James calls it the “perfect law of liberty” (James 1:25).

However, it must be emphasized that saying that miraculous gifts have ceased is not to say that we do not believe in the power of God or prayer. We believe God can heal people through prayer and providence (James 5:13-15). In His time and way, God will heal people, but people no longer have the power to do biblical miracles. Why is it that not one miracle worker can go down to the cemetery today and raise a dead person? Because that power no longer exists for us!

How God Works Today

Today, God does not use miracles to work (I Corinthians 13:8). He has told us to ask in prayer what we need and he would hear us (I John 5:14). Those who are sick should pray (James 5: 13-15) The truth is: modern-day miracles are fake because there are no genuine miracles happening today. In a day and age when all people can seem to think about is miracles and the Holy Spirit, maybe we should start turning our attention to the product of the Holy Spirit — the Word of God (John 16:13). Instead of getting in a fizzle about miracles today, Christians need to be fired up for the Words of the Holy Spirit (Jeremiah 20:9). May God help us to study to show ourselves approved (II Timothy 2:15).

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