Biographer and cultural commentator Metaxas (Seven Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness, 2013, etc.) addresses the concept of the miraculous in a work both intellectual and personal in approach.
Early on, the author notes that miracles “point to something beyond themselves,” (namely, God) and that “a miracle is something that really only happens in context.” Furthermore, “When God pokes into our world through the miraculous, he is communicating with us.” With these parameters in mind, Metaxas sets about the task of strengthening believers’ understanding of miracles and, if not convincing nonbelievers, at least causing such readers to seriously consider his points. He begins with an exploration of life itself, concluding that humanity’s very existence is miraculous and beyond statistical probability. Metaxas gives science its due, respecting its methods and accepting such assumptions as the Big Bang. However, he notes that the existence of life on Earth is dependent upon a complex set of variables which, seen objectively, cannot be scientifically and mathematically explained away. Metaxas goes on to discuss miracles from a Christian, biblical perspective, concluding the first half of his work with the fundamental Christian miracle, the resurrection of Jesus Christ. What Metaxas does next is intriguing. He presents a number of miracle stories, but instead of drawing upon historical or famous sources, he includes only stories from individuals he knows personally. The effect is to demonstrate that a wide range of miracles—or at least unexplainable happenings—can occur even among one person’s own circle of acquaintances. These stories, ranging from healings to visions, make the concept of the miraculous more real and personal. Metaxas cannot be said to have written a definitive work, nor did he set out to do so. However, he has taken a difficult and often controversial topic and presented it with clarity.
Both erudite and intimate, Metaxas invites even the scoffer to wonder.