Synopses & Reviews
Chapter OneThe Scope of This BookThose who wish to succeed must ask the right preliminary questions.Aristotle, "Metaphysics, II, (III), I.
In all my life I have met only one person who claims to have seen a ghost. And the interesting thing about the story is that that person disbelieved in the immortal soul before she saw the ghost and still disbelieves after seeing it. She says that what she saw must have been an illusion or a trick of the nerves. And obviously she may be right. Seeing is not believing.
For this reason, the question whether miracles occur can never be answered simply by experience. Every event which might claim to be a miracle is, in the last resort, something presented to our senses, something seen, heard, touched, smelled, or tasted. And our senses are infallible. If anything extraordinary seems to have happened, we can always say that we have been the victims of an illusion. If we hold a philosophy which excludes the supernatural, this is what we always shall say. What we learn from experience depends on the kind of philosophy we bring to experience. It is therefore useless to appeal to experience before we have settled, as well as we can, the philosophical question.
If immediate experience cannot prove or disprove the miraculous, still less can history do so. Many people think one can decide whether a miracle occurred in the past by examining the evidence 'according to the ordinary rules of historical inquiry'. But the ordinary rules cannot be worked until we have decided whether miracles are possible, and if so, how probable they are. For if they are impossible, then no amount of historical evidence will convince us. If they are possible but immenselyimprobable, then only mathematically demonstrative evidence will convince us: and since history never provides that degree of evidence for any event, history can never convince us that a miracle occurred. If, on the other hand, miracles are not intrinsically improbable, then the existing evidence will be sufficient to convince us that quite a number of miracles have occurred. The result of our historical enquiries thus depends on the philosophical views which we have been holding before we even began to look at the evidence. This philosophical question must therefore come first.
Here is an example of the sort of thing that happens if we omit the preliminary philosophical task, and rush on to the historical. In a popular commentary on the Bible you will find a discussion of the date at which the Fourth Gospel was written. The author says it must have been written after the execution of St Peter, because, in the Fourth Gospel, Christ is represented as predicting the execution of St Peter. 'A book', thinks the author, 'cannot be written "before events which it refers to'. Of course it cannot -- unless real predictions ever occur. If they do, then this argument for the date is in ruins. And the author has not discussed at all whether real predictions are possible. He takes it for granted (perhaps unconsciously) that they are not. Perhaps he is right: but if he is, he has not discovered this principle by historical inquiry. He has brought his disbelief in predictions to his historical work, so to speak, ready made. Unless he had done so his historical conclusion about the date of the Fourth Gospel could not have been reached at all. His work is therefore quite useless to a person who wantsto know "whetber predictions occur. The author gets to work only after he has already answered that question in the negative, and on grounds which he never communicates to us.
This book is intended as a preliminary to historical inquiry. I am not a trained historian and I shall not examine the historical evidence for the Christian miracles. My effort is to put my readers in a position to do so. It is no use going to the texts until we have some idea about the possibility or probability of the miraculous. Those who assume that miracles cannot happen are merely wasting their time by looking into the texts: we know in advance what results they will find for they have begun by begging the question.
Praise for Eric Metaxas and Miracles
"[Metaxas] has taken a difficult and often controversial topic and presented it with clarity. Both erudite and intimate, Metaxas invites even the scoffer to wonder." -- Kirkus Reviews
“Miracles is the sort of book that -- once you've read it -- you'll wonder where it's been all your life.”
—Kathie Lee Gifford, Emmy-award-winning host, The Today Show
“If youre a skeptic, read this book with an open mind and you might just discover that miracles are real. If youre already a believer, be ready to be inspired.”
—Kirsten Powers, columnist for USA Today and The Daily Beast
"Alluring." -- Library Journal
"With this beautiful and moving and thoughtful new book, Eric Metaxas proves yet again to be a writer of the first order....Miracles is a cool rain of intelligent truth."
—Bret Lott, Best-selling author of Jewel; Non-fiction editor, Crazyhorse
“Take the brilliant mind of Eric Metaxas, add the provocative topic of miracles, and get ready to change the way you see reality forever.”
—Erwin Raphael McManus, Founder of MOSAIC and author, The Artisan Soul: Crafting Your Life into a Work of Art
“Metaxas's Miracles mixes storytelling with logic and inspiring beauty with profound mystery. Its an intoxicating combination.”
—Patricia Heaton, Emmy-award-winning actress, Everybody Loves Raymond and The Middle
“In his inimitably entertaining way, Eric Metaxas shows us that it is okay to believe in a world in which God still speaks and shows up in the cosmos and the lives of people just like you. By opening this book, you'll embark upon a divine conspiracy. Are you ready?”
—Gregory Alan Thornbury, PhD, President, The King's College, New York City
“As Metaxas himself says, feel free to gulp. Reading Miracles is one of those life altering experiences.”
—Caroline Coleman, author of the novel Loving Soren
“Metaxas provides a compass for our intellect and inspires our journeys with profound miracle stories -- with his attuned humor shining throughout.”
—Makoto Fujimura, Artist and Founder, International Arts Movement (IAM)
“Eric Metaxas is like C.S. Lewis but with jokes: intelligent, spiritually profound, and full of wit. In Miracles, Metaxas himself is a testament that genius and religious faith are not mutually exclusive.”
—Susan E. Isaacs, author Angry Conversations with God: A Snarky but Authentic Spiritual Memoir
“Read this book to confront your doubt. Read this book to face down your fear of the afterlife. Read this book to re-enchant your humanity.”
—Owen Strachan, Author, Risky Gospel
“As a secular reader, I come to such books with a certain resistance. Metaxas won me over instantly by meeting me where I live. His intellectual honesty, coupled with an open-hearted wonder at the sheer breadth of human experience, is irresistible.”
—Christopher Noel, author, Impossible Visits
With wit and wisdom, Eric Metaxas will blow your mind with stories of phenomena beyond anything we might classify as merely natural. And he will bless your heart with what can happen in your life personally as you read stories of people (very smart people I might add) who "extra-ordinarily" encountered God's majestic purpose converging with their daily lives, stunning and humbling them forever. Are you next?”
—Emerson Eggerichs, author of 2007 ECPA Book of the Year, Love and Respect.
“A dense, edgy and awe-inspiring report on the possibility of the impossible.”
—Dr. Markus Spieker, Reporter for German National Television and bestselling author of Hollywood Cinema in Nazi Germany
“Miracles is a clarion call to any who, like Dante, have lost la speranza dell altezza. The rich variety of testimonies sing a song of hope and should rekindle in us the glorious certainly that there is a loving God, who is always there willing to help us.”
—Dame Alice von Hildebrand, author, Memoirs of a Happy Failure and The Privilege of Being a Woman
“No Christian thinker today combines reason and wit, argument and imagination, to greater effect.”
—Joseph Loconte, Associate Professor of History at the King's College, NYC and author, God, Locke, and Liberty: The Struggle for Religious Freedom in the West.
"Metaxas has done it again....he presents hope for the tone deaf who cannot hear the splendor of the music of the spheres, and he brings in sunlight for modern cave dwellers who have become accustomed to only shadows on the wall of our increasingly windowless world."
—Os Guinness, author Long Journey Home
“Miracles is just what I needed to remind me to keep asking to see the miraculous."
—Joy Eggerichs, Creator, The Illumination Project, and Founder of Love and Respect Now.
“The miracles in Miracles -- and Eric's own amazing miraculous experience -- bring out the
fact that the miraculous gift of eternal life that God provides can be experienced here on earth.”
—Luis Palau, International Evangelist
Praise for Bonhoeffer
“Eric Metaxas tells Bonhoeffer's story with passion and theological sophistication.”
— Wall Street Journal
“Insightful and illuminating, this tome makes a powerful contribution to biography, history, and theology.”
— Publishers Weekly
“Metaxas presents a complete, accessible picture of this important figure, whose story is inspiring, instructive, and international in scope.”
— Kirkus, starred review
“Eric Metaxas has written a rich, detailed, and beautiful account of the great pastor and theologian.... Metaxas Bonhoeffer is a monumental achievement and a deeply important work.”
— Greg Thornbury, President of the King's College, New York CIty
“A captivating and inspiring read from start to finish..... Buy it. This book could change your life.”
— James N. Lane, Founder, New Canaan Society; Former General Partner, Goldman, Sachs and Co.
“Eric Metaxas Bonhoeffer is the biography for this generation. A masterpiece that reads like a great novel and weaves together in one opus an understanding of Bonhoeffers theology, the complex and tragic history of 20th century Germany, and the human struggle of a true Christian hero. Eric Metaxas is claiming his place as the preeminent biographer of Christianitys most courageous figures.”
— Martin Doblmeier, Filmmaker, Bonhoeffer
“With great skill, energy, and warmth, Metaxas reminds us why the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer stands as a rebuke both to believers and skeptics. Rarely has the story of a Christian martyr been told with such realism and depth. Its a gem of a book.”
— Joseph Loconte, Lecturer in Politics, The Kings College, New York City; Editor of The End of Illusions: Religious Leaders Confront Hitlers Gathering Storm
"Eric Metaxas has written the kind of extraordinary book that not only brings Dietrich Bonhoeffer, his times and his witness vividly alive, but also leaves us yearning to find the same moral character in ourselves. No biographer can achieve anything higher."
— Archbishop Charles Chaput in First Things Magazine
“Metaxas Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy is a modern-day classic that should be on ‘best of lists for the decade…”
— Relevant Magazine
“[A]n electrifying account of one mans stand against tyranny.”
Praise for Amazing Grace
"A fine and important book." -- Chicago Sun-Times
"The central miracle asserted by Christians is the Incarnation. They say that God became Man. Every other miracle prepares the way for this, or results from this."
This is the key statement of Miracles, in which C. S. Lewis shows that a Christian must not only accept but rejoice in miracles as a testimony of the unique personal involvement of God in his creation.
Using his characteristic lucidity and wit to develop his argument, Lewis challenges the rationalists, agnostics, and deists on their own grounds and provides a poetic and joyous affirmation that miracles really do occur in our everyday lives.
An impeccable inquiry into the proposition that supernatural events can happen in this world. C. S. Lewis uses his remarkable logic to build a solid argument for the existence of divine intervention.
In the classic Miracles, C.S. Lewis, the most important Christian writer of the 20th century, argues that a Christian must not only accept but rejoice in miracles as a testimony of the unique personal involvement of God in his creation.
An inspiring and eye-opening exploration of the phenomenon of miracles from the New York Times #1 bestselling author of Bonhoeffer.
What are miracles, and why do so many people believe in them? What do they tell us about ourselves? And what do we do with experiences that we cannot explain?
In Miracles, Eric Metaxas offers compelling -- sometimes electrifying -- evidence that theres something real to be reckoned with, whatever one has thought of the topic before. Miracles is also a timely, thoughtful, and civil answer to the books of the "New Atheists" -- Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris -- who have passionately asserted not just the impossibility of miracles and the supernatural, but the outright harmfulness of belief in them.
Metaxas -- whom ABC News has called a "witty ambassador for faith" -- provides the measured and wide-ranging treatment the subject deserves, from serious discussion of the compatibility between faith and science to astonishing but well-documented stories of actual miracles from people he knows.
A more current, anecdotal, and personal version of C. S. Lewiss 1947 book on the subject, Miracles is a powerfully winsome challenge that miracles are not only possible but are far more widespread than most of us ever might have imagined.
About the Author
Clive Staples Lewis (1898-1963) was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably one of the most influential writers of his day. He was a Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Oxford University until 1954, when he was unanimously elected to the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University, a position he held until his retirement. He wrote more than thirty books, allowing him to reach a vast audience, and his works continue to attract thousands of new readers every year. His most distinguished and popular accomplishments include Mere Christianity
, Out of the Silent Planet
, The Great Divorce
, The Screwtape Letters
, and the universally acknowledged classics The Chronicles of Narnia. To date, the Narnia books have sold over one hundred million copies and have been transformed into three major motion pictures.
Clive Staples Lewis (1898-1963) fue uno de los intelectuales más importantes del siglo veinte y podría decirse que fue el escritor cristiano más influyente de su tiempo. Fue profesor particular de literatura inglesa y miembro de la junta de gobierno en la Universidad Oxford hasta 1954, cuando fue nombrado profesor de literatura medieval y renacentista en la Universidad Cambridge, cargo que desempeñó hasta que se jubiló. Sus contribuciones a la crítica literaria, literatura infantil, literatura fantástica y teología popular le trajeron fama y aclamación a nivel internacional. C. S. Lewis escribió más de treinta libros, lo cual le permitió alcanzar una enorme audiencia, y sus obras aún atraen a miles de nuevos lectores cada año. Sus más distinguidas y populares obras incluyen Las Crónicas de Narnia, Los Cuatro Amores, Cartas del Diablo a Su Sobrino y Mero Cristianismo.