And the LORD was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron - Judges 1:19
If nothing is impossible through faith in god, why isn’t god capable of driving out people in iron chariots? And, as the website whywontgodhealamputees suggests, why aren’t people moving large objects and placing them wherever they so choose? I really used to wonder why my prayers had such ill effect in my personal life. Apologists may try to suggest that it’s just a figure of speech. Jesus didn’t really mean that minimal faith would give one the ability to move something as massive as a mountain; he was just saying that faith is important, and it can remove barriers in our lives. Some others suggest that the closing of scripture makes such feats unnecessary and are generally impossible. We have the friggin’ Bible so what more could we possibly need? It’s all right there! But how do we know when the Bible is speaking to us or just speaking to the people of the ANE? We must look at the context, right? After the disciples failed to cast out a demon, the man was brought before Jesus to tackle the problem. Jesus performed the task which prompted the disciples’ question: “Lord, why weren’t we able to cast the demon out?” As it turns out, they just didn’t have enough faith. Coincidentally, lack of faith is often the excuse people use today when something goes wrong. For example, if someone doesn’t get the job they really wanted, it’s because they didn’t have enough faith to believe that they could get it. If they do get the job, it’s because god intervened miraculously! God just can’t lose.
Jesus was never short on miracles and would scold his disciples when they failed to have the necessary faith to perform their own. In fact, Jesus said that those following him would perform far greater works than him-John 14:12. Clearly, miracles were a trademark of spreading the gospel message in Jesus’ time and in the lives of his disciples/followers:
1. The very shadow of Peter healed the diseased, Acts 5:15.I know devote Christians who have prayed fervently for things as minor as healing for their back. Do they not have faith as small as a mustard seed? We can quibble about what was implied by using a mustard seed as an example. Some commentators suggest that mustard seeds may start small but they produce the largest of all herbs—implying that faith grows with time. I’m going to take the verse for what it says in a multitude of translations. It clearly implies that a small faith produces huge results. A lack of small faith gets poor results, like the demon that refused to come out for the disciples. If Jesus set the tone for how his ministry is to be carried out, where are all these miracles that should be occurring today? I challenge anyone to perform a genuine miracle under controlled conditions so that it can be truly verified as genuine. To date, I haven’t seen this happen. I’m sure James Randi would be happy to oblige any volunteers. Oh, wait, I forgot that it’s too easy just to con people out of their money by performing one hoax after another on TBN.
2. Diseases were cured, and demons cast out, by applying to the persons handkerchiefs and aprons that had before touched the body of Paul, Acts 19:12.
3. By the word of Peter, Ananias and Sapphira were struck dead, Acts 5:5, Acts 5:9, Acts 5:10.
4. Elymas the sorcerer was struck blind by the word of Paul, Acts 13:11.
5. Christ only preached in Judea, and in the language only of that country;
but the apostles preached through the most of the then known world, and in all
the languages of all countries. But let it be remarked that all this was done by
the power of Christ; and I think it still more natural to attribute the greater
works to the greater number of conversions made under the apostles' ministry.
The reason which our Lord gives for this is worthy of deep attention.