Scientifically Validated Miracles: The Sixth Reason To Think That Christianity Is True
In this series of videos we are building a cumulative case for Christ by looking at 10 reasons to think that Christianity is true.
This is the sixth reason in this series, The Argument From Scientifically Validated Miracles.
In previous videos we have seen that:
- Not only did Jesus claim to be God (and if he’s wrong He’s lying or crazy)
- Not only did He back up that claim by fulfilling prophecy
- Not only did He back up that claim by rising from the dead
- Not only after He died the religion that He taught spread rapidly and peacefully across the world just as He predicted it would.
- Not only did He leave us a miraculous picture of His resurrection from the dead in the Shroud of Turin
But it seems that Jesus still continues to work miracles in our day. What we mean here is that we find in the world, a series of scientifically validated miracles occurring within a Christian context.
What is a “scientifically validated miracle”?
Aquinas' simple definition is that miracles are works done by God outside the order usually observed in things.
In other words a miracle is an exception to the natural order of things caused by God (Notice this definition EXCLUDES strange natural events). So we are talking about an event that natural causes cannot produce - that which is naturally impossible and the miracle usually serves as a SIGN OF GOD'S ACTIVITY OR VERIFYING A MESSAGE
This means that a miracle is typically understood to be sensible and observable.
By “scientifically validated” we mean that scientific investigation plays a negative role in showing that there is no natural explanation for the phenomena we are explaining.
So when we are talking about scientifically validated miracles we mean something happened that constitutes:
- An act of God outside the order usually observed in things
- This event has been “scientifically validated” meaning that scientific investigation has confirmed that there are no natural causes for this event.
There are several examples of scientifically validated miracles today.
Scientifically Validated Healing Miracles
In the Catholic Church, the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints, previously named the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, is the part of the Church that oversees the process that leads to the canonization of saints.
The Church sets strict criteria in place for determining if a person can be named “Saint,” or not and this includes the performance and approval of miracles.
In the canonization process, usually a miracle refers to the spontaneous and lasting healing of some life-threatening medical condition. To count as a miracle, the healing had to occur in a way that cannot be explained by science looking for natural causes, and it must follow upon prayers made to the holy person in question
There are quite a few of these. Here we look at just one.
This is one attributed to the former Pope John Paul II.
Floribeth Mora Diaz, is a woman from Costa Rica, who suffered a brain aneurysm in 2011. She went to the doctor, the doctors performed a brain scan and discovered her condition was inoperable and fatal.
They gave her one month to live.
Mrs. Diaz went home to hospice. She had a devotion to John Paul II and noticed his canonization was scheduled that day on May 1 2011.
So she prayed to John Paul II for his intercession to be healed.
She then went to sleep and had a dream of John Paul II saying “Get up! Don’t be afraid.”! She wakes up, gets out of bed, tells her husband about her dream and says that she feels great.
She then goes back to the hospital to get more brain scans. The condition of her aneurysm is completely gone. The doctors are blown away they declare her cured and that the healing is scientifically inexplicable.
Mrs. Diaz then submits her story to the Vatican. The Vatican sends her to another hospital for new examinations to compare her current state of health with her medical records. Again there are no signs of her condition and the doctors conclude the cure is scientifically inexplicable.
After an investigation and given the obvious religious context of this event the Vatican declares this a miracle and this begins to pave the way for the canonization of John Paul II.
Scientifically Validated Eucharistic Miracles
A Eucharistic miracle involves the real presence of Jesus' body in the Eucharistic bread.
The doctrine of the Real Presence of Christ is that Christ is really present Eucharist - that Jesus at the Last Supper meant it literally when He said "This is my body".
The belief in the Real Presence is held by Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican and some other Christian denominations.
Eucharistic miracles are extraordinary events, where the Eucharist itself changes so that it no longer appears as bread but takes on the qualities of human flesh.
These miracles can be scientifically verified in the sense that they can be studied scientifically to see what they actually are.
One recent Eucharistic miracle happened under the watch of Pope Francis (at that time Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio) on August 18, 1996, at a church in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Apparently during communion, someone dropped a host and the priest Fr. Alejandro Pezet picked it up and placed it in a glass of water and put it back in the Tabernacle. This is an ordinary practice for such things.
When the priest opened the tabernacle days later, that host was much bigger and changed into bloody tissue.
Fr Perez told Archbishop Bergoglio who told him to have it professionally photographed.
They decided to keep it in the tabernacle and not publicize it.
Three years later the bloody tissue was still there and had not decomposed, which itself cannot be explained by natural causes.
At that point scientist Dr. Ricardo Castanon Gomez, in the presence of the Cardinal’s representatives, took a sample of the bloody tissue and sent it to New York for testing.
A team of five scientists was assembled, including the famous cardiologist and forensic pathologist, Dr. Frederic Zugibe testified that:
"The analyzed material is a fragment of the heart muscle found in the wall of the left ventricle close to the valves. This muscle is responsible for the contraction of the heart. It should be borne in mind that the left cardiac ventricle pumps blood to all parts of the body. The heart muscle is in an inflammatory condition and contains a large number of white blood cells. This indicates that the heart was alive at the time the sample was taken. It is my contention that the heart was alive, since white blood cells die outside a living organism. They require a living organism to sustain them. Thus, their presence indicates that the heart was alive when the sample was taken. What is more, these white blood cells had penetrated the tissue, which further indicates that the heart had been under severe stress, as if the owner had been beaten severely about the chest." Dr. Frederic Zugibe
The presence of so many white blood cells suggests the tissue was removed from the heart while it was still alive and pumping. It could NOT have been taken from a cadaver.
What is the natural explanation for this? Well, if there is some fraud here someone had to torture a live person, open their chest and literally cut out a piece of their heart.
How can a piece of heart tissue, survive for three years with significant amount of white blood cells get into a glass of water in a Catholic Church tabernacle?
If you find it unreasonable to believe that then one should think that this was a true Eucharistic miracle - that it was some extraordinary event caused by God
Documentary Link Here:
Report From Dr. Fredric Zugibe here:
Scientifically Validated Marian Miracles
Here we refer to the miracles associated with a Marian apparition that happened in Lourdes, France in the mid 1800s.
The first apparition of 11 February 1858, of which Bernadette Soubirous (age 14) told her mother that a "Lady" spoke to her in the cave. There was a series of these and the Lady eventually told Bernadette she was “The Immaculate Conception”.
Over time the area attracted many pilgrims and curiosity seekers.
Numerous reports of miraculous cures started coming in from pilgrims to this site.
So many that eventually Pope Pius X established The Lourdes Medical Bureau. (a team of doctors who investigate these miraculous claims).
To ensure claims of cures were examined properly and to protect the town from fraudulent claims of miracles, the Lourdes Medical Bureau was established.
It is completely under medical rather than ecclesiastical supervision.
The doctors’ work and voting must meet a set of 7 criteria ( These are the same criteria used by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in the Vatican which uses them in the recognition of miracles in connection with beatifications and canonizations.)
- The 1st criterion is that the disease is serious, with an unfavorable prognosis.
- Secondly, the disease must be known and recorded by medicine.
- Thirdly, this disease must be organic, lesional, that is to say, there must be objective, biological, radiological criteria, everything that currently exists in medicine; this means that even today we will not recognise cures of pathologies without precise objective criteria, such as psychological, psychiatric, functional, nervous diseases, etc. (this does not mean that these diseases cannot be cured, but according to the criteria of the Church, they will not be recognised as miracles in the current state of affairs).
- Fourthly, there must not have been any treatment to which the cure could be attributed.
- The 5th criterion concerns the timing of the cure itself: recovery must be sudden, instantaneous, immediate and without convalescence.
- Finally, after the cure, there are two additional criteria: it must not simply be a regression of symptoms but a return of all vital functions,
- And finally, it must not simply be a remission but a cure, i.e. lasting and definitive.
According to their website:
While more than 7,000 cases of healing have been reported at Lourdes since the apparitions, 70 cases have been recognised as miraculous by the Church so far.
You can read about these miracles on their website, and the Lourdes commission invites skeptics to review the medical records of their decision.
All of these scientifically validated miracles occurring within a Christian context are further divine stamps of approval on the Christian message.
Regardless of whether you believe these are true miracles are not, the point is that given the scientific validation, it is reasonable to think that some of these miracles really happened.
For sure there are crackpot claims of miracles. Nobody denies this. But that doesn’t mean there cannot be reasonable claims.
The point made here is that in spite of crackpot claims, there can also be reasonable claims about miraculous events.
The most reasonable claims there can be today are those that have been scientifically tested and validated - meaning that according to our scientific knowledge there is no natural explanation for the event in question.
So in the case of scientifically validated miracles, one is rationally justified in believing them.
It doesn’t matter that some atheists somewhere disagree. The point is that given that we have a seemingly miraculous event, something that happens outside the natural order and within some kind of religious context and that science has validated that this event has no natural explanation, it is reasonable at that point to think that a true miracle happened.
And given that miracles are the best criteria we have to show that God Himself is acting, it is also reasonable to think that Christianity is true.