John 10: The Possibility of the Supernatural
I have heard it said that the people during the time of Jesus were perhaps more gullible people today, and that is why, as our scientific knowledge expands, it seems to be the case that atheism is the rise. However, it seems in John 10 that all the people of Jerusalem were guilty of was considering the possibility that the supernatural existed.
Joh 10:19 There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings.
Joh 10:20 And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him?
Joh 10:21 Others said, These are not the words of him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind?
It is not that the Jewish people immediately thought that Jesus was the son of God. Maybe He was possessed by a demon, or maybe He wasn’t. Maybe God was working through Him, maybe God was not.
It does not seem to me that these people were immediately ready to jump on the bandwagon and proclaim Jesus was the Messiah. Even though they seemingly had evidence of Jesus healing a blind man, they needed to find some explanation because that does not normally happen.
I draw a parallel to today. Christians can easily get sucked into a “God of the gaps” fallacy. We see something that science does not have an answer for yet, and we immediately point back and say that God did it. The only problem with that is when we find a natural explanation for that phenomenon, our atheist friends will argue that the room for God is getting smaller, and eventually it will disappear.
For the Jewish audience, they talked about the possible options. They had a miracle they had seen. They now needed to figure out what happened. They were open to the possibility that perhaps the supernatural was at play here. They didn’t immediately believe it, but they were open to the possibility.
I think about that today as a Christian. Even though I love GK Chesterton who argued in Orthodoxy that perhaps God did not create the universe to run in a certain way and everyday makes an individual, creative decision to have the sun rise again instead, it does seem to me that there are certain laws that do seem to keep the universe regular. Gravity seems to apply approximately the same way whenever something falls off the table for example. Of course, if there is something like gravity, then we need to wonder where it came from. Could there be a natural explanation? Sure. There could be. Could there be a supernatural explanation? Sure. There could be. Could Chesterton’s hypothetical situation be right? Sure. It could be.
So many people get caught up in the idea that the supernatural is impossible by default. Maybe there is a perfectly satisfactory natural answer for whatever question we might be talking about, but I would encourage people to have an open mind when they approach these types of questions. What if God is the best answer? Let’s look at the evidence, look at our options and find where the evidence points.