by Elena Tafone
The Bible is full of incredible feats—Jesus turning water to wine, the many loaves and fishes, the resurrection of Lazarus. While not as grand, we’re still surrounded by little wonders every day. Hunches that prove to be true. Moments that seem too perfect to be mere coincidence. Some call them miracles. Others may call them magic. Which are they? And, what’s the difference between the miracles and magic? It’s a question we asked pastors, authors, and even a few magicians.
“Supernatural power lies at the core of both miracles and magic. To distinguish between them, we must answer the question: whose power, whose purpose and whose glory? Consider Aaron and Pharaoh’s magicians. Through Aaron, God performed miracles to redeem His people and declare His name among the nations. The magicians attempted to imitate God’s power to maintain Pharaoh’s standard of living and build their own prestige.”
“When I do magic, I use various elements of psychology, science, optical deception, and physical manipulation to achieve the appearance of breaking the laws of nature. I use natural means to create the appearance of the supernatural. A miracle is a true changing of the natural order. It is a happening that can only take place through the hand of God.”
“Magic and miracles are similar in that they’re both used to describe powerful ways God works anonymously in our lives. And they’re both found right smack dab in the messy parts of life most of us would rather avoid. When we trust what God has in store for us every day, we begin to discover that magic and miracles are everywhere.”
“Unlike magic, miracles are acts of transcendent power that cannot be controlled by ingenuity or guaranteed by technique or technology. Neither can miracles be provoked by human piety or need. They can only be received as divine gifts with astonishment and gratitude.”
“Magic is entertaining and gives us a sense of wonder, which can sometimes reflect God’s glory. But miracles have a clear purpose. Magic shows the power of the doer, while miracles point toward the power of God. Miracles have more to do with hope, healing, and revealing God’s love.”
“Magic is the intentional effort to have us believe that what we see and experience is real, when it isn’t, while a miracle is the intentional effort to have us believe that what we see and experience is real, when it is.”
“The difference between magic and miracles is the difference between formula and relationship. The difference is a loving heavenly Father. In magic, a person tries to manipulate an outcome. In a miracle, the God who spoke all things into existence speaks a personal word once again, exercising loving authority.”
“Magic and miracles have in common an invitation into mystery—into a realm beyond what we can easily explain or scientifically understand.”
“Professional magicians or illusionists, such as myself, make their living by...well... deceiving. The difference is, no matter how incredible the feat of "magic" we perform, it can be explained by natural means. We could even show you how it's done. We won't, of course, but we could. Magic effects, although I love the beauty of the art, are no match for Miracles. Those aren't about the ‘what,’ but about the ‘who.’ For Jesus replied, ‘What is impossible with man is possible with God.’”
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