Many events in the book of Exodus in the Bible sound like magic—bushes that burn without burning up, sticks that turn into snakes, a corridor of dry land across the Red Sea. The science fiction writer, Arthur C. Clarke, once said that any sufficiently advanced technology would be indistinguishable from magic, but perhaps it’s more correct to say anything sufficiently hard to understand might look like magic to someone. Of course, we Christians call these things miracles when they happen in the Bible. But what’s the difference between a miracle and magic?
God works miracles, and man, or the devil works magic? What do you think?
Many non-Christians, some Christians, and even several Jewish friends, have told me the events/magic/miracles of Exodus are simply unbelievable. There’s certainly stuff in and around the book of Exodus that sounds more like magic than real life. But before we look at Exodus’ miracles, how about we start in the New Testament. Imagine Jesus, healing the sick just like the Greek physicians do (magic, surely, in the eyes of the uneducated), turning water into wine like Egyptian magicians, directing fishing boats to fish, and…
Read Matthew 8:23-27. Why were the disciples so amazed after all the other things Jesus did?
The miracle that made the disciples truly marvel was the one that neither magician nor physician could copy—God’s control over nature. Historically, it was always God’s control over nature that impressed the Jews, more than more “magical” events. And maybe that’s the difference between magic and miracles—God really is in control.