“Why, it is asked, do no miracles occur nowadays, such as occurred in former times?” wrote Saint Augustine of Hippo, who lived from 354 to 430 A.D.. This same question asked in the early 5th century is not so different from one asked by thousands of Christians throughout the world today.
People often wish they could see or experience miracles or other clear-cut, visible signs that God is real and God is all around us. As the Gospels note, it is easy to have faith if you have seen, but blessed is he who has faith but has not seen.
Miracles, by definition, are something that happen outside the laws of nature; they are “supernatural.” If miracles occur, it makes it much easier to believe in a God, a Creator. God would not be bound by our known laws of nature, medicine or psychics.
People in the days of Saint Augustine struggled in a similar manner, and they were only a few hundred years after the time of the Apostles.
While reading Augustine’s classic book, City of God, I noticed a whole chapter dedicated to miracles in his time — which the saint and bishop backed up as being authentic. Examples, many of which were due to religious relics and prayer, include:
- Blind man in Milan had his sight restored
- Innocentius of Carthage, healed from several painful fistulas
- Innocentia of Carthage, healed from breast cancer
- Unnamed physician in Carthage, healed from gout
- Stage player in Curubis, cured at baptism- of paralysis and serious hernia
- Hesperius of Fussala owned a property which was possessed by demons. The demons were eradicated, and his property became somewhat holy. A young man with paralysis was carried there and quickly he was cured- and he was then able to walk.
- An exorcism in a house in Victoriana
- Another exorcism of a woman in Hippo
- A blind woman had her sight restored in Aquae Tibilitanae
- Eucharius, a priest from Calama, cured of kidney stones
- In Hippo, a man named Bassus had his very ill daughter brought back to life
- A little boy in an estate called Andurus was miraculously cured of a near-death, gruesome injury from being crushed by an oxen and wagon wheel. Immediately he was fully healthy and showed no signs of being crushed and his bones broken by the accident.
Thus, in one (non-Biblical) book, we have evidence of 12 supernatural event —miracles—that transpired within a single geographical area, and within the span of about 25 years.
Augustine believed that miracles happened quite often in his day and in all the decades after Christ, it was just that very few were ever written down or studied. Due to that, he made a point of including some in his writings.
A cynic may say that all these listed occurrences are heresy or exaggerated, and the like. I will take Augustine at his word, but nonetheless even if only one or two of these 12 actually did happen, wouldn’t that prove God is real and alive?
Miracles can and do happen. Science does not have answers for everything we ponder. The same is true today as it was many centuries ago.
Ken Lambert has been heavily involved in construction, sales, real estate, and as an advocate for mental health for more than 25 years. He holds a U.S. Patent for a type of loan software program, and is an established writer, consultant and speaker in several fields. He has written for both secular and religious publishers, including a book he co-wrote entitled “Top Ten Most Influential Christians since the Apostles.”