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Orthodox Talks #36: Signs and Miracles vs. God's Word: Which Produces the Strongest Faith?

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Talk 36: Signs and Miracles vs. God’s Word: Which Produces the Strongest Faith?

Speaker: Hieromonk Kosmas

(Duration: 3hr 32min) 

Many Orthodox Christians consider miracles a sign of God’s favour, and a sign that the Church is spiritually healthy. Their reasoning is that in ancient times many wondrous signs and miracles caused masses of people to join the Church. The problem with this is that supernatural phenomena may be observed in many faiths around the world, both Christian and non-Christian. Their followers believe that these “miracles” confirm the truth of their religion, and many people convert to these faiths because of them.

Using the interpretations of the Holy Gospels, Father Kosmas examines whether there is truth to the claim that miracles are a sign of a spiritually healthy church. He compares the effect of God’s word with the effect of signs and miracles on the soul, to determine which of the two is more powerful, lasting and spiritually beneficial. Finally, he examines the true purpose of signs and miracles.

The following questions are also discussed: can an unbeliever be healed through the faith of another? What was the stronger medicine that Christ resorted to for unbelievers? Is it right to dismiss the fervent faith of non-Orthodox? Why did Christ offend the Jews by praising the faith of pagans? Why did many Jews reject Christ even though they saw Him perform numerous signs and miracles? What is a “miracle maniac”?

Other topics covered in this talk include: the relationship between sins and sickness; “miracle-workers” and their hunger for attention; a priest’s complaint that his personal prayers remain unanswered; the difference between the inner and outer darkness of hell; the modern-day scribes and Pharisees of the Orthodox Church; and an elder’s rejection of those who approached him as they would a magician.

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