Those who wish to deny that God continues to act outside the laws of nature today make several arguments from scripture. The only one that ever seemed plausible to me is this one —
Jesus promised the apostles the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5), to guide them into all truth (John 16:13), and to give them special power (Acts 1:8). This promise was fulfilled (Acts 2:4). Therefore, when they began preaching the gospel they were able to confirm the word with signs following (Mark 16:20). The truth has now been confirmed. “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to his own will?” (Heb 2:3,4)
I think every sentence in that paragraph is true. Yes, miracles were given to confirm the testimony of the apostles. Yes, that really happened. Yes, the word has already been confirmed through miracles. Yes.
But … does that mean miracles have ceased? Were miracles given solely to confirm the word? And having confirmed the word, does the need for miracles end?
Hebrews, which declares the word “confirmed” was written around AD 64 (F. F. Bruce, New International Commentary on the New Testament: Hebrews, page xliii). Did miracles end before 64 AD? I don’t know anyone willing to make that claim. After all, many apostles were still alive at that time. John likely lived for decades afterwards.
And the other passages so often cited — 1 Cor 13 and Eph 4 — are addressed to the completion of the New Testament, or so the argument goes. But Hebrews was certainly not the last book of the New Testament to be written.
But the biggest problem with the argument is that there is no evidence at all that miracles ceases in AD 64 and no evidence that God’s miraculous work confirming the gospel was supposed to end. I mean, if confirmation was stop once accomplished, why not stop after Pentecost? Or when Paul raised someone from the dead? Or when the Corinthian church will filled with miraculous gifts?
Why did God give not a confirmation but confirmation after confirmation? Why stop in AD 64?
You see, the Hebrews writer is not arguing that confirmation has been finished for all time. No, he’s just making the point that the gospel had been repeatedly confirmed.