Are there any well-known Christian scientists who believe that miracles still happen today?

Of course a Christian scientist, by definition, must believe in at least one miracle -- the resurrection of Jesus -- which in and of itself already sets a huge difference with respect to the vast majority of other scientists who are skeptical of everything that has to do with the supernatural/miraculous or that cannot be verified through the scientific method.

But what about modern miracles? Are there any Christian scientists who also believe in contemporary occurrences of miracles?

If so, how can a scientist reconcile the belief in modern miracles with the skepticism of the scientific method? Can science confirm a miracle?

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    Science can neither confirm nor refute miracles by definition. There's nothing whatsoever to reconcile.
    – curiousdannii
    Apr 19, 2022 at 9:34
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    We call miracles so because they go against our perception of what should an ordinary happening have been. It is the scientists who are witnesses of miracles in day-to-day life. For instance, how the earth moves at the speed of 8 kms per second and revolves around the sun exactly in 365.25 days ; how it would be different without the tilting of 23.5 degree on its axis, how genes are transmitted from generation to generation in living beings, how our heart beats 100000 times a day, how human brain functions as a cohesive group of billions of cells. The list goes on... Apr 19, 2022 at 10:39
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    So the everyday, not well known, scientists don't count? I personally know people who are virologists, data scientist, computer scientist, and dna experts off the top of my head (only one might be well known). then there are plenty of other Christians who are in basically every field. Why shouldn't/wouldn't scientists believe in miracles (you hint at the scientific method being the root, but don't explain why this is an issue-there are skeptics in multiple fields, some non scientists use the scientific method as well)?
    – depperm
    Apr 19, 2022 at 10:46
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    The problem is that we tend to think of science as enemy of religion. Once we look at them as complementary to each other, things fall in place. Apr 19, 2022 at 13:03
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    A miracle is an act of God's free, unfettered will. His actions are uncaused causes. Science requires reproducability. To reproduce an act of God requires causing God to repeat his action, hence requires us to compel God to act with us as the first cause. That would make us God. Ain't gonna happen. Apr 20, 2022 at 12:56

2 Answers 2


Are there any Christians who are scientists who believe in modern miracles?

Yes! One of them currently serves as the President of my church.



Russell M. Nelson - renowned cardio-thoracic researcher & surgeon, and currently serves as President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I'll share several statements he made in a sermon in 2018 regarding the involvement and intervention of God in our lives:

If we are to have any hope of sifting through the myriad of voices and the philosophies of men that attack truth, we must learn to receive revelation.

Our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, will perform some of His mightiest works between now and when He comes again. We will see miraculous indications that God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, preside over this Church in majesty and glory.

But in coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost. (source)


Richard G. Scott - nuclear engineer who served as an apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints until his death in 2015.

In his sermon Truth: the Foundation of Correct Decisions he reviewed the roles of scientific & spiritual inquiry. A few of his statements:

There are two ways to find truth—both useful, provided we follow the laws upon which they are predicated...

  • [first] the scientific method. It can require analysis of data to confirm a theory or, alternatively, establish a valid principle through experimentation...
  • [second] go to the origin of all truth and ask or respond to inspiration. For success, two ingredients are essential: first, unwavering faith in the source of all truth; second, a willingness to keep God’s commandments to keep open spiritual communication with Him.


We can see the scientific method has brought about an extraordinary expansion of our understanding as the Lord has inspired gifted men who may not understand who created these things nor for what purpose.


The process of identifying truth sometimes necessitates enormous effort coupled with profound faith in our Father and His glorified Son. God intended that it be so to forge your character. Worthy character will strengthen your capacity to respond obediently to the direction of the Spirit as you make vital decisions. Righteous character is what you are becoming. It is more important than what you own, what you have learned, or what goals you have accomplished.


In all humility, I solemnly bear witness that this creative Master of unparalleled capacities is our compassionate, holy Father.

Among other things, Elder Scott declares his belief in God's miracles through the creation, redemption, and ongoing revelation. He affirms God's love and power.


Stephen Meyer - geologist & Evangelical Christian, author of Signature in the Cell, Darwin's Doubt, and The Return of the God Hypothesis (source).


Dale G. Renlund - cardiologist & apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (source).


Many other examples could be cited. Some of them are accomplished but not particularly famous. I personally know multiple scientists who have worked for/with NASA, computer scientists at the leading edge of the self-driving car industry, a physicist in atomic research, etc. who believe in God and in the ongoing reality of His miraculous intervention in human lives.



GratefulDisciple has already offered an excellent review of naturalism--a philosophical assumption--and the role it plays in much of contemporary scientific dialogue. And as already noted by GratefulDisciple, those who religiously adhere to naturalism must exclude the supernatural/miraculous a priori. They rule out a set of possible explanations before even looking at the evidence. This is not very scientific.

I wrote another post on this site discussing verificationism, and why it is irrational to adopt a premise such as "you shouldn't believe anything that can't be demonstrated by science". No scientifically-minded individual can adopt that maxim consistently.


These samples look like the population we sampled them from!

It is sometimes asserted that "most contemporary scientists are atheists or agnostics"...though to be scientific about it we have to at least acknowledge the possibility of a titanic lurking variable: if theistic beliefs threaten one's job security, theistic beliefs are more likely to be kept quiet on the job.

That said, it is worth pointing out that many at the forefront of the modern scientific revolution were devout theists--including individuals such as Boyle, Kepler, Galileo, and Newton--who sought to discover the laws of the universe because the Deity they believed in was a Being of order who governed the universe by law.

At a minimum, this demonstrates that, at a time when it was publicly acceptable to openly believe in God, many scientists openly believed in God; and, at a time when it is increasingly publicly unacceptable to openly believe in God, many scientists do not openly believe in God.

In other words, scientists look like the culture they come from...this is neither revolutionary nor surprising. It is merely the fallacy of historical presentism to claim that today's culture is in all ways superior to yesterday's culture. The scientists of a century from now will probably hold views common to the culture 100 years from now--which (oh the horror!) will probably be different from that of today.


Are you sure?

Consider running some of your beliefs through this infinite loop:

Select a belief:

a. Do I hold this belief because it was taught to me by somebody else?

b. Do I hold this belief because I tested it?

c. Do I hold this belief because I derived it from first principles?

d. Do I hold this belief because I have ruled out all other possibilities?


Let's try one for example: heavier objects do not fall faster than lighter objects. I first believed this because of case a; people taught me this (and they said there was experimental data to back it up). Then I tested it (case b). I've tested it many times, and I have experimental data to back up what I was taught. This doesn't prove the other people's experiments were valid, but it gives me greater reason to consider the possibility that they were.

Then I did case c; I studied physics and learned (at least at a basic level) why this is true (F = ma & W = mg & F = G ⋅ (m1 ⋅ m2)/(r2). Lamentably, I am not omniscient and I haven't been able to do case d.

At each stage in the process I believed the principle, for a series of developing reasons. If we are truly honest with ourselves, most of our beliefs will fall under case a: even our beliefs based in science.

What about miracles? Most belief (or disbelief) in miracles will fall into case a. But let's say we have personal, observational evidence of miracles...something akin to case b. Now, when we hear report of a miracle, the same concept discussed above about weights applies: this doesn't prove the other people's experiments/miracles were valid, but it gives me greater reason to consider the possibility that they were.

And even if I don't know whether X person's claim of the miraculous is true or not (and I usually won't), because I have experiential & experimental grounds for accepting the existence of the miraculous/supernatural, "miracle" is now in the set of valid explanations to be considered.

For a more detailed discussion of certainty, degrees of certainty, and the relevance of case d above, see the epistemology section of my post here.


Suspending the laws of the universe

Finally, sometimes miracles are described as a suspension of the laws of the universe. While there are some theists who hold this view, there are certainly theists who do not. This is an intra-theism debate, not an atheist vs. theist debate.

If God knows everything; He knows the laws of the universe--including the ones we haven't yet elucidated. It would be entirely possible for Him to use that knowledge of the universe to do something that--by modern understanding--is entirely explicable, and yet follows the laws of the universe without interruption.

This is easily demonstrated. The average human of the 21st century is neither befuddled nor awestruck by a smartphone, and could figure out how it works if they really wanted to. The average human of the 17th century would have been overwhelmed (and probably terrified, started a witchcraft trial, etc.) at the sight of a smartphone, and probably did not have the resources to figure out how it works even if they really wanted to. This is not because humans today are smarter (we aren't), but because we have access to a larger pool of accumulated knowledge (we didn't earn it, we inherited it). We can do things today that are fully in keeping with the laws of the universe, that would have appeared supernatural to people just a few centuries ago.

If flawed, imperfect humans can come that far in 4 centuries, is it not reasonable to conclude that the Omniscient God of the universe could use the laws of the universe to do things we do not understand?

Rather than debate whether God is subject to the laws of the universe or the laws of the universe are subject to God, I suggest a cleaner explanation, the one held by the leaders of the scientific revolution: the laws of the universe describe how God does things.



How can a scientist reconcile the belief in modern miracles with the skepticism of the scientific method?

The scientific method is a brilliant tool for minimizing type-2 errors; skepticism is a philosophy that is sometimes common among practitioners of science, but is not necessary to do science. One need not be skeptical in order to be inquisitive or thorough. In fact, (inductive argument) I have never met a self-professed skeptic who was able to maintain their skepticism consistently--we all believe something.

There is a difference between being convinced that a miracle is possible & being convinced that X incident was a miracle. I believe miracles happen. I also have heard many claims of miracles, and in most cases, I do not know if the claims are true or false.

A scientifically-grounded means of evaluating a miracle would be to consider possible causes (including but not limited to miracles), and look for things that are testable or repeatable. If one is not pre-committed to either a) all claims of the miraculous are false or b) all claims of the miraculous are true (both of which are quite unscientific beliefs), sometimes the evidence will point to a miracle as the most-likely cause, and sometimes it will point to another likely cause.

Can science confirm a miracle?

Science does not prove things (like math or logic can, using axioms). Science disproves things. The current scientific consensus consists of hypotheses that have been extensively tested and nobody has been able to disprove them. Information that is as-yet-undiscovered always holds the possibility of overturning present-day consensus.

At best, then, scientific inquiry could show that state A (pre-miracle) & state B (post-miracle) are different, and that our present knowledge of natural laws does not explain how we got from A to B. The more I study both science and theology the more I am persuaded of the truth of this statement:

Perfect science and perfect theology agree perfectly. It is our imperfect understanding of both that creates the illusion of conflict.

  • Great answer! +1 :D
    – Rajesh
    Apr 20, 2022 at 4:05
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    @Rajesh thanks for the correction; I was a bit sloppy with the formatting/orthography =) Apr 20, 2022 at 4:37
  • No problem. I used to be sloppy when writing physics equations. Then I got OneNote. ;)
    – Rajesh
    Apr 20, 2022 at 4:55
  • Does Stephen Meyer believe in modern miracles though :-) ? As always, great answer (+1 and check mark)
    – user50422
    Apr 20, 2022 at 11:04

How can a scientist reconcile the belief in modern miracles with the skepticism of the scientific method?

Two independent domains of cause: God and Nature

First, let us clarify some terms. Scientists study nature by assuming (by faith) that there are regularities from which scientific law (such as Newton's laws of motion) can be derived from scientific experiments and observations, which are key components of the scientific method. These assumptions are called methodological naturalism:

a framework of acquiring knowledge that requires scientists to seek explanations of how the world around us functions based on what we can observe, test, replicate and verify. It is a distinct system of thought concerned with a cognitive approach to reality, and is thus a philosophy of knowledge. It is a self-imposed convention of science that attempts to explain and test scientific endeavors, hypotheses, and events with reference to natural causes and events.

However, miracles as defined by Christians have God as the ultimate cause that is metaphysically "above" or "outside" nature. This cause is obviously not measurable by science since as quoted above, science only works with natural causes and events.

The two domains of cause need not cancel each other. When God performs miracles, God does not make scientific laws invalid. He simply introduces an event that manifests vis a vis the laws of nature in one of 3 ways (as defined by Aquinas):

  1. God caused an event that nature can never do
  2. God caused an event that nature can do, but not in this order
  3. God caused an event that nature usually does, but the cause is not within nature.

Scientific observation of a miracle

Can a scientist confirm a miracle? Of course. If a scientist is at the right place and at the right time, he/she will notice that there is something that cannot be explained by all the scientific laws that are known. Or the scientist can evaluate logs / traces of a past event, and concludes that the event is NOT explainable by laws of nature.

Two kinds of skepticism

What to do when an event is not explainable with the current laws of nature? There are at least 2 possibilities:

  1. The scientist can say: "It's not a miracle, science simply hasn't progressed enough. One day it can be explained by the laws of nature." This kind of skepticism is because the scientist denies the existence of a metaphysical realm above/outside nature, the denial that is not necessary for the practice of science !! Obviously this is because the scientist (not the science itself!) holds the view of Metaphysical naturalism, which is a philosophy that

    holds that there is nothing but natural elements, principles, and relations of the kind studied by the natural sciences. Methodological naturalism is a philosophical basis for science, for which metaphysical naturalism provides only one possible ontological foundation. Broadly, the corresponding theological perspective is religious naturalism or spiritual naturalism. More specifically, metaphysical naturalism rejects the supernatural concepts and explanations that are part of many religions.

    For this scientist, miracles are ruled out a priori.

  2. But if the scientist allows (as Christians do) that there are events whose causes have their ultimate origin outside nature, then it is a healthier skepticism. The scientist just wants to rule out all possible natural explanations. In fact, this is a good skepticism, so that the miracle is "certified". If there is not enough data, then this type of scientist will simply say: "there is not enough data either to confirm or to disprove the miraculous event on a pure scientific basis." But this scientist would NOT rule out testimony-based evidence, even though the testimony is based on a naked-eye observation (who needs an instrument when a blind man can see?) and depends on the credibility of the witness as trustworthy and unbiased (i.e. not predisposed to call even regular events "miracle").


Are there any Christian scientists who believe in modern miracles? Of course ! Even non-Christian scientists not pre-committed to metaphysical naturalism can believe in modern miracles when their instruments register something happened that the current scientific laws of nature cannot explain. The problem is only when the scientist rules out miracles a priori by believing in metaphysical naturalism. Methodological naturalism is okay, and even required as part and parcel of the practice of science.

Examples of Christian scientists who witnessed / confirm healing miracles

I consider a medical doctor as a scientist as well because their field is often called "medical science." Below are 3 examples taken from Craig Keener's massive 928-page book Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Account (published in 2011) containing many documented miracles. These names are in Chapter 11 (Supernatural Claims in the Recent West) — Samples of Individual Healing Reports — Scientists, Journalists, and Doctors:

  1. John Polkinghorne, scientist-theologian, reported a healing of a woman's paralyzed left leg witnessed by her orthopaedic charge nurse husband in his book Science and Providence page 55.

  2. Rex Gardner, physician, wrote a 1986 book Healing miracles: A doctor investigates whose back cover identified him as "a Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, and of the Association of Surgeons in East Africa", examining several healing reports at the hospital via X-ray, eye exam, etc.

  3. John White, MD, attesting miraculous healing of a woman with confirmed tuberculosis of the cervical spine and unable to stand, who later becomes his wife. Quote from Craig Keener's book:

    her doctor, who had been trying to secure her a place in the sanatorium, “was bewildered to find there was no evidence of disease in her body.” Her illness was certain, her cure permanent, and the witness virtually incontrovertible. White could attest this incident and its permanence because he was not only the person who prayed for her, and an MD himself, but he later married this woman and spent the rest of his life with her.

  • Great answer (+1). Regarding Are there any Christian scientists who believe in modern miracles? Of course !, sharing a few concrete examples would strengthen this point.
    – user50422
    Apr 19, 2022 at 14:35
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    @SpiritRealmInvestigator Added a few examples from Dr. Keener's Miracles book. Apr 19, 2022 at 18:35

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