A Review of Craig Keener’s "Miracles", Part 12

Review of Chapter 11:

In this chapter,  Keener presents cases of miracle claims from the last few decades in the West.  One such claim from 1984 is presented on pages 430-432 regarding an eight year old boy, Brad Wilkinson, with a heart defect, called Atrial-Septal Defect, a condition which allows blood to leak from one heart chamber to another. He was scheduled for surgery because “his condition was impairing his lungs as well as his heart.” A week before the surgery, the father of the boy takes him to a healing service where the evangelist prays a prayer for healing.  However, when the boy undergoes “tests” the following week, they demonstrate that his condition is unchanged.  He is scheduled for surgery on the next day. 

The next morning, the boy is wheeled into the operating room where a “film” is taken.  The doctors are reportedly “shocked”!  “A wall of some sort now exists where the leak had been”.  “It is a miracle!” the doctors allegedly exclaim.

Was it?

Are there any natural explanations for this event?  Well, here is one possibility:

Studies show that the majority of Atrial-Septal defects close spontaneously in children.  (Read Atrial-Septal Defects in children) It is possible that the “studies” that were performed a week prior to the surgery were not of the best quality and did not show the new wall (the closing of the defect), or, it did show the closure but was missed by whoever looked at the films.

This case certainly appears dramatic, but since at least one possible, natural explanation exists, this event cannot be chalked up to a divine miracle.


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