Christian Fantasy: Magic vs. Miracles

This episode discusses the difference between magic and miracles (from a Biblical perspective).
I've always been a fan of the fantasy genre, but it seems to always include things that go against God's Word. Then I really confused myself because really, what's the difference between turning your staff into a snake and magic? So today we're diving into the topic of magic vs. miracles.
10There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. 12For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord, and because of these abominations the Lord your God drives them out from before you. Deuteronomy 18:10-12 NKJV

What is the difference between magic and a miracle?
By modern definition, the difference is that a miracle is improbable, but not impossible. Magic is usually something that is impossible (or an illusion).

There are lots of things that we could be worried about right now, and with good reason. However, now is the time to focus on the good, focus on our relationship with God, and not cling to the world.

Bible Verses

Here are a few verses on sorcery and magic versus miracles in the Bible. This is not a complete list.
on Sorcery and Magic
  • Leviticus 19:31; 20:6 — necromancy and mediums
  • Exodus 22:18; Galatians 5:19-21; Revelation 21:8 — sorcerers
  • Acts 19:19 — magic or curious arts
  • Leviticus 19:26; Micah 5:12 — omens and fortune telling
  • Deuteronomy 18:10 — divination, fortune tellers, interpreting omens
  • James 3:18
on Miracles
  • 1 Kings 17:17-24; 2 Kings 4:18-37; Luke 7:11-17; Acts 9:36-42; Acts 20:7-12 — raising people from the dead
  • Matthew 14:22-33 — walking on water
  • Judges 13-16 — super strength
  • Matthew 1:18-25 — virgin
  • Luke 9:1; Mark 16:18 — healing
  • Mark 5:1-20; Luke 9:1; Mark 16:17; Matthew 17:19-21 — casting out demons
  • Exodus 7:17-22 — water to blood
  • Exodus 7:8-12 — staff to snake
  • Matthew 14:13-21 — feeding the multitude
  • 2 Kings 4:1-6 &mdahs; oil overflowing
20And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment: 21For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. 22But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour. Matthew 9:20-22 KJV

Common Threads

Many of the words translated to magic or sorcery reference necromancy and potions or spells (see definitions below).
  • φαρμακεύς (pharmakeus) is often translated to sorcery and basically means drugs (this is where we get the word pharmacy)
  • communication with the dead oversteps Christ's earned victory over death
Every miracle is attributed God
  • nothing is done of a human's own doing
  • prayer and fasting are usually involved

So, what's the difference?
  • From the beginning God established a boundary concerning knowledge
  • This type of knowledge is taking matters in to your own hand attempting to do things without God
  • Satan tempted mankind to take of the fruit from the tree of knowledge to "be like God"
  • Receiving vision from God (e.g., Joseph) is different than relying on a crystal ball or a drug induced state
  • Healing in the name of God is different than supersitious remedies (or "potions")

Definitions About Magic and Sorcery

[1] אוֹב
  1. water skin bottle
  2. necromancer
    a: necromancer, one who evokes the dead
    b: ghost, spirit of a dead one
    c: practice of necromancy
  3. one that has a familiar spirit
[2] יִדְעֹנִי
  1. a knower, one who has a familiar spirit
    a: a familiar spirit, soothsayer, necromancer (meton)
  2. (by implication) a ghost:—wizard
[3] כָּשַׁף
  1. to practice witchcraft or sorcery, use witchcraft
    a: sorcerer, sorceress (participle)
[4] עָנַן
  1. to make appear, produce, bring (clouds)
  2. to practise soothsaying, conjure
    a: to observe times, practice soothsaying or spiritism or magic or augury or witchcraft
    b: soothsayer, enchanter, sorceress, diviner, fortuneteller, barbarian, Meonenim (participle)
[5] עָנָחַשׁ
  1. to practice divination, divine, observe signs, learn by experience, diligently observe, practice fortunetelling, take as an omen
    a: to practice divination
    b: to observe the signs or omens
[6] קֶסֶם
  1. divination, witchcraft
    a: of the nations, Balaam
    b: of false prophets
    c: in a good sense (king's lips as oracles)
  1. busy about trifles and neglectful of important matters
    a: esp. busy about other folks' affairs, a busybody
        i. of things: impertinent and superfluous
        ii. of magic arts
  1. one who prepares or uses magical remedies
  2. sorcerer
  3. (a drug, i.e. spell-giving potion); a druggist ("pharmacist") or poisoner, i.e. (by extension) a magician:—sorcerer.

References & Footnotes

  1. "Strong's H178: אוֹב". Blue Letter Bible; August 31, 2020
  2. "Strong's H3049: יִדְעֹנִי". Blue Letter Bible; August 31, 2020
  3. "Strong's H3784: כָּשַׁף". Blue Letter Bible; August 31, 2020
  4. "Strong's H6049: עָנַן". Blue Letter Bible; August 31, 2020
  5. "Strong's H5172: עָנָחַשׁ". Blue Letter Bible; August 31, 2020
  6. "Strong's H7081: קֶסֶם". Blue Letter Bible; August 31, 2020
  7. "Strong's G4021: περίεργος". Blue Letter Bible; August 31, 2020
  8. "Strong's G5332: φαρμακεύς". Blue Letter Bible; August 31, 2020

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