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Doctrinal Matters

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Do Visions Still Occur?

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Q:

“In the history of Christianity there were many people who experienced visions. We know that the apostle Paul had visions of Jesus. He never believed in Jesus before the death and resurrection. We also know that Margaret Mary Alacoque had visions of Jesus in 1673. We also know that Bernadette Soubirous had visions of Mary in Lourdes in 1858. We also know that Sister Maria Lúcia had a vision of Mary in 1917 in Portugal. We also know that Joseph Smith had visions that gave rise to Mormonism. We consider true and from God only the visions of Paul. But what is the criterion to accept from God the visions of Paul and refute the other visions? A Christian in the first century could have said that the visions of Jesus by Paul are from Satan just as we say that the visions of Jesus by Margaret Mary Alacoque in 1673 are from Satan. To say that only the visions of Paul are truly from God—is that not a belief based on bias?”

A:

The reason we know Paul had visions is because the evidence proves that the Bible is inspired by God and, therefore, of divine origin. Hence, whatever it reports actually happened. However, that same Bible maintains that miracles (i.e., supernatural empowerment from God) served their purpose and were consequently terminated toward the end of the first century (e.g., 1 Corinthians 13:8-10). [See the AP article at: http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=1399&topic=293].

Further, one can examine the alleged vision of each person and ascertain whether it contradicts the Bible. If it contradicts the Bible, it is obviously a hoax or the result of a well-meaning but misguided individual. For example, Joseph Smith’s claims have been debunked. The Book of Mormon contradicts the Doctrine and Covenants, and both contradict the Bible. See the AP articles at: http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&topic=80.





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