Bibles are said to protect Ukrainian soldiers against bullets
They would not have survived if they had not carried their Bible with them. It is the story several Ukrainian soldiers share. How can Christians view at these miracles?
The New Testament is said to have saved the life of a soldier who carried the book in his breast pocket in April. Volunteer Oksana Korchynska writes on her Facebook page about a soldier who was brought in with abdominal damage. “The explosion had been close to him. The wound was large”, she states, as reported by Credo. However, inside the wound the medics found something that saved the life of the soldier: a New Testament cut into two pieces. The book is believed to have taken the force of the bullet, which protected the soldier.
The Christian organisation God Encounters shared a testimony of a soldier in March. Founder James Goll claimed that “the Word of God stops a bullet”. In his post on social media, he included a photo of a solar powered Bible that soldiers can listen to, God TV writes. According to Goll, a bullet hit a soldier carrying one of these Bibles, but did not go through the material, so that the soldier survived the attack.
CNE reported about a Ukrainian woman who was saved through her Bible last year already too. Pavel Protopopov, a Ukrainian pastor, shared her story on Facebook. A shell was said to explode within two metres distance from her. Yet, she was not hurt by it as her bag with the Bible in it protected her from the flying shrapnel. Without the bag, the fragments of the explosive would have hit her in the heart, the woman adds in a video. But because of her Bible, she only had a bruise.
Another story comes from a soldier who was fired upon with a Kalashnikov assault rifle earlier last year. However, the bullet got stuck in his Bible, Sobor reports. The soldiers had received the Bible from Ukrainian chaplains, a voluntary military pastor tells in a video on Facebook. “The Word of God can save, not only spiritually, but also physically”, the pastor says in the video.
How are Christians supposed to look at these miracles? Do they really come from God or is it mere coincidence that a Bible caught the bullet?
There is much debate about what a miracle actually is, religious philosopher Pedro S. Balog points out in an article on CREDO. The religious website, therefore, argues that it is hard to pinpoint something that is a real miracle. According to CREDO, one criterium, however, to establish whether something is a real miracle from God has to do with the circumstances surrounding the event. If a miracle has real theological significance, CREDO argues, it should be accompanied by “an extraordinary manifestation of God's activity”. Also, God's miracles have a clear purpose: they are meant to strengthen the faith of believers and increase the Kingdom of God, the website states.
Therefore, one should be careful when labelling personal experiences as true miracles that come straight from God. CREDO warns for “survival bias” when only the story of the surviving soldier is taken into account and not the one from his fallen comrade.
Instead of focusing on earthly miracles only, our attention should go to something more important, Balog writes: “The mysteries of our faith.”
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