WFT- thaumaturgy

10 April 2010

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for February 22nd was thaumaturgy.

the performance of miracles; specifically : magic

The words origins:

The magic of "thaumaturgy" is miraculous. The word, from a Greek word meaning "miracle working," is applicable to any performance of miracles, especially by incantation. It can also be used of things that merely seem miraculous and unexplainable, like the thaumaturgy of a motion picture's illusions (aka "movie magic"), or the thaumaturgy at work in an athletic team's "miracle" comeback. In addition to "thaumaturgy," we also have "thaumaturge" and "thaumaturgist," both of which mean "a performer of miracles" or "a magician," and the adjective "thaumaturgic," meaning "performing miracles" or "of, relating to, or dependent on thaumaturgy."

Some of you may be thinking... "Magic!?  Why is he bringing up magic in regards to Scripture?".

Magic is actually mentioned in Scripture:

Now there was a man named Simon, who formerly was practicing magic in the city and astonishing the people of Samaria, claiming to be someone great; and they all, from smallest to greatest, were giving attention to him, saying, "This man is what is called the Great Power of God."  And they were giving him attention because he had for a long time astonished them with his magic arts.  But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike.  Even Simon himself believed; and after being baptized, he continued on with Philip, and as he observed signs and great miracles taking place, he was constantly amazed.  Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit.  For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.  Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit.  Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was bestowed through the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money, saying, "Give this authority to me as well, so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit."  But Peter said to him, "May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money!  You have no part or portion in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that, if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you.  For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity."  But Simon answered and said, "Pray to the Lord for me yourselves, so that nothing of what you have said may come upon me."  (Acts 8:9-24)

There are two items of interest in addition to the fact that Simon was formerly practicing magic.

1) Simon believed (Acts 8:13) but his heart was not right before G-d (Acts 8:21).

2) Simon practiced magic (mageuo) rather than thaumaturgy.  Miracle working was more the realm of Messiah and his disciples.

Thaumazo is a Greek word related to thaumaturgyThaumazo means "to marvel, wonder".  The word is used in Scripture in several places but it is first used to describe Messiah's reaction to the centurion who had great faith that Messiah would "just say the word" and his servant would be healed (Matthew 8:10).

The Greek word usually translated as "miracle" is dunamis which is more accurately translated as an "act of power" and comes from the word dunamai which means "to be able, to have power".  This is shown when Yeshua is accused of casting out demons by the power of Satan.

Yeshua does not perform magic but instead reveals His power and authority for the glory of the Father.

For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:36)

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