tothesource: So, why this topic now?
Eric Metaxas: As with so many things I have written, this book was not my idea. A New York editor — after hearing me tell a miracle story from my own life at a lunch we were having — insisted that I write a book on miracles. I wasn’t interested and said no for over a year. But in the end I was persuaded that we needed a conversation on this subject in our secular culture. For one thing, Christians need to examine our own beliefs more rigorously. How can we expect nonbelievers to take us seriously unless we pose the hard questions to ourselves and hold ourselves to the same standard to which we hold others with their beliefs?
So in part this is to help the Church think more rigorously on this subject and in part it is to try to get nonbelievers to join us in the conversation on the nature of reality. Is there something or Someone beyond this world? What does science have to say about that possibility? We need to fearlessly leap into this — and the recent spate of books on the afterlife persuaded my publisher that a book on this subject would do well. I’m happy to say he was correct. It hit the NY Times Bestseller list the first week it came out. There is a palpable hunger on this subject. And it is really the perfect way to begin a conversation with people who don’t have faith or aren’t sure what they believe.
tts: Have you found that your book confronts people with their own skepticism?
Metaxas: Without a doubt! The most dramatic example of that has to do with the first chapters about science and faith. A number of atheists have been astonished in reading it, saying they had never read anything about this. It is clear that science and faith are not only compatible, but that people of faith have been some of the greatest champions of science, precisely because they believe God created an ordered universe that we can understand. But the two chapters on the so-called “fine-tuned universe” are probably the most startling and challenging for skeptics. Those two chapters are incredibly strong evidence for a Creator God. To see it any other way is very, very difficult for anyone who is intellectually honest. We must get this information out there to the world — because it’s true and because it’s about time we had an honest conversation about these things.
tts: Have people ventured to tell you their own testimony of the miraculous?
Metaxas: Yes. When people read the thirty miracle stories in the second half of the book they begin to realize that these stories are far more common than they might have thought and they are emboldened to share their own stories. I was hoping that that might happen and am so glad that it has.
tts: How has writing this book affected your own life? Has it fostered a greater boldness or expectancy of God’s presence and activity in this world?
Metaxas: Not really, because I have seen miracles and been open to them from the day I experienced my conversion in 1988, and that amazing story is of course in the book. Up till that point I didn’t know what was possible, but after that I have known that much more is possible than what we’ve dreamt of in our philosophy, Horatio.
tts: Who are your biggest critics so far?
Metaxas: There have been precious few thus far, to be honest. I try to say what I say humbly, and to invite honest conversation. It’s not about winning an argument. It’s about understanding the nature of reality.
tts: Who are your unexpected fans?
Metaxas: Atheists and agnostics. I think they’re glad to see someone of faith raising the same questions that they raise and not dismissing those questions cavalierly. We can learn so much from atheists and agnostics. Their questions can help us purify our own thinking and our own faith — and perhaps our openness to those questions and doubts can invite open-minded atheists and agnostics into a deeper conversation with us. In any case, that’s my hope.