I'd have no problem considering it a miracle if the Bible did, but it doesn't.
Well, the Bible makes it quite clear that God caused the flood. If he didn't cause it by a miracle, what did he do, turn on his rain machine? Pull the lever that opens the hatch that lets the fountains of the deep out?
But perhaps you could answer the question. How did God cause it to happen?
What you seem to be suggesting --- stop me if I'm wrong --- is that when he was poofing things into existence, he poofed the weather and these "fountains of the deep" in such a way that they were bound to cause a flood 1500 years later. Is that your claim?
It's not the message the Bible seems intended to convey, but I guess you can interpret it how you like.
If sin can make it rain then I have a great plan to cure the next drought ... the Governor of Texas had people praying for rain, which could only be counterproductive. Instead they should have thrown a big party with plenty of booze and hookers. I am prepared to offer my services as a sinner, I ask only my travelling expenses and a modest stipend for buying drugs with.
So the weather is affected not only by my moral condition but also by whether I want it to rain or not: if I'm good and want it to rain, it'll rain, if I'm bad and I don't want it to rain, it'll rain, if I'm good and want it not to rain, it won't rain, and so forth ...
Of course, the Bible says that God "maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." But never mind the Bible, your theory is much more interesting. How do you suppose we should test it?
ABE: No, here's a big challenge: Las Vegas, where you live. Both the physical climate the moral climate could use an overhaul there.
Thing is, that bit of the Mojave Desert was hot and dry when no-one was living there. It was hot and dry when it was inhabited by God-fearing ranchers. It was hot and dry when it was run by the Mafia. It's hot and dry now. And then, of course, the whole of the Mojave Desert is hot and dry. It's hot and dry where there's gambling; it's hot and dry in the bits still occupied by God-fearing ranchers; and it's hot and dry in the bits occupied exclusively by desert tortoises. It's a desert. The weather varies neither temporally nor geographically according to how sinful people are. This leads one to think that other factors may be involved.
A simple request: can you explain how the water cycle works?
Sinners give off evil, which rises into the atmosphere and condenses as water, causing it to rain, unless they want it to rain, in which case it condenses as a hygroscopic substance which sucks all the water out of the atmosphere, preventing it from raining.
Ah ye of little faith. A few hundred devoted prayer warriors could turn the Mojave into a lush green paradise.
And if you announced your intentions in advance, it would convince the world of the truth of Christianity. I'd get on that if I were you. But first, buy up as much of the Mojave desert as you can afford.
The hard part would be getting together that many dedicated prayer warriors to go hang out on the Mojave.
Why would they have to be there? Is the power of prayer subject to the inverse square law.
ABE: But I don't have any great desire to convince people of the truth of Christianity by such means. As Jesus told the rich man in Hell, his brothers had Moses and the Prophets for that purpose and even if someone came back from the dead they wouldn't be convinced. You'd find some way of explaining away the prayer effect.
I can't think of one now, what makes you suppose I'd be able to subsequently?
In any case, however ineffective you think actual miracles would be in converting people, they must surely be more effective than the current most potent weapon in the evangelical armory, namely an idiot in a cheap suit giving away badly-written pamphlets. Now since you haven't given up on him, it would be premature for you to give up on making the desert bloom. That would, in my judgement, work even better.
True, prayer can be effective from across the world if necessary. But we're trying to change the climate of a particular location and I figure the people who are praying for it should have a stake in it if they are going to be effective at that.
As for the idea that miracles would convert people, I think what Jesus said to the rich man makes the point. If you don't believe Moses and the Prophets, meaning the scriptures, which report many miracles in both Old and New Testaments, all intended to lead you to belief, then you aren't going to believe a miracle you see with your own eyes either.
Er, no. Seeing something is more convincing than reading about it. For example, seeing a talking rabbit is more convincing than reading Alice In Wonderland.
How would you explain it away? Oh you'd just figure it was a temporary cyclical change in the weather or something like that. Something to marvel at but nothing excessively out of the normal range of things. It would be hard to prove otherwise after all. Just a temporary increase in the rain, a boon for the farmers etc. Or maybe it's a more lasting change, connected to global warming.
Well at present you're the one making excuses. Turn the desert green, see what I say.
If you want to do something even more unarguably miraculous, try making the Mojave bloom except for a perfect circle, ten miles in radius, centered on the Las Vegas Strip.
So now it's clear you meant the latter, but not why you think it would be harder to offer a non-prayer explanation for blooming outside the radius rather than inside. Is it because of all the water supply infrastructure around Las Vegas?
Well, I did specify a perfect circle centered on the Strip. If, moreover, the prayer warriors announce in advance that this is what they're going to do, which is part of my plan, then I think everyone would find this phenomenon exceptionally hard to argue with.
Okay, a perfect circle. How does that explain why turning the Mojave green outside the circle is harder to provide a natural explanation for?
Because natural meteorological phenomena aren't good at geometry.
If the whole Mojave became lush and green, that might conceivably be the result of a natural phenomenon. If an exception is made for Nevada's own little Nineveh, this looks more like it's intentional. If the exception exhibits geometric regularity, yet more so. And if the effect to be produced is announced in advance, it would be unquestionable.