(WALA) - A recent survey by the Pew forum on Religion and Public life found that 79 percent of American adults believe in miracles and 68 percent believe angels are active in today's world.
In the midst of those high percentages, the existence of angels and miracles can be difficult to prove. Instead, they're things that people witness and believe.
FOX10 News sat down with locals to hear opinions from some who believe and some who do not. Hopefully it gets you thinking so you can come to a conclusion on your own.
Country singer Tom Cochrane said, "Life is a highway." You know, he may be right. Life can be met with many twists, turns and hidden dangers, like what Joey Hipp experienced during a trip to Gulf Shores 30 years ago.
"I had a big V65 Magna Honda, it was a big 1100, man that baby would scream! It was awesome! But it wasn't awesome that day," Hipp recalled.
He was riding with his wife Penny when he got in a terrible accident.
"Shot the motorcycle up five feet in the air, and catapulted me about 20 feet over in the grass. But Penny was lying in the asphalt," said Hipp. "By the time I get to her, she has no feeling from the waist down."
At the hospital, the doctor delivered some terrible news.
"He said, 'I don't know if your wife will ever walk again. Her spine seems to be very mangled,'" Hipp said.
Hipp began to pray, then took a leap of faith.
"I probably shouldn't have done it," said Hipp. "It wasn't advisable to do it, but I wanted to see my wife walk."
He pulled her out of the bed.
"Something supernatural happened when I pulled her off that bed and her foot hit the floor, something happened. She said it was like fire started in her feet, went all the way up her legs, up her back, up her spine, and God healed her," he said.
Decades later, Penny Hipp is still walking.
"I don't know how to figure it all out, I just know that God is able and God does," said Joey Hipp.
Throughout history, humans have tried to explain the impossible to forces bigger than themselves.
The Unger's Bible Dictionary defines miracles as supernatural manifestations of divine power in the external world; special revelations of the presence and power of God.
The Bible has many examples of God moving in miraculous ways.
In Exodus 17, Water burst from a rock. In Joshua 10, the sun stood still. And in the Gospels, Jesus raised a man from the dead.
"I don't know his reasons but miracles really just bless us, they help us in circumstances," Walt Werner said.
In April 2006, Werner was diagnosed with a severe form of prostate cancer.
A PSA test was used to detect this cancer. The National Cancer Institute said PSA is a protein secreted by cells in the prostate gland. A normal PSA level is four or below. But as a June 2006 report shows, Werner's level was 19. He was told he only had a year to live.
"I said, 'Lord, if you're not finished with me, I need a touch from your hand because the doctor's report is not good,'" said Werner.
Werner went on a tour of Israel and got baptized in the Jordan River. When he returned, he went back to his doctor.
"My PSA at the time was 24 and a half. When I came back, I had another PSA test and it was 0.7," he said.
A report from after his trip shows a PSA of 0.4. Doctors couldn't explain the sudden drop. He's been cancer-free ever since.
"I just thank God. And I guess the Lord was just not finished with me," said Werner. "He wanted me to do more things here on Earth before I join him in His kingdom."
And He sometimes sends messengers to deliver the news for Him in the form of angels.
Unger's Bible Dictionary defines angels as spiritual and superhuman beings who are introduced to us as messengers of God.
"Angels do His bidding, not ours. And I have found that many times God uses Angels to further his purposes and his kingdom," Sue Werner, a local pastor, said.
Years ago, before the age of cell phones, Sue was on her way to a Friday night Bible study.
She was going to pick up a young woman in her 20s who just moved into town. The woman lived in a nice area where many rich singles lived. Unfortunately, Sue was running late.
"I said a prayer saying, 'Please reassure her I'm coming,'" Werner recalled.
The woman later recounted that she thought Werner forgot about her. The woman was about to leave but something interesting happened.
"Just at that moment, a brand new, super shiny silver Corvette pulled up with a very tall good looking man got out, walked straight up to her and said, 'Don't worry, she's coming. She'll be here in a few moments,'" Werner said.
The woman later described that the man and the car simply vanished just as Werner pulled up.
"He didn't come up and try to pick her up or say 'Hey, can I help you?' He didn't. How did he know I'd be there in a few moments and I was?" Werner asked.
Angels are ever-present throughout the scriptures. In Daniel 3, an angel joined Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego when they were in the fiery furnace. And in the Gospels, an angel approached the Virgin Mary telling her she would bear a son.
"As a skeptic,
I think that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence," said Dr. Brian Axsmith.
Axsmith calls himself agnostic. He's a paleontologist, studying fossilized plants.
"We believe these are about three million years old," he said, referring to a fossilized leaf.
But he doesn't believe everything he hears about angels and miracles.
"Sometimes people mean a miracle is the laws of nature have been suspended or changed by some supernatural agency and I think in that sense, could be very difficult to prove if a miracle in that sense is real," he said.
He believes these claims can be explained rationally.
"Angels are spiritual beings; they don't have any physical bodies. So if they're going to appear to humans, they're gonna have to take on some form we'd be familiar with, so someone could interpret anybody or anything as an angel or any experience as an angelic experience," said Axsmith.
Axsmith respects people's beliefs, but feels that sometimes these beliefs limit the power of people.
"That's one thing that bothers me about the miracles and angels thing: I think it can sometimes cause us to underestimate the value of real people and the influence they have over our lives," said Axsmith.
Do angels and miracles exist? There are countless documented examples- like Mobile Native Delia Knox who was miraculously healed after being wheelchair-bound for years.
There's also a photograph of what's believed to be an angel that was taken during a worship service in South Carolina.
Science and religion can debate this for eternity, but perhaps, the answer only lies within.
"We humans like to find meaning, and that's just natural. Meaning and purpose. But I think sometimes we look for meaning and purpose and find it when it's not really there," Axsmith said.
"I can tell you about food, but sometimes you have to experience it for yourself. You can go by what somebody else says about it; 'This food is no good,' but I have to experience it for myself," said Joey Hipp.
"If the atheist is right and there is no God, I have nothing to lose, but if the atheist is wrong and I'm right, they've got eternity to lose," Sue Werner said.
So what do you think? Please share your thoughts and some of your stories. We'd love to hear from you.
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