When filmmaker, writer and former pastor Elijah Stephens set out to try and "bridge the gap between the scientific and the miraculous" he said that he did so with an essential guiding principle in mind: "Let the truth go wherever it leads."
Considering his Christian worldview, Stephens — who is currently working on an untitled documentary about miracles — said that he obviously went into the project with a bias, but that he decided to objectively explore claims of supernatural healing by putting stringent rules and regulations into practice.
"If God's real and doing stuff today I want to know about it ... I wanted to find objective evidence," the filmmaker recently told The Church Boys podcast. "You can claim someone's been healed, but what do the medical records say — and would a doctor really validate it?"
He continued, "I wanted to go down that path and see — 'Is there anything at the end of the rabbit hole?'"
Stephens, who was unsure of what he would find in terms of medically documented evidence, said that he came away from the project — for which filming is nearing complete after he raised $132,500 via crowdfunding — observing two key dynamics.
First, he felt as though there were some cases in which people would likely not have claimed that the miraculous was afoot if they knew just a little more about medical issues and science. That said, there were other cases that he encountered in which scientists and doctors did not have viable explanations, leading one to conclude that a miracle might have been at play.
"Science can't talk about God, but it can say, 'This is our limits,'" Stephens said, explaining that he encountered some truly compelling stories during his filmmaking journey.
One such story involved an atheist who had stage four cancer and was "on hospice and about to die." When the man went to see his children for the last time, they begged him to go to their church and receive prayer. Seeing how much it would mean to them, the man obliged and, to his surprise, was reportedly healed.
Stephens, who was clearly moved by the story, decided not to include it in the film, though, as he said that there was an important caveat that prevented the scenario from being a definitive miracle.
"Although I think that case is a miracle, 1 in 100,000 cases of cancer have some type of spontaneous remission that we don't know how to explain, so we've got to make the cut there," he said, proving just how strict his criteria are for labeling incidents miraculous.
See a trailer for the film below:
"Christians have committed intellectual suicide and until we raise our standards no one is going to believe us on this stuff," Stevens said.
The filmmaker also discussed the profound impact he saw healings have over the faithful, saying that most of the individuals he encountered began "praying for the sick like crazy" and got involved in related ministries after their own healings unfolded.
Follow the author of this story on Twitter and Facebook and check out his new book “The Armageddon Code: One Journalist's Quest for End-Times Answers”: