Miracles Above the Law of Nature?

With natural law there are two models of what it means.

The necessitarian model is mechanical and the law actually forces and governs.

The regularist model says that nature does not really have forceful laws or laws but just happens to be regular. Here regularities are called laws but are not literally laws. It does not imply that they are any different from necessitarian except in the meaning.

Any attempt then to argue that either of them can blip or allow perceived miracles or real miracles is mistaken. 

Religion holds that God has set up nature to work in a regular way and sometimes he does miracles. A miracle is an exception to the regularity. For example, nature has it that statues don't come to life. But God can make a statue come to life. But is a miracle just an exception?

Miracles are either against the law of nature or in accordance with nature. Neither understanding is helpful and both are dangerous and pro-stupidity so miracles are a dangerous and bad belief.

It is possible that miracles are only the result of unknown natural laws meaning they are not supernatural.

If miracles do happen it may be that nature at times simulates them.  So you don't know which is which.

Reason and nature do have some elements more shocking than miracles.  Natural law is that if you cast your die for six million years and it keeps bringing up 6 every time, there is no reason AT ALL for thinking it will do the same the next time.

Christians prefer the view that they are not and are simply supernatural. They are God using his power.

This view does not work. The Christians have already said that even the ordinary laws of natural are God at work so they are supernatural too.

What about the view that miracles are ABOVE the law of nature? That is not a new view. It could mean you are saying that miracles do not break the laws of nature. You would say rather that they are caused by laws of nature we know little or nothing about.

Nothing can ever be done to prove a miracle ever happened. Even if a statue weeps blood and no natural explanation is found it still fails to prove a miracle.

There could be a natural explanation that we don’t know of.

The higher natural law idea means that we can never be sure if something is really a sign from God or not.

If miracles are not against nature then one day science might find some kind of intelligent gas that has been doing these miracles and we have no reason to think God has anything to do with it.

Some events cannot be explained by natural laws. A magic trick may look like it cannot be explained by natural laws but it can. It may be explainable in some way perhaps we will never discover. It could be the same with an alleged miracle.

A miracle is an event that reveals nature has not worked in a consistent way. One response to a miracle can be is that it is not a real miracle and that we can assume there is a natural explanation even if we don’t have one. This is reasonable. You cannot go about assuming everything that you can't explain is a miracle.

A law is not meant for suspending but for keeping. A God who makes laws he has to suspend is just as useless as a God who makes law and has to violate it if things go wrong.

A miracle intended to show that God is there has be something that cannot be explained by the laws of nature. That can get tricky. We know that one day dying people may be put into suspended animation and be revived and live. We know that one day it will be possible to cause parthenogenesis – virginal conception. Frogs are doing it already.
Aquinas, St. Thomas, Summa Contra Gentiles (SCG), [translation by J. Rickaby, London: Burns and Oates, 1905].
Aquinas, St. Thomas, Summa Theologiae (ST), [translated by the Fathers of the English, in The Catholic Encyclopedia].
Adams, William, 1767, An Essay in Answer to Mr. Hume's Essay on Miracles, 3rd ed., London: B. White.
Babbage, Charles, 1837, The Ninth Bridgewater Treatise, London: John Murray.
Basinger, David, and Basinger, Randall, 1986, Philosophy and Miracle: The Contemporary Debate, Lewiston, ID: Edwin Mellen Press.
Beard, John Relly, 1845, Voices of the Church, London: Simpkin, Marshall, and Co.
Beckett, Edmund, 1883, A Review of Hume and Huxley on Miracles, New York: E. & J. B. Young & Co.
Berkeley, George, 1732, Alciphron, in George Sampson, ed., The Works of George Berkeley, D. D., Bishop of Cloyne, vol. 2, London, George Bell and Sons, 1898.
Bradley, Francis Herbert, 1874, “The Presuppositions of Critical History,” in Collected Essays, vol. 1, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1935.
Brown, Colin, 1984, Miracles and the Critical Mind, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.
Brown, Thomas, 1822, Inquiry into the Relation of Cause and Effect. Andover: Mark Newman.
Buel, Oliver Price, 1894, The Abraham Lincoln Myth, New York: The Mascot Publishing Co.
Burns, Robert M, 1981, The Great Debate on Miracles from Joseph Glanvill to David Hume, London and Toronto: Associated University Presses.
Butler, Joseph, 1736, The Analogy of Religion, Hartford: Samuel G. Goodrich, 1819.
Campbell, George, 1762, A Dissertation on Miracles, London: Thomas Tegg, 1839.
Chryssides, George, 1977, “Miracles and Agents,” Religious Studies 13: 319–327.
Clarke, Samuel, 1719, A Discourse Concerning the Being and Attributes of God, 5th ed., London: James Knapton.
Coleman, Dorothy P., 1988, “Hume, Miracles and Lotteries,” Hume Studies 14: 328–346.
Cooper, Thomas, 1876, The Verity and Value of the Miracles of Christ, London: Hodder and Stoughton.
Copan, Paul, ed., 1998, Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up? Grand Rapids: Baker Books.
Copan, Paul, and Tacelli, Ronald, eds., 2000, Jesus' Resurrection: Fact or Figment? Downer's Grove, IL: InterVarsity.
Craig, William Lane, 2002, Assessing the New Testament Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus, Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press.
Craig, William Lane, 1985, The Historical Argument for the Resurrection of Jesus During the Deist Controversy, Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press.
Craig, William Lane, 1986, “The Problem of Miracles: A Historical and Philosophical Perspective,” in David Wenham and Craig Blomberg, eds., Gospel Perspectives VI. Sheffield, England: JSOT Press, pp. 9–40.
Craig, William Lane, 2008, Reasonable Faith, 3rd ed., Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.
Dawes, Gregory, 2001, The Historical Jesus Question, Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press.
Dawes, Gregory, 2009, Theism and Explanation, New York: Routledge.
Dawid, Philip and Gillies, Donald, 1989, “A Bayesian Analysis of Hume's Argument Concerning Miracles,” Philosophical Quarterly 39, pp. 57–65.
Douglas, John, 1757, The Criterion, London: A. Millar.
Dulles, Avery, 1971, A History of Apologetics, Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 1999.
Earman, John, 2000, Hume's Abject Failure, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Ehrman, Bart D., 2003, The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings, 3rd ed., New York: Oxford University Press.
Farmer, Hugh, 1771, A Dissertation on Miracles, London: T. Cadell.
Flew, Antony, 1961, Hume's Philosophy of Belief, New York: Humanities Press.
Flew, Antony, 1966, God and Philosophy, London: Hutchinson.
Flew, Antony, 1967, “Miracles.” Encyclopedia of Philosophy, vol. 5, New York: Macmillan and Free Press, pp. 346–353.
Fogelin, Robert, 2003, A Defense of Hume on Miracles, Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Garrett, Don, 2002, “Hume on Testimony Concerning Miracles,” in Millican, Peter, ed., Reading Hume on Human Understanding: Essays on the First Enquiry, Oxford: Clarendon Press, pp. 301–334.
Greenleaf, Simon, 1847, An Examination of the Testimony of the Four Evangelists, by the Rules of Evidence Administered in Courts of Justice, 2nd ed. London: A. Maxwell & Son.
Habermas, Gary, 1996, The Historical Jesus. Joplin: College Press.
Hájek, Alan, 1995, “In Defense of Hume's Balancing of Probabilities in the Miracle Argument,” Southwest Philosophy Review 11, pp. 111–118.
Hájek, Alan, 2008, “Are Miracles Chimerical?” In Jonathan Kvanvig, ed., Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion 1, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 82–104.
Hesse, Mary, 1965, “Miracles and the Laws of Nature,” in C. F. D. Moule, ed., Miracles: Cambridge Studies in their Philosophy and History, London: A. R. Mowbray & Co., pp. 33–42.
Holder, Rodney, 1998, “Hume on Miracles: Bayesian Interpretation, Multiple Testimony, and the Existence of God,” British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 49, pp. 49–65.
Houston, Joseph, 1994, Reported Miracles: A Critique of Hume, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hudson, Charles, 1857, Doubts Concerning the Battle of Bunker's Hill, Boston and Cambridge: James Munroe and Co..
Hume, David, 1748 et seq., An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Ed. Tom L. Beauchamp. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.
Huxley, Thomas Henry, 1894, Hume: with Helps to the Study of Berkeley, London: Macmillan and Co.
Jenkin, Robert, 1708, The Reasonableness and Certainty of the Christian Religion, 2nd ed., vol. 2, London: Richard Sare.
Johnson, David, 1999, Hume, Holism, and Miracles, Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
Joyce, George Hayward, 1914, The Question of Miracles, St. Louis: B. Herder.
Kruskal, William, 1988, “Miracles and Statistics: the Casual Assumption of Independence,” Journal of the American Statistical Association 83, pp. 929–940.
Langtry, Bruce, 1985, “Miracles and Principles of Relative Likelihood,” International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 18, pp. 123–131.
Langtry, Bruce, 1990, “Hume, Probability, Lotteries and Miracles,” Hume Studies 16, pp. 67–74.
Larmer, Robert, 1988, Water Into Wine? An Investigation of the Concept of Miracle, Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press.
Larmer, Robert, 2004, “Miracles and Overall: An Apology for Atheism?” Dialogue 43, pp. 555–568.
Leland, John, 1755, A View of the Principal Deistical Writers, vol. 2, London: B. Dod.
Leslie, Charles, 1697, A Short and Easy Method with the Deists, London: F. C. and J. Rivington, 1815.
Less, Gottfried, 1773, Wahrheit der christlichen Religion, Gšttingen & Bremen: Georg Ludewig Fšrster.
Levine, Michael, 1989, Hume and the Problem of Miracles: A Solution, Dordrecht: Kluwer Publishers.
Levine, Michael, 1998, “Bayesian Analyses of Hume's Argument concerning Miracles,” Philosophy and Theology 10 (1), pp. 101–106.
Levine, Michael, 2002, “Review of Hume's Abject Failure: The Argument Against Miracles,” Hume Studies 28.
Lewis, C. S., 1947, Miracles. New York: Macmillan.
Lias, John James, 1883, Are Miracles Credible? London: Hodder and Stoughton.
Locke, John, 1706, A Discourse of Miracles, In Ian T. Ramsey, ed., The Reasonableness of Christianity, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1958, pp. 78–87.
Mackie, J. L., 1982, The Miracle of Theism, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
McGrew, Timothy, 2005, “Review of Robert Fogelin, A Defense of Hume on Miracles,” Mind 114, pp.145–149.
McGrew, Timothy & Lydia, 2009, “The Argument from Miracles,” in William Lane Craig and J. P. Moreland, eds., The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology, New York: Blackwell, pp. 593–662.
Millican, Peter, 2002, Reading Hume on Human Understanding, Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Montgomery, John Warwick, 1978, “Science, Theology, and the Miraculous,” Journal of the American Scientific Association 30: 145–153.
Morgan, Thomas, 1739, The Moral Philosopher, vol. 2, London: Printed for the author.
Mozely, James Bowling, 1865, Eight Lectures on Miracles. London: Rivingtons.
O'Collins, Gerald, and David Kendall, 1996, “Reissuing Venturini,” in O'Collins and Kendall, eds., Focus on Jesus: Essays in Soteriology and Christology, Herefordshire: Fowler Wright Books, pp. 153–75.
Oppy, Graham, 2006, Arguing about Gods, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Overall, Christine, 1985, “Miracles as Evidence Against the Existence of God,” The Southern Journal of Philosophy 23: 47–53.
Overall, Christine, 1997, “Miracles and God: A Reply to Robert H. Larmer,” Dialogue 36: 741–752.
Overall, Christine, 2003, “Miracles and Larmer,” Dialogue 42: 123–135.
Owen, David, 1987, “Hume versus Price on Miracles and Prior Probabilities: Testimony and the Bayesian Calculation,” Philosophical Quarterly 37: 187–202.
Paley, William, 1794, A View of the Evidences of Christianity, London: John W. Parker and Son, 1859.
Peirce, Charles S., 1958, Values in a Universe of Chance: Selected Writings of Charles S. Peirce, Ed. Philip P. Wiener. New York: Doubleday Anchor.
Powell, Baden, 1859, The Order of Nature: Considered in Reference to the Claims of Revelation, London: Longman, Brown, Green, Longmans, & Roberts.
Price, Richard, 1777, Four Dissertations, 4th ed. London: T. Cadell.
Russell, Paul, 2008, “Hume on Religion,” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2008 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.)
Schlesinger, George, 1987, “Miracles and Probabilities,” Nous 21: 219–232.
Schlesinger, George, 1991, “The Credibility of Extraordinary Events,” Analysis 51: 120–126.
Sherlock, Thomas, 1729, The Trial of the Witnesses of the Resurrection of Jesus, Philadelphia: Presbyterian Board of Publication, n.d. [1843].
Sobel, Jordan Howard, 1987, “On the Evidence of Testimony for Miracles: A Bayesian Interpretation of Hume's Analysis,” Philosophical Quarterly 37: 166–186.
Sobel, Jordan Howard, 1991, “Hume's Theorem on Testimony Sufficient to Establish a Miracle,” Philosophical Quarterly 41: 229–237.
Sobel, Jordan Howard, 2004, Logic and Theism: Arguments for and Against Beliefs in God, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.
Sober, Elliott, 2004, “A Modest Proposal,” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 68: 487–494.
Spinoza, Baruch, 1670, Tractatus Theologico-Politicus. London: Trübner and Co., 1862.
Starkie, Thomas, 1876, A Practical Treatise on the Law of Evidence, 10th ed., Philadelphia: T. & J. W. Johnson & Co.
Stephen, Leslie, 1876, History of English Thought in the Eighteenth Century, vol. 1, London: Smith, Elder, & Co.
Stewart, M.A., 1995, “Hume's Historical View of Miracles,” in Hume and Hume's Connexions, M.A. Stewart (ed.), University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press.
Strauss, David Friedrich, 1879, A New Life of Jesus, 2nd edition, Volume 1, London: Williams and Norgate.
Swinburne, Richard, 1970, The Concept of a Miracle, London: Macmillin and Co.
Swinburne, Richard, 1977, The Coherence of Theism, Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Swinburne, Richard, 1979, The Existence of God, Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Swinburne, Richard, ed., 1989, Miracles, New York: Macmillan.
Swinburne, Richard, 1993, Revelation: From Metaphor to Analogy, Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Swinburne, Richard, 2003, The Resurrection of God Incarnate, Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Taylor, James E., 2007, “Hume on Miracles: Interpretation and Criticism,” Philosophy Compass, 2(4): 611–624
Toland, John, 1702, Christianity Not Mysterious, London: n.p.
Trench, Richard Chenevix, 1847, Notes on the Miracles of Our Lord, 2nd ed., London: John W. Parker.
Troeltsch, Ernst, 1913, “Über historische und dogmatische Methode in der Theologie,” in Gesammelte Schriften 2, Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr, pp. 729–753.
Tucker, Aviezer, 2005, “Miracles, Historical Testimonies, and Probabilities,” History and Theory 44: 373–390.
Twelftree, Graham H., ed., 2009, The Cambridge Companion to Miracles, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Tweyman, Stanley, ed., 1996, Hume on Miracles, Bristol, Thoemmes Press.
Venn, John, 1888, The Logic of Chance, 3rd ed., London: Macmillan and Co.
Venturini, Karl, 1800, Natürliche Geschichte des grossen Propheten von Nazareth, Copenhagen.
Voltaire, 1764, Philosophical Dictionary, in The Works of Voltaire, vol. 11, New York: E. R. DuMont, 1901.
Wardlaw, Ralph, 1852, On Miracles, Edinburgh: A. Fullarton and Co.
Warfield, Benjamin, 1918, Counterfeit Miracles, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.
Whately, Richard, 1819, Historic Doubts Relative to Napoleon Bonaparte, Andover: Warren F. Draper, 1874.
Whately, Richard, 1826, Elements of Logic, London: Longmans, Green, Reader and Dyer, 1870.
Zabell, Sandy, 1988, “The Probabilistic Analysis of Testimony,” Journal of Statistical Planning and Inference 20: 327–354.

The Problem of Competing Claims by Richard Carrier


No Copyright