A miracle is a supernatural event - that is it has no natural cause or no possible natural cause. For example, a statue coming to life would be a miracle. The notion that love is a miracle, the tree in the garden is a miracle, is spreading the definition of miracle so thin that it can mean anything. 

One good way to express what would look like a miracle is, it is a less common, perhaps very rare, kind of activity by God which is designed to show that he is there and that he approves of some message and seeks people's awe and worshipful wonder.

The trouble with that is instead of letting miracles tell us there is a God, you presuppose there is a God and just cherry-pick the miracle tales that seem to back up what you have already made up your mind about.

The idea of God intervening in the world by a miracle forgets that all that happens in the world is a miracle anyway just not as obvious.  And we are warned not to think of natural law as independent of God so that he has to break in to intervene.  We are told that the natural and the supernatural work together for example when Jesus got five ordinary loaves and multiplied them. The loaves were ordinary and contributed themselves to multiplication.  I must add that the notion of a possessed person doing something, perhaps using willpower, to work with supernatural help to get the demon out is alarming.  It blames the victim.  Anyway, many say the miracle is like the natural, the natural is there and working something is added in to get a result that nature alone cannot do. 

The more miracles happen the more the extraordinary ceases to exist and becomes ordinary.  It would make the paranormal appearance of a ghost as remarkable as a man being created by a snap of the divine fingers.  One miracle would be as good as another.  Miracles would cease to be signs from God or teaching mediums.

Yet Jesus went as far as to say that God was putting feathers on each bird and dressing up each flower.

The Christian doctrine of miracles is complete confusion.  First they say that God creates every single thing out of nothing.  Second that creation has to be repeated every moment to keep the thing in existence.  Then they tell us to be aware of that and yet be amazed when Jesus rises from the dead.

A miracle usually refers to an event that happens and then it is over. For example, a cancer patient whose cancer vanishes in a moment of time had a very quick miracle. But there can be perpetual miracles too. For example, if a cross appeared in the sun and was permanent that would be a perpetual miracle. God does not do it in an instant of time but keeps it going. It is a maintained miracle. A maintained miracle is really a collection of miracles. God has to miraculously keep the miracle going on and every instant he does so is a miracle on its own.

Jesus rising from the dead and staying alive would be a perpetual miracle.

But Jesus staying dead and the matter that made him up being around forever would also be a perpetual miracle.

This means that science is religion in the sense that it studies the natural when it in fact is studying what God is doing even if it does not realise it.

Science shows that antibiotics work. Or does it? What if they are useless and it is a perpetual miracle at work? That would explain why people get better. Researchers all agree that to view God as constantly or perpetually suspending natural law makes science useless and futile and blasphemous. Even the suggestion that God could be perpetually suspending natural law or alternatively that what looks like a natural cause in fact is not (eg if antibiotics do not affect the immune system and the response of the immune system is not down to them but a miracle) ruins science. Science does not make room for any doubt when something is verified. And there is enough to bring doubt in if anywhere without miracles and the supernatural adding to it.

To base faith around one type of miracle and not another is not faith.  While Christianity tries to get you to centre on say the amazing resurrection of Jesus, it is being bigoted and ideological for it would call you weird if you seeds growing into flowers amazed you and impressed you more.

Further Reading ~
Answers to Tough Questions, Josh McDowell and Don Stewart, Scripture Press, Bucks, 1980
A Summary of Christian Doctrine, Louis Berkhof, The Banner of Truth Trust, London, 1971
Believing in God, PJ McGrath, Wolfhound Press, Dublin, 1995
Catechism of the Catholic Church, Veritas, Dublin, 1995
Catholicism and Fundamentalism, Karl Keating, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1988
Enchiridion Symbolorum Et Definitionum, Heinrich Joseph Denzinger, Edited by A Schonmetzer, Barcelona, 1963
Looking for a Miracle, Joe Nickell, Prometheus Books, New York, 1993
Miracles, Rev Ronald A Knox, Catholic Truth Society, London, 1937
Miracles in Dispute, Ernst and Marie-Luise Keller, SCM Press Ltd, London, 1969
Lourdes, Antonio Bernardo, A. Doucet Publications, Lourdes, 1987
Medjugorje, David Baldwin, Catholic Truth Society, London, 2002
Miraculous Divine Healing, Connie W Adams, Guardian of Truth Publications, KY, undated
New Catholic Encyclopaedia, The Catholic University of America and the McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc, Washington, District of Columbia, 1967
Raised From the Dead, Father Albert J Hebert SM, TAN, Illinois 1986
Science and the Paranormal, Edited by George O Abell and Barry Singer, Junction Books, London, 1981
The Demon-Haunted World, Carl Sagan, Headline, London, 1997
The Book of Miracles, Stuart Gordon, Headline, London, 1996
The Encyclopaedia of Unbelief Volume 1, Gordon Stein, Editor, Prometheus Books, New York, 1985
The Hidden Power, Brian Inglis, Jonathan Cape, London, 1986
The Sceptical Occultist, Terry White, Century, London, 1994
The Stigmata and Modern Science, Rev Charles Carty, TAN, Illinois, 1974
Twenty Questions About Medjugorje, Kevin Orlin Johnson, Ph.D. Pangaeus Press, Dallas, 1999
Why People Believe Weird Things, Michael Shermer, Freeman, New York, 1997

The Problem of Competing Claims by Richard Carrier


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