Resurrection Debate – Question #2 From Vocab With Tim’s Response

Q2. Can you give your own brief definition of ‘miracle’? Why do you define it that way? Do you think miracles are possible? Why or why not?

A2. A miracle cannot be defined outside of culture. If a group of people observe, or examine evidence of, a certain event and are unable to explain this event in terms of the explanatory tools they have at their disposal, then this event is a miracle to these people. Rain would be a miracle to primitive peoples. An iPhone would be a miracle to 13th century scholars. This definition of miracle does not require the event itself to be supernatural, simply unexplainable. It also allows event formerly classed as miracles to be re-evaluated as explicable events at a later date. I imagine that I am not in the majority when I use this definition, but I think it is a reasonable one.

Any miraculous event needs to be evaluated by its own merits, and examined using the best tools of the day. The reason the age of miracles is over is because our tools of analysis and understanding are becoming more honed. In an age where most people experienced miracles many times during a lifetime, people would tell stories of miracles, amplify them (miracles, by their very nature, need not be plausible or comprenhesible and therefore suffer litte risk of fact-checking) and pass them along, thus causing the plethora of supernatural legends from that age. This still happens in certain parts of sub-Saharan Africa, as an example, and for much the same reasons.

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About Kazz

My name is Shawn Esplin and I am an advocate of Free Thought and general good sense and thought in general. To that end, I encourage people to seriously question the things that they have been taught, especially as children, because many of these things - religious and secular - are taken on faith until we actively choose to seriously examine them for ourselves.

3 thoughts on “Resurrection Debate – Question #2 From Vocab With Tim’s Response

  1. That is a bit of a non-standard definition, but it is a much more reasonable explanation of what a miracle is than the standard definitions we usually see. Although even today many people claim to have seen or experienced miracles, they tend to be more mundane or less credible than they may have been to people in the past.

  2. I would give this definition of miracle:

    “A consideration of the subject of miracles is closely connected with God’s providence… God exercises an extensive, ongoing, sovereign control over all aspects of his creation. We may define a miracle as follows: A miracle is a less common kind of God’s activity in which he arouses people’s awe and wonder and bears witness to himself. This definition takes into account our previous understanding of God’s providence whereby God preserves, controls, and governs all things. If we understand providence in this way, we will naturally avoid some other common explanations or definitions of miracles.”

    Forgive the long quote from one of my favorite proffs @school …
    source – Wayne A. Grudem, Systematic Theology (1994, page 355).

  3. That is a bit of a non-standard definition, but it is a much more reasonable explanation of what a miracle is than the standard definitions we usually see. Although even today many people claim to have seen or experienced miracles, they tend to be more mundane or less credible than they may have been to people in the past.

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