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Miracles tend to fall under a sort of I Know It When I See It type of category: where one sees a miracle another sees a possible scientific explanation.

Miracles Are Rare…ish

Miracles tend to be rare. It’s unexpected; it wasn’t foretold. It goes against common expectations.

But we also have “common” miracles like the Sun coming up every day or the miracle of birth.

Some things we refer to as a Miracle as an expression of our awe and wonder, our recognition that we’re witnessing something the whole of which is much larger, is much more, than its parts.

In line with that awe and wonder we could say that miracles are Impressive, Amazing. It’s when we accomplish something through science or technology or in sports which borders on the unbelievable.

“Miracles … Its awe and wonder lie in the fact that the cause is hidden.”
Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th Edition

That’s a nice way of putting it.

In short I think we can say that we deem the chance and the cause and effect of miracles if not impossible at least improbable.

Miracles & Science

Using the above as a guideline we don’t need to have miracles come into conflict with science; the heart with the mind.

There’s no need to insist that something happened outside or above the laws of nature we feel familiar with.

“For example, if a patient narrowly survives a life-threatening sickness when there was only a 5 percent chance or less of living, the doctor will usually agree with the family that it’s a miracle.

But if you were to sit down with the doctor for a half-hour, he or she could probably supply at least one rational theory of how natural forces contributed to the healing process. […]

The truth is that doctors can’t fully explain a lot of things.

Why someone catches a cold and recovers in six days while someone else catches the same virus from the same person and recovers in only three days is a bit of a mystery.”
— Brad Burke, MD.,
Does God Still Do Miracles? (An M.D. Examines)

Now I don’t suggest to dismiss or lower the value of miracles; I’m just saying that we have to ask ourselves if having a probable explanation negates our judgment that something is miraculous.

Does the fact that when disassembled living beings consist of dead material make Life any less of a miracle?

Miracles & God

There’s of course another type of miracle, another event we like to refer to as a miracle and that is one where we feel that we saw God in direct action.

“Many supernatural or inexplicable events have been called miracles, but in the strict religious sense a miracle refers only to the direct intervention of divine will in the affairs of men.”
Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th Edition

It’s hard to say anything about these events. Who am I to speak for God other than to express my believes — and what can science possibly say in the face of the impossibility of dealing with true supernatural miracles?

“the modern scientific conceptual net what we call scientific method allows scientists to catch only replicable events; the results of any experiment that can’t be replicated are not allowed to stand.

This means that miracles, which are by definition singular events, can’t be caught in the net of science.

Scientists can’t ask God to replicate a miracle for the sake of a controlled experiment.

As a result, miracles are ruled out of scientific consideration a priori.”
— “Science, Religion and Education”, Warren A. Nord; Phi Delta Kappan, Vol. 81, 1999.

I do believe in supernatural miracles caused by God but I don’t think we should talk about receiving them lightly; its monstrous to give people false hope or, worse, to put the burden for not receiving a miracle on them.

“Perhaps, like me, you’ve known people who have prayed for a miracle from God, but the miracle floodgates have failed to release even a single drop.

Maybe you’ve sat motionless by their bedsides, unsure of what to say, as tears streamed down their cheeks over their disappointment with God.

They’ve read book after book heralding the existence of miracles. They’ve sat in church and heard parishioners share incredible stories of divine healings.

All the while, their spirits spiral downward as they wonder why God won’t intervene in a similar miraculous fashion on their behalf.”
— Brad Burke, MD.,
Does God Still Do Miracles? (An M.D. Examines)

Miracles: You and Your Loved Ones

Maybe reading the amazing good news stories here can make you ask “why? why didn’t….”

Or maybe reading those same stories here gives you hope for yourself or for someone you love.

As you saw from the above, miracles are, in a way, like bad news; they’re news because they are rare. Doesn’t mean they don’t happen but perhaps we shouldn’t build our future on them the same way we wouldn’t call the hope to win the lottery “financial planning”.

“I do believe with all my heart that God is still miraculously healing people today of physical diseases in a way that defies natural explanation.

Probably the best recently documented case I could find of such a miracle was one showcased on Oprah Winfrey’s Good Friday show in 2002. A premature infant, Iyanna, was born not breathing and without a heartbeat. Despite the doctor’s best attempts, she could not be revived, and the doctors left the dead infant in the mother’s arms. For 35 minutes the mother cradled her lifeless baby. Then suddenly, after more than 65 minutes without a heartbeat, little Iyanna began to breathe on her own! On day 15, Iyanna left the hospital being hailed by everyone as the Miracle Baby. Two years later a smiling Iyanna walked out on Oprah’s stage a perfectly normal little girl. Dr. Clemons, the physician who had tried to revive the limp infant in the very beginning, said this on national television: “This has to be in the works and acts of God. I really believe there’s no other explanation for it.”

God is definitely at work healing people today! If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my journey as a physician, it’s that God’s ways are indeed higher than our own”
— Brad Burke, MD.,
Does God Still Do Miracles? (An M.D. Examines)

If you’re hoping or praying for healing of an illness or affliction, or if people around you are talking about it, I encourage you to read more about faith healing so that you can protect yourself from harm while doing what you feel is right:

“Based on the teachings of the Bible, there is a legitimate belief in – and practice of – faith healing.

There also is an illegitimate approach to this issue; one that usually puts people at risk to the point of injury and even death.

While faith healings do take place today just as they did in the early Christian church, the teachings of some churches, movements and individuals on this subject amount to spiritual abuse. […]

Legitimate churches, movements, and individuals do not equal using drugs or receiving proper medical attention with unbelief, insufficient faith, or otherwise sinning against God.”
faith healing, Apologetics Index

Additional Reading

The Miracles entry at The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy is a solid starting point.

Why Science Can’t Accept Miracles (Even if They Really Exist) is a wonderfully clear written explanation of why science doesn’t deal with miracles. Steven Dutch goes to show how “it’s just a miracle” doesn’t tend be acceptable for us: “Science rejects miracles for exactly the same reasons that accountants do when conducting audits, the police do when conducting forensics, and mechanics do when trouble-shooting cars.”

Miracles by Edward Wierenga gives a short introduction why miracles are logically impossible.

And of course the above mentioned article on faith healing which contains a great list of resources about faith healing, many of which touch upon miracles.

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