Miracles Revision Notes

  • Created by: DAFE16
  • Created on: 27-02-17 19:39

Miracles Revision Notes

Miracles Definition

  • The General definition of a miracles is an event which cannot be accounted for or established by the laws of nature, which it appears to break, and is then attributed to God/supernatural causes.
  • There are various definitions of miracles, associated to various scholars
  • Augustine's definition: "whatever is hard or appears unusual beyond the expectation or comprehension of the observer"
  • Aquinas' definition: "Those things must properly be called miraculous which are done by divine power apart from the order generally followed in things."
  • Hume's definition: "transgession of a law of nature by a particular volition of the Deity or by the interposition of some invisible agent."
  • Holland's definition: "A coincidence can be taken religiously as a sign and called a miracle."
  • Hume's definition implies that miracles are violations of the laws of nature, which coincides with the word miracles from Latin, as sth. amazing or unexpected (e.g. Burning Bush)
  • Holland's definition implies sth. more ordinary, but with a religious significance - nevertheless, loses this awe-inspiring thought of a miracle (e.g. West Baptist Church)

Biblical Miracles

  • The  are several miracles in the Bible, such as: Water into wine (John 2), Feeds the 5,000 (Matt 14), Raises Lazarus from the dead (John 11), crossing the Red Sea (Ex 14) and Sun stands still (Jos 10)
  • The are various purposes of miracles in the Bible: Love and compassion of God, God's power, shows an immanent God and shows that Jesus is God
  • There are different ways to understanding miracles in the Bible (=different ways to interpret the Bible): Literal, symbolic and liberal
  • Criticisms to the idea of miracles in the Bible, as shown above:
  • Form Criticism - what was the form in which the story was told? (Hermann Gauckel)
  • Rudolf Bultmann - demythologising the Bible: removing the true message from supernatural elements to it
  • Conservatives belief that miracles weren't additions to the orginial account, but integrations: if Christ did not resurrect - no Christianity

Hume on Miracles

  • David Hume puts forward to different types of argument against the idea of miracles: the theoretical and the practical arguments
  • In the theoretical argument, Hume argues against the very definition of miracles (the one he formualted), the argument goes like this:
  • The laws of nature are uniform, e.g. the sun rises every day
  • Induction is based on cause and effect - this means that the events observed suggests that the opposite will not happen, e.g. the sun always rises, therefore it will…


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