Hume's definition: A transgression of a natural law by a particular volition of the Deity.

Aquinas' definition: That which has a divine cause, not that whose cause a human person fails to understand.

Holland- Boy on the railway track.

Miracles in the New Testament:

1. Healings.

2. Exorcisms

3. Healings.

4. Nature miracles - Feeding of the 5000

Purpose of miracles:

- they demonstrate the love and goodness of God. God is compasisonate and responds to prayers and demonstrations of faith.

- They demonstrate God's power over nature, illnesses and even death.

-They show that God is continually involved and active in the world that he has created.

-They are signs pointing to the person and message of Jesus, they demonstrate that he is from God.

Bultmann- attempted to demythologise the New Testament accounts. By removing the supernatural events, he argues that it is possible to get closer to the real message of Jesus rather than the miraculour interpretation of the early church.

Hume's case against miracles

"A wise man proportions his belief according to the evidence." - Hume

1. Miracles do not generally have many sane and educated witnesses.

2. We adore the exaggerated and the adsurd. We would prefer a story to be unrealistic and over the top as it is more interesting.

3. People who report miracles are usually from ignorant and barbarous nations. (Note that Lourdes is in France- not in an eastern country.)

4. Conflicting religions- All relgions claim miracles from their God but not all of them can be right.

Criticisms of Hume's arguments:

Hume's appeal to the laws of nature is inconsistent with his own writings.

Hume's practical points can be seen as sweeping generalisations. It is unclear how many witnesses Hume thinks would be sufficient. He also fails to define what ignorant and barabarous nations are.

Swinburne noted that testimonies may not be the only evidence…


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