Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Terminology Tuesday: Miracles

Miracle: An event brought about by a special act of God. There is much disagreement about the definition beyond this minimum. Some thinkers argue that a miracle must involve an exception to the laws of nature or (perhaps alternatively) involve some event that exceeds the natural powers or capacities of natural things. Others insist that a miracle is recognizable primarily by its revelatory power as a sign that shows something about God or God's purposes and that such events do not have to be scientifically inexplicable. Since David Hume's famous attack on miracles, the possibility of miracles and the kind of evidence needed for belief in miracles has been subject to debate. Traditional apologetics viewed miracles as important confirmation or certification that a prophet or apostle was genuinely sent by God.1

1. C.Stephen Evans, Pocket Dictionary of Apologetics & Philosophy of Religion (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002), p. 76.


Hendrik van der Breggen said...

Hi Brian,

I hope I don't come across as engaging in self-promotion, but here are some links to philosophical work that I've done on miracle reports (especially reports having to do with Jesus' resurrection):

1. Article for Christian Research Journal"The Seeds of Their Own Destruction: David Hume's Fatally Flawed Arguments against Miracle Reports"
2. Blog/column—"Apologia"
3. PhD dissertation—"Miracle Reports, Moral Philosophy, and Contemporary Science"

Near the end of the CRJ article, I have a list of recommended readings which include excellent works by Francis Beckwith and Robert Larmer. I also recommend Michael Licona's new book The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach.

Best regards,

Brian said...

How dare you link to these resources. I will delete your comment immediately, unless some miracle stops me.

Hendrik van der Breggen said...

Ha! I suspect no miracle will be needed.

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