Belief in Miracles: Mysterious Works of God
In aiming to discuss the possibility of the existence of miracles, it is important to define to some extent the meaning of what a miracle is. Some people view miracles as being extraordinary acts of an omnipotent God, who “unilaterally determines some creaturely states of affairs… providing sorts of goods” (Keller, 2007). However, it is often difficult to explain these astonishing acts without a real connection to the proof surrounding the events.
Keller proposes a distinction between “epistemic” and “practical” miracles, in that the former serves as a kind of miracle which supports the existence of God and miracles without physical proof and the latter demonstrating the actual proven physical existence of God and miracles. In addressing miracles within this essay, it is essential to note the distinctions between epistemic and practical miracles, although the existence of both types of miracles, both unproven and proven, are supported as true.
There are not enough intelligent scientists in the entire world to explain the grandeur and complexity of the universe, to capture the forms and functions of miracles in the constructs of human thought and language, and trying to do so will most likely fail. All miracles, both substantiated and understood and unsubstantiated and mysterious, are a testament to the divine nature of God, the explicable and inexplicable realms of His universal reign and intelligent design.
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In his 1997 article, Woodward discusses the possibility of God’s intercession, describing people’s experiences with the power of miracles.
One man portrays miracles as being God’s answers to his prayers, appeals he requests without knowing the actions God will take. The actions of God following his prayers are the miracles performed, plain and simple. Not every wish is answered in the way he desires, but he has faith that the way in which God responds to him is always and truly miraculous. In a confident statement assuring faith in God’s mysterious works, he states that he “trusts Him to have a good answer to his prayers.
That’s not the same as knowing what the answer is” (Woodward, 1997). In another person’s story, she and her mother were both connected in spirit and vision, although living miles apart, at the same moment. In desperate appeals for God’s help, the two women were saved by the grace and peace of God, in their opinions, the mother who was praying on her knees at home comforted by a replacement of fear with security and the daughter who was almost raped saved from her terror by an impulse in the rapist to flee the scene.
Personal accounts such as these are qualitative evidence for the presence of God working in the world through miraculous benevolent acts, which could also be described as epistemic miracles. In his 1997 article, Adler describes the lives and opinions of atheists who do not believe in God or the proposed miracles which he performs. As a NASA scientist, Sagan was optimistic about the possibility of life on Mars and the idea of encountering life on Venus.
With his disappointment in his own theoretical failures or simply stiff personal opposition to the idea of a God, Sagan has countered many claims about the belief in God and his miraculous works with demands for scientific proof. Sagan claims he was brought to skepticism by his claim that support for religious “evidence is anecdotal”, however, he asserts that if there is a God who performs miracles, then it is his “responsibility to try and know about it”.
Sagan feels as if quantitative evidence for the idea of practical miracles is important, demonstrating the yearning for something predictable and calculated. In his 2000 article, Hefner also describes why he opposes the idea of unsubstantiated miracles. He suggests that God could not possible perform miracles to save some people, because other people suffer and are sacrificed all the time. He concludes that it is “blasphemy” to believe in a God who intercedes for chosen people, because that would mean that he allows the others to succumb to destruction.
Hefner asserts that if miracles mean that people are saved by faith in their darkest moments, then that is something he can believe, however, if miracles are defined as something which alters the laws of nature to redirect the ordinary course of events, then he contests the idea of miracles. Adler and Hefner both declare that miracles must be able to be proved physically through reliable calculations of natural law. Although some people do not believe in miracles or all types of miracles, there is no doubt that God and his extraordinary works certainly do exist.
Although people such as Hefner attempt to reject some aspects of miracles, such as believing that people can be saved by faith yet are unable to be saved by an interventionist God, these dual perceptions of miracles are incompatible. There is no reason why people should be able to save themselves, yet God be unable to save them. If people and God are interrelated, in fact one Spirit, as described in Trinitarian philosophy, then the desires of individuals are most certainly in tune with the grand universal, and vice versa.
As the actions of many people cannot be explained with certainty or clarity in many regards, neither can the actions of God through His miraculous interventions. Individuals are able to communicate and intervene in the lives of one another all the time, often without scientific evidence for their purpose, through the will of God, and God participates in this human to human experience. Direct divine intervention in the lives of people is adequately described by the ones who experience it, although often unable to be explained or calculated in highly scientific terms.
It makes sense to believe in the joy and salvation which can be transferred from person to person and from people to the divine and the divine to people. Not believing in it is only depressing, and also unverifiable by scientific methods. Works Cited Adler, J. “Unbeliever’s Quest. ” Newsweek, 1997. Hefner, P. “Why I Don’t Believe in Miracles. ” Newsweek, 2000. Keller, J. Problems of Evil and the Power of God. Ashgate, 2007. Woodward, K. “Is God Listening? ” Newsweek, 1997.