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1) In my opinion, one of the greatest things that we can witness or be the beneficiary of is a miracle. Merriam Webster (n.d.) defines a miracle as “an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs; an extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing or accomplishment.” Many see miracles in many differing forms. Whether it be a person that walks away from a fiery car that should have killed them or a mother that gives birth, miracles do involve divine intervention. Another miracle that stands out is the first miracle of Jesus Christ The NIV Bible (2007) tells us in John 2:11 “What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him” This was truly an extraordinary event with divine intervention.
David Hume has a disbelief in miracles. Hume (1902) believes that miracles are a “violation of the laws of nature” and “no testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle.” Hume believes that the laws of nature establish the rules and therefor serve as proof against miracles. In my opinion he sees miracles as variations in the natural order of things not divine intervention. He sees the common everyday outcome as the proof against the miracle. Hume is jaded he pretty much stated that he believed that people would purposely mislead other into thinking that they witnessed a miracle. (Hume, 1902)
I can understand where Hume is coming from. We still live in a world where people will tell a flat out lie even with the truth is far more reasonable. However, I couldn’t agree with him. In my own little life, I have experienced what I perceived to be a miracle and there is no way that man could have had a hand in that. It was truly divine intervention.
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2) A commonplace definition of a miracle is an unusual or wonderful event that is believed to be caused by the power of God. The full definition is: first an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs, second an extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment, or third from Christian Science: a divinely natural phenomenon experienced humanly as the fulfillment of spiritual law (Miracle, n.d.). According to the Catholic Church a miracle is believed to be above nature when the effect produced is above the native powers and forces in creatures of which the known laws of nature are the expression. It is also said to be outside, or beside, nature when natural forces may have the power to produce the effect, at least in part, but could not of themselves alone have produced it in the way it was actually brought about. A famous example of this from the Bible is of course Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead (Miracle, 2016).
Philosopher David Hume (1711-1776) said no matter how strong the evidence for a specific miracle may be, it will always be more rational to reject the miracle than to believe in it (Holt, 2008). One of his objections to the concept of a miracle was that a miracle is a violation of the laws of nature; and as a firm and unalterable experience has established these laws, the proof against a miracle, from the very nature of the fact, is as entire as any argument from experience can possibly be imagined (Lorkowski, n.d.). Another of his objections to the concept of a miracle concerned the testimony of the witnesses to miracles. He said there are two factors to assess in deciding whether to believe any given piece of testimony: the reliability of the witness and the probability of that to which they testify. As to the reliability of the witness Hume said testimony of a witness that is both honest and a good judge of that to which they testify is worth much. The testimony of a witness who is either dishonest or not in a position to know that to which they testify is worth little. As to the probability of that to which a person testifies being relevant is equated to a witness who testifies to sighting a flying pig, it is more likely that their testimony is false than that their testimony is true, even it they are a reliable witness. Based on these factors Hume believed it will always, therefore, be more likely that the testimony of a witness to a miracle is false than that it is true (Holt, 2008).
Do I agree with Hume? Using the two above referenced objections to miracles I would have to say, yes and no. I do not agree with him on the first objection, while a miracle is something that can be a violation of the laws of nature it does not have to be. For example, an answered prayer depending on the issue may properly be described as a miracle, but it does not violate any natural law (Holt, 2008). I also do not agree with this objection because the premise is that the laws of nature are immutable and therefore miracles are less likely to be wrong. I believe that just because a proposed miracles goes against the laws of nature does not mean that it did not happen. If a miracle is understood to be a divinely natural phenomenon experienced humanly as the fulfillment of spiritual law and God is omnipotent then the laws of nature have no bearing. However, I do agree with the second objection even though it seems to be the weaker of the two. Just because someone said a miracle happened does not mean that one did, it really does depend on the person and the purported miracle
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