What is a miracle?

James Lindsey, the atheist math guy had a post about miracles. 

My response to his post was this. 

The miracle question always cuts both ways and like belief it finally rests in the mind of the beholder. 

Many things happen in this world that we cannot find or know efficient cause for. There are hosts of documented accounts around of “miracles” around for which trained medical professionals and other reliable, mostly unbiased witnesses can attest there is no know efficient cause to effect the unexpected new condition. By virtue of a context (a group praying for the person, a religious healing service, etc.) some will claim that God is the efficient cause. Others will simply say “I don’t know”. By virtue of the nature of event (no currently common or reproducible efficient cause apparent) no scientific conclusion can be established because science is all about reproducibility. By definition (convenient though it may be) a miracle is not reproducible. 

Miracles of course have a lot of impact on observers because like miracles themselves, people and their beliefs are not very reproducible. The factors are too many. We can attempt predictions of people in groups but individuals can be highly difficult to predict. Miracles can “prove” nothing by definition while they can remain highly persuasive. Ironically, Jesus himself didn’t value the type of faith that his own miracles provoked.

Came across a great example of this from the Dish Killer Cannabis?  original piece

What killed these men? Was it the pot? Sullivan susses out the biases. Was it something else? There was pot. There was arrhythmia. Link? Miracle? Fluke? How do we know? 

We look at large samples and establish probability, but while probability might inform our judgment on any particular case in many cases establishing the certain cause is far more difficult because of the number of possible factors. If they were not men? But they were men…

We have a “god of the gaps” situation here again, God’s or science’s. People will make judgments. What more will you say? 

About PaulVK

Husband, Father of 5, Pastor
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