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By Definition, Miracles Can Never Happen. Discuss

1639 words - 7 pages

“By definition a miracle can never happen.” Discuss.
The known definition of a miracle is “an extraordinary and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore attributed to a divine agency.” However, Peter Vardy in The Puzzle of God gave four different definitions provided by many different scholars, including Aquinas and Hume, with Hume believing they are impossible but cannot be disproved compared to Aquinas believing they are completely possible even within the system of natural activity. What a miracle is can be debated forever due to the many different interpretations of who and why they come about, with psychologists such as Freud arguing they are ...view middle of the document...

Freud could be used to support this idea of a miracle not being able to happen due to the fact that the supernatural is non-existent. He argued that God is simply a father figure humans conjure from their minds in order to feel comfort and enable them to escape the realities of this world. This supports the statement as the general definition of a miracle is an event that is brought about by the action of a high being, which Freud states is just a figure of our imagination. Derren Brown agrees with Freud and says that humans use God as a way of moderating and controlling our behaviour when no one is around as we know that there is always someone watching our every move, this does not prove that God is an actual being that can cause real events such as miracles to occur. Therefore, defining miracles as events that God causes means that by definition miracles cannot happen, as there is no real God he is only in our minds.
Aquinas’ definition however, focuses more upon miracles being a result of God; “those things…which are done by divine power apart from the order generally followed in things”, despite this Aquinas also believes that miracles can be part of the order generally followed. The fact that he believes miracles can work within the laws of nature disagrees with the statement that by definition miracles can never happen, as he is not defining it just upon defying the laws of nature, he leaves the definition of miracles open to possibility from “those events in which something is done by God which nature could never do” to “when God does what is usually done by the working of nature, but without the operation of the principles of nature” or “not in that order.” Therefore, by Aquinas’ definition, miracles can happen without doing anything that is physically impossible such as defying laws of nature that everything else in the world seems to follow, as long as God conducts the event in a natural way.
Additionally, Aquinas argued that God’s activity in the world, such as miracles and religious experiences, are simply part of the normal order of things in the natural world, in my opinion, anything the creator of any world chooses to do within it is not abnormal or impossible, because that world already works to the creator’s choice of rules, which the creator can change or stop at any time. Richard Swinburne agrees with this, and argues that perhaps God can suspend the laws of nature and that Hume should not focus so much upon laws of nature as they are not just fixed truths, and said “one must distinguish between a formula being a law and a formula being universally true, being a law which holds without exception” meaning a law and a law which holds without exception are two different things, and that there are many ‘laws’ of nature that are not always universally true.
One could also argue that if by laws of nature we mean, for example, laws of thermodynamics and Newton’s laws of motion, then it is not clear that miracles are in direct...

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