• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Describe and explain the different theistic views concerning miracles

Extracts from this document...


Transfer-Encoding: chunked ´╗┐Describe and explain the different theistic views concerning miracles There are a wealth of different views regarding miracles even within theist circles. This is largely because the term ?miracle? is multifaceted, as it means different things to different people. For example, St Augustine said that a miracle is, ?An event we cannot forecast or expect with our present understanding of nature,? whereas Aquinas defines a miracle as, ?things which are done by divine agency beyond the order commonly observed in nature.? Swinburne offers an additional definition: ?If he (God) has reason to interact with us, he has reason very occasionally to intervene and suspend those natural laws by which our life is controlled.? These competing definitions have a common link: they all agree that miracles must break the laws of nature. This would be an anti-realist view of miracles, which is the most commonly held belief amongst theists. In examining this view of miracles a good place to start is looking more closely at the views of Aquinas. Aquinas distinguishes 3 types of miracle, all of which have God as the cause. ...read more.


With this view the universe can account for all circumstances that exist or ever will. As a rule, naturalism excludes the miraculous. In contrast, the supernaturalist believes in a hierarchy of order and being, an ?open universe? which may allow for reality to encompass all manner of surprises, mysteries, and discontinuities?including the intervention of a Divine Being seeking to accomplish his purposes. The supernaturalist believes in a Creator God, and a creation that reflects his image and is subject to his will ? even if he wills to break the apparent laws of nature. To Lewis, the ultimate miracle was the death and resurrection of Jesus. The Bible records many miracles, namely in the gospel of John. Here we have seven miracles ? or signs (semia), as they are referred to. Examples include the healing of the blind man or the feeding of the five thousand. In this instance the miracles have a deeper theological meaning and act as a signpost towards the true character of God. It should be remembered that the Bible uses the word miracle in the sense of anything which reveals the God of surprises, whether it is in the star-spangled sky proclaiming the glory of God, or a simple blade of grass which speaks to the believer of God?s power. ...read more.


To an unbeliever it would simply be a normal occurrence. One holder of this view is Bishop Spong, who believes that a literal interpretation of miracles will simply alienate the church in a scientific age. Instead he believes the miracles of the Bible are natural events, even Jesus? death. Spong takes the position that Jesus? earthly body died and stayed dead, but he lives on spiritually in his follower?s hearts. He never literally rose again. This is somewhat of a minority view among theists, but it is gradually becoming more accepted amongst liberal theologians such as Bultman. Overall, it seems reasonable to suppose that if we believe in a God who is omnipotent, and all-loving, then we could attribute miracles to him. The occurrence of a miracle can at most strengthen the beliefs of those who already have specific beliefs in and about God. Indeed Christians continue to revere the stories of the miracles because they speak of the power of Christ, and because what they mean is far more important than what actually happened. To quote Thomas Carlyle, ?We are the miracle of miracles, the great inscrutable mystery of God.? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Christianity section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Christianity essays

  1. Outline and examine Jesus attitudes concerning wealth and the poor. To what extent do ...

    Finally, another teaching from Jesus is that God has a special interest in the oppressed and the helpless, which are essentially the poor. Once again the Beatitudes from Jesus' Sermon on the plain express this teaching as in verse 22-23 it says that "Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you.

  2. Human Experience Miracles

    'Ndoki' was said to target children particularly either when still in the womb or in early childhood through a piece of food infected with the evil spirit, said Dr Hoskins who has made an extensive study of traditional religions in Africa.

  1. Describe One Miracle Particular to Luke, and another of a different type.

    Jesus' healing on the Sabbath was met with the usual hostility from the leader of the synagogue, 'Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue ruler said to the people, "There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath."'

  2. Why were the signs so controversial at that time? John uses the term ...

    When Jesus turned the water into wine, the wine from the stone jars was the best wine, which once again symbolises that Jesus is superseding Judaism. In Jesus' time seven was supposed to be the perfect number and therefore the six cleansing stone jars show that Judaism is imperfect and that Christianity is overruling.

  1. 'To tell the truths about Jesus rather than recount the facts of his life.' ...

    Only in this gospel does Jesus not get baptised. Therefore, the suggestion has been raised that John's gospel was written to refute the claim of a 'Baptist group'. Bultmann argues that the author of the gospel was a former Gnostic who had been part of a Baptist sect before becoming

  2. Critically analyse Wiles view on miracles

    Wiles disagrees and says that since God is the creator of the world, he needs to accept responsibility for the evil in the world. In response, Ward says that God should not be blamed for the evil actions of

  1. No definition of a miracle is adequate. Assess this view

    it could be argued to not be sufficiently specific given that it makes no attempt to define what exactly constitutes something distinct from the natural order, and it may in fact not be God.

  2. Contemporary discussion on Augustine

    believes that free will is innate and we should use it to engage fully with life. One reason why Sartre does not believe in the Original Sin is that this means that we can never freely develop our own personalities.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work