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Describe and explain the different theistic views concerning miracles

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Introduction

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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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.

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