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

No definition of a miracle is adequate. Assess this view

Extracts from this document...


Transfer-Encoding: chunked Many philosophers have attempted to define what exactly constitutes a miracle in a number of ways outlining definitions which contain the criteria for what phenomena can be counted as miraculous. Whether a definition is adequate seems highly subjective but will likely be one that is acceptable by non-Christians as well as Christians who in all probability will want a definition that accepts many of the miracle in the Bible to indeed be miraculous. Mackie?s definition of miracles describing them as events that occur when the world is not left alone and is intruded by something that is not part of the natural order necessitates that miracles are caused by a supernatural entity which may be considered to be God. This appears to suggest that his definition would indeed be adequate for some Christians given that it sets apart miracles from coincidences turning them into occurrences which could provide evidence for their faith. Moreover it allows a more specific idea of what constitutes a miracles disallowing events with an entirely naturalistic explanation maintaining them as unique events. ...read more.


This would undermine its adequacy for Christians who believe that God is responsible for causing miracles and may not accept they are caused by other beings. Swinburne?s definition of a miracle appears to resolve this issue defining miracles as a violation of a law of nature by a god (a very powerful rational being who is not a material object). That said, the requirement for God to intervene in the world poses a number of challenges to Swinburne's? definition especially given that God?s need to intervene in his creation contradicts the idea that he is an all powerful being if the world requires changes. Additionally philosophers like Wiles would argue that if God has the ability to intervene in the world in order to perform miracles in certain instances then his failure to prevent evil and suffering in the world undermines his characteristic of omni-benevolence. For this reason a definition that requires God?s intervention to cause miracles may be inadequate given the contradictions that would occur if such an event happened. ...read more.


likely not accept miracles as defined by Holland as they only accept events without naturalistic explanation suggesting the definition is inadequate for how the term miracle is used by some Christian denominations. In conclusion, it seems probable that no definition of miracles is adequate given that although Swinburne and Mackie?s definition of miracles may encompass many of the instances of how miracles are used, they are undermined by the difficulty in determining natural laws and also whether God physically intervened. Likewise while Holland goes some way to avoiding these contradictions in his definition it remains highly subjective and also doesn?t reflect how miracles are used in Christianity. Additionally it will likely also lead to significant differences between what people consider miracles. Moreover, the existence of so many contrasting definitions of miracles suggests that there isn?t a single definition that is adequate given that there is no consensus on what makes an event miraculous so any definition will be subject to significant disagreement. For this reason the statement that no definition of miracle is adequate can be considered to be true. ...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. Critically assess the view that the two Patrick theory solves the puzzle of Patrick

    If we accept this to be true, this means that Palladius is then, Sen Ph�tric. Bury dismisses this idea of Sen Ph�tric, saying he is a "mere phantom". O'Rahilly is of the opinion that both missionaries had the same name, and that one composite Patrick was made.

  2. Human Experience Miracles

    He also believes that some of the churches and charities set up by Congolese people in the UK were simply "money-making schemes". Antoine Lokongo, the editor of a Congolese newsletter, Congo Panorama, believes the growing violence in exorcisms is due to western influence.

  1. Abortion, a christians view.

    - which oppose abortion in all circumstances. Due to all this abortion can never be allowed for Catholics. Although Catholics refuse to accept abortion as a suitable solution to 'unwanted' pregnancies, they do recognize that there might be a time when an abortion occurs as a result of another medical issue.

  2. 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."'

  1. Natural law explanation and analysis

    For example lying to protect someone's feeling is a good interior act because of the good intent but a bad exterior act because part of the nature of man is to know truth and obstructing this is unnatural. The system is far from perfect though, for example it relies very heavily on the existence of God.

  2. Commentary for "The May Poles and Their Queen".

    crying out for his lost love, unable to find his 'new equilibrium' by being denied even unity in death. Applying these structuralist theories, I found, only served to emphasize the essentially patriarchal nature of the myth. The literary theorist Terry Eagleton talks of how "[a text's] blindnesses, what it does not say and how it does not say it...

  1. Gods omniscience and omnibenevolence are compatible. Discuss.

    seeing the past, present and future at the same time does not make sense. Swinburne agreed with this view, and questioned Boethius? understanding of omniscience. He felt that omniscience did not include knowledge of the impossible. He believed that one could only know what is logically possible to know.

  2. Faith should not be basis on reason alone. Assess this view.

    Barth?s propositional approach to revelation advocates against reason supporting faith due to his belief that human reason was corrupted by the fall, whereas revelation is the direct words of God.

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