• 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...

Introduction

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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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. 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.

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

    Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?" Jesus performed this miracle to show that people can come to Jesus at any time for healing and restoration, even on

  1. Critically assess the view that the two Patrick theory solves the puzzle of Patrick

    Several attempts have been made by O'Rahilly and other scholars to provide some sort of explanation, such as suggesting that the dates are wrongly recorded or recorded late so that the lifespan of the Saint was expanded.

  2. 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.

  1. Abortion, a christians view.

    So important is the life of the unborn baby that, if there is a choice, the life of the baby should be saved ahead of that of the mother. The Catholic Church supports those organisations - such as LIFE10 and SPUC11 (Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child)

  2. Critically analyse Wiles view on miracles

    If God acts in the worlds and is good but does not prevent the evil in the world such as the Holocaust then it goes against the idea of him being good. If he does prevent some evil and not others then it would mean that God?s actions would be

  1. Gods omniscience and omnibenevolence are compatible. Discuss.

    Geach argued this was not consistent with the Bible, where God?s incarnation is linear in the New Testament, or where the prophecies in the Old Testament said that God would send a saviour in the future. Also, Anthony Kenny argued in ?The God of Philosophers? that the concept of God

  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