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

by definition a miracle can never happen. discuss.

Extracts from this document...


By definition a miracle can never happen. Discuss There are many different questions that need to be answered when discussing miracles. These questions are: * What are miracles? * Do they occur? * Do they reveal God? * If so, what type of God do they reveal? However, this essay asks us to mainly focus on the first two questions, what are miracles? And can they occur? David Hume, an 18th century atheistic philosopher, defined a miracle in the following way, 'a transgression of a law of nature by a particular volition of a deity or by the interposition of some invisible agent'. Hume takes a transgression to mean a violation, and a law of nature to mean an action, which is repeated and therefore is predictable in nature. Most philosophers accept this definition today. Hume's argument states that by definition it is difficult to see how a miracle would occur. However, it is important to notice that Hume never states that miracles are impossible. ...read more.


Those testifying to the miracle will have a natural tendency to suspend their reason and support the claim, argues Hume, as religionists would be enthusiasts and there is a tendency for co-religionists to support it too because they want to believe and they want their faith to be proved. Hume continues to state that miracles are only seen by illiterate people and are 'observed chiefly to about among ignorant and barbarous nations'. Hume also states that as religions claim that a miracle will back up their particular faith then the problem comes when we look at differing religions that interpret miracles in different ways. He states that the differing religions cannot all be right and that not only does every miracle therefore destroy rival claims of miracles but also cancels themselves out. Therefore, it is clear from Hume's point of view it would be very hard for a miracle to occur due to the definition he gives it and the argument he puts forward centring on his definition. However, R. F. Holland defines a miracle in a contrasting way. ...read more.


Here, I believe that it is possible to argue that God intervened, making the train driver have a heart attack in order to allow the train to stop before the little boy was hit. It was therefore a miracle as divine intervention took place. The parent's of the little boy would certainly be very likely to consider the coincidence miraculous. Therefore, when one is asking if miracles can occur then this very much depends upon the definition that one accepts. Adopting Holland's definition, it is clearly the case that such co-incidences happen all the time. The difficulty is that it could be possible to link every single event in the world to a unique and a vast complex of coincidences. It is therefore, not possible to isolate any one of these co-incidences and prove it has been caused by divine intervention and is therefore different from all the others. David Hume certainly argues that 'nothing is esteemed a miracle if it ever happens in the course of common nature'. However, if we reject Holland's view and assess Hume's view it is also clear that his argument is not without it's flaws. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Miracles 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 GCSE Miracles essays

  1. Miracles are about faith, not fact. Discuss.

    The Toronto blessing was another site for miracles. The people inside the church started to behave strangely by clucking like chickens and birthing to name a few activities. The latter was experienced by many people and the doctors from Lourdes were well educated, respectable people. Perhaps Hume would accept one of these miracles as they fit his specified criteria.

  2. Miracles. Many people have different views on what a miracle really is. For ...

    Jesus knew power had left him and he asked "Who touched me?" the woman came forward and explained why she had touched him. Jesus said "My daughter, your faith has healed you." The woman in this story showed great faith in Jesus; she believed that she only had to be around him to be healed.

  1. 'Miracles are a matter of faith, not fact', discuss.

    Hume considers none of the above. The power In Hume's' argument is that it draws attention to the issue of evidence, of proving that the epitome of improbability has occurred. His argument is epistemological, that is it doesn't attempt to floor the physical possibility of miracles having ever occurred, instead he simply purports that we have no valid reason for supposing that they have occurred.

  2. What is a miracle?

    others, however he did not intervene to prevent the First or Second World Wars or the Holocaust. In addition, if God intervenes too much, there is the possibility of him over-riding free will and causing natural laws to be altered.

  1. David Hume and Miracles.

    Secondly, Hume thought that human nature was such that it tended to believe in the unusual, the paranormal or the downright unprovable. Equally, the emotions of surprise and wonder are particularly palatable to the human mind. Hence miracle stories are suspect.

  2. Talking about miracles

    I think the healing miracles happen because there are facts to back this up. There are people who have been diagnosed with cancer and after asking for forgiveness and praying to God to help them, they have been cleared from their disease.

  1. The girl in the story was labeled as a girl, which is interesting to ...

    in this story in a universal one that could occur between any mother and daughter. Rather than pigeon-holding Tan as presenting a cultural-specific idea, the broader perspective says that her story explores an emotional journey that crosses lines of ethnicity.

  2. "A miracle is a transgression of a Law of Nature by a particular volition ...

    However, it raises the issue of what is beyond the realm of laws of nature. Are there a set of strict rules which are the laws of nature, and anything which cannot be explained by them is a miracle, or is it correct to assume that everything that happens is within nature?

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