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Explain the term 'Miracle'.

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Introduction

(a) (i) Explain the term 'Miracle'. The word 'miracle' comes from the Latin 'miraculum', which means, 'to marvel at, to wonder.' A miracle therefore is a happening which amazes us and arouses wonder. When we say 'miracle' we mean an event which is so mysterious that cannot be explained by scientific methods; something that we believe cannot occur naturally. A miracle involves a breach or violation of the laws of nature. Usually miracles are thought of as something that has a religious significance. Christians believe that a miracle is a sign of the power of God. The essential Catholic hand book has this to say on miracles; 'An occurrence that alters the laws of nature and is a sign of God's presence in the world. St Augustine stated that the traditional understanding of a miracle is an event that we cannot forecast or expect with our present understanding of nature. Thomas Aquinas defines miracles which are done by divine agency beyond the order commonly observed in nature. The Catechism of the Catholic Church has this to say on miracles; "The signs worked by Jesus to attest that the father had sent him. They invite belief in him. ...read more.

Middle

It is this that played the essential rule in him being saved.'[Lk7:11-19]. Also in the cure of the woman with haemorrhages, Jesus said to the woman, 'Your faith has made you well' [Lk 8:43-48]. Discuss the meaning of healing miracles with reference to present day beliefs and Catholic life. In biblical times people were more eager and relaxed in what they call a miracle. In modern times we have better understanding of medical science, also we a more open mind to natural healing, and more sceptical of miracles occurring. In biblical times, if a man was sick then it was believed that that person had sinned. If that man was healed in miraculous circumstances then they believed that it was God forgiving there sins (this is notably seen in the healing of the paralysed man). This theory has been dismissed by both medical authorities and the Church due to our greater understanding of these illnesses. Common day belief of the meaning of these miracles, which I believe, is that these miracles come about due to the immense love of God for all men. It was seen with Jesus, part of the holy trinity, thus God, healing men not to show off his powers, nor to prove that he was the God, but because of his ...read more.

Conclusion

Virtually all miracles can be explained away by coincidences, even in extreme cases. Many miracles seem not to have a point to them, such as the blood of St Gennaro, in Naples, which liquefies 3 times a year. There is no reason why this should occur, therefore there is a question arising of whether it is actually a miracle at all. There is also a rejection on moral grounds. Many miracle accounts involve God intervening in the world to bring about some benefit to those who worship him. However, one of the principle Christian teachings id that God Loves everyone equally, so would he not help everyone, not just those who worship him? Surely he would want to help his followers equally. Why then does he choose to answer the prayers of some people, and not others? These miracles go against the Classical Theism. The fourth criticism is that many miracles are not supported with evidence, and are only known by word of mouth, and there were very few witnesses. When things are passed down through word of mouth it is very likely that they will have been exaggerated along the way, to create a better story. ...read more.

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