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

If a miracle is defined as a breach of natural law one can declare a priori that there are no miracles

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

If a miracle is defined as a breach of natural law, one can declare a priori that there are no miracles. It doesn't follow however, that there are no miracles in the religious sense of the term." Discuss. 25 Marks From the Latin word miraculum meaning "object of wonder" enters the word miracle. Many definitions have been formed for the notion of a miracle but most would agree that it is most commonly an unexplainable extraordinary event, inspiring awe and wonder unto its witnesses. Similar definitions state that it is a "supernatural event, contrary to the established constitution and course of things or a deviation from the known laws of nature". The term "a priori" refers primarily to the basis on which a proposition is known. If a statement has been written a priori it has been made without prior experience or empirical evidence of what it states. The author of the proposition has used reason to deduce his idea and it is not based on any observed fact. ...read more.

Middle

Hume's statement suggests many people will have a natural tendency to suspend their reasoning when testifying to a miracle because of the emotional effect it has on them. Hume describes natural laws as having been established by "firm and unalterable experience". What is thought to be a miracle may be in fact a part of the world and part of the laws that we do not fully understand yet. Derived from the scientific understanding of the 18th century and the world, natural law was meant to reflect the perfection of God, therefore it could not be broken. Conversely similar to miracles natural law is left open to interpretation. Locke suggested that "trust depends on similarity of experience" and this idea can be applied to miracles and natural law. A Caribbean that has never travelled away from his home may consider the fact that lakes freeze as a miracle, as in his natural environment this awesome event would never occur, however in other parts of the world where the temperature is cold enough; natural law states that when it gets to 0'c water will freeze. ...read more.

Conclusion

RF Holland stated that a "coincidence can be taken religiously as a sign and called a miracle". Many religious people believe that the power of prayer will bring about a miracle, performed by God. However perhaps in this case where no natural laws have been broken it is just mere lucky coincidence that events have turned out as they are. It is difficult to conclude whether miracles do logically exist. It easier to believe that there are certain events that occur within our world that we cannot fully understand. At the time they may be deemed as violations of a natural law however as scientific knowledge advances the event may become part of natural law that we simply didn't understand before. Some people will accept that God was the ultimate cause of a miracle; because he is omnipotent he can do anything which would include breaking natural laws and amazing people. Hume's argument about testimony is very convincing but I do not agree, that miracles do not happen. I think it is more that events occur and we do not fully understand their making. ...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. David Hume and Miracles.

    of incidents which have satisfied the criteria set down by Hume for his belief in the incident to be a miracle. The stringency of his criteria is most apparent in its reiteration. Hume firstly requires there to be a substantial amount of witnesses.

  2. R.S. Coursework - miracles

    so much when it is most likely that a miracle would not even take place. They would refer to the bible to support their argument, saying that in Luke9:37-43 the cure of the boy with the seizure. It was only epilepsy and that it can now be cured therefore it wasn't a miracle.

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

    She was not only healed physically but Jesus also healed her emotionally and he changed her whole life because she would have been an outcast and she would not have been able to take part in Jewish ceremonies. The Jews believed that is she touched another person she would pass her uncleanness onto them.

  2. Examine the way in which one philosopher understands the term miracle

    nature, the idea of coincidence suggests that we cannot label something a miracle even if there is the slightest chance that it can occur without God. Ray Holland, on the other hand presents a completely different point of view on defining miracles with the 'coincidence' theory in mind.

  1. What is a miracle?

    Therefore, Aquinas thought of God as an interventionist and that when he does so, miracles occur. However, there are several criticisms of this argument. If this belief were true, it would seem as though God had intervened in random and haphazard ways such as in answering specific prayers and not

  2. What is meant by the term miracle?

    Jesus healing can often be misinterpreted and be seen as a daily routine for doctors but it is clear from Like's gospel that Jesus healed in a powerful way that no doctor modern day or to come can do. Bring dead to life and showing power over nature is inspeakable in our modern lives.

  1. Examine the arguments, which can be used to discredit belief in miracles - In ...

    Due to the long-running debate between philosophers and theologians alike, many insights and different perspectives on the subject of miracles have been proposed over the years. However, nearly every argument has a restriction that is exploited by another statement, and so the debate continues.

  2. Explain the term miracle.

    People visit the place, pray and beg for a miracle. Afterwards, some of them decide to change their lifestyles for better, some - themselves. Many people go on a pilgrimage in case of someone else, to ask God or the Virgin Mary for help to this person, etc.

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