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

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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.

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