Philosophers Views on Miracles Essay

Authors Avatar by kerriefreeman01031995 (student)

A miracle is defined by David Hume as ‘a transgression of a law of nature by a particular violation of the deity or by the interposition of some invisible agent’. However, it is known by the oxford dictionary of a miracle is ‘an extraordinary and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore attributed to a divine agency’ The philosophical arguments of miracles are apoteriori arguments, evaluating whatever the probable truth in miracles prove the existence of God through inductive reasoning.

Paul Tillich defined a miracle as ‘an event which is astonishing, unusual, shaking without contradicting the rational structure of reality, an event which points to a mystery of being’. This definition is also similar to the definition of a miracle given by R.M Holland ‘a coincidence that can be taken religiously as a sign and called a miracle. A miracle is an unexpected event which has fortunate results and is a divine activity’. The clarify R.M Holland’s definition, he used an example of a train hurtling down the tracks at full speed while a boy played further down the tracks. The driver does not notice the boy but coincidently faints on the break lever stopping the train just before it hits the boy.

The definition of M.Cook takes a more theological approach in his definition of miracles ‘The unexpected and the unusual manifestations of the presence and power of God’ where as J.L Mackie defines a miracle as happening ‘as when the world is not left to itself, when something from natural order intrudes’.

Scholars throughout the centuries have been divided I their views on the definition on a miracle. It is argued that the main features of the definitions contain three basic attributes. The event must be against regular experience, the event has a purpose and significance and it is also ascribed to religious significance.

Join now!

Thomas Aquinas identified three types of miracles under his definition of miracles as ‘those things done by divine power apart from the order usually followed in things’ Firstly he considered those things that God did that nature could not do. This may be considered the most traditional approach to defining as it is effectively a breach of law, which contradicts our regular experience about how the world works. Aquinas used the example of the reversal in the course of the sun as such a miracle.

Secondly, Aquinas identified those acts that God did that nature could do, but not ...

This is a preview of the whole essay