Lesson 9 – To what Extent do Miracles Cause Problems for Believers?

Many of the questions on your exam will ask you to evaluate miracles: Do they really happen? If they do happen, what do they prove? How else might miracles be explained? Do they even make sense at all?

In order to answer these questions it will help to be familiar with some possible objections to the idea of miracles:

devilGod might not be the one performing the miracles! If humans can perform miracles (such as Buddhists believe) then there is no need for them to be caused by God. Thus even if miracles do occur they do nothing to prove or tell us about the nature of God. There could also be more evil powers at work. In the Gospels many people thought that Jesus must be league with the devil in order to perform his miracles. If it is not God performing the miracles then we cannot know that they will really bring about good!

Miracles may take the attention away from God and put it onto the person performing the miracle. If there person who performs the miracles becomes too famous then people will start to focus on them and lose focus on God. In this way the actual message of a religion could be lost if too much attention is given to a leader.

Miracles make God’s behaviour seems unfair. Miracles seem to be granted to some people and not to others. Some people pray for Scaleshealing and are granted it, others pray and are not. The Holocaust ends the lives of 6,000,000 Jewish people and was not prevented, the same might be said of natural disasters and so on. Why does God heal some and prevent some disasters yet not heal others and not prevent other disasters? This makes God seem unfair.

The belief that God is transcendent. Many religious believers, such as Christians and Muslims, believe that God is transcendent, that is outside of the sphere of human understanding; above and beyond out universe. If this is true it is difficult to see how God could act in it. Christians and Muslims also believe that God is immanent (see Trinity in Christianity) but this brings in something of a contradiction about God being both part of our world and separate from it.

There is also doubt that God would intervene in the world. It might suggest that he created it imperfect and has to keep coming back in to adjust and rearrange things, or that Free Will is not working out the way he would have liked. A god who created the world with a need for constant maintenance is a limited God and not worthy of worship.

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