What is Meant by a ‘Miracle’?

We have already said that miracles:

  • The involve doing something that is ‘impossible’;
  • The break the laws of nature (have no scientific explanation);
  • They are done by God (normally implying that they cannot go against the nature of God – if God is omnibenevolent (all loving) then miracles must be good!)

Laws of natureThe Laws of Nature

If miracles break the laws of nature it is important to understand what is meant by the ‘laws of nature’! We might also call these the laws of science or the laws of physics. Basically it means how things actually work: what goes up must come down; fire burns; jumping off tall buildings is not a good idea. If a miracle is going to break the laws of nature then it is going to mean: objects that float; people (or bushes) not getting burned in fires or people floating, levitating or otherwise disobeying the laws of gravity.

A famous example from the Bible was God stopping the Sun in the sky over Gibeon so that JoshuaSunJoshua (Leader of the Hebrews who took over after Moses died) could finish is conquest of the city.

“So the Sun stood still, and the moon stopped, ‘til the nation avenged itself on its enemies, as it is written in the book of Jashar. The Sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down ABOUT A FULL DAY. There has never been a day like it before or since…” – Joshua 10:13-14

God and the Laws of Nature

Christians, Muslims and Jews believe that God wrote the laws of nature when he created the universe. For this reason He is free to change these laws and remake his creation to suit his will. He can then make the Sun stop in the sky as He is one who created its orbit in the first place.

jesus-cross-21For Christians the ultimate miracle was the resurrection of Jesus. It is not so much the resurrection itself that is important but the VICARIOUS SACRIFICE made by God. According to Christianity the sins of the world were piled onto Jesus’ shoulders before he died, so his death paid for all our sins and gave us a way back to God. Only God can truly forgive sin and did so through Jesus, so this is a miracle only God could perform.

Miracles that don’t break the Laws of Nature?

Some miracles seem to have perfectly normal explanations; they don’t break the laws of nature. Some [people think they are just coincidences, but many religious believers disagree. It is often the great good that these things bring about that makes people think they were done by God and are not simply coincidences. A man who misses his train and so arrives home five minutes after a gas explosion destroys his house might think it was a miracle, not because it breaks the laws of nature but because it brought great good into his life. He feels that God is somehow looking out for him and protecting him and that is enough to make it a miracle.

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