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Encyclopedia > Miracle

A miracle, derived from the old Latin word miraculum meaning "something wonderful", is a striking interposition of divine intervention by a supernatural being in the universe by which the ordinary course and operation of Nature is overruled, suspended, or modified. Although many religious texts and people confirm witnessing or prophesying various events which they refer to as "miraculous", it is disputed whether there are scientifically confirmed occurrences of miracles[1]. People in different faiths have substantially different definitions of the word "miracle". Even within a specific religion there is often more than one usage of the term. A miracle is defined by many religions as an intervention of God in the universe. ... In linguistics, derivation is the process of creating new lexemes from other lexemes, for example, by adding a derivational affix. ... For the pop music band, see The The. ... For other uses, see Latin (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Universe (disambiguation). ... This article is about the physical universe. ... Various Religious symbols, including (first row) Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Bahai, (second row) Islamic, tribal, Taoist, Shinto (third row) Buddhist, Sikh, Hindu, Jain, (fourth row) Ayyavazhi, Triple Goddess, Maltese cross, pre-Christian Slavonic Religion is the adherence to codified beliefs and rituals that generally involve a faith in a spiritual... This article is about witnesses in law courts. ... For other uses, see Prophecy (disambiguation). ... Scientific method is a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. ... For other uses, see Definition (disambiguation). ...

Sometimes the term "miracle" may refer to the action of a supernatural being that is not a god. Thus, the term "divine intervention", by contrast, would refer specifically to the direct involvement of a deity. For other uses, see Supernatural (disambiguation). ...

In casual usage, "miracle" may also refer to any statistically unlikely but beneficial event, (such as the survival of a natural disaster) or even to anything which is regarded as "wonderful" regardless of its likelihood, such as birth. Other miracles might be: survival of a fatal illness, escaping a life threatening situation or 'beating the odds' Probability is the likelihood that something is the case or will happen. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... For other uses, see Phenomena (disambiguation). ... Mount Pinatubo eruption, 1991 A natural disaster is according to or provided by nature. ... For other uses, see Birth (disambiguation). ...


Miracles as supernatural acts

In this view, a miracle is a violation of normal laws of nature by a god or some other supernatural being. Some scientist-theologians like Polkinghorne suggest that miracles are not violations of the laws of nature but "exploration of a new regime of physical experience".[2] For a list of set rules, see Laws of science. ... This article discusses the term God in the context of monotheism and henotheism. ... For other uses, see Supernatural (disambiguation). ... John Polkinghorne, KBE, FRS, PhD, ScD, MA, (born October 16, 1930 in Weston-super-Mare, England) is a British particle physicist and theologian. ...

The logic behind an event being deemed a miracle varies significantly. In most cases a religious text, such as the Bible or Quran, states that a miracle occurred, and believers accept this as a fact.

Some modern day religious believers hold that there is a scientific basis for believing in supernatural miracles. They hold that in the absence of a plausible, parsimonious scientific theory, the best explanation for these events is that they were performed by a supernatural being, e.g. God. Therefore, there is probably a supernatural being (i.e., God) that performs what appear to be miracles. However, some scientists criticise this kind of thinking a subversion, or perhaps deliberate misuse, of Occam's Razor.[3] For the House television show episode called Occams Razor, see Occams Razor (House episode) Occams razor (sometimes spelled Ockhams razor) is a principle attributed to the 14th-century English logician and Franciscan friar William of Ockham. ...

Many adherents of monotheistic religions assert that miracles, if established, are logical proof of the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient, and benevolent god. A number of criticisms of this point of view exist: Monotheism (in Greek monon = single and Theos = God) is the belief in a single, universal, all-encompassing deity. ... Logic (from Classical Greek λόγος logos; meaning word, thought, idea, argument, account, reason, or principle) is the study of the principles and criteria of valid inference and demonstration. ... Omnipotence (literally, all power) is power with no limits or inexhaustible, in other words, unlimited power. ... Omniscience is the capacity to know everything infinitely, or at least everything that can be known about a character including thoughts, feelings, life and the universe, etc. ...

  1. While the existence of miracles implies the existence of a supernatural miracle worker, that supernatural miracle worker need not be an omnipotent, omniscient, and all-benevolent God; it could be any supernatural being.
    • Other philosophers of religion, such as C.S. Lewis (in, e.g. God in the Dock), believe that God exists, and He sustains His creation miraculously all the time, so that what we would call a miracle is really just a more obvious manifestation of the power of God that is constantly at work.
  2. Laws of nature are inferred from empirical evidence. Thus if an accepted law of nature ever appeared to have been violated, it could simply be that the accepted law was an erroneous inference from an insufficient set of empirical observations, rather than a supernatural disruption of the true course of nature.

This article discusses the term God in the context of monotheism and henotheism. ... Clive Staples Lewis (November 29, 1898 – November 22, 1963), commonly referred to as C. S. Lewis, was an author and scholar. ... God in the Dock is a collection of essays and speeches from C. S. Lewis. ... Empirical research is any activity that uses direct or indirect observation as its test of reality. ...

Miracles in the Bible

In the Hebrew Bible

The descriptions of most miracle in the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) are often the same as the common definition of the word: God intervenes in the laws of nature. For the musical collective, see Tanakh (band). ...

A literal reading of the Tanakh shows a number of ways miracles are said to occur: God may suspend or speed up the laws of nature to produce a supernatural occurrence; God can create matter out of nothing; God can breathe life into inanimate matter. The Tanakh does not explain details of how these miracles happen. For other uses, see Supernatural (disambiguation). ...

The Tanakh attributes many natural occurrences to God, such as the sun rising and setting, and rain falling. Physical Phenomena are observable events which are explained by physics or raise some question about matter, light, or spacetime. ... Sol redirects here. ... This article is about precipitation. ...

Today many Orthodox Jews, most Christians, and most Muslims adhere to this view of miracles. This view is generally rejected by non-Orthodox Jews, liberal Christians and Unitarian-Universalists. Orthodox Judaism is the formulation of Judaism that adheres to a relatively strict interpretation and application of the laws and ethics first canonised in the Talmudic texts (Oral Torah) and as subsequently developed and applied by the later authorities known as the Gaonim, Rishonim, and Acharonim. ...

Many events commonly understood to be miraculous may not actually be instances of the impossible, as commonly believed. For instance, consider the parting of the Sea of Reeds (in Hebrew Yâm-Sûph; often mistranslated as the "Red Sea"). This incident occurred when Moses and Israelites fled from bondage in Egypt, to begin their exodus to the promised land. The book of Exodus does not state that the Reed Sea split in a dramatic fashion. Rather, according to the text God caused a strong wind to slowly drive the shallow waters to land, overnight. There is no claim that God pushed apart the sea as shown in many films; rather, the miracle would be that Israel crossed this precise place, at exactly the right time, when Moses lifted his staff, and that the pursuing Egyptian army then drowned when the wind stopped and the piled waters rushed back in. Hebrew redirects here. ... Moses with the Tablets, 1659, by Rembrandt This article is about the Biblical figure. ... “The Twelve Tribes” redirects here. ... Slave redirects here. ... This article is about the second book in the Torah. ... For other uses, see Wind (disambiguation). ... For other uses of the word staff, see staff. ... For other uses, see Army (disambiguation). ...

Most events later described as miracles are not labeled as such by the Bible; rather the text simply describes what happened. Often these narratives will attribute the cause of these events to God.

In the New Testament

The descriptions of most miracles in the Christian New Testament are often the same as the commonplace definition of the word: God intervenes in the laws of nature. In St John's Gospel the "miracles" are referred to as "signs" and the emphasis is on God demonstrating his underlying normal activity in remarkable ways.[4] This article is about the Christian scriptures. ...

Jesus can turn water into wine; Jesus can create matter out of nothing, and thus turn a loaf of bread into many loaves of bread, Jesus can raise the dead. Jesus can rise from the dead. Jesus explains in the New Testament that miracles are performed by faith in God. "If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, “move from here to there” and it will move."

Aristotelian and Neo-Aristotelian views of miracles

Aristotle rejected the idea that God could or would intervene in the order of the natural world. Jewish neo-Aristotelian philosophers, who are still influential today, include Maimonides, Samuel ben Judah ibn Tibbon, and Gersonides. Directly or indirectly, their views are still prevalent in much of the religious Jewish community. For other uses, see Aristotle (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Jew (disambiguation). ... This article needs cleanup. ... For other uses, see Philosophy (disambiguation). ... Commonly used image indicating one artists conception of Maimonidess appearance Maimonides (March 30, 1135 or 1138–December 13, 1204) was a Jewish rabbi, physician, and philosopher in Spain, Morocco and Egypt during the Middle Ages. ... Samuel ben Judah ibn Tibbon, more commonly known as Samuel ibn Tibbon, was a Jewish philosopher and doctor. ... Levi ben Gershon (Levi son of Gerson), better known as Gersonides or the Ralbag (1288-1344), was a famous rabbi, philosopher, mathematician and Talmudic commentator. ...

Miracles as events pre-planned by God

In rabbinic Judaism, many rabbis mentioned in the Talmud held that the laws of nature were inviolable. The idea of miracles that contravened the laws of nature were hard to accept; however, at the same time they affirmed the truth of the accounts in the Tanakh. Therefore some explained that miracles were in fact natural events that had been set up by God at the beginning of time. This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... For the town in Italy, see Rabbi, Italy. ... The Talmud (Hebrew: ) is a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, customs, and history. ... For the musical collective, see Tanakh (band). ...

In this view, when the walls of Jericho fell, it was not because God directly brought them down. Rather, God planned that there would be an earthquake at that place and time, so that the city would fall to the Israelites. Instances where rabbinic writings say that God made miracles a part of creation include Midrash Genesis Rabbah 5:45; Midrash Exodus Rabbah 21:6; and Ethics of the Fathers/Pirkei Avot 5:6. The Taking of Jericho, by Jean Fouquet Near central Jericho, November 1996 Jericho (Arabic  , Hebrew  , ʼArīḥā; Standard YÉ™riḥo Tiberian YÉ™rîḫô / YÉ™rîḥô; meaning fragrant.[1] Greek Ἱεριχώ) is a town in Palestine, located within the Jericho Governorate, near the Jordan River. ... This article is about the natural seismic phenomenon. ... THIS IS A FACT Creation is a doctrinal position in many religions and philosophical belief systems which maintains that a single God, or a group of or deities is responsible for creating the universe. ... Midrash (Hebrew: מדרש; plural midrashim) is a Hebrew word referring to a method of exegesis of a Biblical text. ... The Talmud (Hebrew: ) is a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, customs, and history. ...

David Hume's views of miracles

According to the philosopher David Hume, a miracle is "a transgression of a law of nature by a particular volition of the Deity, or by the interposition of some invisible agent." [5] This article is about the philosopher. ...

Non-literal interpretations of the text

These views are held by both classical and modern thinkers.

In Numbers 22 is the story of Balaam and the talking donkey. Many hold that for miracles such as this, one must either assert the literal truth of this biblical story, or one must then reject the story as false. However, some Jewish commentators (e.g. Saadiah Gaon and Maimonides) hold that stories such as these were never meant to be taken literally in the first place. Rather, these stories should be understood as accounts of a prophetic experience, which are dreams or visions. (Of course, such dreams and visions could themselves be considered miracles.) The Book of Numbers is the fourth of the books of the Pentateuch, called in the Hebrew ba-midbar במדבר, i. ... Balaam (Hebrew בִּלְעָם, Standard Hebrew BilÊ»am, Tiberian Hebrew Bilʻām; could mean glutton or foreigner, but this etymology is uncertain), is a prophet in the Bible, his story occurring in the Book of Numbers. ... Binomial name Linnaeus, 1758 For other uses, see Donkey (disambiguation). ... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations · Other religions Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Archbishop of Canterbury · Catholic Pope Coptic Pope · Ecumenical Patriarch Christianity Portal This box:      Note: Judaism... Saadia Ben Joseph Gaon (892-942), the Hebrew name of Said al-Fayyumi, was a rabbi who was also a prominent Jewish exilarch, philosopher, and exegete. ... Commonly used image indicating one artists conception of Maimonidess appearance Maimonides (March 30, 1135 or 1138–December 13, 1204) was a Jewish rabbi, physician, and philosopher in Spain, Morocco and Egypt during the Middle Ages. ... For other senses of this word, see Prophet (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Dream (disambiguation). ... In religion, visions comprise inspirational renderings, generally of a future state and/or of a mythical being, and are believed (by followers of the religion) to come from a deity, directly or indirectly via prophets, and serve to inspire or prod believers as part of a revelation or an epiphany. ...

Joseph H. Hertz, a 20th century Jewish biblical commentator, writes that these verses "depict the continuance on the subconscious plane of the mental and moral conflict in Balaam's soul; and the dream apparition and the speaking donkey is but a further warning to Balaam against being misled through avarice to violate God command." Chief Rabbi Hertz, 1920 Joseph Herman Hertz, 25 September 1872–14 January 1946, was the Chief Rabbi of the British Empire. ... Meforshim is a Hebrew word meaning commentators (or roughly meaning exegetes), and is used as a substitute for the correct word perushim which means commentaries. In Judaism this term refers to commentaries by the commentators on the Torah (five books of Moses), Hebrew Bible, the Mishnah, the Talmud, responsa, even...

As products of creative art and social acceptance

In this view, miracles do not really occur. Rather, they are the product of creative story tellers. They use them to embellish a hero or incident with a theological flavor. Using miracles in a story allow characters and situations to become bigger than life, and to stir the emotions of the listener more than the mundane and ordinary.

As misunderstood commonplace events

Littlewood's law states that individuals can expect miracles to happen to them, at the rate of about one per month. By its definition, seemingly miraculous events are actually commonplace. In other words, miracles do not exist, but are rather examples of low probability events that are bound to happen by chance from time to time. Littlewoods Law states that individuals can expect a miracle to happen to them at the rate of about one per month. ...

In Japanese philosophy

An excerpt from Hagakure, the Book of the Samurai: Cover of The Book of the Samurai Hagakure (Kyūjitai: 葉隱; Shinjitai: ; meaning In the Shadow of Leaves), or Hagakure Kikigaki () is a practical and spiritual guide for a warrior, drawn from a collection of commentaries by the samurai, Yamamoto Tsunetomo, former retainer to Nabeshima Mitsushige, the third ruler of what...

When something out of the ordinary happens, it is ridiculous to say that it is a mystery or a portent of things to come. Eclipses of the sun and moon, comets, clouds that flutter like flags, snow in the fifth month, lightning in the twelfth month, and so on, are all things that occur every fifty or one hundred years. They occur according to the evolution of the Yin and the Yang. The fact that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west would be a mystery, too, if it were not a daily occurrence. It is not dissimilar. Furthermore, the fact that something bad always happens in the world when strange phenomenon occur is due to people seeing something like fluttering clouds and thinking that something is going to happen. The mystery is created in their minds, and by waiting for the disaster, it is from their very minds that it occurs. The occurrence of mysteries is always by word of mouth.

Contemporary claims of miracles and evidence

The Catholic Church is hesitant extending validity to a putative miracle. The Church requires a certain number of miracles to occur before granting sainthood to a putative saint, with particularly stringent requirements in validating the miracle's authenticity. [1] The process is overseen by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints [2]. The name Catholic Church can mean a visible organization that refers to itself as Catholic, or the invisible Christian Church, viz. ... General definition of saint In general, the term Saint refers to someone who is exceptionally virtuous and holy. ... The Congregation for the Causes of Saints (Congregatio de Causis Sanctorum) is the congregation of the Roman Curia which oversees the complex process which leads to the canonization of saints, passing through the steps of a declaration of heroic virtues and beatification. ...

Followers of the Indian gurus Sathya Sai Baba and Swami Premananda claim that they routinely perform miracles. The dominant view among sceptics is that these are predominantly sleight of hand or elaborate magic tricks. For other uses, see Guru (disambiguation). ... Sathya Sai Baba (born Sathyanarayana Raju on 23 November 1926,[1][2] — with the family name of Ratnakara) is a guru from southern India, religious leader, orator and philosopher often described as a godman[3][4] and a miracle worker. ... Swami Premananda may mean: Swami Sai Premananda of Toronto, Canada: A spiritual guide in the path of Bhakti Yoga and meditation. ... Sleight-of-hand, also known as legerdemain, is a technique of close-up magic in which small items are concealed in and around the performers hands, sometimes by the use of misdirection, to enhance the illusion being performed. ... Magician redirects here. ...

Some modern religious groups claim ongoing occurrence of miraculous events. While some miracles have been proven to be fraudulent (see Peter Popoff for an example) others (as the Paschal Fire in Jerusalem) have not proven susceptible to analysis. Some groups are far more cautious about proclaiming apparent miracles genuine than others, although official sanction, or the lack thereof, rarely has much effect on popular belief. Peter Popoff (born 1946) is a German-born U.S. televangelist known as a faith healer. ... Russian pilgrims bathing with the holy fire without harm. ...

See also

According to the canonical Gospels, Jesus worked many miracles in the course of his ministry. ... David L Hogan is an American Christian evangelical missionary, currently working in Mexico. ... Intercession of the saints is a Christian doctrine common to the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. ... Bernadette Soubirous was canonized by Pius XI as a Saint of the Catholic Church in 1933. ... In theology, Divine Providence, or simply Providence, is the sovereignty, superintendence, or agency of God over events in peoples lives and throughout history. ... In Christian theology, cessationism is the view that the charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as tongues, prophecy and healing, ceased being practiced early on in Church history. ... Second hardbound edition of A Course in Miracles, as published by Foundation for Inner Peace. ... Occasionalism is a philosophical theory about causation which says that neither matter nor mind can be a true cause of events. ...

Notes and references

  1. ^ see eg the article on Lourdes Medical Bureau for (allegedly) scientifically verified miracles at Lourdes
  2. ^ John Polkinghorne Faith, Science and Understanding p59
  3. ^ The God Delusion
  4. ^ see e.g. Polkinghorne op cit. and any pretty well any commentary on the Gospel of John, such as William Temple Readings in St John's Gospel (see e.g. p 33) or Tom Wright's John for Everyone
  5. ^ Miracles on the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  • Colin Brown. Miracles and the Critical Mind. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1984. (Good survey).
  • Colin J. Humphreys, Miracles of Exodus. Harper, San Francisco, 2003.
  • Krista Bontrager, It’s a Miracle! Or, is it?
  • Eisen, Robert (1995). Gersonides on Providence, Covenant, and the Chosen People. State University of New York Press.
  • Goodman, Lenn E. (1985). Rambam: Readings in the Philosophy of Moses Maimonides. Gee Bee Tee.
  • Kellner, Menachem (1986). Dogma in Medieval Jewish Thought. Oxford University Press.
  • C. S. Lewis. Miracles: A Preliminary Study. New York, Macmillan Co., 1947.
  • C. F. D. Moule (ed.). Miracles: Cambridge Studies in their Philosophy and History. London, A.R. Mowbray 1966, ©1965 (Good survey of Biblical miracles as well).
  • Graham Twelftree. Jesus the Miracle Worker: A Historical and Theological Study. IVP, 1999. (Best in its field).
  • Woodward, Kenneth L. (2000). The Book of Miracles. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-684-82393-4.
  • M. Kamp, MD. Bruno Gröning. The miracles continue to happen. 1998, (Chapters 1 - 4)

The Lourdes Medical Bureau is a medical organisation based in Lourdes in France. ... This article is about the French pilgrimage location. ... John Polkinghorne, KBE, FRS, PhD, ScD, MA, (born October 16, 1930 in Weston-super-Mare, England) is a British particle physicist and theologian. ... The God Delusion is a book by British biologist Richard Dawkins, Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford. ... John Polkinghorne, KBE, FRS, PhD, ScD, MA, (born October 16, 1930 in Weston-super-Mare, England) is a British particle physicist and theologian. ... Notable William Temples include: William Temple, 17th century British politician, employer of Jonathan Swift William Temple, Acting Governor of Delaware (1846-1847) William Temple, Archbishop of York (1929-1942) and Archbishop of Canterbury (1942-1944) William Temple, VC, recipient of the Victoria Cross Rev. ... Nicholas Thomas Tom Wright (b. ... Clive Staples Jack Lewis (29 November 1898 – 22 November 1963), commonly referred to as C. S. Lewis, was an Irish author and scholar. ... The Reverend Professor Charles Francis Digby Moule DD FBA CBE (3 December 1908 - 30 September 2007), known to his friends as Charlie but professionally by his initials C. F. D. Moule, was an Anglican priest and theologian. ...


  • Houdini, Harry Miracle Mongers and Their Methods: A Complete Expose Prometheus Books; Reprint edition (March 1993) originally published in 1920 ISBN 0-87975-817-1

Houdini redirects here. ... Prometheus Books is a publishing company founded in August 1969 by Paul Kurtz and publishes scientific, educational, and popular books, especially those of a secular humanist or scientific skepticism nature. ...

External links

  Results from FactBites:
Miracle - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1017 words)
According to many religions, a miracle, derived from the old Latin word miraculum meaning 'something wonderful', is a striking interposition of divine intervention by God in the universe by which the ordinary course and operation of Nature is overruled, suspended, or modified.
Sometimes the term miracle may refer to the action of a supernatural being that is not a god.
All claims of miracles are premature until such time as complete knowledge of all natural laws is held by all making and examining the claim and the miracle is demonstrated to be not natural.
Miracle - definition of Miracle - Labor Law Talk Dictionary (1307 words)
Miracle is a term used by adherents of many religions for what they say is an intervention by God in the universe.
The description of most miracles in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and in the Christian New Testament are generally the same as the modern-day definition of the word: God intervenes in the laws of nature.
The idea of miracles that contravened the laws of nature were hard to accept; however, at the same time they affirmed the truth of the accounts in the Tanakh.
  More results at FactBites »



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