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Miracle

Miracle

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A miracle often denotes an event attributed to divine
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

 intervention. Alternatively, it may be an event attributed to a miracle worker
Thaumaturgy
Thaumaturgy is the capability of a saint or magician to work miracles. It is sometimes translated into English as wonderworking...

, saint
Saint
A saint is a holy person. In various religions, saints are people who are believed to have exceptional holiness.In Christian usage, "saint" refers to any believer who is "in Christ", and in whom Christ dwells, whether in heaven or in earth...

, or religious leader. A miracle is sometimes thought of as a perceptible interruption of the laws of nature. Others suggest that a god may work with the laws of nature to perform what people perceive as miracles. Theologians say that, with divine providence
Divine providence
In Christian theology, divine providence, or simply providence, is God's activity in the world. " Providence" is also used as a title of God exercising His providence, and then the word are usually capitalized...

, God regularly works through created nature yet is free to work without, above, or against it as well.

A miracle is often considered a fortuitous event: compare with an Act of God
Act of God
Act of God is a legal term for events outside of human control, such as sudden floods or other natural disasters, for which no one can be held responsible.- Contract law :...

.

In casual usage, "miracle" is seen as any event that is statistically unlikely but beneficial, (such as surviving a natural disaster), or simply a "wonderful" occurrence, regardless of likelihood, such as a birth. Other miracles might be: survival of a terminal illness, escaping a life threatening situation or 'beating the odds.' Some coincidence
Coincidence
A coincidence is an event notable for its occurring in conjunction with other conditions, e.g. another event. As such, a coincidence occurs when something uncanny, accidental and unexpected happens under conditions named, but not under a defined relationship...

s may be perceived to be miracles.

Supernatural acts


A miracle is a phenomenon not fully by known laws of nature, or an act by some supernatural
Supernatural
The supernatural or is that which is not subject to the laws of nature, or more figuratively, that which is said to exist above and beyond nature...

 entity or unknown, outside force. Some scientist-theologians suggest that miracles are not violations of the laws of nature but "exploration of a new regime of physical experience".

Criteria for classifying an event as a miracle varies. Often a religious text
Religious text
Religious texts, also known as scripture, scriptures, holy writ, or holy books, are the texts which various religious traditions consider to be sacred, or of central importance to their religious tradition...

, such as the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

 or Quran, states that a miracle occurred, and believers accept this as a fact. Many conservative religious believers 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, and cite this as evidence for the existence of a god or gods. Some adherents of monotheistic religions assert that miracles, if established, are evidence
Evidence
Evidence in its broadest sense includes everything that is used to determine or demonstrate the truth of an assertion. Giving or procuring evidence is the process of using those things that are either presumed to be true, or were themselves proven via evidence, to demonstrate an assertion's truth...

 for the existence of an omnipotent
Omnipotence
Omnipotence is unlimited power. Monotheistic religions generally attribute omnipotence to only the deity of whichever faith is being addressed...

, omniscient
Omniscience
Omniscience omniscient point-of-view in writing) 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. In Latin, omnis means "all" and sciens means "knowing"...

, and benevolent God.

Events planned by God


In rabbinic Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

, many rabbi
Rabbi
In Judaism, a rabbi is a teacher of Torah. This title derives from the Hebrew word רבי , meaning "My Master" , which is the way a student would address a master of Torah...

s mentioned in the Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

 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
Tanakh
The Tanakh is a name used in Judaism for the canon of the Hebrew Bible. The Tanakh is also known as the Masoretic Text or the Miqra. The name is an acronym formed from the initial Hebrew letters of the Masoretic Text's three traditional subdivisions: The Torah , Nevi'im and Ketuvim —hence...

. Therefore some explained that miracles were in fact natural events that had been set up by God at the beginning of time.

In this view, when the walls of Jericho
Jericho
Jericho ; is a city located near the Jordan River in the West Bank of the Palestinian territories. It is the capital of the Jericho Governorate and has a population of more than 20,000. Situated well below sea level on an east-west route north of the Dead Sea, Jericho is the lowest permanently...

 fell, it was not because God directly brought them down. Rather, God planned that there would be an earthquake
Earthquake
An earthquake is the result of a sudden release of energy in the Earth's crust that creates seismic waves. The seismicity, seismism or seismic activity of an area refers to the frequency, type and size of earthquakes experienced over a period of time...

 (or some such other natural disaster) 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
Midrash
The Hebrew term Midrash is a homiletic method of biblical exegesis. The term also refers to the whole compilation of homiletic teachings on the Bible....

 Genesis Rabbah 5:45; Midrash Exodus Rabbah 21:6; and Ethics of the Fathers/Pirkei Avot 5:6.
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....


Nonliteral interpretations of biblical accounts


Biblical literalism
Biblical literalism
Biblical literalism is the interpretation or translation of the explicit and primary sense of words in the Bible. A literal Biblical interpretation is associated with the fundamentalist and evangelical hermeneutical approach to Scripture, and is used almost exclusively by conservative Christians...

 is not rigidly believed by all scholars: Non-literal interpretations of some scripture are held by both classical and modern thinkers. This may include the use of figure of speech
Figure of speech
A figure of speech is the use of a word or words diverging from its usual meaning. It can also be a special repetition, arrangement or omission of words with literal meaning, or a phrase with a specialized meaning not based on the literal meaning of the words in it, as in idiom, metaphor, simile,...

, allegory
Allegory
Allegory is a demonstrative form of representation explaining meaning other than the words that are spoken. Allegory communicates its message by means of symbolic figures, actions or symbolic representation...

, and exegesis
Exegesis
Exegesis is a critical explanation or interpretation of a text, especially a religious text. Traditionally the term was used primarily for exegesis of the Bible; however, in contemporary usage it has broadened to mean a critical explanation of any text, and the term "Biblical exegesis" is used...

.

In Numbers
Book of Numbers
The Book of Numbers is the fourth book of the Hebrew Bible, and the fourth of five books of the Jewish Torah/Pentateuch....

 22 is the story of Balaam
Balaam
Balaam is a diviner in the Torah, his story occurring towards the end of the Book of Numbers. The etymology of his name is uncertain, and discussed below. Every ancient reference to Balaam considers him a non-Israelite, a prophet, and the son of Beor, though Beor is not so clearly identified...

 and the talking donkey
Donkey
The donkey or ass, Equus africanus asinus, is a domesticated member of the Equidae or horse family. The wild ancestor of the donkey is the African Wild Ass, E...

. Many hold that for miracles such as this, one must either assert the literal truth of this biblical story
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

, or one must then reject the story as false. However, some Jewish commentators (e.g. Saadiah Gaon and Maimonides
Maimonides
Moses ben-Maimon, called Maimonides and also known as Mūsā ibn Maymūn in Arabic, or Rambam , was a preeminent medieval Jewish philosopher and one of the greatest Torah scholars and physicians of the Middle Ages...

) 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 prophet
Prophet
In religion, a prophet, from the Greek word προφήτης profitis meaning "foreteller", is an individual who is claimed to have been contacted by the supernatural or the divine, and serves as an intermediary with humanity, delivering this newfound knowledge from the supernatural entity to other people...

ic experience, which are dream
Dream
Dreams are successions of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations that occur involuntarily in the mind during certain stages of sleep. The content and purpose of dreams are not definitively understood, though they have been a topic of scientific speculation, philosophical intrigue and religious...

s or visions
Vision (religion)
In spirituality, a vision is something seen in a dream, trance, or ecstasy, especially a supernatural appearance that conveys a revelation.Visions generally have more clarity than dreams, but traditionally fewer psychological connotations...

. (Of course, such dreams and visions could themselves be considered miracles.)

Joseph H. Hertz
Joseph H. Hertz
----Rabbi Joseph Herman Hertz, CH was a Jewish Hungarian-born Rabbi and Bible scholar. He is most notable for holding the position of Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom from 1913 until his death in 1946, in a period encompassing both world wars and The Holocaust.- Early life :Hertz was born in the...

, 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's command."

Hebrew Bible


Descriptions of miracles (Hebrew Ness, נס) appear in the Tanakh
Tanakh
The Tanakh is a name used in Judaism for the canon of the Hebrew Bible. The Tanakh is also known as the Masoretic Text or the Miqra. The name is an acronym formed from the initial Hebrew letters of the Masoretic Text's three traditional subdivisions: The Torah , Nevi'im and Ketuvim —hence...

. Examples include prophets, such as Elijah who performed miracles like the raising of a widow's dead son (1 Kings 17:17–24) and Elisha
Elisha
Elisha is a prophet mentioned in the Hebrew Bible and the Qur'an. His name is commonly transliterated into English as Elisha via Hebrew, Eliseus via Greek and Latin, or Alyasa via Arabic.-Biblical biography:...

 whose miracles include multiplying the poor widow's jar of oil (2 Kings 4:1–7) and restoring to life the son of the woman of Shunem (2 Kings 4:18–37).

New Testament


The descriptions of most miracles in the Christian New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 are often the same as the commonplace definition of the word: God intervenes in the laws of nature. The gospels record three sorts of miracles performed by Jesus: exorcisms, cures, and nature wonders. In St John
John the Evangelist
Saint John the Evangelist is the conventional name for the author of the Gospel of John...

's Gospel
Gospel of John
The Gospel According to John , commonly referred to as the Gospel of John or simply John, and often referred to in New Testament scholarship as the Fourth Gospel, is an account of the public ministry of Jesus...

 the miracles are referred to as "signs" and the emphasis is on God demonstrating his underlying normal activity in remarkable ways. In the New Testament, the greatest miracle is the resurrection of Jesus
Resurrection of Jesus
The Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus states that Jesus returned to bodily life on the third day following his death by crucifixion. It is a key element of Christian faith and theology and part of the Nicene Creed: "On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures"...

, the event central to Christian faith.

Jesus explains in the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 that miracles are performed by faith
Faith
Faith is confidence or trust in a person or thing, or a belief that is not based on proof. In religion, faith is a belief in a transcendent reality, a religious teacher, a set of teachings or a Supreme Being. Generally speaking, it is offered as a means by which the truth of the proposition,...

 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." (Gospel of Matthew
Gospel of Matthew
The Gospel According to Matthew is one of the four canonical gospels, one of the three synoptic gospels, and the first book of the New Testament. It tells of the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth...

 17:20). After Jesus returned to heaven, the book of Acts records the disciples of Jesus praying to God to grant that miracles be done in his name, for the purpose of convincing onlookers that he is alive. (Acts
Acts of the Apostles
The Acts of the Apostles , usually referred to simply as Acts, is the fifth book of the New Testament; Acts outlines the history of the Apostolic Age...

 4:29–31). Other passages mention false prophet
False prophet
In religion, a false prophet is one who falsely claims the gift of prophecy, or who uses that gift for evil ends. Often, someone who is considered a "true prophet" by some people is simultaneously considered a "false prophet" by others....

s who will be able to perform miracles to deceive "if possible, even the elect of Christ" (Matthew 24:24, 2 Thes 2:9, Revelation 13:13).

Qur'an



Miracle in the Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

 can be defined as a supernatural intervention in the life of human beings. According to this definition, Miracles are present "in a threefold sense: in sacred history
History
History is the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean the period of time after writing was invented. Scholars who write about history are called historians...

, in connection with Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

 himself and in relation to revelation." The Qur'an does not use the technical Arabic word for miracle (Muʿd̲j̲iza) literally meaning "that by means of which [the Prophet] confounds, overwhelms, his opponents". It rather uses the term 'Ayah' (literally meaning sign). The term Ayah is used in the Qur'an in the above mentioned threefold sense: it refers to the "verses" of the Qur'an (believed to be the divine speech in human language
Natural language
In the philosophy of language, a natural language is any language which arises in an unpremeditated fashion as the result of the innate facility for language possessed by the human intellect. A natural language is typically used for communication, and may be spoken, signed, or written...

; presented by Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

 as his chief Miracle); as well as to miracles of it and the signs (particularly those of creation).

To defend the possibility of miracles and God's omnipotence against the encroachment of the independent secondary causes, some medieval Muslim theologians
Islamic theology
Islamic theology is a branch of Islamic studies regarding the beliefs associated with the Islamic faith. Any religious belief system, or creed, can be considered an example of aqidah. However, this term has taken a significant technical usage in Islamic history and theology, denoting those...

 such as Al-Ghazali
Al-Ghazali
Abu Hāmed Mohammad ibn Mohammad al-Ghazzālī , known as Algazel to the western medieval world, born and died in Tus, in the Khorasan province of Persia was a Persian Muslim theologian, jurist, philosopher, and mystic....

 rejected the idea of cause and effect
Causality
Causality is the relationship between an event and a second event , where the second event is understood as a consequence of the first....

 in essence, but accepted it as something that facilitates humankind's investigation and comprehension of natural processes. They argued that the nature was composed of uniform atoms that were "re-created" at every instant by God. Thus if the soil was to fall, God would have to create and re-create the accident of heaviness for as long as the soil was to fall. For Muslim theologians, the laws of nature were only the customary sequence of apparent causes: customs of God.

Buddhism


The Haedong Kosung-jon (Biographies of High Monks) records that King Beopheung of Silla
Beopheung of Silla
King Beopheung was the 23rd monarch of Silla, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea. He was preceded by King Jijeung and succeeded by King Jinheung....

 had desired to promulgate Buddhism as the state religion. However, officials in his court opposed him. In the fourteenth year of his reign, Beopheung's "Grand Secretary", Ichadon
Ichadon
Ichadon , also known as Geochadon or by his courtesy name Yeomchok or Yeomdo, was a Buddhist monk and advisor to the Silla king Beopheung.-Miracle:...

, devised a strategy to overcome court opposition. Ichadon schemed with the king, convincing him to make a proclamation granting Buddhism official state sanction using the royal seal. Ichadon told the king to deny having made such a proclamation when the opposing officials received it and demanded an explanation. Instead, Ichadon would confess and accept the punishment of execution, for what would quickly be seen as a forgery. Ichadon prophesied to the king that at his execution a wonderful miracle would convince the opposing court faction of Buddhism's power. Ichadon's scheme went as planned, and the opposing officials took the bait. When Ichadon was executed on the 15th day of the 9th month in 527, his prophecy was fulfilled; the earth shook, the sun was darkened, beautiful flowers rained from the sky, his severed head flew to the sacred Geumgang mountains, and milk instead of blood sprayed 100 feet in the air from his beheaded corpse. The omen was accepted by the opposing court officials as a manifestation of heaven's approval, and Buddhism was made the state religion in 527 CE.

The Honchō Hokke Reigenki (c. 1040) contains a collection of Buddhist miracle stories.

Christianity



C.S. Lewis, Norman Geisler
Norman Geisler
Norman L. Geisler is a Christian apologist and the co-founder of Southern Evangelical Seminary outside Charlotte, North Carolina, where he formerly taught. He holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from Jesuit Loyola University...

, William Lane Craig
William Lane Craig
William Lane Craig is an American analytic philosopher, philosophical theologian, and Christian apologist. He is known for his work on the philosophy of time and the philosophy of religion, specifically the existence of God and the defense of Christian theism...

, and other Christians have argued that miracles are reasonable and plausible. For example, C.S. Lewis says that a miracle is something that comes totally out of the blue. If for thousands of years a woman can become pregnant only by sexual intercourse with a man, then if she were to become pregnant without a man, it would be a miracle.

There have been numerous claims of miracles in Christianity. This includes the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

, Christian Science
Christian Science
Christian Science is a system of thought and practice derived from the writings of Mary Baker Eddy and the Bible. It is practiced by members of The First Church of Christ, Scientist as well as some others who are nonmembers. Its central texts are the Bible and the Christian Science textbook,...

, Protestant, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Evangelical
Evangelicalism
Evangelicalism is a Protestant Christian movement which began in Great Britain in the 1730s and gained popularity in the United States during the series of Great Awakenings of the 18th and 19th century.Its key commitments are:...

, Pentecostal, Charismatic and others. Some of the miracles that are claimed to occur by these denominations are faith healing
Faith healing
Faith healing is healing through spiritual means. The healing of a person is brought about by religious faith through prayer and/or rituals that, according to adherents, stimulate a divine presence and power toward correcting disease and disability. Belief in divine intervention in illness or...

s and casting out demon
Exorcism
Exorcism is the religious practice of evicting demons or other spiritual entities from a person or place which they are believed to have possessed...

s.
Catholic Church


The Catholic Church recognizes miracles as being works of God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

, either directly, or through the prayers and intercessions
Intercession of saints
Intercession of the saints is a Christian doctrine held by Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and some Anglican churches, that deceased saints and the Blessed Virgin Mary intercede for believers, and that it is possible to ask deceased saints for their prayers...

 of a specific Saint
Saint
A saint is a holy person. In various religions, saints are people who are believed to have exceptional holiness.In Christian usage, "saint" refers to any believer who is "in Christ", and in whom Christ dwells, whether in heaven or in earth...

 or Saints. There is usually a specific purpose connected to a miracle, e.g. the conversion of a person or persons to the Catholic faith or the construction of a church desired by God. The Church says that it tries to be very cautious to approve the validity of putative miracles. The Catholic Church says that it maintains particularly stringent requirements in validating the miracle's authenticity. The process is overseen by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints
Congregation for the Causes of Saints
The Congregation for the Causes of Saints is the congregation of the Roman Curia which oversees the complex process that leads to the canonization of saints, passing through the steps of a declaration of "heroic virtues" and beatification...

.

The Catholic Church claims to have confirmed the validity of a number of miracles, some of them occurring in modern times. According to the Catholic Church, these miracles have withstood the test of modern scientific scrutiny
Scientific method
Scientific method refers to a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of...

. Among the more notable miracles approved by the Church are several Eucharistic miracle
Eucharistic miracle
A Eucharistic miracle is any miracle involving the Eucharist. Eucharistic miracles typically involve the visible transformation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ during the consecration portion of a Catholic Mass or Orthodox Liturgy...

s wherein the Sacred Host
Sacramental bread
Sacramental bread, sometimes called the lamb, altar bread, host or simply Communion bread, is the bread which is used in the Christian ritual of the Eucharist.-Eastern Catholic and Orthodox:...

 is transformed visibly into Christ
Christ
Christ is the English term for the Greek meaning "the anointed one". It is a translation of the Hebrew , usually transliterated into English as Messiah or Mashiach...

's living Flesh and Blood
Transubstantiation
In Roman Catholic theology, transubstantiation means the change, in the Eucharist, of the substance of wheat bread and grape wine into the substance of the Body and Blood, respectively, of Jesus, while all that is accessible to the senses remains as before.The Eastern Orthodox...

, such as the Miracle of Lanciano
Miracle of Lanciano
The miracle of Lanciano is officially recognized by the Catholic Church as a eucharistic miracle.In the city of Lanciano, Italy, around 700, a Basilian monk and priest were assigned to celebrate the Divine Liturgy in the small Church of St. Legontian...

.

According to 17th-century documents, a young Spanish man's leg was miraculously restored to him in 1640 after having been amputated two and a half years earlier (see miracle of Calanda
Miracle of Calanda
The Miracle of Calanda is an event that allegedly took place in Calanda, Spain in 1640, according to 17th century documents. The documents state that a young farmer's leg was restored to him after having been amputated two and a half years earlier...

).

Another miracle approved by the Church is the Miracle of the Sun, which occurred near Fátima, Portugal
Our Lady of Fatima
Our Lady of Fátima is a famous title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary as she appeared in apparitions reported by three shepherd children at Fátima in Portugal. These occurred on the 13th day of six consecutive months in 1917, starting on May 13...

 on October 13, 1917. Anywhere between 70,000 and 100,000 people, who were gathered at a cove
Cova da Iria
Cova da Iria was a land belonging to Lúcia Santos' family in Fatima, Portugal. Lucia was one the three visionary children who, according to Roman Catholic Church, received several visitations and messages by the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God...

 near Fátima, witnessed the sun dim, change colors, spin, dance about in the sky, and appear to plummet to earth, radiating great heat in the process. After the ten-minute event, the ground and the people's clothing, which had been drenched by a previous rainstorm, were both dry.

Velankanni (Mary) can be traced to the mid-16th century and is attributed to three miracles: the apparition of Mary
Mary (mother of Jesus)
Mary , commonly referred to as "Saint Mary", "Mother Mary", the "Virgin Mary", the "Blessed Virgin Mary", or "Mary, Mother of God", was a Jewish woman of Nazareth in Galilee...

 and the Christ
Christ
Christ is the English term for the Greek meaning "the anointed one". It is a translation of the Hebrew , usually transliterated into English as Messiah or Mashiach...

 Child to a slumbering shepherd boy, the curing of a lame buttermilk vendor, and the rescue of Portuguese
Portuguese people
The Portuguese are a nation and ethnic group native to the country of Portugal, in the west of the Iberian peninsula of south-west Europe. Their language is Portuguese, and Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion....

 sailors from a violent sea storm.

In addition to these, the Catholic Church attributes miraculous causes to many otherwise inexplicable phenomena on a case-by-case basis. Only after all other possible explanations have proven inadequate may the Church assume Divine intervention and declare the miracle worthy of veneration by the faithful. The Church does not, however, enjoin belief in any extra-Scriptural miracle as an article of faith
Articles of Faith
Articles of faith are sets of beliefs usually found in creeds, sometimes numbered, and often beginning with "We believe...", which attempt to more or less define the fundamental theology of a given religion, and especially in the Christian Church....

 or as necessary for salvation
Salvation
Within religion salvation is the phenomenon of being saved from the undesirable condition of bondage or suffering experienced by the psyche or soul that has arisen as a result of unskillful or immoral actions generically referred to as sins. Salvation may also be called "deliverance" or...

.

St. Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas, O.P. , also Thomas of Aquin or Aquino, was an Italian Dominican priest of the Catholic Church, and an immensely influential philosopher and theologian in the tradition of scholasticism, known as Doctor Angelicus, Doctor Communis, or Doctor Universalis...

, a prominent doctor of the Catholic Church, divided miracles into three types in his Summa contra Gentiles
Summa contra Gentiles
The Summa contra Gentiles by St. Thomas Aquinas has traditionally been dated to 1264, though more recent scholarship places it towards the end of Thomas’ life, 1270-73 . The work has occasioned much debate as to its purpose, its intended audience and its relationship to his other works...

:
These works that are sometimes done by God outside the usual order assigned to things are wont to be called miracles: because we are astonished (admiramur) at a thing when we see an effect without knowing the cause. And since at times one and the same cause is known to some and unknown to others, it happens that of several who see an effect, some are astonished and some not: thus an astronomer is not astonished when he sees an eclipse of the sun, for he knows the cause; whereas one who is ignorant of this science
Science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...

 must needs wonder, since he knows not the cause. Wherefore it is wonderful to the latter but not to the former. Accordingly a thing is wonderful simply, when its cause is hidden simply: and this is what we mean by a miracle: something, to wit, that is wonderful in itself and not only in respect of this person or that. Now God is the cause which is hidden to every man simply: for we have proved above that in this state of life no man can comprehend Him by his intellect. Therefore properly speaking miracles are works done by God outside the order usually observed in things.



Of these miracles there are various degrees and orders. The highest degree in miracles comprises those works wherein something is done by God, that nature can never do: for instance, that two bodies occupy the same place, that the sun recede or stand still, that the sea be divided and make way to passers by. Among these there is a certain order: for the greater the work done by God, and the further it is removed from the capability of nature, the greater the miracle: thus it is a greater miracle that the sun recede, than that the waters be divided.



The second degree in miracles belongs to those whereby God does something that nature can do, but not in the same order: thus it is a work of nature that an animal live, see and walk: but that an animal live after being dead, see after being blind, walk after being lame, this nature cannot do, but God does these things sometimes by a miracle. Among these miracles also, there are degrees, according as the thing done is further removed from the faculty of nature.



The third degree of miracles is when God does what is wont to be done by the operation of nature, but without the operation of the natural principles: for instance when by the power of God a man is cured of a fever that nature is able to cure; or when it rains without the operation of the principles of nature.

Hinduism


An incident concerning Raghavendra Swami
Raghavendra Swami
Raghavendra Theertha was a Hindu saint and philosopher who served as the head of the Sri Mutt in Kumbakonam from 1624 to 1636. He wrote a commentary Sudha Parimala on the Nyaya Sudha, an exposition of Dvaita philosophy...

 and Sir Thomas Munro has been recorded in the Madras Districts Gazetteer. In 1801, while serving as the Collector of Bellary
Bellary
Bellary is a historic city in Bellary District in Karnataka state, India.-Origins of the city's name:There are several legends about how Bellary got its name....

, Sir Thomas Munro, who later served as the Governor of Madras is believed to have come across an apparition
Apparitional experience
In psychology and parapsychology, an apparitional experience is an anomalous, quasi-perceptual experience.It is characterized by the apparent perception of either a living being or an inanimate object without there being any material stimulus for such a perception...

 of Raghavendra Swami who had died almost two centuries back. Sir Thomas Munro is recorded as having spoke with Raghavendra Swami in English over an endowment proposal which he ultimately quashed as per the Swami's advice.

Islam


Sufi biographical literature records claims of miraculous accounts of men and women. The miraculous prowess of the Sufi holy men includes firasa(clairvoyance
Clairvoyance
The term clairvoyance is used to refer to the ability to gain information about an object, person, location or physical event through means other than the known human senses, a form of extra-sensory perception...

), the ability to disappear from sight, to become completely invisible and practice buruz(exteriorization
Exteriorization
Exteriorization is a Scientology practice in which a person as an aware of awareness unit functions independently of the physical body.-External links:*: Frithjof Schuon...

). The holy men reportedly tame wild beasts and traverse short distances in a very short time span. They could also produce food and rain in seasons of drought, heal the sick and help barren women become pregnant.

Judaism


During the first century BCE, a variety of religious movements and splinter groups developed amongst the Jews in Judea
Iudaea Province
Judaea or Iudaea are terms used by historians to refer to the Roman province that extended over parts of the former regions of the Hasmonean and Herodian kingdoms of Israel...

. A number of individuals claimed to be miracle workers in the tradition of Elijah and Elisha
Elisha
Elisha is a prophet mentioned in the Hebrew Bible and the Qur'an. His name is commonly transliterated into English as Elisha via Hebrew, Eliseus via Greek and Latin, or Alyasa via Arabic.-Biblical biography:...

, the ancient Jewish prophets. The Talmud provides some examples of such Jewish miracle workers, one of whom is Honi HaM'agel
Honi HaM'agel
Honi Ha-Ma'agel , was a Jewish scholar prior to the age of the tannaim, the scholars from whose teachings the Mishnah was derived....

, who was famous for his ability to successfully pray for rain.

Most Chasidic communities are rife with tales of miracles that follow a yechidut, a spiritual audience with a tzadik
Tzadik
Tzadik/Zadik/Sadiq is a title given to personalities in Jewish tradition considered righteous, such as Biblical figures and later spiritual masters. The root of the word ṣadiq, is ṣ-d-q , which means "justice" or "righteousness", also the root of Tzedakah...

: barren women become pregnant, cancer tumors shrink, wayward children become pious. Many Hasidim
Hasidic Judaism
Hasidic Judaism or Hasidism, from the Hebrew —Ḥasidut in Sephardi, Chasidus in Ashkenazi, meaning "piety" , is a branch of Orthodox Judaism that promotes spirituality and joy through the popularisation and internalisation of Jewish mysticism as the fundamental aspects of the Jewish faith...

 claim that miracles can take place in merit of partaking of the shirayim (the leftovers from the rebbe
Rebbe
Rebbe , which means master, teacher, or mentor, is a Yiddish word derived from the Hebrew word Rabbi. It often refers to the leader of a Hasidic Jewish movement...

's meal), such as miraculous healing or blessings of wealth or piety.

Individuals


Individuals who are claimed to have performed miracles include:
  • Aharon Rokeach
    Aharon Rokeach
    Aharon Rokeach was the fourth Rebbe of the Belz Hasidic dynasty. He led the movement from 1926 until his death in 1957....

  • Akhtar Raza
    Akhtar Raza
    Akhtar Raza is an Islamic jurist, and currently Grand Mufti of India. Mufti Akhtar Raza was born on 23 November 1943 , in the district of Saudagran in the city of Bareilly, India. The name given during his Aqeeqah was Muhammad. He was also given the name Muhammad Ismail Raza...

  • Apollonius of Tyana
    Apollonius of Tyana
    Apollonius of Tyana was a Greek Neopythagorean philosopher from the town of Tyana in the Roman province of Cappadocia in Asia Minor. Little is certainly known about him...

  • Arunagirinathar
    Arunagirinathar
    Arunagirinathar was Tamil poet who lived during the 15th century in Tamil Nadu, India. He was the creator of Tiruppugazh, a book of poems in Tamil in praise of the Hindu God Murugan. He was a member of the Isai Vellalar community....

  • Asenath Barzani
    Asenath Barzani
    Tanna’it Asenath Barzani was a renowned Kurdish Jewish woman who lived in Mosul, Iraq. She was the daughter of the illustrious Rabbi Samuel Barzani. She studied Kabbalah.-The life of Tanna’it Asenath:...

  • Audrey Marie Santo
  • Baal Shem of London
  • Baal Shem Tov
  • Baba Sali
    Baba Sali
    After this incident, the Jewish population of Tafilalt fled to the nearby city of Arfoud, and then to the city of Boudnib. In Bodniv, Rabbi Yisrael was asked to succeed his brother as rav, but he refused. He wanted to travel to Palestine to print his brother's sefarim...

  • Buddha
    Buddha
    In Buddhism, buddhahood is the state of perfect enlightenment attained by a buddha .In Buddhism, the term buddha usually refers to one who has become enlightened...

  • Chaim Elazar Spira
    Chaim Elazar Spira
    Rabbi Chaim Elazar Spira was one of the rebbes of the Hasidic movement Munkacz .-Family background:...

  • Chaim Zanvl Abramowitz
  • Ephraim Alnaqua
    Ephraim Alnaqua
    Rabbi Ephraim ben Israel Alnaqua was a physician, rabbi, theological writer, and founder of the Jewish community at Tlemçen, North Africa, where he died in 1442.According to a legend, Alnaqua escaped from the Spanish...

  • Escrava Anastacia
    Escrava Anastacia
    Escrava Anastacia is a popular saint venerated in Brazil. A slave woman of African descent, Anastacia is depicted as possessing incredible beauty, having piercing blue eyes and wearing an oppressive facemask. Not officially recognized by the Catholic Church, Anastacia is still an important figure...

  • Jacob Cochran
    Jacob Cochran
    Jacob Cochran was a non-denominational preacher born in Enfield, New Hampshire, USA who founded the Cochranites in Saco, Maine. Cochranite worship is said to have resembled Shakerism, but which also practiced a new doctrine called spiritual wifery...

  • Jacob Frank
    Jacob Frank
    Jacob Frank was an 18th century Jewish religious leader who claimed to be the reincarnation of the self-proclaimed messiah Sabbatai Zevi and also of the biblical patriarch Jacob...

  • Jesus
    Jesus
    Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

  • Joseph ben Abraham Gikatilla
    Joseph ben Abraham Gikatilla
    Joseph ben Abraham Gikatilla was a Spanish kabbalist, student of Abraham Abulafia.-Biography:Born at Medinaceli, Old Castile, Gikatilla was for some time a pupil of the kabbalist Abraham Abulafia, by whom he is highly praised; his kabbalistic knowledge became so profound that he was supposed to...

  • Maiden of Ludmir
    Maiden of Ludmir
    The Maiden of Ludmir, , , also known as the "Ludmirer Moyd", was the only female Rebbe in the history of the Hasidic movement....

  • Mansur Al-Hallaj
    Mansur Al-Hallaj
    Mansur al-Hallaj was a Persian mystic, revolutionary writer and pious teacher of Sufism most famous for his poetry, accusation of heresy and for his execution at the orders of the Abbasid Caliph Al-Muqtadir after a long, drawn-out investigation.-Early life:Al-Hallaj was born around 858 in Fars...

  • Moses Botarel
    Moses Botarel
    Moses Botarel was a Spanish scholar who lived in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. He was a pupil of Jacob Sefardi , who instructed him in the Kabbala....

  • Muhammad
    Muhammad
    Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...


  • Nathan Adler
    Nathan Adler
    Nathan HaKohen Adler was a German kabbalist born in Frankfurt, December 16, 1741. As a precocious child he won the admiration of Chaim Joseph David Azulai , who, in 1752, came to Frankfurt to solicit contributions for the poor of Palestine...

  • Rabbi Meir
    Rabbi Meir
    Rabbi Meir or Rabbi Meir Baal Hanes was a Jewish sage who lived in the time of the Mishna. He was considered one of the greatest of the Tannaim of the fourth generation . According to legend , his father was a descendant of the Roman Emperor Nero who had converted to Judaism. His wife Bruriah is...

  • Raghavendra Swami
    Raghavendra Swami
    Raghavendra Theertha was a Hindu saint and philosopher who served as the head of the Sri Mutt in Kumbakonam from 1624 to 1636. He wrote a commentary Sudha Parimala on the Nyaya Sudha, an exposition of Dvaita philosophy...

  • Ramakrishna
    Ramakrishna
    Ramakrishna , born Gadadhar Chattopadhyay , was a famous mystic of 19th-century India. His religious school of thought led to the formation of the Ramakrishna Mission by his chief disciple Swami Vivekananda – both were influential figures in the Bengali Renaissance as well as the Hindu...

  • Ramalinga Swamigal
  • Ramana Maharshi
    Ramana Maharshi
    Sri Ramana Maharshi , born Venkataraman Iyer, was a Hindu spiritual master . He was born to a Tamil-speaking Brahmin family in Tiruchuzhi, Tamil Nadu. After experiencing at age 16 what he later described as liberation , he left home for Arunachala, a mountain considered sacred by Hindus...

  • Rav Jonah
    Rav Jonah
    Jonah was a Palestinian amora of the 4th century, the leading rabbinical authority in the 4th amoraic generation. With Jose II, his early schoolmate and lifelong colleague and business partner, he studied under Ze'era I and Rav Ela Jonah (Hebrew: רבי יונה) was a Palestinian amora of the 4th...

  • Sabbas the Sanctified
    Sabbas the Sanctified
    Saint Sabbas the Sanctified , a Cappadocian-Greek monk, priest and saint, lived mainly in Palaestina Prima. He was the founder of several monasteries, most notably the one known as Mar Saba...

  • Sabbatai Zevi
    Sabbatai Zevi
    Sabbatai Zevi, , was a Sephardic Rabbi and kabbalist who claimed to be the long-awaited Jewish Messiah. He was the founder of the Jewish Sabbatean movement...

  • Sai Baba of Shirdi
    Sai Baba of Shirdi
    Sai Baba of Shirdi , also known as Shirdi Sai Baba , was an Indian guru, yogi, and fakir who is regarded by his Hindu and Muslim devotees as a saint....

  • Sathya Sai Baba
    Sathya Sai Baba
    Śri Sathya Sai Baba , born as Sathyanarayana Raju was an Indian guru, spiritual figure, mystic, philanthropist, and educator. He claimed to be the reincarnation of Sai Baba of Shirdi, a spiritual saint and miracle worker who died in 1918 and whose teachings were an eclectic blend of Hindu and...

  • Sarkar Waris Pak
    Sarkar Waris Pak
    Haji Waris Ali Shah or Sarkar Waris Pak was a Sufi saint from Dewa, Barabanki, India. Sarkar Waris Pak was the successor to the Qadriyya -Razzakiyya Silsila. He was born in the 26th generation of Hazrat Imam Hussain. The date of his birth is disputed, varying from 1233 A.H. to 1238 A.H...

  • Shalom Sharabi
    Shalom Sharabi
    Sar Shalom Sharabi , also known as the Rashash, the Shemesh or Ribbi Shalom Mizraḥi deyedi`a Sharabi Sar Shalom Sharabi , also known as the Rashash, the Shemesh or Ribbi Shalom Mizraḥi deyedi`a Sharabi Sar Shalom Sharabi , also known as the Rashash, the Shemesh or Ribbi Shalom Mizraḥi deyedi`a...

  • Shmelke of Nikolsburg
    Shmelke of Nikolsburg
    Shmelke of Nikolsburg was one of the great early Chasidic Rebbes. Born Shmuel Horowitz Shmelke of Nikolsburg (1726 Chortkiv, Galicia - 1778 Nikolsburg, Moravia) was one of the great early Chasidic Rebbes. Born Shmuel Horowitz Shmelke of Nikolsburg (1726 Chortkiv, Galicia - 1778 Nikolsburg,...

  • Shimon bar Yochai
  • Swami Vivekananda
    Swami Vivekananda
    Swami Vivekananda , born Narendranath Dutta , was the chief disciple of the 19th century mystic Ramakrishna Paramahansa and the founder of the Ramakrishna Math and the Ramakrishna Mission...

  • Vespasian
    Vespasian
    Vespasian , was Roman Emperor from 69 AD to 79 AD. Vespasian was the founder of the Flavian dynasty, which ruled the Empire for a quarter century. Vespasian was descended from a family of equestrians, who rose into the senatorial rank under the Emperors of the Julio-Claudian dynasty...

  • Yeshayah Steiner
    Yeshayah Steiner
    Grand Rabbi Yeshaya Steiner of Kerestir , was the founder of the Kerestirer Hasidic dynasty.He was born on Iyar 3, 1851 in the town of Zbarav, Hungary. When he was 3 years old, his father died. At the age of 12, his mother sent him to study with to Rabbi Tzvi Hirsh of Liska, Hungary, the author of...

  • Yissachar Dov Rokeach (I)
    Yissachar Dov Rokeach (I)
    Yissachar Dov Rokeach , , was the third Rebbe of the Belz Hasidic dynasty. He was the second son of Rabbi Yehoshua Rokeach , and served as the third Belzer Rebbe from his father's death in 1894 until his own death in 1926.-Personal life:Yissachar Dov was born in the town of Belz, Poland...

  • Yitzchak Kaduri
    Yitzchak Kaduri
    Yitzhak Kaduri, also spelled Kadouri, Kadourie, Kedourie; "Yitzhak" also spelled Yitzchak , was a renowned Mizrahi Haredi rabbi and kabbalist who devoted his life to Torah study and prayer on behalf of the Jewish people. He taught and practiced the kavanot of the Rashash...

  • Yosef Yozel Horwitz


Criticism


Thomas Paine
Thomas Paine
Thomas "Tom" Paine was an English author, pamphleteer, radical, inventor, intellectual, revolutionary, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States...

, one of the Founding Fathers of the American Revolution, wrote “All the tales of miracles, with which the Old and New Testament are filled, are fit only for impostors to preach and fools to believe”.

Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

, principal author of the Declaration of Independence of the United States, edited a version of the Bible in which he removed sections of the New Testament containing supernatural aspects as well as perceived misinterpretations he believed had been added by the Four Evangelists. Jefferson wrote, "The establishment of the innocent and genuine character of this benevolent moralist, and the rescuing it from the imputation of imposture, which has resulted from artificial systems, [footnote: e.g. The immaculate conception of Jesus, his deification, the creation of the world by him, his miraculous powers, his resurrection and visible ascension, his corporeal presence in the Eucharist, the Trinity; original sin, atonement, regeneration, election, orders of Hierarchy, etc. —T.J.] invented by ultra-Christian sects, unauthorized by a single word ever uttered by him, is a most desirable object, and one to which Priestley has successfully devoted his labors and learning."

Robert Ingersoll
Robert G. Ingersoll
Robert Green "Bob" Ingersoll was a Civil War veteran, American political leader, and orator during the Golden Age of Freethought, noted for his broad range of culture and his defense of agnosticism. He was nicknamed "The Great Agnostic."-Life and career:Robert Ingersoll was born in Dresden, New York...

 wrote, "Not 20 people were convinced by the reported miracles of Christ, and yet people of the nineteenth century were coolly asked to be convinced on hearsay by miracles which those who are supposed to have seen them refused to credit."

Writer Christopher Hitchens
Christopher Hitchens
Christopher Eric Hitchens is an Anglo-American author and journalist whose books, essays, and journalistic career span more than four decades. He has been a columnist and literary critic at The Atlantic, Vanity Fair, Slate, World Affairs, The Nation, Free Inquiry, and became a media fellow at the...

, when asked for his favorite Bible story replied “Casting the first stone” is a lovely story, even though we’ve found out how much it wasn’t in the Bible to begin with. And the first of the miracles. Jesus changes water into wine. You can’t object to that."

Biologist and atheist Richard Dawkins
Richard Dawkins
Clinton Richard Dawkins, FRS, FRSL , known as Richard Dawkins, is a British ethologist, evolutionary biologist and author...

 criticises the belief in miracles as a subversion of Occam's Razor
Occam's razor
Occam's razor, also known as Ockham's razor, and sometimes expressed in Latin as lex parsimoniae , is a principle that generally recommends from among competing hypotheses selecting the one that makes the fewest new assumptions.-Overview:The principle is often summarized as "simpler explanations...

. (It should be noted, however, that William of Occam himself was a Friar and theologian who accepted the possibility of miracles. He considered certain spiritual matters immune to what would later become known as his Razor.)

John Adams
John Adams
John Adams was an American lawyer, statesman, diplomat and political theorist. A leading champion of independence in 1776, he was the second President of the United States...

, second President of the United States, wrote, "The question before the human race is, whether the God of nature shall govern the world by his own laws, or whether priests and kings shall rule it by fictitious miracles?"

Elbert Hubbard
Elbert Hubbard
Elbert Green Hubbard was an American writer, publisher, artist, and philosopher. Raised in Hudson, Illinois, he met early success as a traveling salesman with the Larkin soap company. Today Hubbard is mostly known as the founder of the Roycroft artisan community in East Aurora, New York, an...

, American writer, publisher, artist, and philosopher, wrote "A miracle is an event described by those to whom it was told by people who did not see it."

American Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...

 patriot and hero Ethan Allen
Ethan Allen
Ethan Allen was a farmer, businessman, land speculator, philosopher, writer, and American Revolutionary War patriot, hero, and politician. He is best known as one of the founders of the U.S...

 wrote "In those parts of the world where learning and science have prevailed, miracles have ceased; but in those parts of it as are barbarous and ignorant, miracles are still in vogue."

Aristotelian and Neo-Aristotelian


Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

 rejected the idea that God could or would intervene in the order of the natural world. Jewish neo-Aristotelian
Aristotelianism
Aristotelianism is a tradition of philosophy that takes its defining inspiration from the work of Aristotle. The works of Aristotle were initially defended by the members of the Peripatetic school, and, later on, by the Neoplatonists, who produced many commentaries on Aristotle's writings...

 philosophers
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

, who are still influential today, include Maimonides
Maimonides
Moses ben-Maimon, called Maimonides and also known as Mūsā ibn Maymūn in Arabic, or Rambam , was a preeminent medieval Jewish philosopher and one of the greatest Torah scholars and physicians of the Middle Ages...

, Samuel ben Judah ibn Tibbon
Samuel ben Judah ibn Tibbon
Samuel ben Judah ibn Tibbon, more commonly known as Samuel ibn Tibbon , was a Jewish philosopher and doctor. He was born about 1150 in Lunel , and died about 1230 in Marseilles...

, and Gersonides
Gersonides
Levi ben Gershon, better known by his Latinised name as Gersonides or the abbreviation of first letters as RaLBaG , philosopher, Talmudist, mathematician, astronomer/astrologer. He was born at Bagnols in Languedoc, France...

. Directly or indirectly, their views are still prevalent in much of the religious Jewish community.

Baruch Spinoza


In his Theologico-Political Treatise
Theologico-Political Treatise
Written by the philosopher Baruch Spinoza, the Theologico-Political Treatise or Tractatus Theologico-Politicus was published anonymously in 1670.It is an early criticism of religious intolerance and a defense of secular government...

 Spinoza
Baruch Spinoza
Baruch de Spinoza and later Benedict de Spinoza was a Dutch Jewish philosopher. Revealing considerable scientific aptitude, the breadth and importance of Spinoza's work was not fully realized until years after his death...

 claims that miracles are merely lawlike events whose causes we are ignorant of. We should not treat them as having no cause or of having a cause immediately available. Rather the miracle is for combating the ignorance it entails, like a political project. See Epistemic theory of miracles
Epistemic theory of miracles
The epistemic theory of miracles is the name given by the philosopher William Vallicella to the theory of miraculous events given by St. Augustine and Baruch Spinoza. According to the theory, there are no events contrary to nature — that is no "transgressions", in Hume's sense, of the laws of nature...

.

David Hume


According to the philosopher David Hume
David Hume
David Hume was a Scottish philosopher, historian, economist, and essayist, known especially for his philosophical empiricism and skepticism. He was one of the most important figures in the history of Western philosophy and the Scottish Enlightenment...

, 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." The crux of his argument is this: "No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous, than the fact which it endeavours to establish."

Søren Kierkegaard


The philosopher Søren Kierkegaard
Søren Kierkegaard
Søren Aabye Kierkegaard was a Danish Christian philosopher, theologian and religious author. He was a critic of idealist intellectuals and philosophers of his time, such as Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling and Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel...

, following Hume and Johann Georg Hamann
Johann Georg Hamann
Johann Georg Hamann was a noted German philosopher, a main proponent of the Sturm und Drang movement, and associated by historian of ideas Isaiah Berlin with the Counter-Enlightenment.-Biography:...

, a Humean scholar, agrees with Hume's definition of a miracle as a transgression of a law of nature, but Kierkegaard, writing as his pseudonym Johannes Climacus, regards any historical reports to be less than certain, including historical reports of such miracle transgressions, as all historical knowledge is always doubtful and open to approximation.

James Keller


James Keller
James Keller
Father James Keller, M.M. was a Roman Catholic priest in the Maryknoll Order. In 1945 he founded of The Christophers, a Christian inspirational group which broadcast a weekly inspirational television show on ABC...

 states that "The claim that God has worked a miracle implies that God has singled out certain persons for some benefit which many others do not receive implies that God is unfair.” An example would be "If God intervenes to save your life in a car crash, then what was he doing in Auschwitz
Auschwitz concentration camp
Concentration camp Auschwitz was a network of Nazi concentration and extermination camps built and operated by the Third Reich in Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany during World War II...

?". Thus an all-powerful, all-knowing and just God, predicated in Christianity, would not perform miracles.

Littlewood



British mathematician J. E. Littlewood suggested that individuals should statistically expect one-in-a-million events ("miracles") to happen to them at the rate of about one per month. By Littlewood's definition, seemingly miraculous events are actually commonplace.

See also

  • A Course in Miracles
    A Course in Miracles
    A Course in Miracles is a self-study curriculum that aims to assist its readers in achieving spiritual transformation. The book describes a non-dualistic philosophy of forgiveness and includes what are meant to be practical lessons and applications for the practice of forgiveness in one's daily life...

  • Cessationism
    Cessationism
    In Christian theology, Cessationism is the view that the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as tongues, prophecy and healing, ceased being practiced early on in Church history. The opposite of Cessationism is Continuationism...

  • Existence of God
    Existence of God
    Arguments for and against the existence of God have been proposed by philosophers, theologians, scientists, and others. In philosophical terms, arguments for and against the existence of God involve primarily the sub-disciplines of epistemology and ontology , but also of the theory of value, since...

  • Lourdes effect
    Lourdes effect
    The term Lourdes effect has been coined by the Belgian philosopher and skeptic Etienne Vermeersch to account for the conjecure that some supernatural powers seem to have a sort of resistance to manifesting themselves in a completely unambiguous fashion...

  • Magic and religion
    Magic and religion
    Magical thinking in various forms is a cultural universal and an important aspect of religion.In many cases it becomes difficult or impossible to draw any meaningful line between beliefs and practices that are magical versus those that are religious, but in general the term religion is reserved for...

  • Međugorje
  • Miracles at Lourdes
  • Miracles (book)
    Miracles (book)
    Miracles is a book written by C. S. Lewis, originally published in 1947 and revised in 1960. Lewis argues that before one can learn from the study of history whether or not any miracles have ever occurred, one must first settle the philosophical question of whether it is logically possible that...

  • Paranormal
    Paranormal
    Paranormal is a general term that designates experiences that lie outside "the range of normal experience or scientific explanation" or that indicates phenomena understood to be outside of science's current ability to explain or measure...

  • Pieter De Rudder
    Pieter De Rudder
    Pieter De Rudder, in many French books Pierre De Rudder, in English Peter De Rudder, was a farm labourer, born Jabbeke July 2, 1822, died March 22, 1898...

  • Scientific skepticism
    Scientific skepticism
    Scientific skepticism is the practice of questioning the veracity of claims lacking empirical evidence or reproducibility, as part of a methodological norm pursuing "the extension of certified knowledge". For example, Robert K...

  • Signs and wonders
    Signs and Wonders
    Signs and Wonders was a phrase used often by leaders of the Charismatic movement in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It is closely associated with the ministry of John Wimber and the Vineyard Movement...

  • Snake handling
    Snake handling
    Snake handling or serpent handling is a religious ritual in a small number of Pentecostal churches in the U.S., usually characterized as rural and Holiness. The practice began in the early 20th century in Appalachia, spreading to mostly coal mining towns. The practice plays only a small part of...

  • Snake oil
    Snake oil
    Snake oil is a topical preparation made from the Chinese Water Snake , which is used to treat joint pain. However, the most common usage of the phrase is as a derogatory term for quack medicine...

  • Spontaneous remission
    Spontaneous remission
    Spontaneous healing, also called spontaneous remission or spontaneous regression, means an unexpected improvement or cure from a disease which usually is taking a different course. Both terms are mainly used for unexpected transient or final improvements in cancer. Spontaneous remissions concern...

     ("medical miracles")

General references and books

  • Colin Brown. Miracles and the Critical Mind. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1984. (Good survey).
  • Colin J. Humphreys, Miracles of Exodus. Harper, San Francisco, 2003.
  • Chavda, Mahesh, Only Love Can Make a Miracle. Charlotte: Mahesh Chavda Ministries, 1990.
  • Krista Bontrager, "It’s a Miracle! Or, is it?", Reasons.org
  • Eisen, Robert (1995). Gersonides on Providence, Covenant, and the Chosen People. State University of New York Press
    State University of New York Press
    The State University of New York Press , is a university press and a Center for Scholarly Communication. The Press is part of the State University of New York system and is located in Albany, New York.- History :...

    .
  • 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
    Oxford University Press
    Oxford University Press is the largest university press in the world. It is a department of the University of Oxford and is governed by a group of 15 academics appointed by the Vice-Chancellor known as the Delegates of the Press. They are headed by the Secretary to the Delegates, who serves as...

    .
  • C. S. Lewis
    C. S. Lewis
    Clive Staples Lewis , commonly referred to as C. S. Lewis and known to his friends and family as "Jack", was a novelist, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian and Christian apologist from Belfast, Ireland...

    . Miracles: A Preliminary Study. New York, Macmillan Co., 1947.
  • C. F. D. Moule
    C. F. D. Moule
    Charles Francis Digby Moule CBE FBA , known to his friends as Charlie but professionally by his initials C. F. D. Moule, was an Anglican priest and theologian...

     (ed.). Miracles: Cambridge Studies in their Philosophy and History. London, A.R. Mowbray 1966, ©1965 (Good survey of Biblical miracles as well).
  • Graham Twelftree
    Graham Twelftree
    Graham H. Twelftree, Ph.D. is an Australian born biblical scholar who currently serves as Distinguished Professor of New Testament at Regent University's School of Divinity in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Upon earning his master's degree from Oxford University, Twelftree went on to study under world...

    . 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
    Simon & Schuster
    Simon & Schuster, Inc., a division of CBS Corporation, is a publisher founded in New York City in 1924 by Richard L. Simon and M. Lincoln Schuster. It is one of the four largest English-language publishers, alongside Random House, Penguin and HarperCollins...

    . ISBN 0-684-82393-4.
  • M. Kamp, MD. Bruno Gröning. The miracles continue to happen. 1998, (Chapters 1–4), Bruno-Groening.org


Further reading

  • Houdini, Harry
    Harry Houdini
    Harry Houdini was a Hungarian-born American magician and escapologist, stunt performer, actor and film producer noted for his sensational escape acts...

     Miracle Mongers and Their Methods: A Complete Expose Prometheus Books
    Prometheus Books
    Prometheus Books is a publishing company founded in August 1969 by Paul Kurtz, who also founded the Council for Secular Humanism and co-founded the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. He is currently the chairman of all three organizations. Prometheus Books publishes a range of books, including many...

    ; Reprint edition (March 1993) originally published in 1920 ISBN 0-87975-817-1.
  • Andrew Dickson White
    Andrew Dickson White
    Andrew Dickson White was a U.S. diplomat, historian, and educator, who was the co-founder of Cornell University.-Family and personal life:...

     (1896 first edition. A classic work constantly reprinted) A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom, See chapter 13, part 2, Growth of Legends of Healing: the life of Saint Francis Xavier as a typical example.
  • Rory Roybal Miracles or Magic?. Xulon Press, 2005.

External links