Miracle

A miracle is an event not explicable by natural or scientific laws.[2] Such an event may be attributed to a supernatural being (especially a deity), magic, a miracle worker, a saint, or a religious leader.

Informally, the word miracle is often used to characterise any beneficial event that is statistically unlikely but not contrary to the laws of nature, such as surviving a natural disaster, or simply a "wonderful" occurrence, regardless of likelihood, such as a birth, a human conclusion reached after an actual, or supposed event, has occurred. Other such miracles might be: survival of an illness diagnosed as terminal, escaping a life-threatening situation or 'beating the odds'. Some coincidences may be seen as miracles.[3]

A true miracle would, by definition, be a non-natural phenomenon, leading many thinkers to dismiss them as physically impossible (that is, requiring violation of established laws of physics within their domain of validity) or impossible to confirm by their nature (because all possible physical mechanisms can never be ruled out). The former position is expressed for instance by Thomas Jefferson and the latter by David Hume. Theologians typically say that, with divine providence, God regularly works through nature yet, as a creator, is free to work without, above, or against it as well.[4]

Definitions

The word "miracle" is usually used to describe any beneficial event that is physically impossible or impossible to confirm by nature. Wayne Grudem defines miracle as "a less common kind of God's activity in which he arouses people's awe and wonder and bears witness to himself."[5] Deistic perspective of God's relation to the world defines miracle as a direct intervention of God into the world.[6][7]

Explanations

Supernatural acts

A miracle is a phenomenon not explained by known laws of nature. Criteria for classifying an event as a miracle vary. Often a religious text, such as the Bible or Quran, states that a miracle occurred, and believers may accept this as a fact.

Law of truly large numbers

Statistically "impossible" events are often called miracles. For instance, when three classmates accidentally meet in a different country decades after having left school, they may consider this as "miraculous". However, a colossal number of events happen every moment on earth; thus extremely unlikely coincidences also happen every moment. Events that are considered "impossible" are therefore not impossible at all — they are just increasingly rare and dependent on the number of individual events. 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.

Philosophical explanations

Aristotelian and Neo-Aristotelian

The Aristotelian view of God has God as pure actuality[8] and considers him as the prime mover doing only what a perfect being can do, think.[9] Jewish neo-Aristotelian philosophers,[10] 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.

Baruch Spinoza

In his Tractatus Theologico-Politicus Spinoza claims[11] 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.

David Hume

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".[4] 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." Hume defines a miracles as "a violation of the laws of nature", or more fully, "a transgression of a law of nature by a particular volition of the Deity, or by the interposition of some invisible agent." By this definition, a miracle goes against our regular experience of how the universe works. As miracles are single events, the evidence for them is always limited and we experience them rarely. On the basis of experience and evidence, the probability that miracle occurred is always less than the probability that it did not occur. As it is rational to believe what is more probable, we are not supposed to have a good reason to believe that a miracle occurred. [1]

Friedrich Schleiermacher

According to the Christian theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher "every event, even the most natural and usual, becomes a miracle as soon as the religious view of it can be the dominant".[12]

Søren Kierkegaard

The philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, following Hume and Johann Georg Hamann, a Humean scholar, agrees with Hume's definition of a miracle as a transgression of a law of nature,[13] but Kierkegaard, writing as his pseudonym Johannes Climacus, regards any historical reports to be less than certain, including historical reports of miracles, as all historical knowledge is always doubtful and open to approximation.[14]

James Keller

James Keller 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."[15]

Religious views

According to a 2011 poll by the Pew Research Center, more than 90 percent of evangelical Christians believe miracles still take place.[16] While Christians see God as sometimes intervening in human activities, Muslims see Allah as a direct cause of all events. "God’s overwhelming closeness makes it easy for Muslims to admit the miraculous in the world."[17]

Buddhism

The Haedong Kosung-jon of Korea (Biographies of High Monks) records that King Beopheung of Silla 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, 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.[18]

The Honchō Hokke Reigenki (c. 1040) of Japan contains a collection of Buddhist miracle stories.[19]

Miracles play an important role in the veneration of Buddhist relics in Southern Asia. Thus, Somawathie Stupa in Sri Lanka is an increasingly popular site of pilgrimage and tourist destination thanks to multiple reports about miraculous rays of light, apparitions and modern legends, which often have been fixed in photographs and movies.

Christianity

The gospels record three sorts of miracles performed by Jesus: exorcisms, cures, and nature wonders.[20] In the Gospel of John the miracles are referred to as "signs" and the emphasis is on God demonstrating his underlying normal activity in remarkable ways.[21] In the New Testament, the greatest miracle is the resurrection of Jesus, the event central to Christian faith.

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." (Gospel of Matthew 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 4:29–31).

Other passages mention false prophets who will be able to perform miracles to deceive "if possible, even the elect of Christ" (Matthew 24:24). 2 Thessalonians 2:9 says, "And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the Truth, that they might be saved." Revelation 13:13,14 says, "And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live." Revelation 16:14 says, "For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty." Revelation 19:20 says, "And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone." These passages indicate that signs, wonders, and miracles are not necessarily committed by God. These miracles not committed by God are labeled as false(pseudo) miracles though which could mean that they are deceptive in nature and are not the same as the true miracles committed by God.

In early Christianity miracles were the most often attested motivations for conversions of pagans; pagan Romans took the existence of miracles for granted; Christian texts reporting them offered miracles as divine proof of the Christian God's unique claim to authority, relegating all other gods to the lower status of daimones:[22] "of all worships, the Christian best and most particularly advertised its miracles by driving out of spirits and laying on of hands".[23] The Gospel of John is structured around miraculous "signs": The success of the Apostles according to the church historian Eusebius of Caesarea lay in their miracles: "though laymen in their language", he asserted, "they drew courage from divine, miraculous powers".[24] The conversion of Constantine by a miraculous sign in heaven is a prominent fourth-century example.

Since the Age of Enlightenment, miracles have often needed to be rationalized: C.S. Lewis, Norman Geisler, William Lane Craig, and other 20th-century Christians have argued that miracles are reasonable and plausible. For example, Lewis said 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.[25][26][27]

There have been numerous claims of miracles by people of most Christian denominations, including but not limited to faith healings and casting out demons. Miracle reports are especially prevalent in Roman Catholicism and Pentecostal or Charismatic churches.

Catholic Church

The Catholic Church believes miracles are works of God, either directly, or through the prayers and intercessions of a specific saint 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.[28] The process is overseen by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.[29]

The Catholic Church has listed several events as miracles, some of them occurring in modern times. Before a person can be accepted as a saint, they must be posthumously confirmed to have performed two miracles. In the procedure of beatification of Pope John Paul II, who died in 2005, the Vatican announced on 14 January 2011 that Pope Benedict XVI had confirmed that the recovery of Sister Marie Simon-Pierre from Parkinson's disease was a miracle.[30]

Among the more notable miracles approved by the Church are several Eucharistic miracles wherein the sacramental bread and wine are transformed into Christ's flesh and blood, such as the Miracle of Lanciano and cures in Lourdes.

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.[31]

Another miracle approved by the Church is the Miracle of the Sun, which is said to have occurred near Fátima, Portugal on October 13, 1917. According to legend, between 70,000 and 100,000 people, who were gathered at a cove near Fátima, witnessed the sunlight dim and change colors, and the Sun 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 and the Christ Child to a slumbering shepherd boy, the curing of a lame buttermilk vendor, and the rescue of Portuguese sailors from a violent sea storm.[32]

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 been asserted to be inadequate will the Church assume divine intervention and declare the miracle worthy of veneration by their followers. The Church does not, however, enjoin belief in any extra-Scriptural miracle as an article of faith or as necessary for salvation.

St. Thomas Aquinas, a prominent Doctor of the Church, divided miracles into three types in his Summa contra Gentiles:

These works that are 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 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.[33]

Hinduism

In Hinduism, miracles are focused on episodes of liberation of the spirit.[34] A key example is the revelation of Krishna to Arjuna, wherein Krishna persuades Arjuna to rejoin the battle against his cousins by briefly and miraculously giving Arjuna the power to see the true scope of the Universe, and its sustainment within Krishna, which requires divine vision. This is a typical situation in Hindu mythology wherein "wondrous acts are performed for the purpose of bringing spiritual liberation to those who witness or read about them."[34]

Hindu sages have criticized both expectation and reliance on miracles as cheats, situations where people have sought to earn a benefit without doing the work necessary to merit it.[34] Miracles continue to be occasionally reported in the practice of Hinduism, with an example of a miracle modernly reported in Hinduism being the Hindu milk miracle of September 1995, with additional occurrences in 2006 and 2010, wherein statues of certain Hindu deities were seen to drink milk offered to them.The scientific explanation for the incident, attested by Indian academics, was that the material was wicked from the offering bowls by capillary action.

Islam

"Miracle" in the Quran can be defined as a supernatural intervention in the life of human beings.[35] According to this definition, miracles are present "in a threefold sense: in sacred history, in connection with Muhammad himself and in relation to revelation".[35] The Quran 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).[36] 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; presented by Muhammad as his chief Miracle); as well as to miracles of it and the signs (particularly those of creation).[35][36]

To defend the possibility of miracles and God's omnipotence against the encroachment of the independent secondary causes, some medieval Muslim theologians such as Al-Ghazali rejected the idea of cause and effect 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.[37]

Sufi biographical literature records claims of miraculous accounts of men and women. The miraculous prowess of the Sufi holy men includes firasa (clairvoyance), the ability to disappear from sight, to become completely invisible and practice buruz (exteriorization). The holy men reportedly tame wild beasts and traverse long 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 conceive.[38][39]

Judaism

Descriptions of miracles (Hebrew Ness, נס) appear in the Tanakh. 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 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). The Torah describes many miracles related to Moses during his time as a prophet and the Exodus of the Israelites. Parting the Red Sea, and facilitating the Plagues of Egypt are among the most famous.

During the first century BCE, a variety of religious movements and splinter groups developed amongst the Jews in Judea. A number of individuals claimed to be miracle workers in the tradition of Moses, Elijah, and Elisha, the Jewish prophets. The Talmud provides some examples of such Jewish miracle workers, one of whom is Honi HaM'agel, who was famous for his ability to successfully pray for rain.[40]

There are people who obscure all miracles by explaining them in terms of the laws of nature. When these heretics who do not believe in miracles disappear and faith increases in the world, then the Mashiach will come. For the essence of the Redemption primarily depends on this – that is, on faith[41]

Most Chasidic communities are rife with tales of miracles that follow a yechidut, a spiritual audience with a tzadik: barren women become pregnant, cancer tumors shrink, wayward children become pious.[42] Many Hasidim claim that miracles can take place in merit of partaking of the shirayim (the leftovers from the rebbe's meal), such as miraculous healing or blessings of wealth or piety.

Criticism

Thomas Paine, 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”.[43]

Thomas Jefferson, 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.[44][45] 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."[46]

John Adams, 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?"[47]

American Revolutionary War patriot and hero Ethan Allen 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".[48]

Robert Ingersoll 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."[49]

Elbert Hubbard, 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."[50]

Biologist Richard Dawkins has criticised the belief in miracles as a subversion of Occam's razor.[51]

Mathematician Charles Hermite, in a discourse upon the world of mathematical truths and the physical world, stated that "The synthesis of the two is revealed partially in the marvellous correspondence between abstract mathematics on the one hand and all the branches of physics on the other". [52]

Baden Powell, an English mathematician and Church of England priest, stated that if God is a lawgiver, then a "miracle" would break the lawful edicts that had been issued at Creation. Therefore, a belief in miracles would be entirely atheistic.[53]

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ Jenny Schroedel, John Schroedel (2006). The Everything Mary Book: The Life and Legacy of the Blessed Mother. pp. 137–38. ISBN 1-59337-713-4.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  2. ^ Miracle
  3. ^ Halbersam, Yitta (1890). Small Miracles. Adams Media. ISBN 1-55850-646-2.
  4. ^ a b Miracles on the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  5. ^ Grudem, Wayne (1994). Systematic Theology.
  6. ^ https://www.thoughtco.com/deism-95703
  7. ^ "Definition of Miracles". Bible.org. Retrieved 2017-11-22.
  8. ^ Adamson, Peter. "The Theology of Aristotle". stanford.edu. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  9. ^ "ARISTOTLE ON THE EXISTENCE OF GOD". logicmuseum.com. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  10. ^ Afterman, A. (2016). “And They Shall Be One Flesh”: On The Language of Mystical Union in Judaism. Supplements to The Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy. Brill. p. 102. ISBN 978-90-04-32873-0. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  11. ^ Benedictus de Spinoza. "Chapter 6: Of Miracles". Thelogico-Political Treatise. translated by Robert Willis.
  12. ^ "Second Speech: The Nature of Religion". On Religion: Speeches to its Cultured Despirers. London: Paul, Trench, Trubner. 1893. p. 23.
  13. ^ Hume and Kierkegaard by Richard Popkin
  14. ^ Kierkegaard on Miracles Archived 2010-06-06 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ Keller, James. "A Moral Argument against Miracles", Faith and Philosophy. vol. 12, no 1. Jan 1995. 54–78
  16. ^ "What Do the World's Religions Say About Miracles?". National Geographic Channel. 2016-04-28. Retrieved 2017-11-22.
  17. ^ The Cambridge Companion to Miracle. Cambridge. 2011.
  18. ^ Korea: a religious history, James Huntley Grayson, p. 34
  19. ^ Keene, Donald. Twenty Plays of the Nō Theater. Columbia University Press, New York, 1970. Page 238.
  20. ^ Funk, Robert W. and the Jesus Seminar. The acts of Jesus: the search for the authentic deeds of Jesus. HarperSanFrancisco. 1998. Introduction, p. 1–40
  21. ^ see e.g. Polkinghorne op cit. and a commentary on the Gospel of John, such as William Temple's Readings in St John's Gospel (see e.g. p. 33) or Tom Wright's John for Everyone
  22. ^ Ramsay MacMullen, Christianizing the Roman Empire, AD 100-400 1984:23, 108.
  23. ^ MacMullen 1984:40.
  24. ^ Quoted in MacMullen 1984:22.
  25. ^ "Are Miracles Logically Impossible?". Come Reason Ministries, Convincing Christianity. Retrieved 2007-11-21.
  26. ^ ""Miracles are not possible," some claim. Is this true?". ChristianAnswers.net. Retrieved 2007-11-21.
  27. ^ Paul K. Hoffman. "A Jurisprudential Analysis Of Hume's "in Principal" Argument Against Miracles" (PDF). Christian Apologetics Journal, Volume 2, No. 1, Spring, 1999; Copyright ©1999 by Southern Evangelical Seminary. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 26, 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-21.
  28. ^ Van Biema, David (10 April 1995). "Modern Miracles Have Strict Rules". Pathfinder.com. Archived from the original on 13 July 2007.
  29. ^ Falasca, Stefania (2004). "The necessity of miracles". 30giorni.it.
  30. ^ "Pope Benedict Paves Way to Beatification of John Paul II". bbc.news.co.uk. 14 January 2011. Retrieved 14 January 2011.
  31. ^ Messori, Vittorio (2000): Il miracolo. Indagine sul più sconvolgente prodigio mariano. – Rizzoli: Bur.
  32. ^ Velankanni shrine miracle Archived 2011-01-28 at the Wayback Machine
  33. ^ Aquinas, St. Thomas. Contra Gentiles, lib. III cap. 101.
  34. ^ a b c David L. Weddle (2010). Miracles: Wonder and Meaning in World Religions. pp. 35–70. ISBN 0-81479-483-1.
  35. ^ a b c Denis Gril, Miracles, Encyclopedia of the Quran
  36. ^ a b A.J. Wensinck, Muʿd̲j̲iza, Encyclopedia of Islam
  37. ^ Robert G. Mourison, The Portrayal of Nature in a Medieval Qur’an Commentary, Studia Islamica, 2002
  38. ^ The heirs of the prophet: charisma and religious authority in Shi'ite Islam By Liyakatali Takim
  39. ^ SAINTS AND MIRACLES
  40. ^ Mishnah Ta'anit 3:8 Hebrew text at Mechon-Mamre
  41. ^ Nosson of Breslov, Rebbe. Kitzur Likutey Moharan (Abridged Likutey Moharan) Vol. 1 (Kindle 414-417). Breslov Research Institute
  42. ^ The encyclopedia of Jewish myth, magic and mysticism, Geoffrey W. Dennis, p. 49
  43. ^ The Writings of Thomas Paine, Volume 4, page 289, Putnam & Sons, 1896 OCLC 459072720
  44. ^ Jeremy Kosselak (November 1998). The Exaltation of a Reasonable Deity: Thomas Jefferson’s Bible of Christianity. (Communicated by: Dr. Patrick Furlong). Indiana University South Bend – Department of History. IUSB.edu, Retrieved 2007-02-19
  45. ^ R.P. Nettelhorst. Notes on the Founding Fathers and the Separation of Church and State. Quartz Hill School of Theology. Theology.edu Retrieved 2007-02-20.
  46. ^ Letter to William Short (31 October 1819), published in "The Works of Thomas Jefferson in Twelve Volumes", Federal Edition, Paul Leicester Ford, ed., New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1904, Vol. 12, pp. 141–142.
  47. ^ John Adams, letter to Thomas Jefferson, June 20, 1815
  48. ^ Ethan Allen, Reason, the Only Oracle of Man, 1784
  49. ^ "Ingersoll on Talmage.; The Brooklyn Clergyman's Creed Discussed Before a Large Audience". New York Times. April 24, 1882. Retrieved 2014-01-03.
  50. ^ Elbert Hubbard, The Philistine (1909)
  51. ^ Richard Dawkins. The God Delusion
  52. ^ Morris Kline (1982). Mathematics: The Loss of Certainty. Oxford University Press. p. 345. ISBN 978-0-19-503085-3.
  53. ^ Desmond & Moore 1991, p. 500

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.
  • 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.
  • Keener, Craig S. (2011). Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic. ISBN 978-0--801-03952-2. OCLC 699760418.

Further reading

  • Stephen Brogan The Royal Touch in Early Modern England: Politics, Medicine and Sin, Royal Historical Society, 2015
  • H. A. Drake A Century of Miracles: Christians, Pagans, Jews and the Supernatural, 312-410, Oxford University Press, 2017
  • 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.
  • Robert Knapp The Dawn of Christianity: People and Gods in a Time of Magic and Miracles, Profile books, Great Britain, 2017

External links

2005 UEFA Champions League Final

The 2005 UEFA Champions League Final was the final match of the 2004–05 UEFA Champions League, Europe's primary club football competition. The showpiece event was contested between Liverpool of England and Milan of Italy at the Atatürk Stadium in Istanbul, Turkey on 25 May 2005. Liverpool, who had won the competition four times, were appearing in their sixth final, and their first since 1985. Milan, who had won the competition six times, were appearing in their second final in three years and tenth overall.

Each club needed to progress through the group stage and knockout rounds to reach the final, playing 12 matches in total. Liverpool finished second in their group behind 2004 runners-up AS Monaco and subsequently beat Bayer Leverkusen, Juventus and Chelsea to progress to the final. Milan won their group ahead of Barcelona and faced Manchester United, Internazionale and PSV Eindhoven before reaching the final.

Milan were regarded as favourites before the match and took the lead within the first minute through captain Paolo Maldini. Milan striker Hernán Crespo added two more goals before half-time to make it 3–0. In the second half Liverpool launched a comeback and scored three goals in a dramatic six-minute spell to level the scores at 3–3, with goals from Steven Gerrard, Vladimír Šmicer and Xabi Alonso. The scores remained the same during extra time, and a penalty shoot-out was required to decide the champions. The score was 3–2 to Liverpool when Andriy Shevchenko's penalty was saved by Liverpool goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek. Thus Liverpool won their fifth European Cup, were awarded the trophy permanently, and claimed a multiple-winner badge. Liverpool's comeback gave rise to the final being known as the Miracle of Istanbul, and is regarded as one of the greatest finals in the history of the tournament.

Dunkirk evacuation

The Dunkirk evacuation, code-named Operation Dynamo, also known as the Miracle of Dunkirk, was the evacuation of Allied soldiers during World War II from the beaches and harbour of Dunkirk, in the north of France, between 26 May and 4 June 1940. The operation commenced after large numbers of Belgian, British, and French troops were cut off and surrounded by German troops during the six-week long Battle of France. In a speech to the House of Commons, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill called this "a colossal military disaster", saying "the whole root and core and brain of the British Army" had been stranded at Dunkirk and seemed about to perish or be captured. In his "we shall fight on the beaches" speech on 4 June, he hailed their rescue as a "miracle of deliverance".After Nazi Germany invaded Poland in September 1939, France and the British Empire declared war on Germany and imposed an economic blockade. The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) was sent to help defend France. After the Phoney War of October 1939 to April 1940, Germany invaded Belgium, the Netherlands, and France on 10 May 1940. Three of their panzer corps attacked through the Ardennes and drove northwest to the English Channel. By 21 May German forces had trapped the BEF, the remains of the Belgian forces, and three French field armies along the northern coast of France. The commander of the BEF, General Viscount Gort, immediately saw evacuation across the Channel as the best course of action, and began planning a withdrawal to Dunkirk, the closest good port.

Late on 23 May, a halt order was issued by Generaloberst Gerd von Rundstedt, commander of Army Group A. Adolf Hitler approved the order the next day and had the German High Command send confirmation to the front. Destroying the trapped BEF, French, and Belgian armies was left to the Luftwaffe until the order was rescinded on 26 May. This gave trapped Allied forces time to construct defensive works and pull back large numbers of troops to fight the Battle of Dunkirk. From 28 to 31 May, in the Siege of Lille, the remaining 40,000 men of the once-formidable French First Army fought a delaying action against seven German divisions, including three armoured divisions.

On the first day only 7,669 Allied soldiers were evacuated, but by the end of the eighth day, 338,226 of them had been rescued by a hastily assembled fleet of over 800 boats. Many troops were able to embark from the harbour's protective mole onto 39 British Royal Navy destroyers, four Royal Canadian Navy destroyers, and a variety of civilian merchant ships, while others had to wade out from the beaches, waiting for hours in shoulder-deep water. Some were ferried to the larger ships by what came to be known as the little ships of Dunkirk, a flotilla of hundreds of merchant marine boats, fishing boats, pleasure craft, yachts, and lifeboats called into service from Britain. The BEF lost 68,000 soldiers during the French campaign and had to abandon nearly all of its tanks, vehicles, and equipment. In his speech to the House of Commons on 4 June, Churchill reminded the country that "we must be very careful not to assign to this deliverance the attributes of a victory. Wars are not won by evacuations."

Feeding the multitude

Feeding the multitude is a term used to refer to two separate miracles of Jesus reported in the Gospels.

The first miracle, "Feeding of the 5,000", is reported by all four gospels (Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:31-44; Luke 9:12-17; John 6:1-14).

The second miracle, the "Feeding of the 4,000", with seven loaves of bread and fish, is reported by Matthew 15:32-39 and Mark 8:1-9, but not by Luke or John.

Festivus

Festivus is a secular holiday celebrated on December 23 as an alternative to the pressures and commercialism of the Christmas season. Originally created by author Daniel O'Keefe, Festivus entered popular culture after it was made the focus of the 1997 Seinfeld episode "The Strike", which O'Keefe's son, Dan O'Keefe, co-wrote.

The non-commercial holiday's celebration, as depicted on Seinfeld, occurs on December 23 and includes a Festivus dinner, an unadorned aluminum Festivus pole, practices such as the "Airing of Grievances" and "Feats of Strength", and the labeling of easily explainable events as "Festivus miracles". The episode refers to it as "a Festivus for the rest of us".

It has been described both as a parody holiday festival and as a form of playful consumer resistance. Journalist Allen Salkin describes it as "the perfect secular theme for an all-inclusive December gathering".

Fort Myers Miracle

The Fort Myers Miracle is the Class A Advanced Minor League Baseball affiliate of the Minnesota Twins Major League Baseball club, based in Fort Myers, Florida. Home games are played at the CenturyLink Sports Complex in Hammond Stadium, which has a capacity of 7,500, and opened in 1991. The park is also used as the Minnesota Twins' spring training facility. Prior to Twins Spring training and the 2014 Florida State League season, Phase I of a two-part renovation was completed with the addition of an outfield boardwalk. The second phase of the renovation, which includes new sky suites, concessions, wider concourses and new offices for the Miracle staff, was completed before Spring training in 2015. Due to the start of construction on Phase II in August 2014, the Miracle played the final 10 home dates, including playoffs, at JetBlue Park.

The majority owner is Kaufy Baseball, LLC, a privately held company managed by Andrew Kaufmann, who purchased a controlling interest in the club from Jason Hochberg of SJS Beacon Baseball, LLC in January 2019. Musician Jimmy Buffett and actor Bill Murray were minority owners of the team.

Four Asian Tigers

The Four Asian Tigers, Four Asian Dragons or Four Little Dragons, are the economies of Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan, which underwent rapid industrialization and maintained exceptionally high growth rates (in excess of 7 percent a year) between the early 1960s (mid-1950s for Hong Kong) and 1990s. By the early 21st century, all four had developed into high-income economies, specializing in areas of competitive advantage. Hong Kong and Singapore have become world-leading international financial centres, whereas South Korea and Taiwan are world leaders in manufacturing electronic components and devices. Their economic success stories have served as role models for many developing countries, especially the Tiger Cub Economies of southeast Asia.A controversial World Bank report (The East Asian Miracle 1993) credited neoliberal policies with the responsibility for the boom, including maintenance of export-oriented policies, low taxes, and minimal welfare states; institutional analysis also states some state intervention was involved. However, others argued that industrial policy and state intervention had a much greater influence than the World Bank report suggested.

Japanese economic miracle

The Japanese economic miracle is known as Japan's record period of economic growth between the post-World War II era to the end of the Cold War. During the economic boom, Japan rapidly became the world's second largest economy (after the United States). By the 1990s, Japan's demographics began stagnating and the workforce was no longer expanding as it did in the previous decades, despite per-worker productivity remaining high.

Marriage at Cana

The transformation of water into wine at the Marriage at Cana or Wedding at Cana is the first miracle attributed to Jesus in the Gospel of John. In the Gospel account, Jesus, his mother and his disciples are invited to a wedding, and when the wine runs out, Jesus delivers a sign of his glory by turning water into wine.

The location of Cana has been subject to the debate of Christ among biblical scholars and archeologists; several villages in Galilee are possible candidates.

Mike the Headless Chicken

Mike the Headless Chicken (April 20, 1945 – March 17, 1947), also known as Miracle Mike, was a Wyandotte chicken that lived for 18 months after his head had been cut off. Although the story was thought by many to be a hoax, the bird's owner took him to the University of Utah in Salt Lake City to establish the facts.

Miracle Whip

Miracle Whip is a sauce condiment manufactured by Kraft Foods and sold throughout the United States and Canada. It is also sold by Mondelēz International (formerly also Kraft Foods) as Miracel Whip throughout Germany. It was developed as a less-expensive alternative to mayonnaise in 1933.

Miracle of the Sun

The Miracle of the Sun (Portuguese: O milagre do sol), also known as the Miracle of Fátima, was an event that is reported to have occurred on 13 October 1917, attended by a large crowd who had gathered in Fátima, Portugal, in response to a prophecy made by three shepherd children. The prophecy was that the Virgin Mary (referred to as Our Lady of Fátima), would appear and perform miracles on that date. Newspapers published testimony from people who said that they had witnessed extraordinary solar activity, such as the Sun appearing to "dance" or zig-zag in the sky, careen towards the Earth, or emit multicolored light and radiant colors. According to these reports, the event lasted approximately ten minutes.

The local bishop opened a canonical investigation of the event in November 1917, to review witness accounts and assess whether the alleged private revelation from Mary were compatible with Catholic theology. The local priest conducting the investigation was particularly convinced by the concurring testimony of extraordinary solar phenomena from secular reporters, government officials, and other skeptics in attendance. Bishop José da Silva declared the miracle "worthy of belief" on 13 October 1930, permitting "officially the cult of Our Lady of Fatima" within the Catholic Church.At a gathering on 13 October 1951 at Fátima, the papal legate, Cardinal Federico Tedeschini, told the million people attending that on 30 October, 31 October, 1 November, and 8 November 1950, Pope Pius XII himself witnessed the miracle of the Sun from the Vatican gardens. The early and enduring interest in the miracle and related prophesies has had a significant impact on the devotional practices of many Catholics.There has been much analysis of the event from critical sociological and scientific perspectives. According to critics, the eyewitness testimony was actually a collection of inconsistent and contradictory accounts. Proposed alternative explanations include witnesses being deceived by their senses due to prolonged staring at the Sun and then seeing something unusual as expected.

Miracle on 34th Street

Miracle on 34th Street (initially released as The Big Heart in the United Kingdom) is a 1947 American Christmas comedy-drama film written and directed by George Seaton and based on a story by Valentine Davies. It stars Maureen O'Hara, John Payne, Natalie Wood and Edmund Gwenn. The story takes place between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day in New York City, and focuses on the effect of a department store Santa Claus who claims to be the real Santa. The film has become a perennial Christmas favorite.

Miracle on 34th Street won three Academy Awards: Gwenn for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Valentine Davies for Best Writing, Original Story, and George Seaton for Best Writing, Screenplay. The film was nominated for Best Picture, losing to Gentleman's Agreement. In 2005, the film was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant". The Academy Film Archive preserved Miracle on 34th Street in 2009.Davies also penned a short novelization of the tale, which was published by Harcourt Brace simultaneously with the film's release.

Miracle on Ice

The "Miracle on Ice" was a medal-round game during the men's ice hockey tournament at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York, played between the hosting United States and the four-time defending gold medalists, the Soviet Union.

The Soviet Union had won the gold medal in five of the six previous Winter Olympic Games, and were the favorites to win once more in Lake Placid. The team consisted primarily of professional players with significant experience in international play. By contrast, the United States' team—led by head coach Herb Brooks—consisted exclusively of amateur players, and was the youngest team in the tournament and in U.S. national team history. In the group stage, both the Soviet and U.S. teams were unbeaten; the U.S. achieved several notable results, including a 2–2 draw against Sweden, and a 7–3 upset victory over second-place favorite Czechoslovakia.

For the first game in the medal round, the United States played the Soviets. Finishing the first period tied at 2–2, and the Soviets leading 3–2 following the second, the U.S. team scored two more goals to take their first lead during the third and final period, winning the game 4–3. Following the game, the U.S. went on to clinch the gold medal by beating Finland in the final. Likewise, the Soviet Union took the silver medal by beating Sweden.

The victory became one of the most iconic moments of the Games and in U.S. sports. Equally well-known was the television call of the final seconds of the game by Al Michaels for ABC, in which he declared: "Do you believe in miracles?! YES!" In 1999, Sports Illustrated named the "Miracle on Ice" the top sports moment of the 20th century. As part of its centennial celebration in 2008, the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) named the "Miracle on Ice" as the best international ice hockey story of the past 100 years.

Miracles of Jesus

The miracles of Jesus are the supernatural deeds attributed to Jesus in Christian and Islamic texts. The majority are faith healings, exorcisms, resurrection, control over nature and forgiveness of sins.In the Synoptic Gospels (Mark, Matthew, and Luke), Jesus refuses to give a miraculous sign to prove his authority. In the Gospel of John, Jesus is said to have performed seven miraculous signs that characterize his ministry, from changing water into wine at the start of his ministry to raising Lazarus from the dead at the end.For many Christians and Muslims, the miracles are actual historical events. Others, including many liberal Christians, consider these stories to be figurative. Since the Enlightenment, scholars have taken a highly skeptical approach to claims about miracles.

Mister Miracle

Mister Miracle (Scott Free) is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. He first appeared in Mister Miracle #1 (April 1971) and was created by Jack Kirby.

Mystery play

Mystery plays and miracle plays (they are distinguished as two different forms although the terms are often used interchangeably) are among the earliest formally developed plays in medieval Europe. Medieval mystery plays focused on the representation of Bible stories in churches as tableaux with accompanying antiphonal song. They told of subjects such as the Creation, Adam and Eve, the murder of Abel, and the Last Judgment. Often they were performed together in cycles which could last for days. The name derives from mystery used in its sense of miracle, but an occasionally quoted derivation is from ministerium, meaning craft, and so the 'mysteries' or plays performed by the craft guilds.

Thaumaturgy

Thaumaturgy is the capability of a magician or a saint to work magic or miracles. Isaac Bonewits defined thaumaturgy as "the use of magic for non-religious purposes; the art and science of 'wonder-working;' using magic to actually change things in the physical world". It is sometimes translated into English as wonderworking. A practitioner of thaumaturgy is a "thaumaturgus", "thaumaturge", "thaumaturgist" or "miracle worker".

The Miracle (album)

The Miracle is the thirteenth studio album by the British rock band Queen, released on 22 May 1989 by Capitol Records in the US, it is the band's first studio album to be released by Parlophone Records in the UK. The album was recorded as the band recovered from Brian May's marital problems and Freddie Mercury's AIDS diagnosis in 1987 (which was known to the band, though not publicised at the time). Recording started in January 1988 and lasted for an entire year. The album was originally going to be called The Invisible Men, but three weeks before the release, according to Roger Taylor, they decided to change the name to The Miracle. It was also the last Queen album with a band photo on the front cover.

The album reached number one in the UK, Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland, and number 24 on the US Billboard 200 chart. The Miracle is estimated to have sold 5 million copies, indicating that despite slower sales in the United States, the album sold well around the world, even without a supporting tour. AllMusic would name The Miracle as Queen's best album of the 1980s, along with The Game. It would prove to be the band's penultimate album to be recorded with Freddie Mercury, as he died in November 1991, nine months after their next album, Innuendo, was released.

US Airways Flight 1549

US Airways Flight 1549 was an Airbus A320 which, in the climbout after takeoff from New York City's LaGuardia Airport on January 15, 2009, struck a flock of Canada geese just northeast of the George Washington Bridge and consequently lost all engine power. Unable to reach any airport, pilots Chesley Sullenberger and Jeffrey Skiles glided the plane to a ditching in the Hudson River off Midtown Manhattan. All 155 people aboard were rescued by nearby boats and there were few serious injuries.

The accident came to be known as the "Miracle on the Hudson", and a National Transportation Safety Board official described it as "the most successful ditching in aviation history". The Board rejected the notion that the pilot could have avoided ditching by returning to LaGuardia or diverting to nearby Teterboro Airport.

The pilots and flight attendants were awarded the Master's Medal of the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators in recognition of their "heroic and unique aviation achievement".

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