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Why miracles are possible

Updated on December 20, 2007

Are miracles possible in an age of science? A host of bestselling atheist books, all sneer at the notion of miracles. One Dawkins “something”, for instance, wrote that miracles are "flatly contradictory not just to the facts of science but also to the spirit of science." Reasonable people in his view "have to renounce miracles."

Some people are so intimidated by the authority of science that they do their best to explain away the miracles reported in the Bible. How did Jesus feed thousands of people with a few loaves and fishes? Perhaps he had a secret store of food, or people brought their own packed lunches. How did Jesus walk on water? Maybe there was a platform floating beneath the surface. How did Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead? Lazarus might simply have been in a trance. These explanations have actually been suggested by theologians.

In getting rid of miracles, these people are getting rid of Christianity and Hinduism. Some religions, such as Islam, do not rely on miracles. Others, such as Judaism, report miracles but are not dependent on them. Christianity, however, is based on miracles, from the virgin birth to the resurrection. Without the resurrection, Paul writes in his first letter to the Corinthians, "our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

I am not trying to defend the veracity of any particular miracle. And of course miracles are improbable - that's why we use the term "miracle”.

The Dictionary meaning given to “miracle” is - An event that appears inexplicable by the laws of nature and so is held to be supernatural in origin or an act of God.

Why then is it so absolutely difficult for people to understand the possibility that miracles are completely consistent with modern science and modern knowledge.

You say 1) A miracle is a violation of the known laws of nature; 2) We know these laws through repeated and constant experience; 3) The testimony of those who report miracles contradicts the operation of known scientific laws; 4) Consequently no one can rationally believe in miracles.

I hope that refutation will show that: 1) violations of the known laws of nature are quite possible; 2) Therefore, miracles are possible.

I know that’s a TALL order given that I don’t have much time to refute FG’s beliefs… But I will try… God help me, But I will! J

Why are scientific laws unverifiable?

If I say all swans are white and posit that as a scientific hypothesis, how would I go about verifying it? By checking out swans. A million swans. Or 10 million. Based on this I can say confidently that all swans are white. FG’s point will be that I don't really know this. Tomorrow I might see a black swan, and there goes my scientific law.

This is not a frivolous example. For thousands of years before Australia was discovered, the only swans people in the West had seen had been white. Consequently, the entire Western world took it for granted that all swans were white, and ex-pressions like "white as a swan" abound in Western literature. It was only when Europeans landed in Australia that they saw, for the first time, a black swan. What was previously considered a scientifically inviolable truth had to be retired?

At this point one might expect today's champions of science to start patting themselves on the back and saying, "Yes, and this is the wonderful thing about science. It is always open to correction and revision. It learns from its mistakes." The atheist philosopher Daniel Dennett wrote, "The methods of science aren't foolproof, but they are indefinitely perfectible. . . . There is a tradition of criticism that enforces improvement whenever and wherever flaws are discovered."

All scientific laws are empirically unverifiable. How do we know that light travels at the speed of 186,000 miles per second? We measure it. But just because we measure it at that speed one time, or 10 times, or a billion times, doesn't mean that light always and everywhere travels at that speed. We are simply assuming this, but we don't know it to be so. Tomorrow we might find a situation in which light travels at a different speed, and then we will be reminded of black swans.

But can't scientific laws be derived from the logical connection between cause and effect?

Some of u are going to say “NO”, because there is no logical connection between cause and effect. We may see event A and then event B, and we may assume that event A caused event B, but we cannot know this for sure. All we have observed is a correlation, and no number of observed correlations can add up to a necessary connection!


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    • Light Path profile image

      Light Path 10 years ago from Stockton, California

      I like your article. I think you only scratch the serface of why miracles can and do exist. I even wrote a hub on the topic my self. hope you will take a look at it because I only found your hub by searching the topic after I wrote mine.. A miracle or concident. .. you tell me

    • MortimerWorth profile image

      MortimerWorth 10 years ago from Germany

      I think it is a bit cynical and not entirely honest for anyone to say that they have not seen, experienced or heard of inexplicable events that defy all probable odds that saved a persons life, livlihood, or spirit. What seems to be rejected on principle is the idea of an unseen source behind the events. I might ask what the scientific probablity is of a race of creatures obsessed with religious topics who emerged after millions of years from an environment with NO supernatural presence. I believe that in any equation you cannot have on the right side what is not represented on the left. Our near universal obsession with God is on the right hand side of the equation...What is on the left, "reason?" I thought that was the opposite of religion...see where we're going here. You might have all of eternity to think it over.

    • Rudra profile image

      Rudra 10 years ago

      Miracles are not possible.