Definition Of Miracle

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by Ravindran, Aug 6, 2014.

  1. How do you define miracle? I notice people have different definitions of miracle. This often causes lot of confusion. For some miracle is finding a parking space in shopping mall in busy weekend.. For some miracle is something totally extraordinary like burning bush, splitting of sea, feeding of five thousand, walking in water.. We don't see it happen every day (or even more than once in human history). What is your definition of miracle?

    P.S. - Let's not get into discussion of are miracles happening today in this discussion! That's for another thread :) I just wanted to get an opinion on what people would consider a miracle. Recently there has been a change in my opinion as I study scripture more and more.
  2. That's a good question. I've never fully ever defined it verbally.

    On one hand, I think of divine intervention. And by that, I mean where perhaps something SHOULD have happened, maybe based on scientific reasoning, but did not. If someone had fallen off a very high cliff and that person got up without a scratch, I'd be willing to call that a miracle.

    But also the miracle of life. When we talk about a child being conceived, while the physical body may be science, the miracle takes place in that the child's existence has been made--a soul has been created from God, and that too is a miracle.
  3. The working definition from an Orthodox point of view is that a miracle is when God performs an action which suspends or modifies natural laws.
    ASUK, Fadingman and LysanderShapiro says Amen and like this.
  4. A miracle is when God causes something to happen than would not have happened through natural means (or vice versa: when He prevents something from happening that would have happened).

    This might seem to eliminate the merely unlikely from the category of miracles, but I don't think that always has to be so. We tend to think in terms of statistics or likelihood, while the real world always operates in terms of cause and effect. We use statistics to make generalizations when we don't have all the specific causal details. For example, we may think it very unlikely to have found that rare parking spot, but how do we know whether it was chance or a real miracle that we did find it? Maybe the natural conditions would have made it impossible except for direct intervention from God. Just because we can't prove it to someone else doesn't mean God didn't have a hand in it.
    KingJ likes this.
  5. But that means me typing this post is also because God has a hand in it.. Isn't it? I see your point.. We fail to see the cause.. But I think for everything there is a primary cause and a secondary cause.. Grass being wet - we look at cause as rain.. This is natural.. What caused the rain? God allowed the rain to fall on such and such time.. So every natural event could be considered a miracle.. That loses what miracle was intended to mean right?
  6. Are we to look at miracles based on statistics? Child being born is nothing new.. It has been happening from the time of Adam.. To this second.. So many children are born.. Not that God's hand is in it or not.. That is not the question.. Are we to consider such a common event as miracle? Like Glomug said, it is not modification of natural law..
  7. Glomung has a much more accurate description of what a miracle is, and I agree with him. It's what I meant to say but couldn't say very eloquently.

    As for the miracle of life, that term might be a bit whimsical.
    Ravindran likes this.
  8. The dividing line between how we define the miraculous and the natural can get kind of fuzzy...

    His Son is the radiance of his glory, the very image of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power... (Hebrews 1:3)

    Meaning, God is involved in keeping the universe running and existing. The natural laws are just a result of His active power. If God stepped away to let everything run its natural course, everything would cease to exist. So, the natural scheme of things is itself a miracle.

    I'm sure that's not the kind of miracle we're trying to define. We're not interested in ordinary everyday miracles, but extraordinary ones (Acts 19:11).
    KingJ likes this.
  9. There are trillions of miracles happening every second. We had NO part in the sun rising this morning. Imagine it didn't.

    This is why I like Isaac Newtons statement ''In want of other proofs, the thumb would convince me of the existence of a God; as without the thumb the hand would be a defective and an incomplete instrument, so without the moral will, logic, decision, faculties of which the thumb in different degrees offers the different signs, the most fertile and the most brilliant mind would only be a gift without worth''.

    The only issue is that constant exposure to miracles reduces the 'wow' factor. Everyone recalls the first time they heard their first babies heart beat...and I am sure most what a miracle of life. But then the second? the third?

    As Fadingman quoted Heb 1:3 sums it up! We could also quote verses like Psalm 118:24 This is the day that the Lord has made;
    let us rejoice and be glad in it. God didn't have to make it.....The sun, moon and all the planets in orbit could have fallen today.
  10. KingJ likes this.
  11. Okay, I generally call miracles as things which are totally out blue.. Something like what Glomung mentioned.. Because we often see God using miracles as a way to authenticate a message or messenger.. We see miracles to be concentrated around certain specific times..

    Moses - Law
    Elijah - Prophet
    Jesus - Messiah pointed out by law and prophets
    Apostles - Finishing of scripture

    Bible also confirms this..

    2 Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. 2 For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, 4 while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

    If we take every day event as a miracle, then that definition does not fit in here well.. I don't have a problem when people use miracles in a broader sense.. Because they are doing with a pure intent of glorifying God.. And it is a realization and appreciation of attributing glory to God for each and every thing.. But I would simply term that as providence of God rather than calling them as miracles..
  12. True
  13. I can't include life because Ebola and flesh eating bacteria would fall into that same category.
  14. Alrighty.

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