Miracles: A Journalist Looks at Modern Day Experiences of Gods Power

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Upon arrival, he learned an epidemic had wiped out his entire village. But God had plans for Squanto.

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God delivered a Thanksgiving miracle: an English-speaking Indian living in the exact place where the Pilgrims land in a strange new world. S is for Samson, whose hair held his strength, provided it grew to a certain length. Backward-flowing waterflows! Invisible monuments! Ferocious meat-eating deer!

A chicken egg in the shape of the Taj Mahal! Eric Metaxas has combed the far corners of the known and the unknown world to assemble this book chock full of startling, uncanny, and often seriously frightening phenomena. Marc Dennis has converted them into mind-bending, eye-popping drawings. Are they possible? Follow Eric.

Order Now! With wit and wisdom, Eric Metaxas will blow your mind with stories of phenomena beyond anything we might classify as merely natural. Are you next? The rich variety of testimonies sing a song of hope and should rekindle in us the glorious certainly that there is a loving God, who is always there willing to help us.

Metaxas won me over instantly by meeting me where I live. His intellectual honesty, coupled with an open-hearted wonder at the sheer breadth of human experience, is irresistible. Are you ready? Lewis but with jokes: intelligent, spiritually profound, and full of wit. If there are any out there who believe that miracles do violate the natural order God created, I invite them to speak up. I don't pretend to be knowledgeable enough to exactly classify Spinoza and Hume in terms of theism vs. I think it may make sense to speak of Spinoza and Hume in the same breath as "the natural order God created," but not Dawkins.

I think most of us theist and atheist would say that if miracles occur, they do violate the "laws of nature" because our conception of God whether you believe in him or not includes the ability to violate the laws of nature. That, for most of us, is the very definition of a miracle. God made the laws of nature, and so he can violate the laws of nature. One might argue that violate is not the best word. We might say suspend, abrogate, modify, alter, or whatever. We might also say that if such things as glorified bodies exist, or will exist, we might not at present fully grasp what is included in the "natural order.

I think the idea that there can be no miracles because they would be violations of the natural order God created is something akin to a Deist position, and I am not sure we have any Deists posting on Strange Notions. I think he is saying that miracles can suspend the laws of nature so they are not opposing the laws of nature. The laws of nature are only suspended in that particular instance by the power of God's direct intervention. The laws of nature cannot violate themselves on their own and so without divine intervention there is no violation of the laws of nature.

Regarding disbelief in God and therefore impossibility of miracles: One does not have to already believe in God in order to assess if a particular incident is a miracle. But one has to be open to the idea that if an event cannot be explained by natural means and it violates the laws of nature, and this has been accurately seen and interpreted by numerous people, there is a chance that one is wrong in denying the possibility of a miracle. Maybe the presupposition the person has of denying God and thus the impossibility of miracles occurring is wrong. The person has no irrefutable proof that his presuppositions are true and the unwillingness to examine if the premises are actually true is irrational.

If there is evidence to the contrary of your premises maybe the premises are false. If an event occurs that violates the laws of nature and defies all other explanations, isn't it most reasonable to go where the evidence leads? One cannot go where the evidence leads if one automatically assumes that no matter what happens, even if there is excellent evidence for it and it is the most reasonable explanation given thorough examination and consideration, it cannot be true because I've already decided it cannot be true. How can one clearly assess the situation if the mind is completely closed to considering all possibilities.

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As you have clearly argued in the OP, miracles are some event that demonstrates a behavior that is inconsistent with the normal actions of nature. Please notice that the foundational axiom of physics depends on consistent behavior.


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The very existence of miracles in reality produces inconsistent behavior which destroys the basis for physics. If you have miracles, you do not have physics as a science. Feel free to believe in miracles, but miracles makes science just so much chaotic nonsense. Suppose that I program up a simulation replete with digital, sentient, sapient beings.

Does the fact that I can pop in make any 'science' the inhabitants might do "so much chaotic nonsense"? Well, it depends on how you pop in. If your popping is done via a method that is consistent with the way your simulated universe runs logically, then science in that universe is not "so much chaotic nonsense". This of course is assuming the beings in your simulation define science as the study of the consistent behavior of your logical universe. If you pop in from time to time via a method which is inconsistent with the logical running of your universe, then science for those beings, define as above, does not exist.

Please note I am not saying anything about whether you have or do not have the power to pop in either consistently or inconsistently with the logical running of your universe. I am saying that your choice of popping in consistent with the functioning of your universe or popping in inconsistent with the functioning of your universe effects what is possible in that universe. If you choose to pop in via a method that is inconsistent with the logical functioning of your universe, then science, as defined above, becomes impossible for the beings in your universe. All seems right with the simulated world and science seems quite possible.

Then, all of a sudden, I pop in, in a way inconsistent with "the logical running of [my] universe". How does that make science impossible, from that time forward? Plus all future experiments are tainted with the possibility that you have popped some of their test results. My question: Why are you asking these questions when the problem is in a conflict between competing definitions for how the universe behaves?

Miracles by the definition of the OP are events with behavior that is inconsistent with the order of created nature. Science is based on the assumption that all events behave in a manner that is consistent with the order of created nature. Consistent and inconsistent are conflicting conditions. Miracles are based on one and science is based on the other.

Science and miracles cannot exist together. He is forced to conclude that God would ensure this couldn't happen. I'm pretty sure the digital beings could assume something similar. Instead, it merely needs to presume that reality is rationally intelligible in certain basic ways. I am almost certain that your requirements for the conditions of possibility for doing science are much too stringent. They almost have an air of a Cartesian quest for certainty about them.

I thought you were all loving toward your beings. I ask because I want to make sure we are both talking about the same thing. I do not think I am applying stringent constraints on doing science. I only apply the normal one all scientists use that requires validity and reliability. This requirement is that other researchers must be able to perform exactly the same experiment, under the same condition and generate the same results. Is that a too stringent constraint? Do you agree that this is required as part of science?

If not, why not? Therefore, it would seem that such a deity would be careful to not make science impossible. But this wouldn't require the deity to be perfectly predictable! And it's not like scientists don't throw away an enormous amount of experimental data already e. Accept Defeat: The Neuroscience of Screwing up. Although, it was also meant to widen the possibilities on how reality could be, such that it can still be systematically studied and understood better and better.

Your goal of "perform exactly the same experiment" is a noble one, but it's not clear to me how often this is actually realized in science, especially when one moves past physics and chemistry to biology and the human sciences. See, for example, stuff that doesn't replicate.

And yet we can accrue knowledge which is highly context-sensitive; see for example the Journal of Higher Education paper Doing Research that Makes a Difference. Intelligibility of reality simply does not depend on your stringent requirements. Here's a well-respected philosopher of science who argues the same:. Covering-law theorists tend to think that nature is well-regulated; in the extreme, that there is a law to cover every case. I do not. I imagine that natural objects are much like people in societies.

Their behaviour is constrained by some specific laws and by a handful of general principles, but it is not determined in detail, even statistically. What happens on most occasions is dictated by no law at all. This is not a metaphysical picture that I urge. My claim is that this picture is as plausible as the alternative.

God may have written just a few laws and grown tired. We do not know whether we are in a tidy universe or an untidy one. Whichever universe we are in, the ordinary commonplace activity of giving explanations ought to make sense. How the Laws of Physics Lie , I suspect that all scientists really need is some aspect of reality which is repeatable enough, where "enough" depends on that scientist's Bayesian prior.

I, like you, am unclear as to how often scientists actually realize the nobel goal of "perform exactly the same experiment". It seems likely that they never actually attain that goal. But even so, they perform their research among their peers with all of them operating as though this goal is the practical reality. Thus far, they have been close enough to that goal so that science, at least for the natural science, has been able to meet its goal of providing a description of reality.

Also you imply meeting this goal moves in a spectrum from more prevalent in physics to less prevalent in the human science. I agree with this. I also agree that "we do not know whether we are in a tidy universe or an untidy one". It is possible that the universe is not a binary between tidy and untidy but a spectrum of tidiness. As far as science is concerned, miracles have a positive correlation with the degree of untidiness in the universe. Scientists, rightly or wrongly, are making the tidy universe assumption. The amount of miracles in the universe could increase to a level where the tidy universe assumption is no longer valid.

If scientists have to accept the universe as being untidy, I do not know how they will be able to do science. I admit that the claim expressed in my first comment was done in terms that were too absolute. It would have been better for me to say that miracles are negatively correlated with the ability of science to meet its goals. I'm not sure they all do! You're doing a lot of projecting, and it smells like the kind of projecting that those in the hard sciences love to do. It leads to reactions such as this one:. The time seems ripe, even overdue, to announce that there is not going to be an age of paradigm in the social sciences.

We contend that the failure to achieve paradigm takeoff is not merely the result of methodological immaturity, but reflects something fundamental about the human world. If we are correct, the crisis of social science concerns the nature of social investigation itself. The conception of the human sciences as somehow necessarily destined to follow the path of the modern investigation of nature is at the root of this crisis.

As in development theory, one can only wait so long for the takeoff. The cargo-cult view of the "about to arrive science" just won't do. If Rabinow is correct, then your "description of reality" is an parochial concept pretending to be a global one. If social scientists can increasingly well-understand reality under conditions which would give physicists nightmares, then it seems that the dogma to which the physicist holds needs to be criticized—not more heavily imposed. Sure; that goes back to my " 2 Descartes deals with this when he talks about an Evil Demon screwing with his senses.

Not if the same argument which nukes miracles, nukes rationality. Maybe rationality is the only miracle. After that God did what Descartes was forced to conclude God did. It'd be one helluva an ongoing miracle. It does seem to me that if God created a "natural order" that operates by fixed laws, and if God also "pops in" on occasion to do anything at all, it is impossible to know what is attributable to the natural order and what is attributable to God. Just because something happens regularly and predictably doesn't mean that God is not the direct cause of it.

For example, one might claim that God maintains direct control over the decay of radioactive atoms, and what appears to be a random event—the decay of any particular atom at a specific time—is actually a direct intervention by God. And of course Catholics and presumably many other Christians do believe that God intervenes directly with great regularity—for example, to create and infuse human souls whenever a human egg cell is fertilized by a human sperm cell, whether in vivo or in vitro.

With in vitro fertilization being an intrinsic evil according to Catholic though, one might wonder why God cooperates by creating and infusing a human soul when the procedure is performed. The first is more disturbing than it probably appears, because of what it would do to the concept of 'moral responsibility'. But the second seems utterly disastrous. More here. I have very limited time in the next 24 hours or so, but let me ask how it is possible to know, on the one hand, if there is a "natural order" created by God that runs like clockwork in his "absence" except on the rare cases when God miraculously "intervenes," or, on the other, if God is running all of reality "hands on" but chooses to run it as if there were laws of nature operating except in rare cases when he wanted an outcome that differed from the one that would result if he were operating reality "hands on" but according to his usual and customary method?

How in the world is it possible to know when God is doing "hands on" work and when he is sitting back and letting reality work autonomously according to the laws of nature? I think a great many "religious people" maybe most religious people assume that God is doing "hands on" work a great deal of the time. That is why people pray for bountiful crops, pray for good weather, pray for sick people, pray to find lost objects, pray for certain candidates in elections, and so on. Can we really believe in democratic elections and pray for a certain outcome at the same time?

Again, I can ask the same thing about any person. For example: "Do you actually know your position to be rational, or are the laws of nature merely causing you to write what you do—noting that they care not a whit for what is rational and what is not? The ability to resist God, to reject him, is foreign to standard clockwork conceptions of causation. You cannot resist the law of gravity—if it is defined in a clockwork sense instead of a causal powers sense.

The idea of God giving us gifts which we are allowed to reject or accept just doesn't seem to make sense with clockwork conceptions of causation. A promising route to try to understand how God might be interacting with reality is to try to understand what the difference might be, between manipulative social relations and non-manipulative social relations. I'm riffing on Alasdair MacIntyre here; he argues in After Virtue that on emotivism , one cannot make such a distinction He writes that "to a large degree people now think, talk, and act as if emotivism were true, no matter what their avowed theoretical standpoint might be.

That would seem to depend on whether God wants democracy to work or not. If God does not exist, democracy should work just fine in your scenario, right? If I believe the nation would be best off if it were to change its trajectory in some way, I can pray that either i enough others become convinced of the same; ii I become convinced that I am wrong. Granted, many people elide ii , but I'll merely point out that the Bible contains instance after instance of God and his followers hating pride. To be fair, it is not completely unreasonable to still believe that a hidden complex clockwork determinacy lies underneath the phenomenon of quantum randomness, but the science hasn't been suggestive of that ontology for some time now.

It seems at least equally reasonable and I would say more reasonable, since we "know" we experience free will to imagine that the laws of nature underdetermine what will happen , in the same way that the meter and rhyming scheme of a poem underdetermine what they poet will say in the poem. I encourage the physicists out there to chime in and tell me if I have been misled by my pop science reading on this subject.

Perhaps the work is needless, or perhaps it's people still working out where clockwork causation is a good model and where it's a bad model. Causation is a notoriously difficult matter when one digs below the surface. Or perhaps it is only difficult when one doesn't let personhood be a piece of the fundamental furniture of reality. All that Heisenberg showed was that using the current formalism, there are epistemological boundaries to accessing all the state of reality that the formalism claims exist. Although, perhaps anti-realism followed on the heels of Heisenberg's work, such that soon people didn't actually think there was an epistemological boundary, but an ontology radically different from what we thought.

He was a physicist and a philosopher, and wrote that tome to try to update philosophy with the latest quantum physics. Here's a provocative section:. The assumption that any particular kind of fluctuations are arbitrary and lawless relative to all possible contexts, like the similar assumption that there exists an absolute and final determinate law, is therefore evidently not capable of being based on any experimental or theoretical developments arising out of specific scientific problems, but it is instead a purely philosophical assumption.

My own interests on this matter make me wonder whether the error is to think that the only kind of causation is an omnipresent, timeless set of equations ruling over us. An alternative to this Different terms are 'singular causation' and 'general causation'. General Causation. A theological gloss for allowing both kinds of causation is that God does not insist on irresistably ruling everyone, but does insist on certain I'm not a physicist, but I do know more physics than your average layman and I'm increasingly well-read in philosophy of science surrounding these issues, as well as the work of scientists challenging current conceptions of causation, such as Nobel laureates Robert B.

Laughlin and Ilya Prigogine. It seems to me we have at least three root metaphors that we can use for understanding the core of reality, all three of which are perfectly consistent with the data:. For those aspects of reality that are amenable to quantitative modeling, it seems to me that we are making more and more use of models that include both systematic components and stochastic components, even though we still find contexts of use where stochastic model features can be practically ignored as well as contexts of use where systematic model features can be practically ignored.

To my mind, the person metaphor is more general and subsumes the other two, since people are usually fairly reliable and intelligible like clocks and yet are also sometimes delightfully surprising like dice. It seems to me that the Biblical authors who rooted their understanding of reality in a metaphor of personhood and therefore ultimately in a metaphor of self were extremely competent exegetes of the phenomenal world. I was thinking of something a little different. I was thinking of our relationship with the universe.

Are we controlled by fates or the environmental and genetic circumstances that we find ourselves in like clocks , is it random like dice , or can we make choices as persons? Does fate determine that Oedipus will go blind? Should we accept our fates like Oedipus, or should we defy our fates like the norse gods. I think there is a great deal of wisdom to be found in the Bible, but I also think there is a great deal of wisdom to be found in Greek myths, Norse myths, etc. The bible, to my mind, does not have a preeminent place. Or should we negotiate humbly and reasonably between the extremes of acceptance and defiance, as did Abraham in Genesis 18?

The question in my mind is precisely how theists would expect God to influence the outcome of an election. How would God, in response to your prayers, effect changes in others so that they come around to your way of thinking? If the effect of successful prayer is to move God to do something he would otherwise not have done, doesn't his response to prayers for Candidate A—if God is saying "yes" to those praying for Candidate A—necessarily have to interfere in the natural course of things so that he changes the decisions of some group of people to do something different from what they would otherwise have done?

I know it is problematic to speak of prayer as an attempt to "change God's mind," but I don't see any way around it if we want to discuss petitionary prayer intelligibly. Well, if each person has a connection with God regardless of whether [s]he is consciously aware of it or not , the one praying could be asking implicitly or explicitly for that connection in others to be strengthened in at least one of multiple ways:.

Ostensibly, some candidates will be better at 1 — 3 than others—both personally, and creating an environment more conducive to those things. If you want an example of 1 , I think racism suffices. It can take great courage to do 1 , great suffering to do 2 , and great dedication to do 3. Not only can God provide true psychological help in these endeavors, but he can provide knowledge which we can accept or reject.

We can let that knowledge correct us as well as guide us toward more fantastic states of being, or we can decide that all that would be too difficult, and settle for stasis or trivial, probably-ephemeral progress. It's not clear that any of this requires us to change God's mind, because the very nature of our requesting indicates a willingness for 1 — 3 , and 1 — 3 become easier for others if one is up for them oneself.

My willingness to repent makes it easier for others to repent, because I'm less likely to judge them harshly and thus tempt them to keep mum or self-justify. If I wish to push for justice, it lightens the load for others who wish to do so. And so forth. But that is epistemology; the above is ontology. Best to keep them properly distinct. May I ask if you believe that God does indeed at least on occasion determine the outcome of elections, or perhaps determine the outcome of military battles, by using some kind of communication with human populations?

Or on an individual level, might God reveal to someone weighing two possible choices information that would motivate that person to make one choice over the other? If God intervenes to motivate one person to repent of sins while leaving another person without that additional motivation, when the two persons die, is it just to reward the person who got the extra help and punish the person who didn't? I wouldn't say God 'determines', but instead that he 'influences'. There is a critical difference between manipulative social relations and non-manipulative social relations. I think God's exercise of the former is very limited for example, to those who themselves insist on manipulating.

Sometimes, I'm pretty sure God does give us knowledge for our consideration—otherwise, you'd break causal theories of knowledge. I doubt all knowledge is latent in the subconscious or available in the environment. Note that such revealed knowledge need not be elevated to canon-level status. I think people are held accountable based on what they had to work with. I suspect God judges not by absolute values obtained, but relative changes made. Lewis remarked that a violent murderer showing a single act of kindness may be more noble than all of the good acts of someone born to high society.

I am not sure how much sense it makes to claim an omniscient, omnipotent being influences but does not determine. If God somehow intervenes in a human psyche, presumably he knows precisely what the outcome will be. If I am teetering between Choice A and Choice B, and God directly intervenes by giving me some kind of knowledge or some other nudge , how does he do it without in effect determining the choice? And how does one with "free will" make a moral choice between two equals? Something must motivate choice. If not, then free choice is just random choice.

How could it not be that an omniscient, omnipotent God could not give every individual sufficient knowledge to guide him or her down the right path? I just cannot accept the idea that God doesn't want to "coerce" people into loving him or doing his will. Giving someone adequate or more than adequate information to make choices is not coercion.

This presumes the validity of middle knowledge , which is problematic. You also seem to be presupposing an ultimately deterministic reality where there is exactly one causal source: God. That is, there cannot be more than one truly free being. I suppose this becomes a bit more problematic with God creating all other beings, but then we shift to 'creation' requiring complete determination.

I would question that. The phrase "equally likely" seems to presuppose a probabilistic process backing the subsequent choice of A vs. Instead, I would advance Robert Kane's dual rationality :. Finally, consider the libertarian notion of dual rationality, a requirement whose importance to the libertarian I did not appreciate until I read Robert Kane's Free Will and Values.

As with dual control, the libertarian needs to claim that when agents make free choices, it would have been rational reasonable, sensible for them to have made a contradictory choice e. Otherwise, categorical freedom simply gives us the freedom to choose irrationally had we chosen otherwise, a less-than-entirely desirable state.

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Kane spends a great deal of effort in trying to show how libertarian choices can be dually rational, and I examine his efforts in Chapter 8. The Non-Reality of Free Will , This allows us to define sin as "acting against your better knowledge". That is, there were two paths which, at the time, seemed roughly equally rational. But there was something a conscience?

If you sin, you reject that tugging, pursuing instead a lesser good. To do this is idolatry, and it is picked as one of the two chief causes for badness in Rom — I'm going to object pedantically: someone can motivate choice. That is, in addition to there being causation by omnipresent, timeless laws of nature, there can be causation by agents, by persons.

I'm not just making crap up, here; see my excerpt of [atheist] Gregory W. Dawes' Theism and Explanation. Can you suggest how this could happen with free beings, such that their freedom is not obliterated? I would suggest the 'better knowledge' approach, via 'dual rationality'. In fact, I'm not sure I can think of a better formulation of meaningful freedom other than Robert Kane's dual rationality. Being imago Dei beings, we engage in creating worlds—or for the incremental version: making some futures more likely and other futures less likely.

How we think of that process is in terms of 'rationality'.

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But for us to actually make choices that come from us, we have to be able to choose between worlds we're trying to bring into existence. That entails having multiple 'rational' options being available and [roughly] equally compelling. Otherwise, we are merely driven by 'necessity', such that there is only one rational choice, with all the rest being irrational.

I was recently listening to a catholic radio program, might have been Call to Communion or Catholic Answers Live, where I heard about SN in the first place , and one of the hosts said that prayer had an impact on the world because it was the means by which God executed his will. It was surprising to me. This seemed to be the human agency model flipped around. You have the God's desires node, linking to humans praying, and through that it links to stuff happening in the world. I said it was surprising, but thinking about it, it does simplify things, and it makes sense given the commonly shared premises about catholic theism a kind of "well what else should I have expected?

Mike Willesee: A premonition, plane crash and testing miracles

But I wonder how out of left field that particular host's explanation felt to other well known apologists who would hear it. Assuming for the sake of argument that Jesus walked on water, or that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were thrown into a fiery furnace and were unharmed, why do we need to assume that God somehow change the nature of the water so it could be walked on or changed the nature of the fire so it would not burn? The OP, it seems to me, attempts to explain how the miracles worked. It is probably silly to speculate at all, but it seems to me that if Jesus walked on water, it was something about Jesus that allowed him to do so, not something about the water.

And of course Peter in Matthew's account begins to walk on water, gets frightened, and starts to sink. It seems rather complicated to explain this based on the nature of the water. It would have been helpful for me had the blogger included a definition of science in the article. It's in the title after all. As such, I find any comment I might make will have to be in realms of essences, gods, miracles.

In other words, the blogger's territory where he controls the rules. I'm not sniping at the author but if I ever wrote what you quoted above about "laws" I would have received sniping remarks from my credentialed science profs in college; if not failed marks. I only mention this because the SN article is filed under Science. Had it been filed under Philosophy I'd have no problems. Then again, I wouldn't have read it. Water doesn't always freeze at 32, the law of gravity does not say that rocks will fall, and fire is a rapid oxidation. Karlo's science is very questionable and too tinged with Aristotelianism to be of any use.

The language of causal powers exists in the philosophy of science e. Causal Powers. Nancy Cartwright has observed scientists who speak in a way which most closely matches causal powers, and not merely omnipresent, timeless laws of nature How the Laws of Physics Lie ; The Dappled World. Welcome to Ceteris Paribus Laws. We are somewhat confused on this issue, as Nobel laureate Ilya Prigogine explains:.

Nearly two hundred years ago, Joseph-Louis Lagrange described analytical mechanics based on Newton's laws as a branch of mathematics. Since the birth of quantum mechanics and relativity, we know that this is not the case. The temptation is now strong to ascribe a similar status of absolute truth to quantum theory.

In The Quark and the Jaguar , Gell-Mann asserts, "Quantum mechanics is not itself a theory; rather it is the framework into which all contemporary physical theory must fit. They are introduced to give an adequate representation of the physical phenomena. No physical concept is sufficiently defined without the knowledge of its domain of validity. But yes, the OP could have been more rigorous.

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Someone wanting to get a whiff at how messy the topic of causation is could read Evan Fales' Divine Intervention: Metaphysical and Epistemological Puzzles. I'm not sure, however, that the corrections obtained by such rigor would materially change the OP's argument. If the object of denying miracles by appealing to the laws of nature is to disprove the existence of God, it is an abject failure. Any appeal to the immutability of natural laws is an implicit recognition of a higher power which has immutably imposed them.

Hume believed natural laws to be brute facts, part of an eternal unchanging universe, and therefore not requiring explanation in their own right. Now we know that these laws, together with the universe in which they operate, had a beginning. Hume believed that these laws did not need explaining; now we know that they do. Anyone who cites Hume in support of their denial of miracles are putting forward an outdated, and therefore flawed, argument. Whilst they seek to deny the existence of particular miracles, they overlook the fact that the establishment of natural laws, on whose grounds they make such a denial, is a great miracle in its own right.

That is fine if you want to consider phenomena claimed as a miracle as a natural event and that god and his alleged causation of these phenomena is not a violation of the natural order. This is obviously a more reasonable approach than saying god created inviolable order that he then violates by pure force of will.

The skeptic and the theist are in a similar position facing a claim of miraculous intervention. When an aging physician's radiodermitis clears up with no obvious physical cause, we can ask what caused this. If the theist wants to claim this was due to some active intervention by a deity, it is incumbent on explaining what this god is, and how he or she knows the deity caused the cure. It would be fallacious to say that it must be the god since science nor empirical inquiry has drawn out a physical cause.

The theist has failed to draw out the theistic cause either. We both are saying there is some unknown cause for this. The law of gravity does NOT say that a falling object will hit the ground every time you drop it. It says all massive objects will attract each other. I'm pretty sure Karlo Broussard meant that he would be dropping the rock from the earth and not the International Space Station. In which case, the law of gravity, applied to that specific context , tells him exactly that the rock will hit the ground every single time he drops it.

Instead, he said "the law of gravity tells us X will happen in circumstance Y, ceteris paribus ". What he said was "the law of gravity tells us a rock will fall to the ground every time when I drop it This is wrong. The law says all massive objects attract each other. When you hold the rock it is being pulled toward the earth and it is pulling the earth towards it. When you drop it this force turns potential energy into kinetic energy and it falls, if you stop it, you again change the kinetic energy back to potential. The law of gravity "holds" throughout.

These laws, such as the law of gravity are not "merely hypothetical" they have been confirmed millions of times. They are not certain, but they are called "laws" simply because they are the theories that are so well confirmed that we consider them in many ways certain. KB : The laws of nature, therefore, describe laws of natures —essences with inherent dispositional properties that manifest themselves when certain conditions are met. Under this formulation, what he means by "law of gravity" can be suspended.

That is, the tendency for a rock to travel a geodesic in the current gravity well can be thwarted by someone catching it before it hits the ground. She is a highly respected philosopher of science who doesn't just do armchair philosophy, but looks to see how scientists actually talk about and reason with causation as they do science.

KB : The laws of nature have what philosophers call hypothetical necessity, which means they will hold on the condition that no external cause intervenes. Gravity is the force of attraction between all matter.

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This has never been observed to have been suspended ever. Stopping a rock in motion does not thwart or suspend this attraction, it stops the motion of the rock. But this is not what we observe with gravity. We observe it always holding regardless of any condition.


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This is high school science: the law states that all matter will attract all other matter. To say there are circumstance in which in does not "hold" would mean there are circumstances in which matter does not attract all other matter massive objects. Is that what Karlo is saying? You omitted 'well', as in "in the current gravity well". If you disagree with me, I suggest a visit of WP: Geodesics in general relativity ; here's a good sentence: "In general relativity, gravity can be regarded as not a force but a consequence of a curved spacetime geometry where the source of curvature is the stress—energy tensor representing matter, for instance.

If you really want to get pedantic, I'll say that you're wrong, because the force of gravity curves photons and photons aren't matter. And yet, that quibble is as relevant to your point, as your quibble is to Broussard's point. Neither Broussard nor I have said that stopping a rock in motion thwarts or suspends the attraction of gravity. Once again: "You are defining "law of gravity" differently from Broussard. Although, this may not work because it may presuppose univocity of being. I'm still learning about causation—in the sciences, in philosophy, and in theology. What we always observe is quite irrelevant, because there are almost certainly places we have not looked, or looked hard enough, or looked properly.

Furthermore, God is always allowed to unveil a new facet of reality to us. Whether it was always there or newly added seems to be something beyond theoretical epistemological horizons. It is becoming clear that you refuse to think of causation in a way other than omnipresent, impersonal equations forcing matter and energy to evolve in time.

But more than that, he offers wisdom and insight to help you figure out the role miracles should play in your faith. Should you expect miracles? Ignore them? Pray for them? How active is God in the world today? And could he be more active in your own life? Learn how to explore these questions with wisdom and honesty, growing your faith and hope along the way. This means that the vendor will not produce this item until it is ordered by a customer. This being the case, it normally takes up to six weeks to deliver. In addition, since the item is considered a custom-made item, it is not eligible for any discounted pricing and it is non-returnable once ordered.

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