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  1. Definition: a miracle is
    1. A striking
      1. Get your attention
      2. Make it significant to you personally
    2. Religiously significant
      1. Suppose a scientist says the big quake will hit tomorrow
      2. Suppose I say it will - while preaching
      3. Then suppose it happens - or doesn't.  What of our reputations?
    3. Intervention by God in nature
      1. Which is why they have a certain style - water to wine, but not stones to bread.
      2. Miracles of the "old creation" and "new creation."
  2. Nature of miracles:
    1. Presupposes a natural order.  There can be no intervention if there is no "normal".
      1. Natural order sustained by Christ (See Philippians 2)
      2. Therefore, miracles are rare - and only for God's purposes
    2. A miracle is not a contradiction.  God does not do contradictions.
      1. Not the author of chaos, but order
      2. The same God in miracles as in nature. 
  3. Philosophy vs. History
    1. Philosophy can tell us if miracles are possible
      1. But cannot say if they ever did happen
      2. By definition, science cannot say if they could happen.
    2. History can tell us if miracles happened.
      1. The Scriptures do attest to them, reliably.
      2. But if you assume they can't happen - documents are unreliable.  Please note:  the assumption drives the authenticity, not the other way around.
  4. Common objections
    1. Violation of the laws of nature (tautology)
      1. Not a violation, an intervention into nature (from the outside)
      2. To the naturalist, there is no outside - hence they can't happen
      3. But suppose they did?  What does that say about naturalism?
    2. People in the old days didn't understand science (Joseph and Mary)
    3. There's always a more probable explanation (probability is post hoc, not prior hoc)
      1. What are the chances I am married to Betty? (prior hoc)
      2. Is it really more probable that I'm not married to her (post hoc)
    4. If God interferes in His creation, He's a lousy architect (or maybe that was the original plan).
  5. Common explanations
    1. Hierarchy of authority
      1. Federal & state laws
    2. God's plan from the beginning included miracles
      1. Watching the chess game
  6. Are miracles really necessary?
    1. Miracles, in a sense, support science
      1. They imply the existence of an orderly creator
      2. This implies that laws of science are indeed permanent, not random or just "brute facts."
      3. Example:  Pauli / neutrino
    2. Credentialing the apostles
    3. Two essential miracles:  Incarnation, Resurrection
    4. Explaining away vs. embracing
  7. The more common case:  Providence
    1. God works all things together, but
    2. How does that affect free will?


Book of the Week:  Miracles, Lewis

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