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About miracles

Quotations about miracles.
Definitions of the word "miracle."

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Quotations:

bulletAnon: "“Miracles are natural. When they do not occur something has gone wrong.”"
bulletSt. Augustine: "Miracles do not happen in contradiction to nature, but only in contradiction to that which is known to us of nature."
bulletDavid Ben-Gurion: "In order to be realist you must believe in miracles."--
bulletBernard Berenson: "Miracles happen to those who believe in them. Otherwise why does not the Virgin Mary appear to Lamaists, ...[Muslims], or Hindus who have never heard of her?"
bulletAlbert Einstein: "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."
bulletNancy Gibbs: "For the truly faithful, no miracle is necessary. For those who doubt, no miracle is sufficient."
bulletDavid Hume:
bullet"There is not to be found, in all history, any miracle attested by a sufficient number of men, of such unquestioned good sense, education and learning, as to secure us against all delusion in themselves."
bullet"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 endeavors to establish."
bulletC.S. Lewis: "Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see."
bulletCharles Lindbergh: "In wilderness I sense the miracle of life, and behind it our scientific accomplishments fade to trivia."
bulletPeggy Noonan: "I think miracles exist in part as gifts and in part as clues that there is something beyond the flat world we see."
bulletThomas Paine: "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."
bulletBaruch Spinoza: "As nature preserves a fixed and immutable order; it must clearly follow that miracles are only intelligible as a relation to human opinions, and merely mean events of which the natural cause cannot be explained by a reference to any ordinary occurrence."

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What is a miracle?

The word "miracle" is derived from the old Latin word "miraculum" meaning "something wonderful."  1

The term is often used in casual conversation to refer to any extremely rare event. Examples are a person spontaneously recovering from an advanced cancer, or a person surviving a vehicle accident that would normally be expected to result in their death. However, dictionary definitions of "miracle" generally refer to some event that could not have happened except after the suspension of the laws of nature by some supernatural power. It is in this sense that we will use the term here.

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Definitions of "miracle:"

bulletWikipedia: "... a striking interposition of divine intervention by a god in the universe by which the ordinary course and operation of Nature is overruled, suspended, or modified. ... 1
bulletThe Order of Time: "An exception to the laws of nature escaping scientific verification since it cannot be repeated at will but is dependent upon the necessity of grace. ..." 2
bulletCalvary Chapel, San Bernardino: "an event in the external world brought about by the immediate agency or the simple volition of God, operating without the use of means capable of being discerned by the senses, and designed to authenticate the divine commission of a religious teacher and the truth of his message." 3
bulletInnvista: "An event in the natural world, but out of its established order, possible only by the intervention of divine power." 4
bulletteAchnology: "An event that cannot be explained by the known laws of nature and is therefore attributed to a supernatural or divine power." 5
bulletRandom House Unabridged Dictionary:
  1. "An effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause."
  2. "Such an effect or event manifesting or considered as a work of God." 6

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References:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Miracle," Wikipedia, at: at: http://en.wikipedia.org/
  2. "Definitions of filognostic terms," The Order of Time, at: http://www.theorderoftime.com/
  3. John Miller, "Theological terms and definitions," Calvary Chapel, San Bernardino, at: http://www.calvarysbd.com/
  4. "Theological Dictionary," Innvista, at: http://www.innvista.com/
  5. "Hanukkah Vocabulary Quiz Worksheet," teAchnology, at: http://www.teach-nology.com/
  6. "Miracle," Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. at: http://dictionary.reference.com/
 

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Copyright © 2008 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2008-JAN-18
Latest update: 2008-JAN-18
Author: B.A. Robinson

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