Miracles, prophecy and " history "; and he states his points with perfect clearness.
The miracles of Jesus - the relief of need, the removal of suffering, the recovery of health and strength - reveal in outward events the essential features of His divine mission.
25) means by the shore and not on the sea, by supplying circumstances omitted by the author, by remembering that the author produces as miracles occurrences which can now be explained otherwise, e.g.
God in nature as well as history is fulfilling a redemptive as well as perfective purpose, of which these miracles are appropriate signs.
This story is open to grave suspicion, as, apart from the miracles recorded, there are wide discrepancies between the secular Portuguese histories and the narratives written or inspired by Jesuit chroniclers of the 17th century.
Some of the theories regarding miracles which have been formulated may be mentioned.
Hare, Experimental Investigations of the Spirit Manifestations (New York, 1856); Allan Kardec, Livre des esprits (1st ed., 1853); Mrs De Morgan, From Matter to Spirit (London, 1863), with preface by Professor De Morgan; Alfred Russel Wallace, Miracles and Modern Spiritualism (1876); W.
He wrote articles on free will, the philosophy of theism, on science, prayer and miracles for the Dublin Review.
The six books pass in review (1) the doctrine of the soul, in which Gersonides defends the theory of impersonal reason as mediating between God and man, and explains the formation of the higher reason (or acquired intellect, as it was called) in humanity, - his view being thoroughly realist and resembling that of Avicebron; (2) prophecy; (3) and (4) God's knowledge of facts and providence, in which is advanced the curious theory that God does not know individual facts, and that, while there is general providence for all, special providence only extends to those whose reason has been enlightened; (5) celestial substances, treating of the strange spiritual hierarchy which the Jewish philosophers of the middle ages accepted from the Neoplatonists and the pseudo-Dionysius, and also giving, along with astronomical details, much of astrological theory; (6) creation and miracles, in respect to which Gerson deviates widely from the position of Maimonides.
His miracles were reported and eagerly believed everywhere; " from Poland, Hamburg and Amsterdam treasures poured into his court; in the Levant young men and maidens prophesied before him; the Persian Jews refused to till the fields.
In his explanation of the Gospel narratives Paulus sought to remove what other interpreters regarded as miracles from the Bible by distinguishing between the fact related and the author's opinion of it, by seeking a naturalistic exegesis of a narrative, e.g.
.As a contemporary of Yahya and the false Messiah Hibil's younger brother Anosh `Uthra came down from heaven, caused himself to be baptized by Yahya, wrought miracles of healing and of raising the dead, and brought about the crucifixion of the false Messiah.
As regards the first point, it is now generally held that miracles are exceptions to the order of nature as known in our common experience; and as regards the second, that miracles are constituent elements in the divine revelation, deeds which display, the divine character and purpose; but they are signs and not merely seals of truth.
Bonnet, Euler, Haller, Schmid and others " suppose miracles to be already implanted in nature.
The 8th duke of Argyll (Reign of Law) maintains that " miracles may be wrought by the selection and use of laws of which man knows and can know nothing, and which, if he did know, he could not employ."
An attempt has been made to discover a natural law which will explain some at least of the miracles of Jesus.
" In one respect alone," says Matthew Arnold, " have the miracles recorded by the evangelists a more real ground than the mass of miracles of which we have the relation.
Certainly no miracles occur, but there is enough of the wonderful and the inexplicable " (Das Wesen des Christentums, p. 18).
Whether God's action is creative, or only (selective and directive in miracles, is beyond our knowledge; we at least do not know the powers exercised, whether new or old.
Paulus dismisses the miracles as " exaggerations or misapprehensions of quite ordinary events."
But what he emphasizes is on the one hand the close connexion between the conception of miracles and the belief in divine providence, and on the other the compatibility between miracles and the order of nature.
He declines to regard miracles as divine action contrary to the laws of nature.
Ryle, " The Neurotic Theory of the Miracles of Healing," Hibbert Journal, v.
The possibility of miracles is often confidently denied.
" We are of the unalterable conviction," says Harnack, " that what happens in time and space is subject to the universal laws of movement; that accordingly there cannot be any miracles in this sense, i.e.
54) If we conceive God as personal, and His will as related to the course of nature analogously to the relation of the human will to the human body, then the laws of nature may be regarded as habits of the divine activity, and miracles as unusual acts which, while consistent with the divine character, mark a new stage in the fulfilment of the purpose of God.
The necessity of miracles is displayed in their connexion with the divine revelation; but this connexion may be conceived in two ways.
The miracles may be regarded as the credentials of the agents of divine revelation.
Of the miracles of Jesus, Bushnell says, " The character of Jesus is ever shining with and through them, in clear self-evidence leaving them never to stand as raw wonders only of might, but covering them with glory as tokens of a heavenly love, and acts that only suit the proportions of His personal greatness and majesty " (Nature and the Supernatural, p. 364).
As God is the Saviour, and the chief end of the revelation is redemption, it is fitting that the miracles should be acts of divine deliverance from physical evil.
On the problem of evil and sin it is impossible here to enter; but this must be insisted on, that the miracles of Jesus at least express divine benevolence just under those conditions in which the course of nature obscures it, and are therefore, proper elements in a revelation of grace, of which nature cannot give any evidence.
Loscher affirms in regard to miracles that " solus Deus potest tum supra naturae vires turn contra naturae leges agere "; and Buddaeus argues that in them a " suspensio legum naturae " is followed by a restitutio.
Against the common view that miracles can attest the truth of a divine revelation Gerhard maintained that " per miracula non possunt probari oracula "; and Hopfner returns to the qualified position of Augustine when he describes them as praeter et supra naturae ordinem."
The two conceptions, once common in the Christian church, that on the one hand miracles involved an interference with the forces and a suspension of the laws of nature, and that, on the other hand, as this could be effected only by divine power, they served as credentials of a divine revelation, are now generally abandoned.
" Miracles are sensuously cognizable events, not comprehensible on the ground of the causality of nature as such, but essentially on the ground of God's free action alone.
Mill's definition of miracles: " to constitute a miracle, a phenomenon must take place without having been preceded by any antecedent phenomenal conditions sufficient again to reproduce it.
" Les miracles discernent la doctrine, et la doctrine discerne les miracles " (Pascal's Pense'es des miracles).
Having discussed the possibility and necessity of miracles for the divine revelation, we must now consider i,whether there is sufficient historical evidence for their occurrence.
" The question can be stated fairly as depending on a balance of evidence, a certain amount of positive evidence in favour of miracles, and a negative presumption from the general course of human experience against them " (Essays on Religion, p. 221).
The existence of " a certain amount of positive evidence in favour of miracles " forbids the sweeping statement that miracles are " contrary to experience."
The probability of miracles depends on the conception we have of the free relation of God to nature, and of nature as the adequate organ for the fulfilment of God's purposes.
If we believe in a divine revelation and redemption, transcending the course of nature, the miracles as signs of that divine purpose will not seem improbable.