3. On Miracles

A miracle is an event not explicable by natural or scientific laws. Such an event may be attributed to a supernatural being (a deity), magic, a miracle worker, a saint or a religious leader. Theologians say that, with divine providence, God regularly works through created nature yet is free to work without, above, or against it as well. Jesus explains in the New Testament that miracles are performed by faith in God. “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘move from here to there’ and it will move.” (Gospel of Matthew 17:20).

The Catholic Church has a procedure to investigate if a miracle did take place. They do this by certification of witnesses. According to Hume, the evidence in favor of a miracle, even when that is provided by the strongest possible testimony, will always be outweighed by the evidence for the law of nature which is supposed to have been violated.

Thomas Jefferson although he accepted the teachings of Jesus from a moral point of view did not accept the miracles written about in the Christian Bible. Jefferson compiled Jesus’ biblical teachings, omitting miraculous or supernatural references. He titled the work The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth, known today as the Jefferson Bible. He encouraged reason over supernatural revelation to make inquiries into religion. He also controversially renounced the conventional Christian Trinity, denying Jesus’ divinity as the Son of God.

Father Keller*, a Roman Catholic priest stated that “The claim that God has worked a miracle implies that God has singled out certain persons for some benefit which many others do not receive implies that God is unfair.” “If God intervenes to save your life in a car crash, then what was he doing in Auschwitz?” He goes on to say that an all-powerful, all-knowing and just God, as predicated in Christianity, would not perform miracles. Many years before I knew of Father Keller, even as a small child, it seemed illogical to me that a omniscience deity who was all loving would choose to heal one individual and not heal another.

If the reason and logical findings of father Keller are correct as well as those of Thomas Jefferson concerning miracles then how can it be that certain events seem to occur that are not explicable by natural or scientific laws. An individual who medical science has given up as terminal is miraculously healed. An individual falls from a 10 story building hitting the ground and miraculously lives to witness.

Perhaps what are referred to as acts of God and miracles are nothing but the law of truly large numbers, attributed to Persi Diaconis and Frederick Mosteller. It states that with a sample size large enough, any outrageous thing is likely to happen. So what is the chance of something happening in the universe which may seem to be not explicable by natural of scientific laws and therefor thought as a miracle? Take this into mind. Using a very rough estimate of 10 trillion galaxies in the universe. Multiplying that by the Milky Way’s estimated 100 billion stars results in a large number indeed: 100 octillion stars, or 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars, or a “1” with 29 zeros after it. However this figure may be much larger since many astronomers estimate that the Milky Way contains up to 400 billion stars of various sizes and brightness. Thinking in numbers of these sorts what are considered to be miracles in truth are more likely to happen then not.

So where does this all leave me as an individual entity living in this very huge cosmos. I’ve come to the conclusion that as a unique entity, or if you would have it as a unique soul, I as all other inclusive not only humans but as well flowers and other plants as well as animals of all sorts are miracles. All is part of the other and in a seemingly miraculous way are expressions of themselves. What a wonderful miracle this is. Life has always been interesting and fun to me for I believe that all is a miracle. Each day brings forth another miracle meaning that as the events of my life roll on moment by moment they all are new and unique happenings.

*Father James Keller, M.M. (June 27, 1900 – February 7, 1977) was a Roman Catholic priest in the Maryknoll Order. In 1945 he founded of The Christophers, a Christian inspirational group which broadcast a weekly inspirational television show (of the same name) on ABC. ABC canceled the show in the mid-1960s; Keller continued to produce it, however, and it is still syndicated to local television stations.

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