(a) What is meant by the term miracle? (4 marks)
A miracle can be defined as, `a transgression of a law of nature by a particular violation of a deity," Hume. It describes supernatural events, which defy the universal laws of nature. This could be a man rising from the ground against the law of gravity. J.L. Mackie has a similar point of view and suggests that miracles occur when the world is interfered with, by something that is not of natural order. Some doctors have said that a particular event would not be a miracle, unless the impossible has taken place. I would agree with the doctors' point of view, that if a man was terminally ill and then suddenly 100% healthy the next day when he woke up from his sleep, and that would surely be a miracle.
The term miracle usually refers to an event with great significance. This purpose is important to theists because it demonstrates God's power, love and compassion. Swinburne says that events with no deep ultimate purpose would not naturally be described as miracles.
(b) Comment on the view that the arguments against miracles are stronger than those in support of them. (16marks)
It is easy to think that the argument in support of miracles is weak due to the number of criticisms there are and therefore conclude that the views against miracles are stronger. However, there are strong arguments in support.
There are testimonies in the Bible of Jesus' resurrection. These are eyewitnesses who have recorded the incident giving proof that miracles must exist. Christians would argue that miracles are real and can happen because God created everything and therefore he has prerogative to intervene. It also displays God's character, which is a loving and forgiving. Miracles have been said to occur to show God's mercy to those in pain and it shows that God is concerned with the individual. There is empirical evidence, evidence that people have suddenly regained health after visiting Lourdes, a renowned place where several miracles have occurred. Some of those have had their health checked by a medical doctor before visiting Lourdes. Then after, if and when a miraculous change has happened, they go to the doctors to be examined again and it has been recorded that there have been cases when they have suddenly regained one hundred percent health straight after the visit. This is surely strong evidence for the existence of miracles.
On the other hand, Hume has made several criticisms in his book, Enquiries Concerning Human Understanding and the Principle of Morals. He believes that miracles are transgressions of the law of nature but says that we cannot be sure what a natural law is. According to Hume, to prove that a miracle has occurred, there needs to be as much evidence for...