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The Cambridge Companion to Miracles (Cambridge Companions to by Graham H. Twelftree

By Graham H. Twelftree

The miracle tales of the founders and saints of the key global religions have a lot in universal. Written by way of foreign specialists, this significant other offers an authoritative and comparative learn of miracles in not just Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Christianity and Judaism, but additionally, indigenous religions. The authors advertise a dialogue of the issues of miracles in our principally secular tradition, and of the worth of miracles in non secular trust. The miracles of Jesus also are contextualized via chapters at the Hebrew Bible, classical tradition to the Romans, moment Temple and early rabbinic Judaism and early Christianity. This e-book offers scholars with a scholarly creation to miracles, which additionally covers philosophical, scientific and historic matters.

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Miraculous occurrences, not surprisingly, are normally considered to fall within (be a subset of) this ‘direct act of God’ category. Furthermore, while many theists believe that some of their personal, internal religious experiences – for example, an unexpected sense of freedom from long-standing guilt or some form of debilitating obsessive thought – have been divinely induced, it has not been my professional or personal experience that most consider such experiences miraculous. Usually, ‘miracle’ is reserved for those unusual or unexpected events that are ‘public’ in the sense that they are, in principle, observable to all as occurrences that would not have been expected to happen, given our understanding of the natural order.

Miracles and science A common view is that miracles, so defined, necessarily involve violation of the laws of nature. The assumption seems to be that the only way a supernatural overriding of the normal course of nature can take place is by violating some law of nature. If this assumption is correct two problems arise. First, it is not clear that the concept of a law of nature being violated is logically coherent. 2 On regularity theories, laws of nature are universal generalizations made on the basis of, and summarily descriptive of, what actually happens in nature.

Events that are true counter-instances to current laws might well occur. But to acknowledge that an event is a true counterinstance to established laws only demonstrates the law(s) in question to be inadequate since we must always be willing, in principle, to expand our natural laws to accommodate any occurrence, no matter how unusual. 10 Many, though, view this criticism as question-begging. To maintain that natural laws accurately describe the natural order, it is noted, is to say only that they correctly predict what will occur under a specified set of natural conditions.

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