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SO WHAT ABOUT MIRACLES? Who said they happen? A task for the end of term!

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Presentation on theme: "SO WHAT ABOUT MIRACLES? Who said they happen? A task for the end of term!"— Presentation transcript:

1 SO WHAT ABOUT MIRACLES? Who said they happen? A task for the end of term!

2 What Does The Bible Say? Miracle stories appear in the Old Testament and the New Testament. Many of the Old Testament miracles show the action of God in history. Most of the New Testament miracles are healing stories performed by Jesus and his disciples.

3 How Are These Interpreted? Orthodox Jews and some Christians see in them the hand of God. Biblical theologians find that point of view difficult to handle. Some people try to rationalise the stories. Most scholars think they were included for other reasons.

4 What About The Church? The church does not hold that belief in the miracles is entirely necessary. Many 20 th century Bishops found they didnt accept all of Jesus miracles. Rudolph Bultmann a leading German theologian and Pastor rejected most of Jesus miracles. Probably most church goers dont think about them.

5 Philosophers? Again the reaction is very mixed. Keith Ward,Gareth Moore and Richard Swinburne would support the view that miracles are possible. David Hume and Anthony Flew would reject the idea.

6 David Hume Hume believed that miracles are violations of the laws of nature. He felt that the evidence given by witnesses of miracles was unreliable. People who reported miracles were uneducated, untrustworthy and ignorant. Religions had a monopoly on these stories and they cancelled each other out.

7 Sorting Out The Problem Quite a useful book to read is Peter Vardy The Puzzle of God chapter 12. Vardy explains what Hume says and gives some answers to the criticisms. He also outlines the views of Ward, Wiles and Moore.

8 The Question Of Faith How important is religious faith in understanding an action as a miracle? Could two people see the same happening. One believes that it is a miracle brought about by God. The other thinks it was a co-incidence. Do miracles need a believing community?

9 Miracles Bring About Change Sutherland maintains that miracles bring about a change in people. Human beings are always free. The ability of the good to break through into any situation is where the true power of miracle lies. This view of miracle does not need a creator God.

10 Maurice Wiles On Miracles Wiles objects to the idea of a God who interferes with nature. Miracles would have to be infrequent, otherwise they would undermine the laws of nature. That raises the problem of how and when God ought to interfere.

11 Four Possibilities A miracle is a transgression of a law of nature brought about by God. A miracle is an act within the law of nature but a believer sees in it the hand of God. A miracle is an inexplicable event which believers may wish to call a miracle. A miracle brings about a change for the better.

12 YOUR TASK to write two letters The first is to a sceptic who refuses to believe in miracles, thinking it irrational to do so. You are a Catholic theologian who is writing to defend the possibility of miracles.

13 YOUR TASK continued The second is to someone who claims to have received a miracle. You are writing to cast doubt upon their story.

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