Re: Response to Howard on Tillich & Bultmann

From: D. F. Siemens, Jr. (
Date: Thu May 22 2003 - 23:43:00 EDT

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    On Thu, 22 May 2003 11:22:32 -0600 "Rich Blinne" <>
    > Locke defined miracles in terms of human perception given his
    > philosophical
    > school of empiricism. Those who hold to his basic definition may not
    > also
    > hold to his empiricism. Sorry for the confusion here. I am sure
    > that you
    > could craft a definition that is not necessarily tied to Locke's
    > school of
    > thinking. My own definition would include a claim of Divine
    > imprimatur
    > coordinated with the unexplainable and that according to universal
    > judgment.
    > The source of my definition comes from what the Bible calls signs
    > and
    > wonders. The sign part is important because their is an implicit
    > message of
    > the supernatural event. Content-free supernatural events don't
    > qualify.
    > Dembski may also hold to this technical definition and since
    > bacteria have
    > yet to claim to be messengers of God :-) it would make ID
    > non-miraculous.
    > The reason why miracles necessarily must be supernatural is their
    > purpose.
    > If an alleged miracle can be explained by the natural order, the
    > messenger
    > whose message is benefited by the miracle may not have the Divine
    > accreditation that he claims. Furthermore, when miracles are
    > rejected that
    > rejection is used to reject the event described in Scripture. For
    > example,
    > the Bible claims Jesus rose from the dead and that violates the laws
    > of
    > nature. If the supernatural does not exist then the account either
    > has no
    > meaning or a purely subjective or symbolic one. To be honest, I
    > have more
    > respect for someone who says the account is just plain wrong than
    > one who
    > claims that this was some myth that I should base my life on.
    > To sum up, all miracles must necessarily be detectably supernatural
    > but
    > there is no other act of God that necessarily must be detectably
    > supernatural. Conversion is a corner case in the sense that is
    > supernatural
    > because of the agency of the Holy Spirit but is not detectable as
    > supernatural, particularly by third parties. It must be supernatural
    > but it
    > may not be detectably so.

    I fear you have not looked carefully at the use of the Hebrew and Greek
    terms. Many miracles were not so labeled, and at least two signs were
    acts God commanded prophets to do--go naked and get an iron pot. Numerous
    miracles seem to be natural events whose timing was special, like the
    wind preceding the crossing of the Red Sea. A model shows that a
    sustained wind would bare a sill across the sea which would allow a
    crossing on dry land. When the wind ended, the sea would almost
    instantaneously return to drown later crossers.

    Thinking in terms of the supernatural for miracles seems to be a much
    later (medieval ?) approach. My feeling that we might get more mileage
    with labels like "expected" and "unexpected."

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