Re: Creationists Running for School Board (miracles)

From: Keith Miller (
Date: Wed Sep 24 2003 - 14:16:54 EDT

  • Next message: Ted Davis: "Re: Creationists Running for School Board (miracles)"

    > Let me take another direction to get to the same issue (I think). Suppose,
    > Keith, that you and I were with the women who went to annoint Jesus' body
    > that Sunday morning. Or, that we were with the men in the "upper room" when
    > Jesus appeared and showed himself to Thomas. To the best of my knowledge,
    > Keith, you believe as I do, that these stories are substantively true--the
    > women went to the right place and Jesus was gone, the men did come to their
    > senses and recognized Jesus actually standing in their midst.
    > If we'd been there and experienced these things with them, would we with
    > our present understanding of "science" conclude that we had seen a miracle?
    > ted

    There are a bunch of definitional issues here. Firstly, based on my reading
    of scripture, I would define "miracle" as a sign intended by God to reveal
    his character or communicate his will. A "miracle" in this sense does not
    need to break the continuity of cause-and-effect processes. There are many
    accounts in scripture that are of this nature. The calming of the sea by
    Jesus is one example that comes to mind. There is no reason to require that
    any break in natural causality be invoked.

    Secondly, science is a continuing process of discovery and theory
    construction and reevaluation. Despite some claims to the contrary, I do
    not believe we are anywhere close to a comprehensive understanding of the
    nature of the universe and it processes and properties. If we define
    "miracle" as that which we cannot explain using "natural" processes then one
    centuries (or one decades) "miracle" is another's explained natural

    However, as I use the term a "miracle" will remain a miracle even if it is
    given a completely thorough cause-and-effect explanation. In fact, this is
    one of the issues that lies at the root of my rejection of the theological
    foundation for ID. It tends to cede over to the naturalists all events with
    well-understood natural explanations. This point has already been made well
    by Howard.

    Now back to your specific question. Jesus' resurrection and appearance to
    the disciples was a miracle and always will be a miracle. However, its
    importance as a miracle has little or nothing to do with whether or not we
    have a cause-and-effect explanation for it. Will a plausible explanation
    exist for it in 100 years, in 200 years? I have no idea -- and I don't
    think it matters at all.

    A last point -- "science" as science can never conclude a "miracle" (in the
    sense of a divine intervention) occurred, it can only plead ignorance.



    Dr. Keith B. Miller Department of Geology Thompson Hall 108 Kansas State University Manhattan, KS 66506-3201 ph: (785) 532-2250 webpage:

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