Re: [asa] Miracles and God of the Gaps

From: Murray Hogg <>
Date: Tue Jan 27 2009 - 14:57:00 EST wrote:
> I don't think that your use of the term "miracle" above is appropriate.
> Miracle to me has a specific theological meaning which is that of a
> "Sign" -- a specific event that God uses to reveal something about
> God's character or will. However, I do agree that God's providential
> action in and through creation is not different substantially from
> "miraculous" action. The only difference is if it is being used by God
> as a sign or not. God is not somehow "more" involved in a miraculous
> event than in the continuous upholding of Created reality. "Miracles"
> (that is signs) described in scripture include events that are
> perfectly understandable in term of natural cause and effect.

I think this is a very good point!

The term "miracle" should properly be reserved for an event which has "revelatory context" or is accompanied by "divine disclosure" - i.e. in which something of God's character and/or will is revealed. And that revelation, it should be noted, is often provided in the form of an authoritative pronouncement regarding the meaning or significance of the miracle. The pronouncement doesn't necessarily occur in the immediate context - for example, in John's Gospel Jesus doesn't always explain what his signs mean at the time he does them, but in the context of Jesus ministry and John's Gospel as a whole such an explanation is provided.

By contrast, the rather loose usage of the term "miracle" to denote an unexplained event should, I think, be avoided. It's an understandable usage, to be sure, but not theologically useful.

I think - to make a very brief suggestion - that one of the reasons we fall into God-of-the-gap type arguments is that we don't ask whether a particular phenomenon is accompanied by divine disclosure. Perhaps the rule should be to err on the side of caution and only announce "God did it" when God himself makes clear that he did?


To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Tue Jan 27 14:57:26 2009

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Tue Jan 27 2009 - 14:57:26 EST