Vol. 5, No. 2
~ Page 18 ~
I shall attempt in this paper to provide an adequate definition of what a miracle is, of what the providence of God is, to answer some of the arguments that have been made against the possibility of miracles, and to evaluate some of the evidence for some of the miracles of the Bible.
This paper assumes the existence of God as revealed in the Bible and does not have as its purpose the attempt to prove it, although his existence and the working of miracles in this world are related. I have not the time nor the space in this paper to attempt such a demonstration.
Miracles are not easy to define. In their very nature they are inexplicable. Richard Trench says,
[W]hat we usually term miracles, are in the sacred Scriptures termed sometimes 'wonders,' sometimes 'signs,' sometimes 'powers,' sometimes simply 'works.' Other titles also they bear, but of rarer occurrence; such as will easily range themselves under one or other of these.
A miracle is a wonder (teras) because of the effect it produces on one who witnesses it. It is always joined to one of the other words, usually signs and wonders, never wonders alone. It is not a wonder only, but also a sign (semeia), evidence that the one performing the miracle is a messenger of God. They are so used in the Scriptures: "Long time therefore they tarried there speaking boldly in the Lord, who bare witness unto the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands" (Acts 14:3). "God also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders, and by manifold powers, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to his own will" (Hebrews 2:4). The miracles are termed powers (dunamis) or mighty works of God. "Power" has reference to the cause of the miracle which is originally God himself and dwelt in the first century in Christians through Christ and the Holy Spirit.
"For I will not dare to speak of any things save those which Christ wrought through me, for the obedience of the Gentiles, by word and deed, in the power of signs and wonders, in the power of the Holy Spirit" (Romans 15:18-19).
These three terms, powers (or mighty works), signs and wonders are sometimes found in the same verse of Scripture. "Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God unto you by mighty works and wonders and signs which God did by him in the midst of you, even as ye yourselves know" (Acts 2:22). "Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, by signs and wonders and mighty works" (2 Corinthians 12:12).
Miracle is often defined as being contradictory to the laws of nature. In Hume's famous treatise on miracles, he defined a miracle as "a violation of the laws of nature." Antony Flew, in his article on miracles in the The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, while acknowledging that some theologians disagree with this definition, says, "There would be no point in trying to show in this way that a miracle must ultimately be no violation of regularity unless it were taken for granted that it apparently is such a violation." I can think of a very good reason: Flew and others who take this position attacking Christianity are wrong and to let such an attack against miracles stand would give them a victory they did not earn and a defeat that Christianity does not deserve. Flew should know better. This statement is illogical, (but is typical of the kind of presentation I heard from him in Denton).
The definition of miracle as a "violation of natural law" is to settle the question before its discussion. Defining a miracle as "a violation of the laws of nature" or "a transgression of a law of nature by a particular volition of the Deity, or by the interposition of some invisible agent," Hume called three strikes against the Christian before the latter even had a chance to go to bat. If everything which happens, happens according to natural law, then, by definition, it follows that a miracle cannot happen, for it is contrary to natural law. That is simple enough. If miracles are not even possible, what value is a discussion of their actuality?
In fact, the inclusion of the term "nature," or the expression "laws of nature," in the definition of the word "miracle" has always bothered me, because it has always seemed unnecessarily vague. Even when we name God as the author of nature and the laws of nature, it does not seem to have completely solved the problem. Given the existence of God, who spoke this world and its laws into being, there is no reason to object to the idea of miracles. Miracles in no way contradict God's natural laws. They are simply the introduction of higher laws (or powers) into this natural realm.
If you see from the start how an event could be explained without appeal to divine intervention, you're unlikely to believe an explanation which involves more causes than seem explanatorily necessary. So I am inclined to believe that in the theological sense of 'miracle,' only those events which are the result of God's intervention in nature are miracles proprie loquendo (properly speaking); events . . .mediated by natural causes--are only miracles improprie loquendo. Miracles "improperly speaking" are what I call providence which I discuss later in this paper.
Rudolph Bultmann believed that it was not possible for a modern man, who had seen the marvels of science and technology, to lend credence to the story of the miraculous. "It is impossible to use the electric light and the wireless and to avail ourselves of modern medical and surgical discoveries, and at the same time to believe in the New Testament world of spirits and miracles." We have marvels that would astound Bultmann, and yet millions of educated and sophisticated people believe in the miracles of the Bible. The truth is that Bultman did not want to believe. He did not have a will to believe. The question becomes one of evidence and the will to believe. Those who object to miracles are too often unwilling to look at the evidence for them.
C. S. Lewis says,
I use the word Miracle to mean an interference with Nature by supernatural power. Unless there exists, in addition to Nature, something else which we may call the supernatural, there can be no miracles.
This is a much better definition of miracle.
In trying to define "miracle" nearly thirty years ago, my brothers, father and I came up with this definition: miracles are the obvious intervention of God into the chain of cause and effect that we call natural law. This is not only an attempted definition of "miracle," but of the term "natural law." (Something else that Hume did not believe there was evidence for--except, of course, when he was trying to call miracles into question!) The "chain of cause and effect" seems to be a more definite description than the vaguer "law of nature." At the same time, it defines the connection between the events that occur that "law of nature" does not. Victor Reppert seems to agree at least somewhat: "On my view speaking of miracles as intrusions into or interferences with the natural order by supernatural beings is much preferable to speaking about miracles as violations of the laws of nature." Notice that the earmark of the miracle was the obvious intervention of God. If the event is not obviously the work of God, of his power, it cannot properly be called a miracle.
Since all of nature (and supernature) is the work of God, we must differentiate between miracle (and providence) and how he usually works. This we do by use of the term "intervention." God in the miracle (and in providence) intervenes in the chain of cause and effect that he put into effect when he set the world in operation -- what we term "natural law." When he does this obviously, for the purposes of identifying his Son and confirming his Word, it is a miracle. The purposes of the miracles were to provide evidence that Jesus was who he said he was, and that the apostles were who they said they were. John wrote,
"Many other signs therefore did Jesus in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written, that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye may have life in his name" (John 20:30-31).
The writer of Hebrews says that God bore witness to those who first heard the Word preached by means of "signs and wonders, and by manifold powers, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to his own will" (Hebrews 2:4).
Providence, so far as I am able to determine, is the same intervention of God into the chain of cause and effect, so that something else is caused to happen that would otherwise not have occurred, but in providence his intervention is so hidden that we cannot know when or even if he has acted. We say, as Mordecai said to Esther, "Who knoweth whether thou art not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" (Esther 4:14). We pray in faith and leave the answer of our prayer to God. We should always pray, "Thy will be done." This prayer he will always answer. Obviousness versus hiddenness is the difference between the miracle and providence, not the working of God. Providence is easier to recognize in hindsight than at the moment, but always we should be humble in our supposed identification, for we may always be mistaken.
Providence, therefore, like the miracle, is the purposeful intervention of God into the chain of natural law, but unlike the miracle it is not direct or obvious and, thus, is not a sign. Providence is hidden behind the veil of cause and effect. When God acts providentially, we cannot know at what point in the chain of cause and effect God has intervened or, in any particular instance, if God has intervened. If we could know these things, it would not be providence, but a miracle -- a sign.
Randomness is sheer chance, the sheer accident of what we call "natural law." This surely is how God deals with all men most of the time and the very reason for his natural law. It is objective and impartial toward all.
As an illustration, let me use a quotation in an article from an incident that is now some years in the past. Some of us remember the tragedy that struck one of the congregations in Garland, Texas. During the Sunday morning worship service, the roof collapsed from the accumulated snow, killing a little girl and injuring several other people. One of the elders of that congregation was quoted in the paper as saying, "It was a miracle more were not killed. God was with us." While sympathizing with those who were suffering and realizing that many people are prone to overstatements, there are several things I find disturbing about that remark.
Was it really a miracle? The disaster, like most disasters, could have been worse. Does this make it a miracle? I can find no place in the Bible where a limited disaster is called a miracle. Was it a miracle when the Sanhedrin didn't stone Philip to death as well as Stephen? All miracles were wonderful and extraordinary occurrences, but not all wonderful and extraordinary occurrences are miracles. If many great and wonderful events are not miracles, how much less this disaster in Garland?
In the miracle God makes it obvious that he is the One who has done the thing. As Trench said, "The unresting activity of God, which at other times hides and conceals itself behind the veil of what we term natural laws, does in the miracle unveil itself; it steps out from its concealment, and the hand which works is laid bare." If in the tragedy at Garland, God obviously intervened, where is the evidence? Why was not the building spared? Why was not the life of the little girl spared? To ascribe such a lame "miracle" to God is strange indeed.
I understand the relief and gratitude at escaping from such disaster and the desire to express one's gratitude to God, but "miracle" is an overstatement. God works much of the time by allowing randomness, what we call his natural law, to run its course. Is there no such thing in the life of some people as the natural or coincidental? Must we attribute everything either to the providential or to the miraculous activity of God?
Hume's famous discourse against miracles fairly reeks with bias and hatred. It contains such phrases as "so little worthy of a serious refutation," "founded merely in the testimony of the apostles," "the most arrogant bigotry and superstition," "their impertinent solicitations." Hume uses such expressions as "superstitious delusion," "utterly absurd," "greediness," "credulity," "gross and vulgar passions," "absurdity." His fairhanded objectivity can be seen in such quotes as, "renowned lies, which have spread and flourished to such a monstrous height," "extremely ignorant and stupid," "ready to swallow even the grossest delusion." He kindly calls us, "[f]ools," and accuses us of "holy fraud," "bigotry, ignorance, cunning, and roguery" and "falsehood." He further reveals his bias in such statements as "more properly a subject of derision than of argument," "receive greedily, without examination, whatever soothes superstition, and promotes wonder," "credulity and delusion," "ridiculous stories of men," "reject it without further examination," "never to lend any attention to it," "pretended Christians," "fabulous accounts," "the falsehood of such a book." Such expressions as these brand the essay as prejudiced and the author as embittered. He has the agenda of attacking the proofs of Christianity. The fact that he has been taken seriously for over two hundred years means that he must have, while expressing his venom, struck upon some serious arguments. But is it not clear that anyone else would be discredited by the bias he displays?
To summarize, as fairly as possible, Hume's argument against miracles, let me quote from our textbook:
Hume argues, as we saw, not that a miracle is impossible, but that it is never reasonable for a wise man to believe that a miracle has occurred. For a miracle is a violation of a law of nature, and since the evidence from experience in support of a law of nature is evidence for the view that the events covered by the law are due to natural causes, the evidence against any miracle will likely be very strong. On the other side, the only evidence that supports a miracle is the testimony of those who claim to have witnessed it. But it is always more reasonable to believe that the witnesses were in error than to believe that the miracle occurred, particularly when we take into account the character, lack of education, and number of witnesses to a miracle.
As our textbook points out, one of the weaknesses of Hume's argument is his failure to mention that the corroboration of the circumstantial evidence of surrounding events may serve to verify and confirm eyewitness testimony regarding miracles. In fact, these events may be even stronger. Broad says:
What caused the disciples to believe, contrary to their previous conviction, and in spite of their feeling of depression, that Christ had risen from the dead? Clearly, one explanation is that he actually had arisen. And this explanation accounts for the facts so well that we may at least say that the indirect evidence for the miracle is far and away stronger than the direct evidence.
The second objection mentioned in the textbook to Hume's argument is his over-emphasis on the experience of the regularity of the past. Hume failed to take into account the many exceptions that have been noted by which progress itself is made and by which the possibility of miracles must be admitted.
Norman Geisler in considering Hume's argument has these objections to make:
Hume does not really weigh evidence for miracles; rather, he adds evidence against them. . . . [I]t is "more than probable, that all men must die." But does this not involve weighing evidence to determine whether or not a given person, say Jesus of Nazareth . . . has been raised from the dead. It is simply adding up the evidence of all other occasions where people have died and have not been raised and using it to overwhelm any possible evidence that some person who died was brought back to life. . . . Rational beliefs should not, however, be determined by majority vote. . . Second, this argument equates quantity of evidence and probability. It says, in effect, that we should always believe what is most probable (in the sense of "enjoying the highest odds"). But this is silly. . . . What Hume seems to overlook is that wise people base their beliefs on facts, not simply on odds. . . . Hume's argument confuses quantity of evidence with the quality of evidence. Evidence should be weighed, not added. . . . Third, Hume's policy of "adding" evidence would eliminate belief in any unusual or unique event from the past, to say nothing of miracles.
Richard Otte's analysis of J. L. Mackie's attempt to rehabilitate part of Hume's argument regarding miracles is right on the money. He says that Mackie "commits a simple logical error."
It is important to emphasize Mackie's definition of a law of nature:
a law of nature described the way the world behaves when it is not supernaturally interfered with. For our purposes, a law of nature describes the way the world behaves when God does not interfere. Evidence for a law of nature will be evidence about how the world behaves when God does not intervene. . . . I propose that in most cases our evidence for how the world behaves when God does not intervene is irrelevant to how the world behaves when God does intervene. . . . Just as evidence about how my plumbing behaves when a plumber doesn't interfere is irrelevant to how it behaves when a plumber does interfere, evidence about how the world works when God doesn't intervene is irrelevant to how it will behave when he does intervene. Evidence for a law of nature is evidence about how the world works when God does not intervene, but a miracle is what happens when God does intervene. Since evidence for a law of nature is not evidence about how the world works when God does intervene, it is not evidence against a miracle occurring.
Ruth Weintraub has this to say in partial defense of Hume:
It is true that a miracle, by Hume's definition, contravenes the laws of nature, and cannot, . . . be "naturally explained. But its occurrence is susceptible to an explanation of a sort, an explanation to which Hume's definition of a miracle as "a transgression of a law of nature by a particular volition of the Deity" (1777, p. 115) points. If miracles aren't credible, it must be because the explanation is somehow deficient . . . . The theological explanation of a miracle ("God wished it") brings with it too many new mysteries. Why does God have the desires that he does? How does he impose his will upon the world (Goldman, 1988, p. 212)? to say that he does it by "a simple act of will" (Alston, 1993, p. 79) is not at all explanatory."
Why is it not sufficiently explanatory to attribute a miracle to the will of God? We have only the assertion that it is not sufficiently explanatory. Because some does not totally explain something, does not mean that no explanation, no reason, has been given. No scientific explanation explains everything. We eventually must get back to that which is not explainable--or self-explanatory--God. In the miracle we get to God quickly. Besides who has demanded an explanation for the miracle. Miracles by their very nature are inexplicable. To say that they are the act of God, based on the will of God is sufficient.
C. S. Lewis writes:
The question, "Do miracles occur?" and the question, "Is the course of Nature absolutely uniform?" are the same question asked in two different ways. Hume, by sleight of hand, treats them as two different questions. He first answers, "Yes," to the question whether Nature is absolutely uniform: and then uses this "Yes" as a ground for answering, "No," to the question, "Do miracles occur?" The single real question which he set out to answer is never discussed at all. He gets the answer to one form of the question by assuming the answer to another form of the same question.
To sum up: Hume's arguments seem to consist of bias, begging the question, his failure to mention the corroborating evidence of surrounding events, his over-emphasis on regularity and his consideration of the quantity of the evidence over the quality of the evidence. It is my conclusion that the arguments of Hume are far from conclusive regarding the miracles of the Bible.
One of the attacks that David Hume makes against miracles is that all world religions claim them. "All the prodigies of different religions are to be regarded as contrary facts, and the evidences of these prodigies, whether weak or strong, as opposite to each other." He then goes ahead to make the point that their conflicting claims cancel out one another, that two witnesses in a court of law giving conflicting testimony would both be disregarded by the court.
But this is not necessarily true. Not all witnesses are given equal weight; not all witnesses are equally believable. Some witnesses are obviously credible and some are incredible. Some witnesses have secret motivations or inconsistencies in their testimony. Some have flaws in their characters that render their testimony, at least, questionable.
So it is with the claims of miracles in the other world religions. Many of these religions have no concept of miracle or the supernatural in their thought or history. This is true of the original form of Buddhism, which is totally atheistic. In the years since, Buddhism has accumulated such tales as Buddha having risen into the air shooting out flames of fire and streams of water from his body and walking in the sky, and tossing an elephant a couple of miles though the air with his toe. Such "miracles" are excluded by Buddha's own proclamation. He thought that miracles hindered enlightenment since they encouraged the desire for power.
Confucius and Lao Tzu also discouraged the idea of miracles. Islam has the concept of the miraculous, but Mohammed did not reinforce his claim of authority with such. He acknowledged the miracles of the Bible, but said of himself in regard to his miracle working ability, "Glory to my Lord! am I aught but a moral messenger?" (Surah 17:90-93). For many Muslims "the performance of miracles is a sign that a person's intention is still directed toward worldly approval, not exclusively toward God." Isma'il Faruqi, a Moslem and a scholar, says, "Muslims do not claim any miracles for Muhammad. In their view, what proves Muhammad's prophethood is the sublime beauty and greatness of the revelation itself, the Holy Qur'an, not any inexplicable breaches of natural law which confound human reason." Notice that he lumps himself with the illogical objections of Hume in talking about the "inexplicable breaches of natural law." Sublimity of language does not in itself prove that a thing is from God; else Chaucer, Shakespeare and Milton would be shown to be divine productions.
Hinduism and other types of pantheism, while denying miracles as such, allow for a wide doctrinal diversity and so allow a theoretical basis for miracles. They have to be considered on the evidence for them. The truth is there is much similarity between the evidence for the miracles of the occult and the miracles of the Hindu religion. For instance, the reported rope trick or "miracle" of India.
This story of the Indian rope trick where the magician out in the open throws the rope into the air, the boy climbs up the rope and vanishes, and the rope falls back to the earth, is just that -- a story. No one has seen it. Several professional magicians from the West have spent effort and time there searching for it to no avail. Harry Blackstone, Sr., used to feature a version of it in his stage show, but it was a rigorously controlled version as to its angles, not in the open as in the story.
It has long been my conviction that occultism is nothing but trickery. Magicians know too many ways of fooling people to be easily taken in by the tricks of the occult. So-called mind-readers, fortune-tellers, modern-day prophets, spiritualists, and other practitioners of the occult are either deceivers or deceived. I challenge any of them to do anything that cannot be duplicated by any competent magician. It is a challenge that will go unanswered. The Amazing Randi (James Randi), a professional magician, has had a standing offer of $10,000.00 to anyone who can produce under test conditions occult phenomena. He still has his money.
Some supposed miraculous events are nothing more than the extraordinary control that some have developed over their own body. The remarkable feats of the Yogis are attributable to this. The ability to endure extreme temperatures, hunger, to walk on beds of coals, or undergo pain is not supernatural, just unusual. Harry Houdini trained himself to stay in a sealed coffin underwater longer than was thought possible, simply by controlling his breathing.
Some "healings" are nothing more than natural events. They may be unusual events, they may be coincidental events, but they are natural events, not miracles. Miracles are the obvious intervention of God into the chain of cause and effect.
The pseudo-miracles of the faith healers are not worthy of being considered. They generally "heal" something that cannot be seen, like some kind of an internal condition, or else they claim it will either take time for healing to occur, or the person to be healed does not have enough faith. There is always some excuse. Never do they restore a missing limb. Never do they feed a hungry multitude with a little food. Never do they stop a storm. Never do they walk on the water. Never do they raise the dead. They do not do these things because they cannot do these things and they are too costly or impossible to fake.
The resurrection of Christ is tied to the authenticity of his empty tomb, which in turn is tied to the authenticity of his burial. Let us briefly consider each of these.
The account of the burial of Christ is found in all four of the Gospel records. The differences between the accounts indicate that they do not share exactly the same sources. Mark's account is generally considered earliest and his sources even earlier. This account talks about the high priest (Caiphas) without using his name, indicating that he was still high priest at the time it was compiled. Since Caiphas was high priest from A.D. 18-37, this would date this account of the crucifixion of Christ and the subsequent burial only a very few years later, far too soon for legends or myths to have developed.
Paul also gives confirmation of the burial of Christ:
"For I delivered unto you first of all that which also I received: that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried; and that he hath been raised on the third day according to the scriptures," (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).
Nor is it likely that Joseph of Arimathea, a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin, who buried Jesus in his new tomb, was just made up by the writers of the New Testament. This is especially true considering the fact that the whole Jewish council had sought to put Christ to death in the first place (Mark 14:55, 64; 15:1). There is no other burial story. If his burial in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea were not well-known, no doubt the Jews would have spread about some other story, but it just was not possible. They did what they could do given the facts.
Since Christ was buried, the tomb had to be empty for the Gospel to survive. The Jews as well as the Christians no doubt knew where it was located. They could easily have refuted the story of the resurrection by exhuming the body of Jesus.
The discovery of the resurrection by women makes the account believable. Women possessed a low status in Jewish society and had a lack of qualifications to serve as legal witnesses. The male disciples were in Jerusalem that weekend and there seems to be no good reason for the Gospel writers wanting to humiliate those were the apostles of the church (including two of the writers themselves). In fact, the women found the tomb empty as the Bible relates.
The earliest story that the Jews told admits that the tomb was empty.
"And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave much money unto the soldiers, saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. And if this come to the governor's ears, we will persuade him, and rid you of care. So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying was spread abroad among the Jews, and continueth until this day" (Matthew 28:12-15).
This was the earliest try of the Jews to explain away the empty tomb: His disciples stole the body. Notice how illogical their story is given the facts: they bribe the soldiers to say they were asleep, even though that was a capital offense. The soldiers agree once they are guaranteed protection from the governor. The soldiers are at the tomb for the very purpose of keeping the disciples from stealing the body -- what they said happened. And if they were asleep, how did they know what happened? Sleeping witnesses are a contradiction in terms. If they were asleep, how do they know the body of Christ did not rise from the dead and walk out of the tomb?
In the fifteenth chapter of First Corinthians, we have a list of witnesses who said they saw Christ after he was raised from the tomb. This testimony from Paul is seldom called into doubt even by liberal scholars. It is generally acknowledged that he got his information from Peter and James within three to eight years following the death of Christ. Thus, this material is extremely early, too early to be the result of legend or myth.
Paul lists among the post-resurrection witnesses Cephas (Peter), with whom he met and from whom he must have received this information; the twelve; five hundred brethren at once; to James, the brother of Christ; to all the apostles; and last of all, to Paul. He does not mention, but could have, the appearances to Mary Magdalene (John 20:11-18), the two on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35) and the repeated appearances to the apostles (Acts 1:2-3). He appeared to single persons, two persons, twelve persons and crowds of people, more than 500 at one time, the great part of whom were still alive and could still be interviewed. He appeared at night and in broad daylight. He appeared indoors and outdoors. He invited them to touch him (Luke 24:39-40). He ate with them (Luke 24:41-43). He taught them as he had before his crucifixion (Acts 1:3). They knew whether or not it was Jesus. They were not deceived.
Were they deceivers? If ever there were honest men, these men were honest men. Read their words. They are the standard by which we judge honesty. And they gave their lives for their testimony. They had no earthly reason to lie and many unearthly reasons to confess the lie, if lie it was. But what they said at the first they said at the last. They could not be convinced by poverty, unpopularity, threats, imprisonment, beatings, torture or death to retract a single word of the Gospel.
There is no reasonable explanation of the conversion of two leading men of the first century church, except the truth of the miraculous resurrection of Jesus Christ. I am speaking of James, author of the Book of James, and Saul of Tarsus, later the apostle Paul.
James was the half-brother of the Lord, but he was originally a skeptic and an unbeliever. "For even his brethren did not believe on him" (John 7:5). But following the resurrection of Christ, James became a believer in and a follower of Christ. He later became a leader of the church in Jerusalem and was a major spokesman at the great conference in Jerusalem recorded in Acts 15.
The risen Christ appeared last of all to the persecutor Saul. Nothing else could have changed this rabid Jew. But change him it did for life. He himself performed many miracles in the name of Christ and suffered much. He recorded much of this suffering in 2 Corinthians 11. His life and martyrdom cannot be accounted for without acknowledging the appearance of Jesus Christ to him on the road to Damascus.
The very existence of the church, the New Testament, and the weekly observance of the Lord's Supper add corroboration to the resurrection account. These are things that would otherwise not exist.
Much more could be said. I realize that what is contained in this paper does not cover the subject of miracles adequately, but time and space, much less the purpose of this paper, does not permit.
How important it is for us to remember, as you have pointed out, that philosophy is not just an intellectual game, but a serious pursuit of the truth, and for the Christian what matters is the purpose of the miracles: faith in Jesus Christ. Again as you stressed in your lectures, the miracles are not haphazardly scattered throughout the pages of Scripture. There are perhaps no more than one hundred and ten or twelve miracles mentioned in the entire Bible and these are clustered around the giving of the first and second covenant. They are the special credentials of Christ and the apostles.
I can think of no better way to close this paper than in the words of the apostle John:
"Many other signs therefore did Jesus in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written, that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye may have life in his name" (John 20:30-31).