Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Book Reflections: Miracles

Do you believe in miracles?  Who can forget the famous line from sports broadcaster Al Michaels after the U.S. hockey team's stunning upset of Russia in the 1980 Olympic games?  I just finished reading, "Miracles," by C.S. Lewis.  I can honestly say that I never spent much time thinking about the idea of miracles.  I have used the word before, but I never really stopped to think about what it really means to be a miracle.  I think people often say events or things are miracles without really understanding the deeper meaning of what they are implying with that statement.  People tend to fall into one of two camps, one group of people believes in miracles and the other group does not believe in miracles.  Of those two groups, people can be further divided.  Some who believe in miracles believe that most everything is a miracle and some others may believe in miracles but believe them to be very rare occurances.  C.S. Lewis takes an in depth look at the idea of miracles and defends his belief in miracles in very much the same way that he defended his belief in Christianity in his book Mere Christianity; by first addressing all of the common arguements against the idea of miracles.  This method of defending a point of view after addressing all the major arguements against it proves to be very effective.

Before a person can properly answer the question of whether or not they believe in miracles, they must first fully understand the definition of a miracle.  The dictionary definition of a miracle is an effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause.  Now that we know the definition of a miracle, C.S. Lewis starts at the most basic levels of this understanding and builds his case for miracles.  He discusses the story of creation, naturalism, rationalism, and much more.  He discusses the Christian belief in the most famous and historical miracles, namely the miracle of God becoming man.  He often starts with looking at these questions from the perspective of an atheist or an unbeliever.  He makes a compelling argument for why Christians believe in God and why Christians believe in a personal God who made everything and who loves us beyond all compare.  He makes a case for God's Divine intervention in extraordinary cases which can not be explained by human rationale.  To believe in miracles means that you believe in God, you believe in a natural order of nature (because if there was no ordinary there can be no extraordinary), you believe that God is the creator of nature and that nature is not God, and you believe that God has the power to do things beyond our comprehension or understanding.  We personally may never witness a miracle or we may be witness to a miracle without even knowing it or we may believe some event to be a miracle only to later discover that there is a rational explanation for the event.  However, if we believe in God and we believe that God is the maker of all things, how can we not believe in miracles and the idea of something extraordinary and supernatural?  If God created nature, does he not have the power over nature?  If God created us and he gave us the gift of reason, is he not capable of doing things beyond our reason?  I say God is capable of anything. 

Your thoughts are welcome.  Feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts on miracles.  Do you believe in miracles?  Why or why not?  I look forward to hearing your thoughts. 


AquaJane said...

I think of "divine coincidences" as miracles, too. For example, a check arrives in the mail 10 minutes after you pray for rent/tuition/food money, and guess what, the amount is exactly what you need. Only God can orchestrate stuff like that.

Anonymous said...

There are no such things as miracles, that word to me sounds like Magic hope, wishing, back then people didn't have that much knowledge they had to find some type of word to make since of what the hell was going on. Did you know when Africans see a plan go past they think its gods willing his magic then they jump up and down because they think its a sign, when it really a jet going to blow some of their people up. because they don't have the knowledge that people like them, and me and you can build a thing that can fly. how can you believe in something that changed, been buried and burned of time and still believe when sooooo many missing pieces