SRSP 16-19 Topic 1 Unit 1d – Miracles
The term miracle has been used in a number of different ways. In a trivial sense it can mean a spectacular and possibly unexpected event which is nonetheless capable of being understood without reference to God. In religious language ‘miracle’ usually refers to an event which is regarded as extraordinary and striking and which is seen as being intended by God as a special disclosure of his power and purpose.
Hume’s definition of a miracle as ‘a violation of the laws of nature’ has shaped modern discussions. It is important to realise that not all miracles are of this kind. Some are apparent violations of so-called laws of nature. Others may be explicable within the laws of nature, but are nonetheless seen as ‘signals of transcendence’, pointing to divine activity. Beliefs about miracles are closely tied to one’s worldview. A key empirical question is, ‘Do miracles actually happen?’ If they do, an important question arises, ‘Why does God appear to be so selective in his miraculous activity, choosing to help some and not others?’
This unit consists of 4 lessons and is suitable for students aged from 16 to 19 years
- What do we understand by ‘miracle’?
- Is God subject to so called ‘laws of nature’?
- If miracles happen, what is the significance of this for science and for religion?
Some of the materials can be viewed on screen and some can be downloaded for editing or printing. To view the pdf files you need Adobe Acrobat Reader. See the about section for more details.
Essay on miracles by Mike Poole
Hume on miracles
Lesson Plan: Resurrection
Video interview with Petra Owen