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pgpckt's Journal: What is a Miracle? 3

Journal by pgpckt

One does not have to search very hard on cnn.com today to see mentions of the "miracle" in Pennsylvania. In fact, there is a huge banner across the top of the main page of cnn.com that reads "Special Report: Quecreek Miner Miracle" and the word "miracle" is in reversed colors (white on blue instead of blue on white), effectively putting the word "Miracle" in bold font.

I am a Christian. I believe in God. I believe in miracles. That's why it really pisses me off (one of my pet peeves) when someone refers to a non-miracle event as a miracle. It offends my religion. It cheapens true miracles. It cheapens God. It is like saying God's name as a swear. Do it enough and God loses his' reverence to you. Calling everything a miracle makes miracles meaningless. Let's take a look at the 1st definition for miracle from dictionary.com.

miracle Pronunciation Key (mr-kl)
n.

An event that appears inexplicable by the laws of nature and so is held to be supernatural in origin or an act of God: "Miracles are spontaneous, they cannot be summoned, but come of themselves" (Katherine Anne Porter).

Inexplicable by the laws of nature? I think not. Here is an interesting contradiction too. Try this page at cnn.com. Look at the headline in bold text. Man behind the miracle? Man? Miracle? Um...did I miss something here?

"God gave us a miracle", or so says the front page of cnn.com right now. What if only 7 survived? Or 3? Or none? Would it still be a miracle? Would people still thank God? Or would insults be thrown at God? I think the latter. People thank God when times are good, curse him when times are bad. One needs to only read the book of Job from the old testament. Just read the first 22 verses if the bible isn't your thing. That is the way real Christians act. Thankful of God despite hard circumstances.

"How could God allow this?" was a popular cry on Sept. 12th. Today, people are thanking God. People do not understand the nature of God, nor the fact that man has free will. Man, not God, was responsible for Sept. 11th. Man, not God, was responsible for saving these coal miners. Assigning God praise/blame based on the fickle circumstances of the moment is wrong. God has eternal character. God is good. God is just. God is loving. God is judge.

Calling everything a miracle and assigning God attributes of the moment is why so many people are confused about God. People don't believe God could send someone to hell because God is loving. But people conveniently forget God is also righteous and a judge. People blame God for the bad and thank God for the Good, yet people don't really worship God. If they did, public thanks of God like those that are being given today would be given every day.

God, if you believe he exists, is by definition God! Therefore, the appropriate level of respect and reverence and worship should be given at all times. When things are good, praise God. When things are bad, praise God. God is eternal. Do not let the circumstances of the moment blind you to the true essence of God. And save the word "Miracle" for when the real thing comes along.

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What is a Miracle?

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  • I wouldn't look to dictionary.com for theology. The definition you've chosen seems to be a strongly anti-religious one. Of the definitions given at dictionary.com, this one seems best:

    n 1: any amazing or wonderful occurrence 2: a marvellous event manifesting a supernatural act of God

    The definition you chose basically says that a miracle is a catch-all for things we can't (yet?) explain. Do you really think that determining whether an event is a miracle is a purely scientific consideration? And if this is the definition, it is impossible to ever be certain that an event is a miracle -- just because we can't find the scientific explanation at the moment doesn't mean that there isn't one

    If you believe that God created the universe, then the resulting laws of nature/science are part of that miracle. If God can use anything to achieve God's will, then why not the laws of nature? Take some major miracle from the Bible, let's say the parting of the Red Sea. If some scientific explanation were discovered -- let's say that it suddenly sponateously happens again when the right environmental circumstances arise -- does that mean that it was not a miracle?

    How do you know there was no scientific explanation for each and every one of the miracles described in the Bible?

    The very existence of creation and of life is a miracle.

    To call the rescue of the miners a miracle is to say that God kept them alive. Is this not accurate?

    It seems to me that when the Bible talks about a miracle, it means that God did something extraordinary that was of benefit to God's people, and they are not necessarily otherwise inexplicable even with the knowledge they had at the time.

    • I wouldn't look to dictionary.com for theology. The definition you've chosen seems to be a strongly anti-religious one. Of the definitions given at dictionary.com, this one seems best:

      n 1: any amazing or wonderful occurrence 2: a marvellous event manifesting a supernatural act of God

      Part 2 of the definition you picked seems to match the definition I picked. A supernatural act of God...I can accept that. Does this qualify as a miracle then? Which part was supernatural? The big drill that rescued them? The people who worked thru hardship to rescue the stranded? The people who used scientific equipment to solve the problem? Where is the divine intervention?

      If you believe that God created the universe, then the resulting laws of nature/science are part of that miracle. If God can use anything to achieve God's will, then why not the laws of nature?

      Ok, I will accept that a miracle is any divine intervention, even when said intervention is through "conventional" means.

      Take some major miracle from the Bible, let's say the parting of the Red Sea. If some scientific explanation were discovered -- let's say that it suddenly spontaneously happens again when the right environmental circumstances arise -- does that mean that it was not a miracle?

      It's a miracle. Divine intervention is pretty obvious. Timing of this event was perfect. If it was purely natural, the odds of it occurring were nil. The fact it occurred shows divine intervention. The seas parting is a pretty damn rare event. The fact it occurred at that particular moment, exactly when it was needed, shows divine intervention IMHO. What part of the Pennsylvania operation was extraordinary? From the way it looked to me, nothing "miraculous" occurred.

      The very existence of creation and of life is a miracle.

      Since I believe the bible literally, the creation of matter out of nothing (ex nihilo) is defiantly a miracle. Violates the first law of thermodynamics. The fact that it occurred directly in the face of what is possible makes it a miracle. Were some laws of physics violated in the mining rescue?

      To call the rescue of the miners a miracle is to say that God kept them alive. Is this not accurate?

      Only if you are also willing to accept that if they all died, it would have been because God willed it, and that would have been a miracle. If they all had died, do you think people would have called it a miracle?

      It seems to me that when the Bible talks about a miracle, it means that God did something extraordinary

      What about the heavy machinery and dedicated man power saving these men was out of the ordinary?

      I will say it again. Miracles do happen. Miracles are diving intervention. The creation of the world was a miracle, because it violates laws of physics. The parting of the Red Sea was a miracle, because even if it can be scientifically explained, the timing was impossibly extraordinary. Jesus rising from the dead after being dead for 3 days was extraordinary, because no explainable phenomenon could do that today, let alone 2000 years ago. The mining rescue saving 9 men was lucky. But it wasn't a miracle IMHO. But prove me wrong...show the divine intervention that surpasses common wisdom. 9 men surviving 77 hours without food or water is not unlikely. Drilling thru the earth is easy and regular. People coming together using science and raw effort to solve problems is commonplace.

  • Might I also add the inappropriate use of the word 'hero'? What they did was extraordinary. Heroic? No. I doubt the Vikings would sing great songs of guys sitting underground for three days.

    It's not as if the English language is devoid of terms to explain the accomplishments of those above and below ground in this event. But people are lazy, and these terms resonate and make the public feel good about themselves and the world. CNN is as much entertainment as it is news (and this applies to Fox, MSNBC, the three biggies, etc.)

    Calling the event miraculous takes away from the efforts of the engineers and drillers who figured out how to rescue them. IMHO, that is the worst effect of the inappropriate use of the word 'miracle'.

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