I hope I’m not coming across as (too) pedantic, but your thoughts here raised more questions than answered my concerns. I’ll limit myself to three observations, for you (or anyone else) to weigh in on if/as desired:
I humbly object to your categorization that some miracles are not “physically impossible,” and your examples I fear miss the point:
No one would refer to catching a metric ton of fish in a net, or a fish having eaten a coin, as miraculous (without exaggeration of the term) . unlikely, perhaps striking, but not miraculous.
The miracle in these two events is involved in the fact Jesus predicted them. For me on shore to tell a fisherman in a boat he’ll immediately catch a metric ton of fish on the starboard side of his boat, or for me to tell you that the next fish you catch will have a coin in its mouth, is most certainly impossible according to our understanding of how things work.
As for Isaiah, who would ever have called that a miracle?
I think I understand the philosophical issue with a “mechanistic” universe. However, If the universe isn’t “mechanistic” to some degree, how could we do science? Or for that matter, how could we recognize a miracle? I prefer descriptors as “orderly” or “regularity” than “mechanistic,” because of the implications, but if there weren’t some kind of regular, constant, entirely predictable order we could neither do science nor recognize miracles. As C. S. Lewis observed,
”We have already seen that if you begin by ruling out the supernatural you will perceive no miracles. We must now add that you will equally perceive no miracles until you believe that nature works according to regular laws. If you have not yet noticed that the sun always rises in the East you will see nothing miraculous about his rising one morning in the West.”
So I’m just not sure I understand the practical distinction you are making? What, specifically, is the difference between a “mechanistic” universe with “natural laws” and, say, an “orderly” universe wherein we “describe” its “regularity”
But your perspective here I where I take greatest issue.
First of all, theologically… what theologian of any stripe would classify the creation itself, or the design of humans in particular, as having “no relevant connection to signs and wonders of the Kingdom of God?” Certainly not Moses (“Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion…”); not David (“I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…”); not Paul (“his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made…”); not Christ (“he who created them from the beginning made them male and female…”), etc.
Secondly, though, this seems to make recognition of God’s activity entirely dependent on the subjective beliefs of the observer. If someone recognizes “relevance” to the kingdom of God in nature, then it is appropriate to be satisfied with a miracle as the explanation? however, if some scoffer had witnessed Jesus feed the five thousand, but he did not see a relevant connection to the kingdom of god from Christ, that person would be justified in continuing to pursue naturalistic explanations rather than attribute it to a miracle?
Hence, my basic objection still stands… Even if God had intervened miraculously in creation and the design of creatures in a way that were objectively detectable… so long as someone believed that these events had no relevant connection to the kingdom of God, they would continue to pursue natural explanations as inifinitum and never recognize the miracle… not because the miracle was in fact undetectable, but because of that individual’s philosophical refusal to recognize it as such.