What Does a "Miracle" Mean to You?


(George Brooks) #21

And so… for you… all of creation is a miracle. That’s very helpful. I’m glad you clarified all that for your audience.


#22

I wouldn’t have a problem with adding “things we are emotionally attached to and inspired by” on the list of miracles. Words are allowed to have more than one meaning.


#23

How are you coming up with this probability?

If you shuffle a deck of cards and deal out 52 cards the order of those cards has a probability of 8 x 10^67, which is a highly improbable result. Is that a miracle?[quote=“still_learning, post:16, topic:36774”]
I think God can, and does things that are statistically improbable, and He does things that appear to violate our laws and constants.
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I have yet to see evidence of God doing things that violate known physical laws, but your beliefs certainly are pretty common.


#24

No, again, not my words. I was saying I simply think that is where that saying came from.

I have definitely seen things occur that I can’t explain. I am not saying there is no explanation, but I can’t at this time. I don’t think you probably ever will see God do a thing that violates a know physical law.

John 12:37-40 Even after Jesus had performed so many signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. 38 This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet:

“Lord, who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”[a]

39 For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere:

40
“He has blinded their eyes
and hardened their hearts,
so they can neither see with their eyes,
nor understand with their hearts,
nor turn—and I would heal them.”[b]

God wants you to want to know Him through all of the miracles He already did. The creation of the universe itself is a God acting outside of physics, before He created physics. Just think, if a being could do all in the universe that He already did, do you really think that seeing another sign would turn you? You are trying to believe in God on your terms, and that will never happen. However, if you open your mind, and seek to know your Creator, then He will do a miracle in you.


(George Brooks) #25

@still_learning

You do understand, yes?, that virtually all the Christian supporters of Evolution also believe in the miraculous - - using any definition you like.

I’m reaelly not sure what exactly you are trying to demonstrate or prove by your continued investment in this topic.

Look in a dictinoary.,

There is a definition for just about any sense of the word miracle you like. And all of the meanings are valid.

The most productive part of this discussion should be examining which meaning of the word miracle is relevant to the discussion of Evolution and the natural processes that God has engaged to produce humanity.

Below is @AndrewF 's opening post for this thread; he acknowledges that this “isn’t science” and he’d like to know everyone’s interpretation.

But I don’t believe he needs for you to prove everyone else’s sense of the word is somehow wrong.


#26

I am more interested in what you mean by babies being a 1 in a billion chance. What did you mean by that?[quote=“still_learning, post:24, topic:36774”]
I have definitely seen things occur that I can’t explain. I am not saying there is no explanation, but I can’t at this time. I don’t think you probably ever will see God do a thing that violates a know physical law.
[/quote]

That’s a very fair statement. Where atheists and theists seem to part ways is that atheists stay at “it hasn’t been explained” while theists tend to jump to the conclusion that God was involved, and it is therefore explained. However, I think atheists and theists could probably both agree that a fortunate, improbably, and unexplained occurrence could be defined as a miracle without the extra trappings of the supernatural or religious faith.[quote=“still_learning, post:24, topic:36774”]
God wants you to want to know Him through all of the miracles He already did. The creation of the universe itself is a God acting outside of physics, before He created physics. Just think, if a being could do all in the universe that He already did, do you really think that seeing another sign would turn you? You are trying to believe in God on your terms, and that will never happen. However, if you open your mind, and seek to know your Creator, then He will do a miracle in you.
[/quote]

The question atheists tend to ask is how you could distinguish between God creating and God not creating. How do you distinguish between nature acting all on its own without God and God acting through nature. In my experience, that is where faith comes in.


#27

That may be true being we are on the BioLogos forum, but that wasn’t part of the original post.

That is why I shared my explanation.

I would like to ask everyone if I come off this way? Or is it just how @gbrooks9 perceives me? I feel frequently that he feels I am attacking him or his beliefs and I do not know how to word something as to show it is my personal opinion (not fact as spoken by a great authority, of which I am not), and I even just textual brainstorming in my journey to learn more about God.

This would probably be a better discussion in the “pre-term baby” thread. As you compare 1 sperm making it out of the hundreds of million, to a specific hand dealt to a party from a deck of cards. In that statistical chances of that same hand being dealt is highly improbable, but in being dealt was nothing notable.

Do I think God has a hand in every birth? If God does assign souls, to zygotes or embryos in week 5 (some arbitrary number) maybe not. If the soul is a genetic ‘reaction’ that occurs from a zygote, then perhaps not. But if God made sure that specific sperm met that egg, then perhaps the chances of that exact sperm meeting that egg is a highly improbable miracle. But if God is in control, than anything highly improbable would be extremely likely, if one has the power to influence and make certain things occur. You can start another thread for that if you like.

Though I guess that is the odds of you being born, not just a baby “In a recent talk at TEDx San Francisco, Mel Robbins, mentioned that scientists estimate the probability of your being born at about one in 400 trillion.”

I don’t think people are referring to a human in the early stage of life (which isn’t very improbable at all, it is very likely, something like 4 born every second. I think they are referring to the individual when they say a baby is a miracle. That is why many are against abortion, they aren’t looking at it like a small human, 3 more were made that second. They are thinking about it as a person, a 1:400 trillion odds person.

I don’t know, one highly improbable thing I can think of. I was in Kuwait (waiting a few days for transit), on the way to Iraq as a 20 year old, new to the unit, didn’t know anyone in it), fresh in the military, trying to be strong, but scared out of my mind of the unknown I’m about to experience. There was massive tents of like 100-200 beds in each tent, and probably like 20 tents or more? There was no assignments, we just walked into the first tent we saw, and picked the first bunk we wanted. I picked one, sat laid my head down to rest (after some 40 hours of travels). I looked up and a lock was placed on the springs of the bunk above me. I had nothing else to do, I thought I might see if I could figure out this combination of only 3 loops of 9. Sure a 1:1000 chance of getting it right on the first try (which I did, as it was a number that associated with something important), but that isn’t that statistically improbable. You add that bunk, in that tent, or even taking those travel means (different ways to get there), or if it was a different day, it could have been taken and I wouldn’t have laid there. So I am no statistician, but I think the probability starts to increase quite high.

That was a miracle to me that I heard God saying, “I am with you, you are not alone, even way out here away from everyone you knew”.

Or meeting a person online who I became friends with on a car enthusiast forum. Traveling the US for business, decided to meet up with him person and grab some food. He had a girlfriend staying with him, who had a daughter, who happened to be there, whom I happened to meet. God told me “you just met your wife”. Who 1 year later, became my wife. It wasn’t an audio I heard from God, it was just an indescribable certainty placed in my heart/head.

Sure none of that is scientific proof. I am not even sure I would classify that as a miracle, rather, God’s work in my life.

So no, I would not agree that a fortunate, improbable, unexplained occurrence could be defined as a miracle, and it has the ‘trappings’ of religious faith, as my personal fortunate, improbable, unexplained occurrence had great evidence of religious faith.

If you want to call that a miracle, I don’t mind. No one owns the definition of that word. I personally think it is God’s work revealed in a tangible form. I base that definition off of mostly the miracles performed by Jesus. I think Jesus was 100% human, and can’t violate laws of physics. But like Paul or Elijah, were able to be used by God to perform a miracle.

Does the Bible even use the word miracle? I know it uses “sign/s”. As in sign from God, which makes a pretty clear definition.

I will use a silly analogy. How do you know milk is bad? I asked that question to find out if my milk was bad as it was a few days past it’s expiration date. It didn’t smell great, but though I enjoy the taste (with things) I never thought it smelled good. But I am told when it goes bad, you will know! Sometimes I freeze things to keep longer, and then thaw, so the expiration date is never right, so I have a hard time knowing if it is bad. You can go a month past the expiration date if you froze and thawed the milk, I can confirm that. I don’t know how much longer I am willing to try though.

I guess when God does intervene, you will know. I assume you don’t believe Moses parted the red sea. But if he did and you saw it, that would be a time that, you would know.


#28

Another way to look at it is that the act of shuffling and dealing cards nearly guarantees that a highly improbably event will occur. The same goes for reproduction. If an event is nearly guaranteed to occur I don’t view it as being miraculous in the improbable sense.

This is also called the Sharpshooter fallacy. This is where a sharpshooter claims he can hit a target the size of a quarter from a distance of a mile with the first shot. Someone bets him $100 he can’t do it. The sharpshooter takes aim at a dense forest of trees and fires a shot. After searching for a few hours he finally finds his bullet lodged in a tree. He paints a quarter sized bulls eye around the bullet hole and collects his $100.

That is essentially what you are doing with the 1 in a billion baby. If there were only 1 sperm out of billions that would have resulted in a baby, then you would have a miracle, but this isn’t the case. The very fact that billions of sperm can produce a baby with a given egg almost guarantees that an improbable event will occur. I wouldn’t consider that to be a miracle (again, in the improbable sense).[quote=“still_learning, post:27, topic:36774”]
You add that bunk, in that tent, or even taking those travel means (different ways to get there), or if it was a different day, it could have been taken and I wouldn’t have laid there. So I am no statistician, but I think the probability starts to increase quite high.
[/quote]

You would need to balance that with all of the other times that something probable happened. Part of a gambling addiction is the human tendency to remember winners while forgetting losers. This is what causes a gambler to keep gambling because they have a distorted view of how many times they have won and lost. The same applies to many events in life.


#29

Fair enough, I’m tracking what you are saying here.

But if there happened to be a quarter glued to that tree that he happened to hit by that bullet, that sounds more like 1: 400 trillion. Which again, on an individual level, is a miracle (in the improbable sense) and where I guess that saying came from.

I understand this concept, but I don’t think this is relative to what I said. How many times did I forget that a potentially highly improbable outcome was attempted and failed? Like the times I got a ticket? Not for recklessly speeding, but for traveling over the speed limit with the flow of traffic and you getting picked out of the lot? You must have been in the wrong place at the wrong time kind of thing? I remember those. Or are you saying every time I pass a cop and don’t get pulled over, that is one statistical attempt, that doesn’t result in the improbable outcome?

Who tries to guess a lock combination, that sounds a bit psycho to me. I was sleep deprived, but that is an odd thing to do. I probably wold have given up after 5 or so tries. Why was this even important? If I got it on the second try, it probably wouldn’t mean much. But on the first try?

I was a 26 year old, who never dated before ( I know I’m odd), though attracted to females, none must have sparked my interest enough to date them. And after meeting this women, I knew she would be my wife?


(George Brooks) #30

@still_learning

The answer is no. Your description of probabilitiy is erroneous.

But, you can still call it a miracle if you want … even if it is something most men and women have no problem accompllishing in this world.


(Phil) #31

Enjoyed your stories of miracles in your life. I can understand the feeling of God’s presence, as when I was baptized at about age 10 in a little country church, afterwards the pastor commented that that was the coldest water he had ever been in, and I was puzzled, as I did not feel cold at all. But it was , as the water heater was out, and this was late winter in the Texas panhandle. A skeptic would say it was just my mind blocking it out, but I felt it was divine intervention, and still do, especially on those days that are dark.
Another miracle was when a friend of ours son was diagnosed with a childhood cancer, and when definitive surgery was planned, the tumor was gone. Again a skeptic would say that that particular tumor goes away about 15% of the time, and they would be correct, but God used it to bring the father to Christ, so I count it as miraculous, not by the healing but by the effect.
When we look at miracles, I tend to like the definition given at the start of this thread by Mervin:
,[quote=“Mervin_Bitikofer, post:2, topic:36774”]
a sign that points toward God; something extraordinary (in our perspective) that stands apart from God’s ordinary, day-to-day
[/quote]

Since we are on this site, I then ask myself how that applies to such things as age of the earth, the fall of man and creation, and the things we see in creation that are incompatible with a worldwide flood. Especially with the flood, I cannot see how the trillions of little miracles that would be necessary for making creation as we see it are compatable with pointing toward God, as such deception would only point away. We have beat that to death on other posts, but thought it relevant to the discussion of what a miracle is, and the meaning it has.


(Neal Heires) #32

I am just finishing C.S. Lewis’s book Miracles. I heady read for sure, but in summary, he suggests (if I am paraphrasing correctly) that a miracle is any action that causes a change that would not normally occur in the “Natural” process. Indeed man can do miracles by creating a cell phone. But indeed getting to God’s miracles, you especially have the Great Miracle of the Resurrection, and several others, as God is a living God that acts in our world, as Sovereign Lord.
Regarding “providence”, he commented on how some people in his time suggested that the weather conditions that allowed the British army to escape at Dunkirk was providence. He was firm on the point that this was God’s hand in Nature and is indeed another type of miracle.
I have experienced my own miracles, which skeptics can claim are coincidences. But I know otherwise. I try to keep a log of them so when the world tries to drown out God’s existence, I can look to them and say “but God!”


(Bill Wald) #33

Since the development of quantum mechanics and experiments that violate Newtonian mechanics, I have concluded that a miracle is a very, very highly improbable event.

When I was in grade school I understood the basics of radio vacuum tubes and circuit design. Then transistors came along that were quantum devises and didn’t “compute” to me. My Dad was a lab tech at Bell Labs and I built a transistor amplifier in the early 1950’s I understood “how” it worked but not “why” it worked. Still don’t understand why.


#34

Miracle of biological life.

Miracle of birth ergo my hats off to women, for what appears to me, to be a miracle. that. they can carry the fetus/baby around for 9 months and somehow get that baby out. for all those many years. without a C-section.

Miracle of humans ability to access metaphysical-1, mind/intellect/concepts.