The Possibility of Miracles

Edited by Daniel Von Wachter (International Academy of Philosophy In The Principality of Liechtenstein)
About this topic
Summary Some have argued that miracles are impossible because the laws of nature or the causal structure of the world leaves no room for this. Others have held that the existence of probabilistic, chancy processes makes miracles possible. A third position is that even without probabilistic processes there is room for miracles. This category contains also texts that investigate whether there is ’room’ for miracles and how they fit into the causal structure of the world.
Key works That miracles are impossible has been claimed by Spinoza unknown, ch. 6, Voltaire 1972 (‘Miracles’) and Feuerbach 1843, ch. 13. More recently, many members of the Divine Action Project have assumed that miracles are impossible. See Russell et al 1993. The possibility of miracles has been defended by Swinburne 1970 and Larmer 1988. Fales 2009 argues that a non-temporal God cannot intervene. von Wachter 2009 argues that miracles are also possible if there are no probabilistic processes and that miracles are not violations of the laws of nature.
Introductions Encyclopedia: McGrew 2011, § 3.1.1. Treatise: Larmer 1988.
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  1. added 2020-04-15
    The Implausibility and Low Explanatory Power of the Resurrection Hypothesis—With a Rejoinder to Stephen T. Davis.Robert Greg Cavin & Carlos A. Colombetti - 2020 - Socio-Historical Examination of Religion and Ministry 2 (1):37-94.
    We respond to Stephen T. Davis’ criticism of our earlier essay, “Assessing the Resurrection Hypothesis.” We argue that the Standard Model of physics is relevant and decisive in establishing the implausibility and low explanatory power of the Resurrection hypothesis. We also argue that the laws of physics have entailments regarding God and the supernatural and, against Alvin Plantinga, that these same laws lack the proviso “no agent supernaturally interferes.” Finally, we offer Bayesian arguments for the Legend hypothesis and against the (...)
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  2. added 2020-04-15
    Assessing the Resurrection Hypothesis: Problems with Craig's Inference to the Best Explanation.Robert Greg Cavin & Carlos A. Colombetti - 2019 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 11 (2):205-228.
    The hypothesis that God supernaturally raised Jesus from the dead is argued by William Lane Craig to be the best explanation for the empty tomb and postmortem appearances of Jesus because it satisfies seven criteria of adequacy better than rival naturalistic hypotheses. We identify problems with Craig’s criteria-based approach and show, most significantly, that the Resurrection hypothesis fails to fulfill any but the first of his criteria—especially explanatory scope and plausibility.
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  3. added 2020-02-04
    The Christian Philosophy of Miracle: Ideas of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke.Valentin Yakovlev - 2019 - TSU Publishing House.
    The author of the monograph is a Candidate of Culturology, Associate Professor of Tyumen State University. The monograph tests approaches to the understanding of the essence of Hobbes’s and Locke’s ideas about miracles that are more flexible than a formational-evolutionist approach. The monograph presents the main characteristics of these ideas as Christian philosophical ones, shows their general Christian direction and the historiographic perspective of studying these ideas primarily in line with Christian philosophy. The monograph is intended for experts in the (...)
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  4. added 2020-01-21
    Miracles and the Perfection of Being: The Theological Roots of Scientific Concepts.Alex V. Halapsis - 2016 - Anthropological Measurements of Philosophical Research 9:70-77.
    Purpose of the article is to study the Western worldview as a framework of beliefs in probable supernatural encroachment into the objective reality. Methodology underpins the idea that every cultural-historical community envisions the reality principles according to the beliefs inherent to it which accounts for the formation of the unique “universes of meanings”. The space of history acquires the Non-Euclidean properties that determine the specific cultural attitudes as well as part and parcel mythology of the corresponding communities. Novelty consists in (...)
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  5. added 2020-01-21
    Ultima ratio deorum.Alex V. Halapsis - 2016 - Anthropological Measurements of Philosophical Research 10:100-106.
    Purpose of this article is to investigate the role that the "miraculous" – that is, everything that goes beyond “natural” – plays in the worldview of Western man. Methodology. I do not consider “miracles” as the facts of nature, but as the facts of culture, so in this article I am not talking about specific cases of violation of “laws of nature”, but about the place of “miraculous” in the view of the world of Western man and those transformations, that (...)
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  6. added 2019-11-12
    Advent of Auto-Affection: Givenness & Reception in Jean-Luc Marion.Virgil W. Brower - 2019 - Acta Universitas Carolinae Theologica 9 (1):31-44.
    Marion obliquely suggests that we return to religion when we think through and struggle with those topics that philosophy excludes or subjugates. This paper investigates a selection of such subjugated motifs. Marion’s recent claim (perhaps even ‘principle’): “auto-affection alone makes possible hetero-affection,” will be examined through piecemeal influences made upon its development through Marion’s return to religious thinking beyond the delimited jurisdiction of philosophy. Although still proper to the philosophies of Descartes, Kant, and Husserl, Marion finds new insights by tracing (...)
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  7. added 2019-08-27
    Wunder verletzen die Naturgesetze nicht.Daniel Von Wachter - 2017 - In Benedikt Göcke & Ruben Schneider (eds.), Gottes Handeln in der Welt. pp. 361-382.
    Einige versuchen, Wunder mit den Naturgesetzen vereinbar zu machen, indem sie „Wunder“ als etwas anderes als göttliche Eingriffe definieren. Dieser Aufsatz behauptet hin- gegen, daß Wunder die Naturgesetze nicht verletzen, obwohl sie göttliche Eingriffe sind. Wunder sind auch keine „Ausnah- men“ der Naturgesetze, noch treffen die Naturgesetze nicht auf sie zu. Naturgesetze haben nie Ausnahmen, sie werden nie verletzt oder ausgesetzt, sie sind wahrscheinlich notwen- dig und unveränderlich, und sie treffen auch auf göttliche Ein- griffe zu. Wir sollten nicht unsere (...)
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  8. added 2019-08-27
    Miracles Are Not Violations of the Laws of Nature Because Laws Do Not Entail Regularities.Daniel Von Wachter - 2015 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 4 (7):37-60.
    Some have tried to make miracles compatible with the laws of nature by re-defining them as something other than interventions. By contrast, this article argues that although miracles are divine interventions, they are not violations of the laws of nature. Miracles are also not exceptions to the laws, nor do the laws not apply to them. The laws never have exceptions; they never are violated or suspended, are necessary and unchangeable, and apply also to divine interventions. We need to reconsider (...)
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  9. added 2019-08-27
    Los milagros no violan las leyes naturales.Daniel Von Wachter - 2014 - In Carlos A. Casanova (ed.), El alma, la providencia y el derecho natural. Santiago de Chile, Región Metropolitana de Santiago, Chile: pp. 51-62.
    Los milagros no violan las leyes naturales.
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  10. added 2018-06-11
    Lockean Essentialism and the Possibility of Miracles.Nathan Rockwood - 2018 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 56 (2):293-310.
    If the laws of nature are metaphysically necessary, then it appears that miracles are metaphysically impossible. Yet Locke accepts both Essentialism, which takes the laws to be metaphysically necessary, and the possibility of miracles. I argue that the apparent conflict here can be resolved if the laws are by themselves insufficient for guaranteeing the outcome of a particular event. This suggests that, on Locke’s view, the laws of nature entail how an object would behave absent divine intervention. While other views (...)
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  11. added 2018-02-16
    Divine Intervention: Metaphysical and Epistemological Puzzles.Evan Fales - 2009 - Routledge.
    This study is a new look at the question of how God can act upon the world, and whether the world can affect God, examining contemporary work on the metaphysics of causation and laws of nature, and current work in the theory of knowledge and mysticism. It has been traditional to address such questions by appealing to God’s omnipotence and omniscience, but this book claims that this is useless unless it can be shown how these two powers "work." Instead of (...)
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  12. added 2017-03-08
    Deism.Kenneth L. Pearce - 2017 - The Special Divine Action Project.
  13. added 2016-12-22
    Le Linceul de Turin.Tristan Casabianca - 2016 - Bastia: Anima Corsa.
    En 2015, plus d'un million de personnes s'est pressé pour se recueillir, pour prier ou pour simplement passer devant un ancien drap de lin : le linceul (ou suaire) de Turin. La raison de son pouvoir d'attraction est simple : il est réputé avoir enveloppé le cadavre de Jésus de Nazareth après sa crucifixion à Jérusalem. Et pourtant, à première vue, peu de choses se décèlent sur ce grand rectangle de plusieurs mètres de long : simplement l'image, de face et (...)
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  14. added 2016-09-14
    Miracles: Metaphysics, Physics, and Physicalism: KIRK McDERMID.Kirk McDermid - 2008 - Religious Studies 44 (2):125-147.
    Debates about the metaphysical compatibility between miracles and natural laws often appear to prejudge the issue by either adopting or rejecting a strong physicalist thesis . The operative component of physicalism is a causal closure principle: that every caused event is a physically caused event. If physicalism and this strong causal closure principle are accepted, then supernatural interventions are ruled out tout court , while rejecting physicalism gives miracles metaphysical carte blanche. This paper argues for a more moderate version of (...)
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  15. added 2014-03-30
    Divine Intervention.Evan Fales - 1997 - Faith and Philosophy 14 (2):170-194.
    Some philosophers deny that science can investigate the supernatural - specifically, the nature and actions of God. If a divine being is atemporal, then, indeed, this seems plausible - but only, I shall argue, because such a being could not causally interact with anything. Here I discuss in detail two major attempts, those of Stump and Kretzmann, and of Leftow, to make sense of theophysical causation on the supposition that God is eternal. These views are carefully worked out, and their (...)
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