This week we’ll continue to discuss Miracles:
We’re using the “Handbook of Apologetics” by Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli to go over the arguments for the existence of God. Today, we will be covering the above question in relation to God. Dr. Kreeft teaches logic in two major universities, so his arguments tend to be clear, concise and very helpful.
Have Miracles Actually Occurred in History?
There are some who believe that God exists but has never worked a miracle in the entire course of human history. Others disbelieve in God and miracles, sometimes arguing that the absence of miracles is a reason for not believing in God (as the absence of footprints on a beach is a reason for not believing that people have just been walking there).
You may well ask: How could anyone justify so strong a claim as that whether or not there is a God, no miracles have ever happened in the entire course of human history? Did they examine every alleged miracle story, sift through all the evidence on a case-by-case basis? Of course not; that kind of investigation would take lifetimes. How then could such a claim ever be justified? Only if there exist arguments showing that miracles are impossible or vastly improbable. That would obviously free us from the need to take any evidence for miracles seriously, because we would already know that it is not really worth considering at all.
Thus we must consider the question of the philosophical possibility of miracles before investigating the historical question of their actuality. Logically, there are four possibilities:
1. If miracles are not possible, then they cannot be actual. That we know.
2. And if they are actual, then they are possible. That we know.
3. But if they are possible, we do not yet know whether they are actual.
4. And if they are not actual, we still do not yet know whether they are possible.
Kreeft, P., & Tacelli, R. K. (1994). Handbook of Christian apologetics: hundreds of answers to crucial questions (p. 110). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.