The words translated "miracle" in the Greek text of...


The words translated "miracle" in the Greek text of the Bible do not mean anything supernatural. They mean sometimes something wonderful, but more commonly simply a sign. The word, for instance, translated "signs" in the passage, "And these signs shall follow them that believe," is the word elsewhere translated "miracle," so that the passage should read, "And these miracles shall follow them that believe," if the word "miracle" is ever a legitimate translation. As a matter of fact, the word "miracle" is of Latin origin, and was adopted at a much later period. Even then it had no supernatural significance, but was simply a term in use among the pagan philosophers.

The Bible use of the word "miracle" is, consequently, not in the least a matter of opinion, and signifies nothing more or less than something wonderful to the human senses, which Christ Jesus made use of as a sign—that is to say, as a demonstration of the truth of his teaching. Faced by the dense materiality of his listeners and their inability to understand the spiritual import of his message, he made use of the miracle, or, to be more accurate, of the sign, to substantiate the spiritual facts he was endeavoring to explain to them. And that, of course, is exactly what he meant in saying that those who believed on him would be able to give the same signs,—to work the miracles he did.

The message that Jesus brought to the world was the knowledge of the spiritual truth which, he explained, would make the world free; and just as a man grasps the absoluteness of this spiritual truth the mere relativeness of the human sense of truth becomes apparent to him, and he is able to demonstrate his new knowledge, as all knowledge is demonstrable, by the signs or miracles through which Jesus promised that it should be made demonstrable. "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free"—free, that is to say, from the belief that sorrow and sickness and sin have any existence save as a relative fact in the human consciousness.

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October 30, 1909

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