THE FUNCTION OF THE MIRACLE

As popularly regarded, the miracle is a supernatural occurance, or at least an experience beyond the scope of ordinary known natural causes. Current theology gives it a more restricted meaning by considering it to be an incident in the so-called natural world, but not according to the natural order; an event rendered possible and explicable only because of the intervention and application of deific power. According to Hodge, it is "(1) an event occurring in the physical world, capable of being discerned and discriminated by the bodily senses of human witnesses; (2) of such a character that it can be referred to no other cause than the immediate volition of God; (3) accompanying a religious teacher, and designed to authenticate his divine commission and the truth of his message" (Outlines of Theology).

For the phrase "the immediate volition of God," the Christian Scientist would substitute, "the normal activity of divine law," but aside from this, every thinker will do well to consider carefully this definition. Moses certainly authenticated his "divine commission and the truth of his message" by the performance of wonders which, while discernible "by the bodily senses of human witnesses," could not rationally be referred to any other than the immediate activity of divine law. Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, and other of the prophets established their right to be considered as God's messengers by performing various wonders which human witnesses of their times could perceive in the ordinary way. In similar ways, Jesus, his disciples, and their followers gave evidence of their divine commission and the truth of their message.

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LEGITIMATE PROGRESS
January 20, 1912
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