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HolyGround >> Identifying a Miracle


11/4/11 5:09 PM
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Philanderer
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What qualifies something as a miracle?

Ex. your VP tells you to prepare a restructuring report, which will no doubt include recommending layoffs. You tell him your not sure about a fair way to do it- how to put a dollar value on certain employees' ability to contribute to the company. VP suggests (unofficially) that you to pray.

Before you have to finish the report, a HUGE Korean contract comes your way out of the blue, and there will be no layoffs.

Would this qualify as a miracle? (Technically, you did pray)
11/4/11 11:52 PM
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prof
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I can show my God's power by flipping a coin. Because if you pray to my God for a coin to land "Heads," He has the power to grant your wish.

*flips coin, it lands heads.*

See? Behold how my God exists and listens to your prayers!

*flips coin, it lands tails*

Well, we can't expect my God to be at your bidding all the time. How arrogant and small-minded of you. You see, if you pray to God for heads, He will answer "yes" sometimes, "no" other times, or sometimes He will just choose when to answer your prayers in his Great Wisdom.

*flips coin, it lands tails.*

Ah...God has not answered this prayer. But we have faith He does this with knowledge of the Greater Good. Who knows better than God?

*flips coin, it lands heads*

See! God has answered this prayer! Praise God!

And, thusly, the evidence for my God accumulates...how can one doubt?

Prof.

11/5/11 1:10 AM
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yusul
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i couldn't say for certain, but i would hazard to say that it isn't a miracle.

i think the first requirement for a miracle would be that something unusual occurred that could not happen by probability or science. like transforming water into wine. or feeding a mountain full of people with only a few loaves. or being eaten by a whale and popping out like nothing happened. or throwing a staff down and it turns into a snake. walking on water is pretty good. killing all the firstborn of a nation is a game changer. so a contract coming in can't be ruled beyond the probability of chance (or God's purpose).

the second requirement is that miracle glorifies God's sovereignty.
11/5/11 1:40 AM
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Ridgeback
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 The example given could certainly qualify as serendipity, but not really a miracle.  A miracle has to be something where a clear break in the regularity of nature takes place.  It is a heavily abused word, which just leads to it losing its potency to define something exact.  The Biblical term is "signs" anyway, which implies that a new order has landed in the midst of a fallen order, not that some magician is performing cheap parlor tricks.  The miracles of Jesus all have a Kingdom of Heaven theme from turning water into wine to raising Lazarus to destroying the unfruitful fig tree.
11/5/11 2:23 AM
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prof
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I generally agree with what (I think) Ridgeback is getting at there.

It heads towards one of my disagreements with a theme that is starting to float among some of the prominent atheists - that there could be no evidence of God/supernatural. I think *some* of the arguments given by atheists on that side of the fence are deeply flawed and in the direction of special pleading and hypocrisy.

Prof.

11/5/11 1:09 PM
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Philanderer
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"MIracle" may not be the best way to put it, how about:

"When do you know if it is God's intervention?"

By the time the VP ordered the restructuring report, he had already given up hope of preventing the layoffs. When asked about how to decide fairly on who would be let go, he said to pray and to "ask the Holy Spirit to guide you." Note: he did not advise praying for a last minute miracle. The contract was hugely unexpected by everyone; the VP included. He had 12 hr days for a month exhausting all other avenues; sometimes doing the equivalent of cold calling like a sales rep.

I'm sure during that time he was praying that the layoffs would be prevented- were those answered just answered at the last minute?
11/5/11 1:29 PM
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Ali
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Edited: 11/05/11 1:29 PM
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Nothing even vaguely supernatural is necessary for this course of events. Sure supernature can comport with those events. But it's an extra step.

I think if you "know it's God's intervention" you know it's a miracle, by the way. I don't think the new way of putting it helps anything. Maybe that's just my ear.
11/5/11 11:56 PM
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Philanderer
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When I found out that I didnt have to do the report, I immediately said "Thank God." Maybe its just a figure of speech (I am not exactly the most Christian person), but my VP immediately said "Yes we should." When dirs. were saying "I dont believe it" (when we got the contract) he was saying "I do". He does take his faith seriously but its not all he's about- you don't get to be in his position in a Fortune 100 co. by being illogical or irrational.

So is he giving God too much credit, or that impossible to do?

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