Argument from Miracle Impossibility

30 January 2006

Ever since Hume came on the philosophical scene, atheists have commonly claimed that miracles are impossible. There can never be sufficient evidence for miracles because anything is more likely than the occurrence of a miracle.

This argument I will refer to as the Argument of Miracle Impossibility or AMI. There is a crucial flaw, however, with this argument.

Flaw in the Argument of Miracle Impossibility

The main flaw I see with AMI is that it ignores the possibility that God exists. However, this is an unfounded assumption. It is actually quite possible that God exists. In fact, I believe that a careful analysis of the evidence points to the likely existence of such a being.

If God exists, though, then there is nothing particularly impossible about the occurrence of miracles. God certainly has the means and it is quite possible that He has the motives. However, the atheist may counter that, even on the assumption that God exists, there is no way to know that miracles would occur.

However, I don’t think that is true at all. Consider that all people are affected by what I like to call the “human condition”. As humans we have many problems, such as the existence of pain and suffering and our general fear of death. It would seem, therefore, that a god that has an interest in human beings (He created us after all) would have a prime motivation for performing miraculous events.

The resurrection, by far the most pivotal issue in Christianity, is an instance in which these motivations may be applicable. Namely, the resurrection is to solve our fear of death and give us an opportunity to save ourselves from it. This could not be achieved without the miraculous event of Jesus Christ’s resurrection, so we have every reason to believe that the God that created us intervened with a miracle to help solve the “human condition”.

To truly undermine the AMI, the existence of a God that cared about humans would have to be inferred. This, I believe, is confirmed by the existence of the Teleological Argument found HERE (upcoming). With the existence of such a God, the AMI should be declared irrelevant.

Are miracles improbable? Relatively so, perhaps. But, we have every reason to suppose that miraculous intervention may occur to help solve the human condition, which plagues us all. So I don’t think a good case against the possibility or plausibility of miracles can be formulated unless the existence of God is disproved.

Probability of God

Even many atheists would probably admit that there is at least a possibility that God exists. The more percentage probability of God’s existence, the more percentage of probability that miracles can occur and have occurred in the past.

Therefore, the AMI is dependent upon the percentage of the likelihood of God’s existence being very low. However, as I have attempted to show on this site, the percentage probability of God’s existence is very high. With this realization dies the AMI.

Conclusion:

The Argument from Miracle Impossibility rests upon the foundation that God (particularly, a God that cares about human affairs) does not exist. This foundation, however, is built upon sand. Therefore the AMI is an unsuccessful atheistic argument.

Recommended Further Reading

1. William Lane Craig, The Problem of Miracles http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/miracles.html

2. Why I am a Christian, Douglas Geivett “Why I believe in the Possibility of Miracles” (Pages 97-110)

3. Reasonable Faith, Chapter 4: The Problem of Miracles. (Pages 127-155) See REVIEW.






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  1. I’ve heard people use probability as an argument against miracles. The argument states that miracles are improbable because they are, by definition, contradictory to the natural order of the world. Therefore, since they are improbable, it is irrational to believe in them. The problem I have had with this is that probability can only be applied to future events. It is improbable that I will witness a miracle sometime in the future. However, the probability that a miracle happened in the past is either 0% or 100%. It either happened or it didn’t. You have to judge past events by evidence left behind, not by probability.


    Zlee    Aug 31, 07:50 AM    #
  2. How can “ignoring the possibility that god exists” be a “crucial flaw”. To do otherwise would be to assume that god exists – but god’s existence cannot be assumed, it must be proved.


    Michael    Mar 26, 07:27 AM    #
  3. You said:

    “This, I believe, is confirmed by the existence of the Teleological Argument found HERE (upcoming).”

    The article regarding the Teleological Argument exists now so maybe you should update it with a link.


    Emanuel    Aug 7, 11:37 AM    #
  4. To the person who wrote this article, There is a person on youtube who is trying to pass your words off as his own. His name is SuperTruthlover. He uses your words but never gives you credit.


    utty    Feb 14, 03:37 PM    #
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