Miracles

Is covid-19 a miracle?

What is a miracle?

In “Reading the Bible: Intention, Text, Interpretation” we find this:

“Consider other than biblical miracles. We have all heard of the person (maybe even a friend or relative) who is diagnosed as having cancer and is then given a prognosis of “less than a year to live.” But the person recovers, and the doctor says that the cancer is gone. The person’s life is imperiled; against expectation, the person is saved. Isn’t that a miracle? It depends upon who is reading the events. From the medical point of view, such examples indicate that medical prediction, in many cases, is not particularly accurate. And this does not mean that the doctor was an incompetent or the cancer was never there. Part of the description of a particular case may well include remission and even cure with no “treatment” at all. Since the human body is a complex system and the state of our knowledge of the various kinds of cancers is incomplete, it is not at all a violation of natural law that this particular person has recovered. But now consider these same facts from the point of view of the patient. Imagine that after the diagnosis the patient goes to see her priest and together they pray. And several times a day she prays to her god for assistance. From her point of view a miracle has occurred. Her petition has been granted and no matter what others say she will continue to believe that a miracle has occurred and that her life is the only evidence required. The popular press is full of these sorts of stories of prayer-miracles. Another kind of example comes from near escapes from potentially deadly accidents. In a recent severe windstorm in British Columbia several trees were blown down in populated areas. House after house suffered damage from large Douglas Fir trees suddenly uprooted by the wind and thrown into the house. In one case a couple were in bed in their water bed thinking about getting up to prepare for the day. Since the roads were blocked and the ferry was not running it seemed probable that going to work late was not a bad idea. The man moved across the water bed to “cuddle” a bit before getting up. Crash! His side of the bed sud- denly had an arm thick branch puncturing the very spot where he had just been. Miracle? Or coincidence? The significance of some coincidences as opposed to others (the cat was under the bed, say, and was impaled by the branch) comes about because of the relation between the coincidence and a set of human hopes, fears, and desires. The non-religious person would, as he jumped out of the deflating bed, thank his good luck for saving him at the cost of the cat. Coincidence-miracles depend upon the point of view of the persons involved. What the non-religious person calls luck is called the grace of God or a miracle of God by the religious person. When such a coincidence does occur, and when from a particular person’s point of view that coincidence is sig- nificant, the tendency is to think of oneself as being special (Lady Luck smiles on you). Once again we find a flawed argument at work: If I am special then God will look after me by arranging for good things to happen to me. Good things happen to me; therefore, I am special. Such a coincidence can be taken by the religious person as a sign that god is at work in the universe and that god cares about persons. But, unfortunately for this reading, bad things happen to good people.”

Hope to hear from you in the comments!

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