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What are Miracles? - Thoughts from the New View

Islam and much of Christianity sees miracles as signs that 'prove' what we claim about God. Many a time, in 'everyday' church life, we applaud in miraculous healings, less for the actual healing as for affirming our belief in God, or God's favour towards us.

God's people are enabled with miraculous power, such as of healing. There is a sense that miraculous occurrences are somehow superior to natural ones, for example that miraculous healing is superior to doctor-healing. Miracles are seen as 'supernatural'. Atheists etc. also see miracles like this and try to explain them away by natural means to disprove them.

Problems with That View

Jesus, by contrast, did miracles to help people who were in trouble. The wedding where the wine had run out, the 5000 and the 4000 people out in the wilderness listening to him, the paralysed man who was lowered through the roof, the cripple by the pool, and so on. Once the miracle had happened it could be taken as a sign of God's favour but it seems that was a side issue, a coincidental outcome, rather than the main purpose.

Similarly, the idea that natural occurrences are inferior to miraculous (supernatural) ones implies that God failed in the design of his creation. Is not the creation working according to the laws God has gifted it with, glorious? Would it not be much more glorious that God's creation still works as it should and accomplishes God's purposes by natural means? Is it not much more glorious that God's creation is like this, than that it needs to be 'topped up' with supernatural miracles?

If we see miracles as superior, then there will be a tendency for God's people to glory in miracles themselves rather than in their Saviour. We too often seek miracles for their own sake. And those who have gift of miracle-working are tempted to use it to 'show'.

New View of Miracles

1. Under the New view, miracles are seen as in Jesus' life, as acts of love to help bless someone or something, especially those in need.

2. The natural world is seen as wonderful, and is in no need of 'supernatural' topups. Natural processes are glorious in themselves.

3. Why then does God act into his creation? Because he loves it and wants to be engaged with it, involved with it, and for it to taste him.

4. What about miraculous power wielded by God's people? Miracles should be seen as a tool rather than a sign. Miraculous power is one of a number of tools which is available to us as we seek to represent God and bless the Rest of Creation.

5. Once the miracle has occurred, then it might or might not be seen. If seen it might be a sign of God's action in the world, but that is afterwards and is not its purpose.

This page, URL= '', is part of the on-going work in developing a 'New View' in theology and practice that is appropriate to the days that are coming upon us. Comments, queries welcome by emailing

Copyright (c) Andrew Basden to latest date below, but you may use this material subject to certain conditions.

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Created: 21 December 2011. Last updated: 29 July 2020 new .end, .nav.