Friday, May 29, 2015

Are Miracles Impossible?

A common objection to the possibility of miracles is that such prodigies as a man rising from the dead, for example, would entail a series of violations of the laws of nature, specifically the conservation laws, and that, as David Hume put it, it's been the "uniform experience" of mankind that nature's laws suffer no such violations. Philosopher Alvin Plantinga explains in this 11 minute video why, even if the laws of nature were inviolable, even for God, it's a mistake to think that a miracle violates them. Whether the laws are Newtonian or quantum mechanical the occurrence of a miracle is not ruled out by them:
The only way the claim that miracles are impossible can be true is if the universe is closed, i.e. if there's nothing beyond it that can act in it. In other words, miracles are impossible only if there's no God or anything else of a purposeful nature which transcends the space-time universe. If it's possible that God exists then it's possible that miracles occur. Since it is possible that God exists any report of a miracle must be assessed on the evidence for it and not on the apriori assumption of atheism.