machine. See Mozley, Miracles, preface, xxiv; Turner, Wish and Will, 291-315; N. W. Taylor, Moral Government, 2:388-423.
E. As belief in the possibility of miracles rests upon our belief in the existence of a personal God, so belief in the probability of miracles rests upon our belief that God is a moral and benevolent being. He who has no God but a God of physical order will regard miracles as an impertinent intrusion upon that order. But he, who yields to the testimony of conscience and regards God as a God of holiness, will see that man?s unholiness renders God?s miraculous interposition most necessary to man and most becoming to God. Our view of miracles will therefore be determined by our belief in a moral, or in a non-moral, God.
Philo, in his Life of Moses, 1:88, speaking of the miracles of the quails and of the water from the rock, says, ?all these unexpected and extraordinary things are amusements or playthings of God.? He believes that there is room for arbitrariness in the divine procedure. Scripture however represents miracle as an extraordinary, rather than as an arbitrary, act. It is ?his work, his strange work ...his act, his strange act? ( <232821>Isaiah 28:21). God?s ordinary method is that of regular growth and development. Chadwick, Unitarianism, 72 ? ?Nature is economical. If she wants an apple, she develops a leaf; if she wants a brain, she develops a vertebra. We always thought well of backbone; and, if Goethe?s was a sound suggestion, we think better of it now.?
It is commonly, but very erroneously, taken for granted that miracle requires a greater exercise of power than does God?s upholding of the ordinary processes of nature. But to an omnipotent Being our measures of power have no application. The question is not a question of power, but of rationality and love. Miracle implies self-restraint, as well as self- unfolding, on the part of him who works it. It is therefore not God?s common method of action; it is adopted only when regular methods will not suffice; it often seems accompanied by a sacrifice of feeling on the part of Christ ( <401717>Matthew 17:17 ? ?O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I bear with you? Bring him hither to me?; <410734>Mark 7:34 ? ?looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened?; cf.
<401239> Matthew 12:39 ? ?An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet.?
F. From the point of view of ethical monism the probability of miracle becomes even greater. Since God is not merely the intellectual but the
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