nature itself, at its very heart, at its very life...not an outside power interfering within the course of nature, but an inside power vitalizing nature and operating through it.? Griffith-Jones, Ascent through Christ, 35 ? ?Miracle, instead of spelling ?monster?, as Emerson said, simply bears witness to some otherwise unknown or unrecognized aspect of the divine character.? Shedd, Dogmn. Theol., 1:533 ? ?To cause the sun to rise and to cause Lazarus to rise, both demand omnipotence; but the manner in which omnipotence works in one instance is unlike the manner in the other.?
Miracle is an immediate operation of God; but, since all natural processes are also immediate operations of God, we do not need to deny the use of these natural processes, so far as they will go, in miracle. Such wonders of the Old Testament as the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, the partings of the Red Sea and of the Jordan, the calling down of fire from heaven by Elijah and the destruction of the army of Sennacherib, are none the less works of God when regarded as wrought by the use of natural means. In the New Testament Christ took water to make wine, and took the five loaves to make bread, just as in ten thousand vineyards to-day he is turning the moisture of the earth into the juice of the grape, and in ten thousand fields is turning carbon into corn. The virgin birth of Christ may be an extreme instance of parthenogenesis which Professor Loeb of Chicago has just demonstrated to take place in other than the lowest forms of life and which he believes to be possible in all. Christ?s resurrection may be an illustration of the power of the normal and perfect human spirit to take to itself a proper body, and so may be the type and prophecy of that great change when we too shall lay down our life and take it again. The scientist may yet find that his disbelief is not only disbelief in Christ, but also disbelief in science. All miracle may have its natural side, though we now are not able to discern it; and, if this were true, the Christian argument would not one whit be weakened, for still miracle would evidence the extraordinary working of the immanent God, and the impartation of his knowledge to the prophet or apostle who was his instrument.
This view of the miracle renders entirely unnecessary and irrational the treatment accorded to the Scripture narratives by some modern theologians. There is a credulity of skepticism, which minimizes the miraculous element in the Bible and treats it as mythical or legendary, in spite of clear evidence that it belongs to the realm of actual history. Pfleiderer, Philos. Relig.,1:295 ? ?Miraculous legends arise in two ways, partly out of the idealizing of the real, and partly out of the realizing of the ideal.
<- Previous Table of Contents Next ->
Was this article helpful?