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A Philosophical Critique of the Concept of Miracle as a “Supernatural Event”
A Philosophical Critique of the Concept of Miracle as a “Supernatural Event”

Author(s): Adam Świeżyński
Subject(s): Metaphysics, Epistemology, Ontology
Published by: KruZak
Keywords: Laws of nature; miracle; ontology; supernaturality;

Summary/Abstract: The notion of the supernaturality of an event may be understood in various ways. Most frequently ‘supernatural’ means ‘separated from nature’, i.e. different from nature. Thus, what is meant here is the difference in ontological character. The definitions of miracle, present in literature, emphasize the fact that we may talk about a miracle only when the phenomenon takes place beyond the natural order or stands in opposition to it. The description of a miracle as a ‘supernatural event’ contains in itself the reference to that which is natural. The supernaturality of an event means that it surpasses (transcends) naturality. Additionally, this transcendence contains a kind of opposition to that which is natural. However, the miracle as a supernatural event takes place within the scope of that which is natural, although it takes place in a different way from natural events. It seems that this supernaturality may involve two things: (1) the course of the miraculous event; (2) the cause of the miraculous event. We should consider each of them separately and specify what we understand by the supernatural course of the event and by the supernatural cause of the event. If we could prove that we can talk about supernatural events at least in one of the two signaled aspects of supernaturality, then we would be able to define the miraculous event as a supernatural one. The analyses proposed in the paper allow us to formulate the following statement concerning the miraculous event, which is, to a great extent, a critical correction of the traditional way of understanding it: the miracle may be correctly understood as a supernatural event, only when this supernaturality concerns the personal cause of the event and not its course.

  • Issue Year: XVII/2017
  • Issue No: 49
  • Page Range: 57-72
  • Page Count: 16
  • Language: English