Merriam-Webster defines “miracle” as “an unusual or wonderful event that is believed to be caused by the power of God”.
Recently, Secular Outpost featured two posts addressing miracles - What if you Saw a Miracle?, and Geisler & Turek Rebuttal, Part 7: Chapter 8, which triggered my reflection today.
The subject comes up (in my life, at least) every few years. Frequently enough to be of interest. For example, I have a relative that interpreted the sun breaking through on a cloudy day after leaving a funeral service as a miracle. She saw it as a sign from God that all was right with the dearly departed. Never mind that the sun appearing from behind clouds probably happened hundreds of times that day at the spot from which she witnessed it, and that it happens possibly millions of times a day throughout the world each day. This person has a low threshold for what qualifies as a miracle.
As for me, the question came up a few years ago in a (now moribund) Bible reading blog, in the form “what would it take you to believe that God exists?” My answer today would be that if I saw the moon drop into a low-earth polar orbit for a day, then reposition itself in its previous orbit, I would take that as a sign that God exists.
Technically, neither of these two examples (sunshine, low-orbit moon) is physically impossible, although the former is easily explainable by natural means, and the latter is wildly, preposterously improbable. Still, if billions of humans observed the low-orbit moon, then we’d have few alternatives to explain it. Maybe a super-advanced civilization flexing its muscles for that red-haired girl down the street. Maybe an optical illusion. Maybe Loki. Maybe God.
But that would do it for me.