Magic or Miracles?

Here is my latest contribution to ZENIT- on the importance of miracles and why they are different from magic.

The Old Testament is rooted in history. The stories are presented as really happening. We can allow that they may have been expanded and exaggerated over the years, but like legends (which are extravagant stories based in real events) they are rooted in historical reality. How can this be?
I’m back now to the rubbery nature of reality. We’re presented in the Christian scriptures with some stories of extraordinary events–events that cut across our usual expectations of how the natural order works. We’re confronted with miracles. They make us gasp and wonder–with a natural mixture of disbelief and confusion. That’s okay. Miracles were supposed to upset our smug little close minded ideas of how the universe works.

The materialist will dismiss them and say, “Miracles are impossible. Therefore miracles don’t happen.” This is an expression of scientism–the belief that the only valid knowledge is scientifically proven knowledge. But science itself is revealing that the natural order is more mysterious and open ended than we might like. The materialist must ignore the experience of the vast majority of human beings of all races and in every place and every time for people everywhere have understood that there is such a thing as the miraculous, that strange things do happen, and that our materialist explanations do not explain everything. The vast majority of human experience–of human culture and human awareness is imbued in some way or other with the sense that there is more to life than our simple senses can perceive or explain. Are we to write off the vast majority of the human experience down the ages as “silly superstition”? This is not only arrogant. Even worse: it is dull.

Read the whole article here.

About Fr. Dwight Longenecker