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Science and Miracles

What’s your idea of a miracle?

Is it an amazing event that results in really good news?SkippingGirl2


Or is it a really brilliant achievement? 

Or a lucky fluke which saved you from a tricky situation?

We’ve all experienced some of these kinds of events and they can seem spookily unlikely … bumping into a school friend while you’re on holiday or finding something that you thought was gone forever … and the word ‘miracle’ is often used in everyday speech to refer to all of these examples.

But there’s another meaning for the word which is the one we want to look at here.

It is a miracle when something occurs that is so EXTRAORDINARY that science is unable to explain it. In other words a person or a group of people say that they witnessed something happening which is so incredible, no one can make it happen again and it seems to go outside the scientific laws that we know of. These events are believed by some to be special acts by God or a Greater Being.


Miracles that science can’t explain:

One such miracle is described in a Bible story which says that Jesus fed a huge crowd of thousands of people with just five loaves and two fishes.Francken, Loaves & fishloaves & fish

The Gospel of St. John says that five barley loaves and two small fish were given to Jesus by a boy and Jesus used them to feed an enormous crowd.


Does this mean that if you have a scientific mind, you can’t believe in miracles?

What would a scientist say?

Professor-Sir-Colin-HumphreysProfessor Sir Colin Humphreys is a scientist at Cambridge University. He says that scientists can believe in miracles. He explains that science investigates what nature does ordinarily. He also says that very occasionally, at certain points in space and time, “God chooses to operate the laws of nature differently”. What this means is that God is able to work outside the usual laws of nature if He feels it appropriate.   Professor Humphreys says God only does this in very unusual and special situations, and it’s important not to be fooled by tricks. God does a miracle, he says, only when it is a really special moment such as if God has something important to tell us and wants someone or a group of people to pay particular attention.

© 2011 LASAR (Learning about Science and Religion)