Prayer, faith and health: Part 3; The possibility of miracles

The late CS Lewis has written an excellent treatise on the possibility of miracles.  He begins with an examination of world view and philosophical underpinnings for ones willingness/openness to explore the possibility of the miraculous.  He states that the approach to building a view on the possibility of the miraculous is both a philosophical and historical task.  The first step is to illustrate the philosophical  belief system of both a “naturalist” and a “supernaturalist”.  A naturalist is one who sees the activities and events of nature as part of an orderly whole, there is nothing outside of it, it is “the whole show”.  A Supernaturalist is one who agrees that nature is orderly, but that it is not “the whole show”.  Something/someone stands outside of it.  At the risk of oversimplification (see part 1 for the reference to Lewis’ complete work on Miracles), the presuppositions of a naturalist view boil down to 2 big ideas:  1) Every event (ultimately, as our knowledge/science improve) must be explained  in terms of the total system. 2) But acts of reason are associated with nature not by empiric evidence (at least initially and in some cases ever) but by inference (our knowledge of a car engine is not an actual part of the car engine).  This implies that our knowledge of nature is not part of nature but above/beyond it.  Thus our reason through inference comes from beyond nature.   In Lewis’s view this then opens the door to the supernaturalist view which concurs that nature is a unified whole (and thus our activities of science and medicine have validity) but that something/someone beyond it has and can act within it.  He states that the historical task for the evaluation of miracles themselves is not within the purview of his training.  He says, “I am not a trained historian and I shall not examine the historical evidence for the Christian miracles.  My effort is to put my reader in a position {philosophically} to do so.”  And for those looking for a logical apologetic for the consideration of the possiblity of the miraculous, we feel he has done so.


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