Do you believe in miracles? According to a survey from The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life in 2010, 79% of Americans believe in miracles in one form or another. While the majority of Americans believe in miracles and supernatural experiences, they disagree on how the miracles actually occur.
Younger generations of Americans are moving away from participating in organized religions and dogma, yet their belief in miracles continue to grow as well as their belief in supernatural events, angels and demons, ghosts, and paranormal phenomena.
The growing trend is that people are identifying themselves as spiritual, rather than religious, in the sense that they do not attach themselves to a certain dogma or religious organization. As spiritual people, many of them believe in faith, the power of prayer, the ability to heal, and to do great works, which can create miracles in their lives and the lives of others. They believe in a higher power that they can connect with and in angelic beings, which intercede on their behalf in certain circumstances.
As the belief in miracles evolves, so does the definition of how miracles occur on spiritual and scientific levels. This evolution also changes the definition of what is considered to be miraculous and why.
It may be time to create a new definition for miracles. Many people are exploring energy work through their higher consciousness including the power of thought, the power of prayer and the ability to manifest through affirmations, which are creating miraculous results in their lives. Miracles are largely based on faith, if you believe that a miracle can happen, it can and often will. If you believe that it can’t, you will most likely prove yourself right.
Miracles happen every day. For sports fans, miracles are a natural part of the sport. As a New Orleans Saints fan, I can attest with many other fans that the Super Bowl win of 2010 was a miracle onto itself. I also have experienced many other profound events in my life, which I would describe as miraculous.
For those who have personally experienced a miracle, the details are not as important as the divine nature of the experience. The gift of life itself is a miracle and for many, miracles are found in the daily joys of life.
What is a Miracle?
The word miracle comes from the Latin origin of mirari, which means, “to wonder at.” Webster’s dictionary defines a miracle as: “an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs” and “an extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing or accomplishment.”
Miracles appear to supersede all known natural laws, appearing out of the blue in a phenomenal manner. On some occasions, the miracle is performed by a benevolent and powerful entity, often described as an angelic being. In other circumstances, the miracle works through a person at the event, such as a spiritual leader, faith healer, or saint. When a miracle occurs, those who experience the phenomena describe it as an overwhelmingly positive experience.
History of Miracles
The largest recorded list of miracles comes from the Christian Bible. In the New Testament, miracles begin with the story of the “Immaculate Conception”, the pregnancy of Mary, mother of Jesus. The Gospels then describe miracles performed by Jesus which include: spontaneous healing, faith healing, exorcisms (expelling of demonic forces), resurrecting himself and others from the dead, and manifesting items in connection with the elements of nature. Examples of manifestation miracles include: Jesus walking on water, producing fish and loaves of bread while in the desert, and changing water into wine at a wedding.
Many of the miracles reported in the New Testament describe events where people have been healed instantaneously experiencing the full restoration of their physical body. These stories include Jesus healing the blind, the lame, and the sick both intentionally with the laying of hands and by people reaching out to touch his robe as he passed through a crowd, in an example of faith healing.
One of the most famous reports of a miracle in the 20th Century, was reported in Fatima, Portugal in 1917. For six consecutive months, on the thirteenth day of each month, a lady appeared to three children giving them prophecies referred to as “The Three Secrets of Fatima.” Described by the children as the “Lady of the Rosary”, her appearances culminated on October 13, 1917 with a profound supernatural event, which is referred to as the “Miracle of the Sun.” On this day, over 70,000 people including reporters and photographers gathered in Fatima where the lady was said to appear to the children.
It had been raining in Fatima for several days and as the crowd gathered, the rain abruptly stopped and the sun appeared. At this point, the sun began to “dance” in the sky, whirling in a circular motion while rapidly changing colors from purple, to red, to white. At one point, it appeared that the sun was coming down from the sky to touch the people directly. Witnesses testified that they saw Jesus, Mary and Joseph appear in the sky blessing the people during the event.
One of the prophecies given to the three children by the Lady of the Rosary stated that people would see a light in the sky before a new World War would begin. On January 25, 1938, an enormous aurora borealis appeared across Europe, which was seen as far away as California. The lights were so intense that many residents in Paris called emergency services to report a fire in the sky. Lucia, one of the children of Fatima advised the Catholic Church that the sign had come and that war was imminent. A month later, Hitler attacked Austria and the rest is history.
Modern Day Miracles
Miraculous events are being reported in the medical community described as spontaneous healings or spontaneous remissions. The most prominent and significant examples reported by doctors include cases of patients diagnosed with terminal cancer, who through no medical intervention, are spontaneously healed with all traces of the cancer removed from their body.
In these cases, there is no clear definition or agreement by doctors of how the miracle occurred. A common synchronicity found with the patients who spontaneously heal, are prayers, which were focused on the patient’s return to health by their family, friends, and spiritual community. The power and energy of prayer is found to play an active role in the healing and recovery process.
Modern day miracles are also defined as special events in life when a person feels deeply connected and blessed by the spiritual realms, such as describing the “miracle of childbirth” in the pregnancy and birth of a child.
Others modern day miraculous events include reports of people being saved by divine intervention in a car accident, plane crash, natural disaster or other traumatic event by an angelic being or through divine intervention. There are also sacred sites around the world where miraculous events are reported to occur. Lourdes, France is one of the most famous sites, where the water is reported to have healing properties.
Are All Miracles the Same?
Though most every religion including Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism report miracles experienced by their followers, the religions themselves do not agree on the definition of what is a miracle.
Many scholars believe that the stories from the Bible are describing parables, rather than literal stories of events. One of the examples most often cited is the story of Balaam and the talking donkey, where scholars doubt that the donkey actually spoke in the situation. In the Judaic teachings, some leaders describe miracles as parables and prophetic visions, which are shared in order to inspire others to do good deeds.
The definition of “what is a miracle” continues to be redefined. Scholars have debated the definition, source, and description of miracles for centuries. The Greek philosopher Aristotle for example, argued that miracles did not occur, as according to his beliefs God would not interfere with the free will of man.
There are many scientists and scholars who do not believe in the existence of miracles. They agree that a miraculous (wondrous) event can occur, but believe that the supernatural experience is a miracle only in the sense that it is not yet understood scientifically how the phenomena occurred.
Beyond the disbelief of some scientists and scholars, there are many other people who believe in the existence of miraculous events, but who do not believe in the miracles reported in the Old and New Testament of the Bible. Thomas Jefferson edited a version of the Bible removing all reports of miracles, as he believed them to be misinterpretations later added to enhance the stories. Thomas Paine, an American Revolutionary hero, had this to say about miracles: “All the tales of miracles, with which the Old and New Testament are filled, are fit only for impostors to preach and fools to believe.”
The Future of Miracles
The laws of physics provide information explaining in part what is occurring during a miracle. Medical science is beginning to understand spontaneous remission through the discovery that cells have the ability to regenerate and restore to their natural healthy state. Books like The Biology of Belief by Dr. Bruce Lipton and The Genie in Your Genes by Dr. Dawson Church both describe how this process occurs. The power of prayer is also being studied to determine how energy when directed for a period of time on a certain object or person can cause a change in the bio energy field of a person, animal or plant.
While the dynamic principles of how “thought energy” is affected during a miraculous event is now understood on a deeper level, how the actual act occurs is still part of the divine mystery which has not and perhaps will not ever be fully comprehended.
The definition of a miracle as a phenomenal supernatural event still remains, even as some of the mystique is being cleared away through greater spiritual and scientific understanding.
The explanation of how the event may actually occur makes the actual experience no less miraculous, as anyone who has experienced an angelic visitation, spontaneous healing, or supernatural event will attest.