The Importance of Understanding Miracles

The Importance of Understanding Miracles

By Dolph L. Hatfield, Ph.D.

Photo by Jacob Bentzinger on Unsplash


By definition, a miracle cannot be explained or understood since it is defined as being the result of a supernatural event. However, when a miracle occurs, it involves a physical change and, therefore, has a physical explanation.

A miracle is defined in Webster’s Dictionary as “an extraordinary event taken as a sign of the supernatural power of God”. Since miracles are attributed to the intervention of God in man’s affairs, no further thought is typically given to how these events occur. However, a physical change had to have occurred to create the miracle which dictates that it can be defined. Therefore, if miracles are viewed from the perspectives of why they occur and how they occur, then God’s role in miracles and the fact that they have a physical explanation are acknowledged.

That is, why miracles occur at a specific time and place and/or to a specific person recognizes God’s mediation in the events. And no further thought need be given to why such phenomena occur. However, how miracles occur is a result of a physical change and, therefore, is ascertainable. The remainder of this article will focus primarily on amplifying the significance of how miracles occur with particular emphasis on the healing process of individuals involved in miracles.

Understandably, an illness is incurable when modern medicine has not yet found the cure for the disorder. There are numerous examples of individuals recovering from an incurable health disorder. The before and after health status of such an individual can be determined and is of course different. The extent of the person’s illness can be assessed by the medical profession and depending on how ill the patient is, he/she can be given a specific time to live. In this hypothetical case, the person is informed he has about two months to live. He then visits an establishment which is known to have incidences of incurable disorders cured. An example of such an establishment is Lourdes in France, wherein an individual’s blood and other health markers have reverted to normal — — this is deemed a miracle.

Clearly, if we understood the molecular basis of how the miracle occurred, it seems logical that we could use this knowledge to treat individuals afflicted with the specified disorder and cure them. Would it not be far more productive to focus on how this event occurred than to blindly hold a supernatural force as the accomplice and give no further thought?

Almost 70 miracles have been reported to have occurred at Lourdes since 1858. Lourdes is a small town in the Occitanie region of southwest France. Some of the healings are the result of a change in health status from a terminal illness to normal health and the incident materializes rather suddenly. A medical examination of the afflicted person would have shown that he/she was suffering from an incurable disease which was assessed from the test results. And after the visit to Lourdes, the person no longer has any sign of the illness.

To explain a “miraculous” event by saying God is responsible, leaves us unknowingly of how the change occurred. God may be responsible for why the change occurred but how it occurred is what we should strive to understand. Many benefits to mankind lie in understanding HOW miracles occur.

Also published on Medium here