Miracles

I was reading about one of the Marian Apparitions and this thought came into my head:

The Church has recorded a great number of miracles throughout the years such as Eucharistic Miracles, incorruptibility, Marian Apparitions, healings, etc.
I know the Church goes through a lot of work to examine these and confirm if they are legit miracles or not and I’m sure there is a significant number of people who have these miracles to thank for their faith.
I was wondering, if any of you know, is there anything similar in the other faiths? Do, for example, Hindus have documented and confirmed miracles as well, or is it just Christians/the Abrahamic religions? If yes, are they anywhere near as numerous or convincing as our miracles?

You are making it an Us vs Them thing.

The truth is, there are little truths in all religions because the laws of God are written on the hearts of all men. However, they may not be exposed to the fullness of truth, as we are.

If miracles happen in other religions, it is because that is the best they can do and God feeds all of His children. A Hindu that follows his conscience may very well know the very same God that you and I profess to believe in, although the aesthetics and packaging might be different and he may recognize Him under a different name and appearance.

That’s a good point. I hadn’t heard about miracles from other faiths so I was curious but that’s a great way to look at it.

I realize my comment seemed a little irrelevant in some ways, but I dont see it as “Hindu miracles” but rather just miracles from the same God to different peoples.

But yes, that would be interesting to know if they have experience any similar events.

The Catholic Church does seem to possess an inordinate number of miraculous events, but perhaps we are just more familiar with them, being immersed in Catholic culture as we are. I do remember reading somewhere that when Muslims are in dire need of a miracle, they will ask a Christian to pray for them. The Muslims in the article believed that Christians got better results. Actually, even among Christian denominations, it frequently happens that when someone needs an exorcism, they will bypass their own church and go to a Catholic priest. :popcorn:

It’s kind of hard to say…There are many “miracles” in other faiths and some are likely genuine. But I know of no other faith that puts as much effort into qualifying miracles as the Catholic Church does. So there is no way to make an “apples to apples” comparison.

Peace
James

But we Christians point to miracles–most clearly the resurrection of Christ from the dead–as supporting evidence for the truth of our faith. Don’t we commit the logical fallacy of begging the question to say that all good supernatural events are ultimately from the Christian God? Hindus could, after all, say that Brahman has instead done amazing works in a variety of contexts.

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They have “documented” miracles. The Hindu faith has no mechanism to “confirm” a miracle.

Multiple statues (hundreds) in multiple worldwide locations have been reported to “drink” milk (really). The events happen simultaneously over a short time (a day or so). This was only a few years ago, so video (from news crews, including CNN, BBC, and the New York Times) is available.

There’s a website dedicated to this event (with video):

milkmiracle.com/

I can think of an obvious explanation (besides deliberate hoax) for the “drinking,” but not why it happened only during certain periods (and does not happen now).

I’m not sure what you were thinking of, but the book of Exodus immediately came to my mind.
Ex. 7:11 and subsequent passages: “Then Pharaoh summoned the wise men and the sorcerers; and they also, the magicians of Egypt, did the same by their secret arts. ,…”

Satan/evil spirits are real and always out to deceive humans on earth.
Timing would not be an issue unless God imposed restrictions (cf. Book of Job).

Timing (and the event itself) would not be an issue unless God specifically permitted it (as he did with Job). Satan cannot, by his own power, compel a stone Hindu statue to “drink” milk. Satan (like any other angel) cannot interact with the physical world in any way whatsoever except by a divine miracle permitting it.

The magicians at Pharaoh’s court were exactly that - magicians. Their “secret arts” are still practiced by magicians today. It is ancient stagecraft, not demonic activity. You could do the same (without any demonic assistance) if you knew how.

There is very definite demonic activity that is beyond what is “magic” carried out by humans. All one has to do is read records of exorcism cases, physical phenomena in “haunted” places,…
Stone statues “drinking” milk is mild in comparison!

I’m not sure what you mean by “divine miracle” – do you mean the same as “Satan cannot interact with the physical world in any way whatsoever except by divine permission”. (Don’t understand the inclusion of “miracle” after “divine”.)

In the case of Job, God set limits for Satan (cannot kill Job), but within those imposed limits Satan was allowed freedom to choose what he would do.
God has granted Satan some dominion on earth (Jesus’ refers to him as “prince/ruler of this world” (cf John 12:31; 14:30. Also, 2 Cor 4:4; 1 Peter 5:8). We don’t know what conditions & limits God has set for Satan. For me it’s easy to accept that He could allow him to exercise control over inanimate physical elements such as stone and milk.

We do know that Jesus has conquered, and so for those who believe and are united with Him there is a protection. But for others, ???. I recall a priest once telling how when missionaries first went into a pagan land very often there would be much demonic type activity. But as priests celebrated the Mass, it would begin to change.
As the Mass celebrations increased, demonic activities decreased.
We have been living for so long in Christian countries/culture where many Catholic priests daily celebrated Mass, that I think demonic activity became relatively rare- so rare that it’s not unusual to find people who don’t think Satan even exists. However, with the loss of faith and decrease in number of priests to celebrate daily Mass, we may begin to see things change - and not for the better. Actually it’s already happening and the Church is recognizing the need for more exorcist priests.

One quick addition: It’s precisely because the Church recognizes that Satan has been given power to perform “supernatural” phenomena that the Church is very cautious in declaring a supernatural event to be of God. There is careful and extensive examination to test whether it stems from Divine activity or demonic.

Me too.
Popes are designated “the Great” by popular acclaim. Please join me in always referring to Pope Blessed John Paul-2 as “Blessed John Paul the Great.”

(I’m really looking forward to changing this to “St. John Paul the Great”)

It’s more than just permission. God doesn’t just need to allow it, he must facilitate it.

Demons, angels and Saints exist in a non-physical state. They can affect us spiritually, but not physically, unless God performs a miracle. It is not within their own power to transcend their nature, with or without God’s approval.

Intriguing. Do you have any material on this phenomenon?

There may not be enough literature to address the question, but I do wonder how the Muslim lands which have a negligible Christian presence (e.g., Morocco or Yemen) compare in terms of demonic activity to those which retain a significant Christian population (e.g., Egypt or Syria)?

You certainly sent me on a Summa T. search! (Only place I knew to go to for that topic.)
Clarifying what type of “miracle” is being considered seems to be critical.
newadvent.org/summa/1110.htm#article4

I answer that, …So for a miracle is required that it be against the order of the whole created nature. But God alone can do this, because, whatever an angel or any other creature does by its own power, is according to the order of created nature; and thus it is not a miracle. Hence God alone can work miracles.

Reply to Objection 2. Properly speaking, as said above, miracles are those things which are done outside the order of the whole created nature. But** as we do not know all the power of created nature**, it follows that when anything is done outside the order of created nature by a power unknown to us, it is called a miracle as regards ourselves. So when the demons do anything of their own natural power, these things are called “miracles” not in an absolute sense, but in reference to ourselves. …….

Reply to Objection 4. Although the angels can do something which is outside the order of corporeal nature, yet they cannot do anything outside the whole created order, which is essential to a miracle, as above explained.

Again, it’s critical to clarify what type of miracle we’re considering.

Demons, angels and Saints exist in a non-physical state. They can affect us spiritually, but not physically, unless God performs a miracle. It is not within their own power to transcend their nature, with or without God’s approval.

I don’t think we know the extent of power God has granted to angels as part of their nature. If you know of any authoritative texts that address this topic, would you please let me know. You say they cannot affect us physically – can you give me the source for that statement? Aquinas didn’t address it in the sections I read (either the extent or the limitation over physical matter).

In regards to power over physical material, my own thinking is that it’s more that God has imposed limitations on their exercise of their natural powers over material elements (especially in the case of fallen angels who hate us). A Scripture passage I always find interesting is in Revelations:
Rev. 9:13-15 Then the sixth angel blew his trumpet, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar before God, saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphra’tes.” So the four angels were released, who had been held ready for the hour, the day, the month, and the year, to kill a third of mankind. It gives the impression that they have the power to kill humans (as we humans also have), but God restrained them.

P.S. I understand that as far as officially defined doctrine by the Church, there is very little - so most of it falls in the category of what we’re speakibg of probably falls into the category of being open to speculation

I apologize for the clumsy wording in the “P.S.” ---- but I was too late to delete duplicate wording.

It looks like a similar topic is discussed in “Summa contra gentiles” (third book, 103 chapter - dhspriory.org/thomas/ContraGentiles3b.htm#103).

Thank you. I intend to spend some time reading it, but right now my brain is tired!!! (And one can’t have a tired brain to read Aquinas - at least I can’t.)
Did you find something in it that is relevant to whether angels can act on physical materials such that they seem to us to be “miracles” - yet not miracles in the sense that it goes beyond the powers granted to them according to their angelic nature?
(Can you tell I’m feeling lazy about doing my own reading & thinking? :o )

Well, the easiest part seems to be the name of the chapter: “How spiritual substances do certain wonderful things which, however, are not truly miracles”… And the one of another chapter close to it: “That the intellectual substance which provides the efficacy for magic works is not morally good”… :slight_smile:

:slight_smile: How true.

But, St, Thomas does hold that spiritual beings can act on physical things without special Divine power. Such acts are not what he calls “true miracles”, but they can appear to be miracles to humans.

It’s too long to quote everything, so just a reasonably!! short bit from your link - dhspriory.org/thomas/ContraGentiles3b.htm#103)
[8] However, we should bear in mind the fact that, when either angels or demons make use of natural things in order to produce definite effects, they use them as instruments, just as a physician uses certain herbs as instruments of healing. Now, there proceeds from an instrument not merely an effect corresponding to the power of the instrument, but also an effect beyond its power, in so far as it acts through the power of the principal agent. For instance, a saw or an axe could not make a bed unless they worked as things moved by the art adapted to such a product. Nor could natural heat generate flesh without the power of the vegetative soul which uses it as a sort of instrument. So, it is appropriate that certain higher effects result from these natural things, due to the fact that spiritual substances use them as instruments.[9]

So, then, although such effects cannot be called miracles without qualification, since they do result from natural causes, they remain wonderful to us, in two senses. ……

For those interested, they shoud read the sections in the link to understand
*the limits of what created spiritual substances (angels) can do:
*what constitutes a true miracle:

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