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Miracles Paperback – Jan 25 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Harperone; New edition edition (Jan. 25 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780060653019
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060653019
  • ASIN: 0060653019
  • Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 1.7 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 249 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #96,680 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"I read Lewis for comfort and pleasure many years ago, and a glance into the books revives my old admiration." -- John Updike

From the Back Cover

"The central miracle asserted by Christians is the Incarnation. They say that God became Man. Every other miracle prepares the way for this, or results from this." This is the key statement of Miracles, in which C. S. Lewis shows that a Christian must not only accept but rejoice in miracles as a testimony of the unique personal involvement of God in his creation. Using his characteristic lucidity and wit to develop his argument, Lewis challenges the rationalists, agnostics, and deists on their own grounds and makes out an impressive case for the irrationality of their assumptions.

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By A Customer on Dec 13 2003
Format: Paperback
Miracles, while not a perfect book, is certainly an excellent one, in which C.S. Lewis is at his philosophical best. It's not an easy read, by any means, but grinding through it is worth the effort. Recently, another review (by Widger) has widely misconstrued Lewis' argument in the first few chapters, so I would like to use this space, to help "hinder the hindrances" to a very good book.
Widger makes three inadequate criticisms against Lewis' argument. The second and third basically amount to the same critique, so I'll group them together.
1.)Widger says, "First, although he is right that a logical ground for a belief is not the same kind of cause as 'non-rational causation' and although he is also right that a belief being physically caused would not mean that it was proved, it does not follow that having a physical cause would ipso facto prove falsehood."
2.)Widger claims Lewis is arguing to the supernatural through ignorance, and then elucidates some problems with arguing from ignorance.
1.) Lewis never says that having a physical cause proves falsehood ipso facto. He makes this clear by talking about human thought as the border of two frontiers. He says it can be physically accounted for in the brain, but that the brain itself can never give a fully adequate account of reasoning. Just because the water in a fishbowl always moves when the fish moves, doesn't mean the fish is the water. Or that all the movements of the water can be fully explained by the water itself.
2.) Lewis is not arguing from ignorance; he's arguing from reason. He's saying you could never give a complete account of reason through irrational causation. Saying you could would be like saying you could have a round triangle.
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Format: Paperback
According to C. S. Lewis, this book is intended as a preliminary to historical inquiry. It does not, therefore, examine the historical evidence for Christian miracles, but is intended to put readers in a position to do so. Lewis states: "It is no use going to the texts until we have some idea about the possibility or probability of the miraculous. Those who assume that miracles cannot happen are merely wasting their time by looking into the texts: we know in advance what results they will find for they have begun by begging the question." In his appeal to the "common reader" and not specifically to theologians, Lewis defines a miracle broadly as "an interference with Nature by supernatural power." This distinction between the natural and supernatural is presupposed and posited up front because Naturalists, according to Lewis, believe that nothing exists except Nature (Nature is considered "the whole show," the "Total System," etc.) which, if true, rules out the possibility of the supernatural. Nature is considered by Lewis, and Supernaturalists in general, as a partial system within reality, not Reality itself. It is a created thing (abstractly speaking), not the self-existent Creator. Lewis argues by analogy and uses human reason and morality as examples of the supernatural that are distinct from Nature. In fact, Lewis argues that humans, as compositions of the natural and supernatural, intervene in Nature by supernatural acts (which he considers self-determined acts not caused by another in some inevitable causal chain). But he admits (see Chapter 6) that such acts are not what many equate with "miracles" since they are both familiar and regular (not to mention humanly caused).Read more ›
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In this work, the master of Christian apology tackles a difficult subject: miracles. The question is easy enough--do miracles really occur?--but the answer is far more complex and difficult. True to his style, Lewis picks apart the question and analyzes it with the scrutinizing eye of a skeptic who has seen the light and wants to help others see it too.

The scope, of course, goes far beyond miracles. In analyzing the probability of such events, Lewis examines Pantheism vs. Christianity, and the idea of a Nature that is completely independent of any outside interference (even God's). His argument that the laws and 'nature' of Nature are not violated by miracles is convincing, as is his argument that miracles are, in fact, necessary. For Lewis, a miracle wrought by the Creator of mankind is really nothing extraordinary. Some miracles, such as the water being turned into wine, simply skip a step or two. Instead of water nourishing a vine that eventually produces grapes for wine, Christ merely eliminates the intermediary steps. Other miracles, such as Christ's Resurrection, are simply a glance at what's to come, when everyone will be resurrected.

Whether or not you agree with Lewis, his argument is worth considering. Like most of his work, this book is written for believer and skeptic alike, and provides a stimulating analysis of the probability of miracles occurring. This one belongs on the shelf of any Christian thinker, and will prove a stimulating read for students of philosophy as well.
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