The Conception of the Miraculous and Christian Apologetics


Keith Parsons

This thesis was originally written by Keith Parsons in partial fulfillment of requirements for the degree Master of Arts in the College of Arts and Sciences at Georgia State University, 1982.

Table of Contents


The introduction provides a statement of the purpose of this thesis, as well as an overview of its contents.

Preface: Attempts to Avoid the Problems

Parsons critiques the attempts of Rudolf Bultmann, R.F. Holland, and Tillich to avoid the problem of miracles by defining a miraculous event in such a way that it has an explanation in terms of natural law.

Chapter 1: The Consistency of the Concept

The first chapter deals with the charge that the conception of the miraculous is self-contradictory. Briefly, the argument is that natural laws, by definition, cannot be violated; hence, if we define “miracle” as “a violation of natural law,” we have a contradiction. It will be concluded that this objection fails and that the conception of the miraculous is consistent.

Chapter 2: Confirming the Occurrence of Apparent Miracles

The second chapter takes up the old Humean problem, i.e., can any degree of evidence confirm that an event has taken place contrary to an accepted law of nature? This chapter will conclude that there are several ways that it could in principle be confirmed that an event has taken place even though that event conflicts with an accepted natural law.

Chapter 3: Three Criticisms

The third chapter will examine three sorts of criticisms of the miraculous and will judge each of these criticisms to be sound.


“The Conception of the Miraculous and Christian Apologetics” is copyright © 1982, 1997 by Keith Parsons. All rights reserved.

The electronic version is copyright © 1997 by Internet Infidels with the written permission of Keith Parsons. All Rights reserved.