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The analysis of these terms therefore gives the nature and scope of the miracle.
Again, it is of the nature of fire to burn, but when, e.g., the Three Children were preserved untouched in the fiery furnace ( Daniel 3 ) there was nothing unnatural in the act, as these writers use the word, any more than there would be in erecting a dwelling absolutely fireproof.
In the one case, as in the other, there was no paralysis of natural forces and no consequent disorder. an event apart from the ordinary course of things; enables us to understand the teaching of theologians that events which ordinarily take place in the natural or supernatural course of Divine Providence are not miracles, although they are beyond the efficiency of natural forces.
For this reason miracles in Scripture are called "the finger of God " ( Exodus , Luke ), "the hand of the Lord " ( 1 Samuel 5:6 ), "the hand of our God " ( Ezra ). An event is above the course of nature and beyond its productive powers: In the latter case the effects must be ascribed to God, for He works in and through the instruments; "Ipso Deo in illis operante" (Augustine, "De Civit. Hence God works miracles through the instrumentality Hence the contention of some modern writers, that a miracle requires an immediate action of Divine power, is not true.
In referring the miracle to God as its efficient cause the answer is given to the objection that the miracle is unnatural, i.e., an uncaused event without meaning or place in nature. Augustine speaks of the miracle as natural (De Civit. It is sufficient that the miracle be due to the intervention of God, and its nature is revealed by the utter lack of proportion between the effect and what are called means or instruments.
The forces of nature differ in power and are in constant interaction.
This produces interferences and counteractions of forces.
Now in a miracle God's action relative to its bearing on natural forces is analogous to the action of human personality.
Thus, e.g., it is against the nature of iron to float, but the action of Eliseus in raising the axe-head to the surface of the water ( 2 Kings 6 ) is no more a violation, or a transgression, or an infraction of natural laws than if he raised it with his hand.
(2) The word dynamis , "power" is used in the New Testament to signify: Hence the miracle is called supernatural, because the effect is beyond the productive power of nature and implies supernatural agency. Thomas teaches: "Those effects are rightly to be termed miracles which are wrought by Divine power apart from the order usually observed in nature " (Contra Gent., III, cii), and they are apart from the natural order because they are "beyond the order or laws of the whole created nature " ( ST I:102:4 ).
Hence dynamis adds to the meaning of terata by pointing out the efficient cause.
In like manner the justification of a soul in itself is miraculous, but is not a miracle properly so called, unless it takes place in a sensible manner, as, e.g., in the case of St. The wonder of the miracle is due to the fact that its cause is hidden, and an effect is expected other than what actually takes place.