The miraculous and supernatural, as descriptive of events, and as terms of classification, are each used with distinct and differing definition. Further misapprehension is often added by their interchangeable employment. Much disagreement naturally results which would be preventable if men took more care to understand each other accurately. What is a miracle? From the simplest definition of the word, only a wonder, that which is strange or unusual to the observer. But as specifically used, it formerly conveyed the idea of some occurrence which is a result of direct divine interposition, and which is above or beyond the domain of orderly law. Although such a significance is rapidly diminishing, it still lingers as a sentiment in many minds.
What is the supernatural? In reality only the higher zone of the natural; that which belongs to a more subtle and refined realm, but yet which is as normal as that which is subordinate. It properly includes that part of the great Whole which is spiritual and unseen. In rank and relation it is above materiality. The supernatural — above the natural — depends upon what is meant by the natural. It is unfortunate for the cause of truth, and clear thinking, that the term, natural, has become limited to the realm of matter. We hear of the natural world in contrast with the spiritual world, and of the natural man as opposed to the spiritual man. But neither the spiritual world nor the spiritual man is unnatural. If the term natural were used only to signify normality, confusion would be avoided. But prevailing dualistic thought has not only divided the great unity into two sections, but it has set them in opposition. The material and the spiritual are not rivals but varying manifestations. Being divinely joined they should not be rent asunder.
Religion has been defined as "a plan of salvation," a system of repair, supernatural in its character and attested by miracles. These have been taken as the proofs of its divinity and genuineness. As performed by Jesus and his followers, they were regarded as certificates from above, or seals that their teachings were more than human. Who would believe without the witness of something miraculous?" Show us a sign from heaven," has always been the human demand. Through the ages it has been assumed that Christianity and miracles were interdependent and stood or fell together. Said Lowell, in writing of the unreasonable requisition for signs:
"O Power, more near my life than life itself!
I fear not Thy withdrawal; more I fear,
Seeing, to know Thee not, hoodwinked with dreams
Of signs and wonders, while, unnoticed, Thou
Walking Thy garden still, commun'st with men,
Missed in the commonplace of miracle."
The universality of law is the climax of all modern discovery. Here and there, farther back, some rare prophetic soul has had a vision of an orderly nature of things, and such a one was Richard Hooker who lived in the latter part of the sixteenth century. In beautiful form, no less profoundly scientific than poetic, he wrote:
"Of Law, there can be no less acknowledged than that her seat is the bosom of God, her voice the harmony of the world; all things in heaven and earth do her homage, the very least as feeling her care, and the greatest as not exempted from her power."
The great principle that there is an orderly administration of the universe — reliable and unvarying in every detail — has been the general foundation for all the wonders of modern progress. Every one of the numberless concrete inventions and each application of nature's forces, and, no less, new recognitions of moral and spiritual truth which have enlightened and uplifted mankind, have their roots in the knowledge of the unfailing regularity of the divine order.
If any wonderful work has ever been performed contrary to orderly law, then God must be capricious and the moral order disorderly. But many marvelous transactions have taken place in accord with laws with which we have been, and still are, unacquainted. Such an administration is reasonable, and confirmed in every direction; and it is entirely unlike the dogma, so long and universally held, that miracles are special and unique and given as signs. Great changes in opinion have taken place, but the newer and larger views, as yet, are held by many but tentatively. But every manifestation in the whole material and spiritual cosmos, as at present interpreted by the scientific method, is subject to immutable law which is immanent. The Divine Mind and Life — the one ultimate Force — expresses itself through resident causation and sequence, and is an endless chain with no link missing. What a burden upon faith, and its hospitable reception, is the belief of a spasmodic interference at human request, by God with his own beautiful and eternally established methods! The apologists of the past have marred the religion which they earnestly endeavored to explain and defend.
But on the other hand, we should not dogmatically deny the occurrence of many unusual things that are said to have happened, because we are yet unaware of the laws through which they were possible. We have as yet explored and mapped out but a mere fraction of the universal order, and must beware of fixing its limits in any direction. Deeper research will yet disclose an unbounded realm of natural law stretching out over the physical, the psychical and spiritual universe as well. The next great step will be toward a more general recognition of the latter as well as the former. How many have yet fathomed the tremendous possibilities of mind and soul working in cooperative harmony with the Divine Mind? How many have yet touched the mere fringe of the phenomena of spiritual healing, suggestion, faith, telepathy, visions, trances, and obsessions? There is truth in every realm which has some fitting and beneficent use. In proportion as man becomes acquainted with divine method and his own hidden forces, he will wield numerous powers which are yet unrecognized and idle. The violation of those laws which are unknown, as well as those which are known, is subject to penalty.
Who can pronounce judgment upon the miraculous occurrences which are on record in the Bible? It would seem that there are two classes of minds which are incompetent in that direction. First, those who literalize, and believe in special divine intervention. The other class, which is as illy equipped to deal with the miraculous, includes those who at once deny the validity or historical accuracy of any unusual event or condition, because it transcends their own scanty knowledge of law, and is contrary to their own limited experience. Here are two opposing and extreme forms of dogmatism, and it is not easy to decide which is more unprofitable. The first shows an ignorant and credulous faith which is not according to knowledge, and the second a blind unbelief and materialism which perhaps is more barren and depressing than the surplus of superstition.
Any study of the supernatural elements of the Bible from the cold and matter-of-fact standpoint of today, must be inaccurate and superficial. The ancient Hebrews were indeed "a peculiar people." They were not only superior, as related to the surrounding nations, in their devotion to monotheism, the worship of Jehovah, and through their gifted seers and leaders, to an unusual ethical and spiritual perception, but also in their remarkable development in mysticism, occultism, and psychology, theoretical and practical. The strange phenomena of mind and spirit, which have little attention and which interest but a few at the present time, formed a great leading pursuit and interest of life. In this they were not unlike the surrounding peoples, except that their visions, wonders, and other psychical experiences were purer and more distinctively spiritual than the prevailing occultism of the time. Such things were then universal. Intercourse with the subjective, and the unseen objective, was sought and cultivated. Visions, magic, demonism, clairvoyance, witchcraft, and marvels were common, and of all grades in moral quality. Forces, which to the modern Occidental consciousness seem weird, and, with many, absolutely unreal, to them were so general as to be almost axiomatic. The "wise men" of the ancient time were not educated in the modern sense, but were magicians in various orders of higher or lower degree. Signs and wonders mainly made up the ancient curriculum. Few conventional readers of the Bible appreciate how fully it is crowded with mysticism and occultism, and that fact makes it seem to the average reader a far-away book. In the human consciousness of today it has been detached from real life. Spiritual forces have come to seem nominal and even unreal, instead of substantial, and closely correlated to those of the material realm.
Both in the Old and New Testaments, there is recorded a constant series of "miracles," greatly unlike in moral quality, and in reasonableness as compared with the usual order of nature. Some of them seem beneficent, some cruel, some literally probable, and some impossible. How has the sceptic, and he who would be a destroyer of the Bible, poured contempt upon the Book because the literalist has felt it incumbent upon him to stand up for the historical accuracy of the miracles which seem immoral and impossible! How have the broader, and some of the "shining lights" of the Church evaded, and reasoned all around an issue which cannot longer be postponed! Every day of the deferment of some serious attempt at adjustment, brings additional discredit upon the Scriptures. A persistent dodging of vital issues cannot longer be regarded as friendly to the written record. Any effort which is here made at clarification, however far-fetched or even unwise it may seem, has for its object a vindication, a defense, and nothing less. As a concrete illustration of principles, let us take the record of one of the plagues of Egypt. Exodus vii, 8-25 reads as follows:
"And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, Shew a wonder for you: then thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and cast it down before Pharaoh, that it become a serpent. And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so, as the Lord had commanded: and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh and before his servants, and it became a serpent. Then Pharaoh also called for the wise men and the sorcerers: and they also, the magicians of Egypt, did in like manner with their enchantments. For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods. And Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had spoken.
"And the Lord said unto Moses, Pharaoh's heart is stubborn, he refuseth to let the people go. Get thee unto Pharaoh in the morning; lo, he goeth out unto the water; and thou shalt stand by the river's brink to meet him; and the rod which was turned to a serpent shalt thou take in thine hand. And thou shalt say unto him, The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, hath sent me unto thee, saying, Let my people go, that they may serve me in the wilderness: and behold, hitherto thou hast not hearkened. Thus saith the Lord, In this thou shalt know that I am the Lord: behold, I will smite with the rod that is in mine hand upon the waters which are in the river, and they shall be turned to blood. And the fish that is in the river shall die, and the river shall stink; and the Egyptians shall loathe to drink water from the river. And the Lord said unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the waters of Egypt, over their rivers, over their streams, and over their pools, and over all their ponds of water, that they may become blood; and there shall be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood and in vessels of stone. And Moses and Aaron did so, as the Lord commanded; and he lifted up the rod, and smote the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh, and in the sight of his servants; and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood. And the fish that was in the river died; and the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink water from the river; and the blood was throughout all the land of Egypt. And the magicians of Egypt did in like manner with their enchantments: and Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had spoken. And Pharaoh turned and went into his house, neither did he lay even this to heart. And all the Egyptians digged round about the river for water to drink; for they could not drink of the water of the river. And seven days were fulfilled, after that the Lord had smitten the river."
There are doubtless many who still accept this as literal history, for the reason that it appears in the pages of the Bible. There are others, destructive critics, who will utterly deny it, and a few of them will glory in their denial. But some examination may show a wiser way than either. There are many liberal and broad-minded students of the Bible, writers and clergymen, whose lives have been given professionally to exegesis and interpretation, who avoid the leading question. It were far better for the Bible and its future influence for good in the world, if men were more courageous in the use of their reason. Is it possible to throw any light upon the transaction, the account of which has been quoted, by any study of the period at which it occurred, or by some comparison with known facts of the present time, or both?
The modern Occidental hypnotist is but a novice in occultism when compared with some of the adepts of India. But even the former is often able to make one, or several subjects together, see objects and experience sensations which have no objective reality. The wonderful demonstrations of necromancy and enchantment which occasionally are exhibited in the Orient, show that there are extensive realms of the occult yet unexplored by the Western World. The fuller knowledge of these powers seems to be closely confined to certain secret orders, but there is abundant evidence of their exercise. Visitors and long-time residents of India, of the most undoubted veracity and penetration, have many times witnessed these wonderful illusions. An adept will, to all appearances, make a good-sized tree grow from the hard ground in a few minutes before an assembly. He will toss a rope in the air, and climb it out of sight. Objects of size will disappear and reappear before the eyes of keen observers, when the circumstances make sleight of hand impossible. The most rational explanation is, that by the wonderfully trained psychic power of the adept, the lookers-on are put under a temporary hypnotic spell. The transactions, or visions of them, are entirely in the mind, subjective rather than objective. We of the Western World have, comparatively, but an infantile recognition or understanding of occult forces. The East is the home of skilled magic, and especially was so in the ancient time.
Is there not a possible adjustment and correspondence between ancient and modern phenomena? Back to the very dawn of history, the Accadian, Chaldaean, and Assyrian occultism, symbolism, visions, trances, demonism, and necromancy, were the leading accompaniments of life. There was little objective material or mechanical thought, but mystery was everywhere. Even government was by oracles, psychic revelations, unseen messengers from above and below, seership, and priestly interpretation. Life was shadowy, and language symbolic and mystical. Out of such an atmosphere in Ur of the Chaldees came Abraham, the great progenitor of the Israelite race. His visions, compared with those of the people by whom he was surrounded, were purer and on a higher plane of consciousness. To him, God was the great overshadowing Reality, and material things were subordinate. The Hebrew race which descended from him was bred amidst angelic and ecstatic visions which became like a native atmosphere to them. They lived a dreamy, subjective life, and nature was but a veil for the unseen. Among them were many magicians who practiced wonder-working, from the corruption of black magic up to the white magic of a pure spiritual seership. Men saw divinity in everything around them, but its moral grade corresponded with their own standard of character.
Bearing in mind the peculiar development of the age, which has been briefly indicated, may we not reasonably attempt an interpretation of the Scripture which has been quoted? To literally turn the Nile into blood, with the rivers, streams, and other pools, together with all the water in vessels of wood and stone throughout the land of Egypt, is so extremely opposed to the whole course of nature, as we know it, that literalism in such a case seems utterly unreasonable. But we need not deny that the account has a meaning, and in the line of what has been noted, one of much depth with such a people. Each time that Moses brought one of the plagues before the mind of Pharaoh, we read that the magicians of Egypt "did in like manner with their enchantments." If Moses had already turned all the water of the land of Egypt into blood, how could it at once be done again by the partisans of Pharaoh, and, were it possible, why would they do anything so destructive to their own people? Everything in the narrative goes to show that, both in the case of Moses and the other magicians, what took place was an occult demonstration before Pharaoh and his court, a vivid dramatic mental picture with no objective reality. For a limited time all the elements of reality were doubtless apparent. We need not speculate as to the exact mingling of hypnotism and other related occult arts, but undoubtedly it was of that character. The "wisdom of Egypt" was vast at that time, and Moses was "learned" in it all. But his nobility of purpose and recognition of the one God, gave him, as an adept, a superior power over the "enchantments" (note the word) of the other magicians. The serpent which was produced from his rod, or that of Aaron, swallowed their serpents. His enchantments, or psychic illusions, which were given before Pharaoh and his servants, proved their greater power, and probably a deeper realism. Each time, however, after the wonderfully tragic vision wore off, Pharaoh changed his mind ("hardened his heart"), because to him things resumed their normal condition.
It is not easy to put ourselves into the life of an age so radically different from our own, but even modern occultism, and especially hypnotism as demonstrated in India, may furnish a key. To our matter-of-fact turn of mind, visions and enchantments may seem purely fanciful, but they have occupied a large space in the world, and they may furnish the substantial basis for a narrative. The greatest obstacle to an accurate biblical interpretation lies not so much in inability, as in utter lack of effort to take on the local color of the period under consideration. We have well-defined obsession of various qualities today, and our asylums contain large numbers of its victims whose peculiar malady is generally unrecognized. Doubtless it is the same in nature as was the possession by evil spirits in the days of Jesus, but the Bible is so distant and unnatural to our modern sense, that little identification is thought of. Life, ancient and modern, is the same so far as conditions are alike, and the intelligent and sympathetic study of the experiences of one age would shed much light upon those of others.
In the narrative which has been quoted, the Lord is represented as having a detailed and constant conversation with Moses. Doubtless many still believe that it was by means of an outer voice which sent its vibrations to the physical ear. But divine communications to men must remain enigmatical until we are inclined to some study of a subjective spiritual philosophy which teaches that the divine and the human may have contact in man. God is orderly, and the truth of one age will be true in every other. It is conditions and not principles that are in a state of flux. Until the Bible is brought near and used as a mirror, its interpretation will continue to be formal and cloudy. The principles suggested in the solution of the Egyptian plague of blood may be applied in numberless other places in the Old and New Testaments with great advantage.
The Hebrew records often refer to the prevailing sorcery, demonology, charms, and enchantments of the neighboring polytheistic nations as being lower in character than the occultism of their own. But there were striking correspondences. Says Dr. John H. Denison, in his able and interesting work, "Christ's Idea of the Supernatural":
"Moreover we have here and there a hint of the method by which the Hebrew seers brought about the state of ecstasy: Sometimes, notably in the schools of the prophets, it was through the use of music; again by gazing fixedly at the precious stones in the high priest's ephod. In the case of David, the king's hand was surrendered to a mystic guidance, which formed the plans of the temple.
"In brief, we have abundant evidence of the best sort, because inadvertent, that the Hebrew visions developed under the same conditions with other occult phenomena, the difference being that the Hebrew occultism was far mightier, far more significant, and that it was devoted to the one God and his righteousness — a difference that we might naturally expect when we consider the colossal nature of the Hebrew organism, the singular coherence of its system, and the spirituality of its origin. There can be little doubt, therefore, that in the near future the Hebrew narrative, inclusive of the visions, will be accepted as giving us an entirely truthful and naturalistic history of the development of religion in that age.
"Indeed, by classifying the visions of Israel with the same sort of occultism that appears to have followed in every age certain exalted souls, like Joan of Arc, St. Francis, Savonarola, George Fox, Martin Luther, and even lesser personalities when thrown into a state of exaltation, we can retain the whole portraiture of these Old Testament heroes, precisely as Keim preserves the whole of St. Paul's biography, including his ecstatic vision of the risen Christ, without sacrificing either intuition or logic. It corresponds to the structure of the cosmos that under certain conditions there should be occult phenomena. Magnify the conditions by a thousand years of peculiar environment, natural selection, and specialization, and you may expect a transcendent kind of occultism compared with which everything else of the kind will be a mere dwarf or abortion."
That which is mystical wears that aspect because of our ignorance of the psychical law under which it is produced. There is an infinitude of truth, especially in the esoteric prerogatives and practices of the soul, to which our eyes have not been opened. If we ourselves cannot induce a vision or ecstasy, shall we ignorantly affirm that none ever existed? How many give any deep attention to the cultivation of "spiritual gifts"? How many ever feel the vibration of the secret Logos, the Divine Voice in the garden of their consciousness? How many worship in the inner temple and kindle a flame upon its sacred altars? Beyond all other needs, in this modern period of the rule of sense, is that of spiritual illumination.
The Hebrew nation was led for centuries, not by objective worldly wisdom, but by oracular communications, visions, and subjective guidance. The prophetic element, so strong in the Chosen People, was never without eminent exponents, leaders who were channels for psychic and spiritual direction. Does it seem likely that the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire which went before the Children of Israel in the wilderness were visible to the senses, or were they symbolic of spiritual guidance? Perhaps the latter, as a higher directing Force, might be no less unerring and beneficent than the former. Modern materialism mistakes the substance for the shadow, and vice versa. Does the beauty and validity of the Transfiguration depend upon the altitude of the soil upon which it is symbolically located, or was it an unusually lofty and vivid inner experience? Was it the physical or spiritual bodies of Moses and Elias which gave evidence of their presence on that occasion? The woes of the world are mostly due to the prevailing unbelief in spiritual reality. To the ancient Israelite, visions were not only common but they had a deep meaning. A saint in retiracy may experience a vision without an external correspondence, but hardly so, a nation for many centuries. An ideal, in proportion to its intensity, seeks outward expression and correspondence. It craves embodiment, or to be "made flesh."
Students of occult lore claim that for centuries Greece was influenced and mainly ruled by the deliverances of the Oracle of Delphi. It is also thought that the Jewish Ark of the Covenant was modeled after the Egyptian Holy Chest of Oracles. There is a negative and seeming reverse side to every true principle. Sensuous and degrading charms and enchantments are abuses of the normally pure spiritual illumination. The counterfeit or the base alloy proves the existence of the genuine.
Among the leading events of the New Testament which seem to be contrary to universal human experience, are the virgin birth of Jesus, with his physical resurrection and ascension. These are incidental, and in no real sense do they affect the solid basis of vital Christianity. They belong to the realm of dogmatic interpretations which are, at least, non-essential, and they may be left for further light without any positive denial. These claims are not unique, for they have clustered around the personality of the messiahs and founders of other great religious movements. If the narrative of the nativity be spiritually symbolic, without a natural outward correspondence, it is not easy to see the relevancy of the genealogical line of descent which is so carefully given in Matthew. To make fundamental spiritual truth, which the world needs and is hungry for, utterly dependent upon a single interpretation of an outward event, is a dangerous dogmatism. Eternal truth cannot be bound up with creation in six days, the story of the talking serpent, the arrested sun, or Jonah and the whale. It has an infinitely broader and surer basis. It is fair to say that but few now go to such an extreme.
The credentials of truth are found in the soul of man. Truth stirs and awakens the religious nature, and the sayings of Jesus, even before he uttered them, were there deeply inscribed. But he was the transparent medium through which they flowed and were made personal in expression. The perpetuity of the whole cosmos is dependent upon laws which some suppose are set aside by what miracle has been used to define.
"For hearts the beautiful that feel,
Whose pulse of life beats strong,
The opening heavens new light reveal,
'Glory to God' their song.
While bursts confession forth,
That since the world began
No miracle of earth
E'er matched the heart of man."
The miracle, as the definition of what is wonderful all about us every day, is very fitting. How mysterious, as well as beautiful, the daily changes and phases of nature, the moods of the sea, the aspects of the sky, the golden sunset, and the simple opening of a flower! How marvelous the orderly action of the subtle forces of electricity, and of the etheric medium in which we live, and their employment in, and adaptability to human service! What a miracle to the untutored mind would be the express train, the electric car, the telephone, and many other things of daily use! "Familiarity breeds contempt." In all cases the wonder about phenomena depends upon the stage of development. The simplest thing is wonderful, but to be so to our consciousness it must be unfamiliar. In reality there are no miracles. The sequences of the moral order may be relied upon. Even were the great Exemplar of law and truth able to be unique, it would seem natural that he should honor the law by entrance upon, and exit from this plane of existence in the usual way.
But tradition has woven a fabric of mystery and miracle around the personality of all her saints, prophets, and heroes. Nothing is intentionally misrepresented, but expectation fulfills itself. The objective falls into line with the subjective, for imagination is creative. The adorer of the marvelous paints his ideal in his own high color and does not omit a halo. Many of the wonderful works of Jesus are losing their strange aspect as the knowledge of the higher law broadens. In our own time, remarkable cases of healing are becoming common. The potency of mind over matter, of the systematic holding of ideals and of the assertive possibilities of the spiritual selfhood, are even yet but faintly appreciated. Who can fix any final limits to the power of the divine and human cooperation?
With every enlarged concept of nature and the cosmos has come a grander and more worthy ideal of God. Oh, the faithful preachers of the Word, within whose minds has raged the conflict between the light which "lighteth every man that cometh into the world" and the supposed loyalty to ordination vows and obligations! Did Jehovah ever capriciously perform miracles to please his partisans and destroy their enemies? How would that correspond with the direction of Jesus, to "love your enemies"? Some of the modern apologists are reversing their former ideas about miracles. They are no longer the credentials of Jesus, but he is their credential. If he were "very God" we are told that all things should be expected. But it is not explained why many of his followers, who were ordinary men, performed the same works after him. "Greater works than I have done ye shall do." If God's laws and methods which work through man, were available in the first century, they should be equally so in the twentieth. When the higher law commands one which is lower, there will always be surprise to the common consciousness. It is not a violation but only an orderly dominion. The forces of the spiritual realm are superior to those of the psychical, and the latter to those of the material. It follows that the soul should dominate the body, and any inversion of this order causes disturbance. In all the zones of the whole cosmic order, from the lowest elemental to the supreme spiritual, there is a beautiful and normal subordination of each to those which rank higher.
At a certain age, the growing curiosity of a child causes him to take delight in the imaginative realm, where giants and fairies dwell, and, in a way which is somewhat correspondential, when the sense man first enters into the spiritual consciousness the new explorations have a strange and miraculous color. Laws of which he has been unaware are unveiled. To the immature comprehension wonders are continual, but the higher the development the less the surprise at the Unusual. Ignorance mingles the miraculous with its spirituality and religion.
Nearly all the great religions, in their primitive days, and as taught by their founders, were simple in their purity. Only as they became corrupted and in decline did they take on superstition and fanaticism. But the followers of these great original souls have grouped wonders about their names, real or imagined. The undue desire for the phenomenal and the passion for astral or psychical marvels, tend to obscure the simple truth. If one tries to pose as an adept, or occultist, or to captivate by hypnotic power, it is wise to avoid him. The occult is not necessarily spiritual, and may be lacking in purity. Beware of the professional miracle-worker! The works of Jesus were characterized by simplicity and naturalness.
In modern mysticism there is much that is alluring but not always profitable. Does it tend toward greater goodness, purity, love, and other divine ideals? There is that which is called spiritual which may be unspiritual. The hypnotist who puts his subject on exhibition for spectacular purposes, gain, and the gratification of the instinct for the marvelous, is using an undoubted power for ignoble ends.
Intelligence and spiritual earnestness will shape matter in conformity with its own ideals. Who can fully explain the process? How could Jesus perform wonders of healing, or pass with his post resurrection body through closed doors? Not by the employment of any laws which the materialist will admit, for the knowledge of Jesus and of every lesser prophet belongs to his own level. The miraculous is purely a relative term and has no absolute significance. Lower sequences are not repealed but simply directed. The latent and legitimate powers of the soul have hardly begun to be discerned.
We have occasional glimpses of transcendent powers and capabilities. In proportion as we make ourselves at one with the higher law, it lends us its potency. Gaze steadily upward, and the strangeness which is first apparent will gradually wear off, and beauty and contentment take its place. The miraculous quality is not inherent in events, things, or the Bible, but in the vision of the beholder.