Seminary/School of Divinity
Date of Paper/Work
Master of Arts in Theology (M.A.)
Type of Paper/Work
William Stevenson Ph.D., Rev. Kevin Zilverberg S.S.D., Rev. Michael Monshau O.P. Ph.D.
In assessing the evidential merit of the Christian faith, it is not unusual to see appeals to various philosophical, theological, and historical arguments which all try to argue that Christianity is, in fact, reasonable. Yet many can get lost or feel unmoved by arguments which seem so abstract or remote from one’s own experience. It is for this reason that there is merit in examining one particular type of evidence which might seem to have more concreteness & immediacy, and therefore, convicting power. That type of evidence is what many call miracles. How miracles – or at least reports of apparent miracles – can play a role in moving somebody to genuine faith, and whether that movement to faith is rationally respectable, will be the primary discussion of this thesis. Given a proper understanding of what miracles are and a proper understanding of how the act of faith plays out in the life of a person, one can come to understand just in what ways miracles might go about helping in disposing a person to faith and in deepening the quality of their assent to that faith. St. Thomas Aquinas and St. John Henry Newman will provide the theological core for the understanding of faith laid out here, which will in turn provide a backdrop against which arguments against the possibility of miracles and the rationality of believing them can be critiqued. While not examining in any substantial depth particular miracle claims, the hope is that the theological and philosophical framework provided here would be useful as a preamble to the real work of examining the credibility of specific miracle claims and the implications for faith these claims might entail.
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McGinnis, Connor, "Miracles as a Motive of Credibility for Faith" (2022). School of Divinity Master’s Theses and Projects. 33.