[What is a “Miracle”?]
Theosophist, September, 1880
A brother Theosophist suggests one of the tersest and most satisfying definitions of the word miracle, that we have seen.
“Would it not be worthwhile,” he asks, “to explain that ‘miraculous’ only means our ignorance of causes, and that in denying miracles we only intend to deny phenomena incapable of any rational explanation whatever; not phenomena far transcending explanation according to commonly known and admitted laws and agencies of nature?”
For lack of understanding, the broad distinction we draw between the Impossible and the Unfamiliar in physics, we have often been bitterly criticised by opponents. These have even charged us with inconsistency in denying the possibility of miracles, while at the same time affirming the reality of occult phenomena of an identical character. Our quarrel is with the assumption that whatever phenomenon is strange and unfamiliar, must, ipso facto, be ascribed to supernatural agency, hence be miraculous. The world is too old now to be driven or cajoled into the belief that anything whatever can happen or ever did happen outside natural law.