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Theosophical Encyclopedia

Miracle

A supernatural or extraordinary event caused by the intervention of a deity or holy person. Miracles have traditionally been considered as suspensions or “violations” of natural law. With the advent of modern science, some theologians hesitate to define miracles as violations of the laws of nature.

The concept of miracles is mainly found in the Judeo-Christian tradition. In the Christian scriptures, for example, the parting of the Red Sea during the time of Moses and the resurrection of Lazarus are instances of such miraculous phenomena. The Roman Catholic Church considers many post-biblical phenomena as miraculous, such as the healings in Lourdes. The process of canonization towards sainthood includes the evaluation of miraculous phenomena attributed to the person to be declared a saint.

Generally, theosophical writers do not subscribe to the view that there are supernatural miracles. Instead, they consider extraordinary phenomena as preternatural, that is, they may be abnormal events, but they are still occurring within the bounds of natural law. According to Helena P. Blavatsky in the Key to Theosophy, “A miracle is supposed to mean some operation which is supernatural, whereas there is really nothing above or beyond Nature and Nature’s laws.” She further states: “No real man of science has ever asserted yet that he knew all the forces of nature; that, therefore, which only ‘surpasses the known’ may be entirely within the existing natural law though that law be yet unknown. Why should we call the effect ‘miraculous’ for all that?” (CW III:277).

Thus, Blavatsky wrote that the Theosophical Society “taught absolute disbelief in miracle or even the possibility of such” (Key to Theosophy). Great adepts are able to produce so-called miraculous phenomena due to their knowledge and mastery over unknown laws of nature. In the early history of the Theosophical Society, many documented instances of such phenomena have been recorded in the presence of witnesses.

V.H.C.

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