What's the problem with miracles? Why are so many so sure they can't happen?
I'm not talking about those who say they don't happen. If you haven't seen one, I can understand being doubtful. But some people are so sure miracles can't happen. Why?
Picture a mouse. You put it in terrarium and close the lid. Inside is a platform raised six inches off the floor and at the bottom a large rock, say ten pounds. Getting the rock to the top of the platform would require exerting more than ten pounds of force against the force of gravity. But the terrarium is a closed system, and nothing inside it is capable of generating that kind of force.
There is no way the mouse could get that rock to the top of the raised area. As long as that lid stays closed, that rock isn't moving.
To skeptics, our universe is that closed terrarium. The rock is anything the laws of nature say can't happen — water turning into wine, a donkey talking, the dead rising, whatever. These things simply can't happen because it would violate every rule by which the universe operates. Miracles are impossible because our universe is a closed system. Nothing inside it can do these things, and nothing outside it can affect anything inside it.
Back to the mouse: You come in and find the rock on top of the platform. You know the mouse couldn't have moved the rock. You know the rock didn't move by itself. Therefore, someone opened the lid and moved the rock.
In our world, when something happens (or is reported to have happened) that violates the natural laws, we know it didn't, because we live in a close system and nothing inside it can overcome those natural laws (therefore there must be a natural explanation).
But that assumes, in reference to our analogy, that someone built a terrarium that he couldn't open.
(It also assumes that we know everything about our universe such as who is in it — meaning, not God — and what the rules are — as in, there are no exceptions built into the laws we've observed, but that's really beside the point at the moment.)
I've never seen an out-and-out, no-other-possible-explanation miracle that I know of. But I believe, for many good reasons, that this universe was created. And I believe that anyone capable of building his own universe is probably capable of doing pretty much whatever he wants to in it. So even if miracles aren't common (which they shouldn't be, by definition), they are certainly possible.