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preternatural occurrence that is viewed as the expression of a divine will. Its awe and wonder lie in the fact that the cause is hidden. The idea of the miracle occurs especially with the evolution of those highly developed religions that distinguish between natural law and divine will. Many supernatural or inexplicable events have been called miracles, but in the strict religious sense a miracle refers only to the direct intervention of divine will in the affairs of men. The adherents of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam attribute miracles to the omnipotence of God, the Creator, who alone can change the natural events of the world or can delegate that power to a disciple, such as Moses, Jesus, or Muhammad. In the history of Christianity miracles have played a major role, two of the most important examples of divine intervention being the Resurrection (Mat. 28; Mark 16; Luke 24; John 20; 21) and the Virgin Birth. Miracles in Christianity are also associated with saints' bodies and relics and with shrines. Some saints had in their lifetime great repute for curing the sick by supposed miracles. The Roman Catholic Church requires rigid attestation of miracles before canonizationcanonization
, in the Roman Catholic Church, process by which a person is classified as a saint. It is now performed at Rome alone, although in the Middle Ages and earlier bishops elsewhere used to canonize.
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, but does not officially require belief in other than biblical miracles.


rod flowering rod proved him to be God’s choice. [O.T.: Numbers 17:8]
Agnes, St.
hair grew to cover nakedness. [Christian Hagiog.: Brewster, 76–77]
Anthony of Padua
St. believed to have preached effectively to school of fishes. [Christian Legend: Benét, 39]
at wedding feast, Christ turns water into wine. [N.T.: John 2:1–11]
deus ex machina
improbable agent introduced to solve a dilemma. [Western Drama: LLEI, I: 279]
produced olive oil from ground by touch. [Gk. Myth.: Kravitz, 86]
Argonaut; could cross water without getting wet. [Gk. Myth.: Kravitz, 95 ]
his wish fulfilled when marionette becomes real boy. [Children’s Lit.: Pinocchio; Am. Cinema: Pinocchio in Disney Films, 32–37]
Holy Grail
chalice enabled Sir Galahad to heal a cripple. [Br. Lit.: Le Morte d’Arthur]
Jesus Christ
as son of God, performed countless miracles. [N.T.: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John]
loaves and fishes
Jesus multiplies fare for his following. [N.T.: Matthew 14:15–21; John 6:5–14]
underground spring revealed to Bernadette Soubirous in visions (1858); major pilgrimage site. [Fr. Hist.: EB, VI: 352; Am. Lit.: Song of Bernadette; Am. Cinema: The Song of Bernadette in Halliwell, 670]
undrinkably bitter waters, sweetened by Moses. [O.T.: Exodus 15:23–25]
Miracle on 34th Street
Santa Claus comes to New York. [Am. Cinema: Halliwell, 493]
parting of the Pamphylean Sea
Alexander’s hosts traverse sea in Persian march. [Class. Hist.: Gaster, 238]
parting of the Red Sea
divinely aided, Moses parts the waters for an Israelite escape. [O.T.: Exodus 14:15–31]
rod of Moses
transforms into serpent, then back again. [O.T.: Exodus 4:24]
as a sign that the Pope should absolve him, the papal scepter suddenly sprouts green leaves. [Ger. Myth.: Brewer Dictionary, 932]


1. an event that is contrary to the established laws of nature and attributed to a supernatural cause
2. short for miracle play
References in periodicals archive ?
Meanwhile, Wu suffered cuts on his hand from flying glass, but was otherwise uninjured as he was miraculously shielded from most the impact.
"We're forever seeing this, that you apply for it, we say it looks lovely and then they go away and miraculously, after they've done a survey of market needs they find they need 25 more houses.
Jake miraculously accomplishes his mission and at the last minute is reprieved and returns to the world of the living.
Born in 1295 in Montpellier, France, San Roque was miraculously marked from birth with a red cross on his chest that increased in size over the years.
"That child is very, very miraculously alive today."
The result of the referendum was a minuscule 4% margin in favour of Brexit, and this was achieved by a mixture of downright lies regarding the PS350m that would miraculously fix the NHS cash crisis but which has equally miraculously vanished into thin air, as have the pie-in-thesky promises of the other alleged benefits.
Miraculously 47 people, all ski resort workers from the UK, survived as the bus hit a cliff face near Alpe d'Huez after a suspected brakes failure.
Summary: A video of a toddler miraculously surviving a horrible car crash has become an internet sensation.
Summary: A Palestinian student miraculously survived a fall from the fifth floor of her apartment building in Sidon Sunday morning after receiving poor results for her official exams.
Summary: A seven-year-old girl, who miraculously survived a fall from the sixth floor of a building in Sharjah, is fine and can leave the hospital in a few days, said a medical expert at the Al Qasimi Hospital.
A WOMAN in her 80s has miraculously escaped serious injury after a suspected gas explosion at her home.
Villains who miraculously come back to life seconds after they were apparently killed - such as Glenn Close's resurrection in Fatal Attraction - took second spot in the list of banal plot devices.