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on February 19, 2014
I love the format of this book. It was great to read from so many different authors who were authorities in their specific field. It built a great cumulative case for Miracles. A must read
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on May 19, 2016
Pretty decent coverage of the key philosophical issues.
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on August 24, 2010
This book was written as a way to refute David Hume's famous essay "On Miracles." Hume's essay captivated Western minds since the Enlightenment and seemed to offer an air-tight case against the possibility or probability of miracles. This book takes piece after piece of Hume's argument(s) apart and shows he did not put a lid on miracles after all. Written by some of the best Christian Philosophers of our time, it largely avoids circular logic (i.e. The Bible says it is God's Word so the Bible is God's Word) but put a hammer blow to Hume's argument all the same.

One of the best apologetic books I have read. I will buy another copy just to keep on my shelf so I can loan another out. This deals with one of the major stumbling blocks in our society today. By loaning it out one can open agnostic minds to the claims of Scripture and have the tools to engage them in productive conversations that reach beyond the walls of Scientism and Naturalism. It can also be of aid to your own faith if you are defending it in a University.
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on April 21, 2010
Hard to go wrong in a book with contributions by the ones in this book. There are a couple of contributions by skeptics (Hume and Flew). However, the majority of the contributors are theistic. An outstanding book if you want a single volume on the subject, or for the skeptic who wants an introductory explanation of what Christian philosophers believe.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon February 3, 2014
Gary Habermas (born 1950) is Professor of Apologetics and Philosophy and chairman of the department of philosophy and theology at Liberty University, and is a foremost evangelical apologist who has written many books such as The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus,The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ,Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?: The Resurrection Debate,Resurrected?: An Atheist and Theist Dialogue,Did the Resurrection Happen?], etc. R. Douglas Geivett is an associate professor of philosophy at Biola University, and has written/edited other books such as Contemporary Perspectives on Religious Epistemology and Faith, Film and Philosophy: Big Ideas on the Big Screen.

This 1997 book begins with "The Case Against Miracles," reprinting works by David Hume and Antony Flew. Following this are fifteen essays by writers such as Norman Geisler, William Lane Craig, J.P. Moreland, Robert C. Newman, etc., as well as Habermas and Geivett.

The editors explain in the Introduction, "many of the most fundamental questions about miracles are philosophical in nature... The first category relates to concerns about whether it is reasonable to think that miracles have occurred... The second category focuses on the role that miracles might play in supporting other religious beliefs... Both sets of questions are the focus of close critical attention in this book." (Pg. 10)

Geisler argues, "Hume does not really WEIGH evidence for miracles; rather, he ADDS evidence against them. Since death occurs over and over again and resurrection occurs only on rare occasions at best, Hume simply adds up all the deaths against the very few alleged resurrections and rejects the latter... But this does not involve weighing evidence to determine whether or not a given person, say Jesus of Nazareth ... has been raised from the dead." (Pg. 78)

An essayist deals with C.S. Lewis's argument against naturalism: "What metaphysical naturalism does, according to Lewis, is sever what should be unseverable: the link between conclusions and the grounds or reasons for those conclusions... Thus, the thrust of Lewis's argument against naturalism becomes clear. By definition, metaphysical naturalism excludes the possible existence of anything beyond nature, anything outside the box. But the process of reasoning REQUIRES something that exceeds the bounds of nature, namely, the laws of logical inference." (Pg. 126-127)

Another essayist says, "many philosophical schools of both Hinduism and Buddhism... assume a pantheistic worldview, a view that identifies 'God' as an impersonal Ultimate Reality. Pantheism has no category labeled 'free act by a divine person.' So miracles are as alien to all forms of pantheism as they are to theism. A miracle, an act of a personal God, could hardly support the truth of a worldview that denies the existence of a personal God." (Pg. 203)

Habermas and Geivett conclude, "one can responsibly believe in miracles without having PROOF that miracles have happened. The demand for proof as a condition for believing is unrealistically and unnecessarily high. Much of what we believe results from thinking about what makes the most sense in light of the evidence at our disposal... Of course, we may also change our minds when we encounter new evidence or when we come to see different relationships among the evidential data. One need not postpone belief in miracles if one has reason to believe that one has investigated an appropriate range of evidence for and against miracles. If one's evidence for miracles is much greater than one's evidence against miracles, then it is intellectually responsible for one to believe that miracles have happened." (Pg. 277-278)

As often with such collections as this, the value of the individual essays included varies considerably. Nevertheless, this book will be of keen interest to students of Christian apologetics, and (less so) to students of the philosophy of religion.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon February 3, 2014
Gary Habermas (born 1950) is Professor of Apologetics and Philosophy and chairman of the department of philosophy and theology at Liberty University, and is a foremost evangelical apologist who has written many books such as The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus,The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ,Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?: The Resurrection Debate,Resurrected?: An Atheist and Theist Dialogue,Did the Resurrection Happen?], etc. R. Douglas Geivett is an associate professor of philosophy at Biola University, and has written/edited other books such as Contemporary Perspectives on Religious Epistemology and Faith, Film and Philosophy: Big Ideas on the Big Screen.

This 1997 book begins with "The Case Against Miracles," reprinting works by David Hume and Antony Flew. Following this are fifteen essays by writers such as Norman Geisler, William Lane Craig, J.P. Moreland, Robert C. Newman, etc., as well as Habermas and Geivett.

The editors explain in the Introduction, "many of the most fundamental questions about miracles are philosophical in nature... The first category relates to concerns about whether it is reasonable to think that miracles have occurred... The second category focuses on the role that miracles might play in supporting other religious beliefs... Both sets of questions are the focus of close critical attention in this book." (Pg. 10)

Geisler argues, "Hume does not really WEIGH evidence for miracles; rather, he ADDS evidence against them. Since death occurs over and over again and resurrection occurs only on rare occasions at best, Hume simply adds up all the deaths against the very few alleged resurrections and rejects the latter... But this does not involve weighing evidence to determine whether or not a given person, say Jesus of Nazareth ... has been raised from the dead." (Pg. 78)

An essayist deals with C.S. Lewis's argument against naturalism: "What metaphysical naturalism does, according to Lewis, is sever what should be unseverable: the link between conclusions and the grounds or reasons for those conclusions... Thus, the thrust of Lewis's argument against naturalism becomes clear. By definition, metaphysical naturalism excludes the possible existence of anything beyond nature, anything outside the box. But the process of reasoning REQUIRES something that exceeds the bounds of nature, namely, the laws of logical inference." (Pg. 126-127)

Another essayist says, "many philosophical schools of both Hinduism and Buddhism... assume a pantheistic worldview, a view that identifies 'God' as an impersonal Ultimate Reality. Pantheism has no category labeled 'free act by a divine person.' So miracles are as alien to all forms of pantheism as they are to theism. A miracle, an act of a personal God, could hardly support the truth of a worldview that denies the existence of a personal God." (Pg. 203)

Habermas and Geivett conclude, "one can responsibly believe in miracles without having PROOF that miracles have happened. The demand for proof as a condition for believing is unrealistically and unnecessarily high. Much of what we believe results from thinking about what makes the most sense in light of the evidence at our disposal... Of course, we may also change our minds when we encounter new evidence or when we come to see different relationships among the evidential data. One need not postpone belief in miracles if one has reason to believe that one has investigated an appropriate range of evidence for and against miracles. If one's evidence for miracles is much greater than one's evidence against miracles, then it is intellectually responsible for one to believe that miracles have happened." (Pg. 277-278)

As often with such collections as this, the value of the individual essays included varies considerably. Nevertheless, this book will be of keen interest to students of Christian apologetics, and (less so) to students of the philosophy of religion.
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It is an okay book which is really a pile of bundled essays. The first few essays are somewhat similar and show congruency. However the rest are just random. In the opposite view, they use the objections and sources you’d expect Hume and Flew are overused as you might expect. There is no argument about cessationism. Only miracles as a general term. I felt much more could have been addressed.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon February 3, 2014
Gary Habermas (born 1950) is Professor of Apologetics and Philosophy and chairman of the department of philosophy and theology at Liberty University, and is a foremost evangelical apologist who has written many books such as The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus,The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ,Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?: The Resurrection Debate,Resurrected?: An Atheist and Theist Dialogue,Did the Resurrection Happen?], etc. R. Douglas Geivett is an associate professor of philosophy at Biola University, and has written/edited other books such as Contemporary Perspectives on Religious Epistemology and Faith, Film and Philosophy: Big Ideas on the Big Screen.

This 1997 book begins with "The Case Against Miracles," reprinting works by David Hume and Antony Flew. Following this are fifteen essays by writers such as Norman Geisler, William Lane Craig, J.P. Moreland, Robert C. Newman, etc., as well as Habermas and Geivett.

The editors explain in the Introduction, "many of the most fundamental questions about miracles are philosophical in nature... The first category relates to concerns about whether it is reasonable to think that miracles have occurred... The second category focuses on the role that miracles might play in supporting other religious beliefs... Both sets of questions are the focus of close critical attention in this book." (Pg. 10)

Geisler argues, "Hume does not really WEIGH evidence for miracles; rather, he ADDS evidence against them. Since death occurs over and over again and resurrection occurs only on rare occasions at best, Hume simply adds up all the deaths against the very few alleged resurrections and rejects the latter... But this does not involve weighing evidence to determine whether or not a given person, say Jesus of Nazareth ... has been raised from the dead." (Pg. 78)

An essayist deals with C.S. Lewis's argument against naturalism: "What metaphysical naturalism does, according to Lewis, is sever what should be unseverable: the link between conclusions and the grounds or reasons for those conclusions... Thus, the thrust of Lewis's argument against naturalism becomes clear. By definition, metaphysical naturalism excludes the possible existence of anything beyond nature, anything outside the box. But the process of reasoning REQUIRES something that exceeds the bounds of nature, namely, the laws of logical inference." (Pg. 126-127)

Another essayist says, "many philosophical schools of both Hinduism and Buddhism... assume a pantheistic worldview, a view that identifies 'God' as an impersonal Ultimate Reality. Pantheism has no category labeled 'free act by a divine person.' So miracles are as alien to all forms of pantheism as they are to theism. A miracle, an act of a personal God, could hardly support the truth of a worldview that denies the existence of a personal God." (Pg. 203)

Habermas and Geivett conclude, "one can responsibly believe in miracles without having PROOF that miracles have happened. The demand for proof as a condition for believing is unrealistically and unnecessarily high. Much of what we believe results from thinking about what makes the most sense in light of the evidence at our disposal... Of course, we may also change our minds when we encounter new evidence or when we come to see different relationships among the evidential data. One need not postpone belief in miracles if one has reason to believe that one has investigated an appropriate range of evidence for and against miracles. If one's evidence for miracles is much greater than one's evidence against miracles, then it is intellectually responsible for one to believe that miracles have happened." (Pg. 277-278)

As often with such collections as this, the value of the individual essays included varies considerably. Nevertheless, this book will be of keen interest to students of Christian apologetics, and (less so) to students of the philosophy of religion.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon February 3, 2014
Gary Habermas (born 1950) is Professor of Apologetics and Philosophy and chairman of the department of philosophy and theology at Liberty University, and is a foremost evangelical apologist who has written many books such as The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus,The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ,Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?: The Resurrection Debate,Resurrected?: An Atheist and Theist Dialogue,Did the Resurrection Happen?], etc. R. Douglas Geivett is an associate professor of philosophy at Biola University, and has written/edited other books such as Contemporary Perspectives on Religious Epistemology and Faith, Film and Philosophy: Big Ideas on the Big Screen.

This 1997 book begins with "The Case Against Miracles," reprinting works by David Hume and Antony Flew. Following this are fifteen essays by writers such as Norman Geisler, William Lane Craig, J.P. Moreland, Robert C. Newman, etc., as well as Habermas and Geivett.

The editors explain in the Introduction, "many of the most fundamental questions about miracles are philosophical in nature... The first category relates to concerns about whether it is reasonable to think that miracles have occurred... The second category focuses on the role that miracles might play in supporting other religious beliefs... Both sets of questions are the focus of close critical attention in this book." (Pg. 10)

Geisler argues, "Hume does not really WEIGH evidence for miracles; rather, he ADDS evidence against them. Since death occurs over and over again and resurrection occurs only on rare occasions at best, Hume simply adds up all the deaths against the very few alleged resurrections and rejects the latter... But this does not involve weighing evidence to determine whether or not a given person, say Jesus of Nazareth ... has been raised from the dead." (Pg. 78)

An essayist deals with C.S. Lewis's argument against naturalism: "What metaphysical naturalism does, according to Lewis, is sever what should be unseverable: the link between conclusions and the grounds or reasons for those conclusions... Thus, the thrust of Lewis's argument against naturalism becomes clear. By definition, metaphysical naturalism excludes the possible existence of anything beyond nature, anything outside the box. But the process of reasoning REQUIRES something that exceeds the bounds of nature, namely, the laws of logical inference." (Pg. 126-127)

Another essayist says, "many philosophical schools of both Hinduism and Buddhism... assume a pantheistic worldview, a view that identifies 'God' as an impersonal Ultimate Reality. Pantheism has no category labeled 'free act by a divine person.' So miracles are as alien to all forms of pantheism as they are to theism. A miracle, an act of a personal God, could hardly support the truth of a worldview that denies the existence of a personal God." (Pg. 203)

Habermas and Geivett conclude, "one can responsibly believe in miracles without having PROOF that miracles have happened. The demand for proof as a condition for believing is unrealistically and unnecessarily high. Much of what we believe results from thinking about what makes the most sense in light of the evidence at our disposal... Of course, we may also change our minds when we encounter new evidence or when we come to see different relationships among the evidential data. One need not postpone belief in miracles if one has reason to believe that one has investigated an appropriate range of evidence for and against miracles. If one's evidence for miracles is much greater than one's evidence against miracles, then it is intellectually responsible for one to believe that miracles have happened." (Pg. 277-278)

As often with such collections as this, the value of the individual essays included varies considerably. Nevertheless, this book will be of keen interest to students of Christian apologetics, and (less so) to students of the philosophy of religion.
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on August 17, 2004
Aptly named "A Comprehensive Case," this book builds from the foundational issues and works its way up to the crowning miracle of Christendom -- the resurrection of Jesus. However, if you are looking for explorations of modern miracles or similar evidence, this is not the book you want.

It is to the editors credit that their first chapter is given to two who deny the possibility of miracles (and/or their detection). Taking David Hume's infamous chapter, "On Miracles," as the opening salvo, In Defense adequately sets the stage for the debate. Hume's arguments continue today in full force. They have by no means lost their influence. But lest you think these Christian apologists are setting up an outdated strawman, another section is given to contemporary atheist philosopher Anthony Flew to voice his comments on Hume as well as miracles.

With the opposition in place, four Christian writers begin making the philosophical case for the possibility that miracles exist and can be detected. A section on defining miracles is a welcome narrowing of the issue. Then Norman Geisler persuasively takes Hume and Flew head on and Francis Beckwith wrestles with the possibility of detecting miracles in history. The closing chapter in this section deals with "Recognizing a Miracle" and is also helpful in narrowing the issue.

The next set of chapters provides additional philosophical justification for believing in the possibility of miracles as well as their detection, including an aggressive assault on metaphysical naturalism by Ronald Nash and a brief argument for the existence of God. The main goal of this chapter is to establish the existence of a God who can and is inclined to act in human history. In other words, a God who does miracles. Overall this section succeeds in establishing its arguments and provides one more link in the chain of argument.

The final section rests on the shoulders of the previous chapters. Given that philosophical objections to the possibility and detection of miracles are not sound, and that there likely is a God who can and is inclined to intervene, we now get the arguments that God has done just that. Which makes it somewhat odd that this chapter leads off with an argument about "Miracles in the World Religions." This chapter is more effective in showing that Hume's argument about competing miracle traditions in various religions is not necessarily a valid objection than it is in exploring the competition in detail. It probably belonged with the other chapters focusing on philosophy. Then follows a chapter on fulfilled prophecy that provides an interesting discussion, but is too short to convince fence sitters. After that, a chapter argues that the incarnation of Christ is not logically incoherent. Interesting, but not something that most of us have spent much time contemplating.

By far the best case-specific arguments for miracles in the book are William L. Craig's chapter on the empty tomb and Gary Habermas' chapter on the resurrection appearances of Jesus. Craig, used to having the whole argument to himself, adjusts well to tackling only the empty tomb. He takes Crossan to task for his ill considered insistence that no crucifixion victim would have been buried at all (an argument disproved by the archeological find of the body of a crucified first century man in a family burial chamber near Jerusalem). Habermas, who I have had less exposure to, does a good job discussing the resurrection appearances of Jesus by focusing on the earliest reports referenced in Paul's first letter to the Corinthians. The book then ends with a conclusion wrapping up the case for "God's Action in History."

Overall, this book delivers what it promises -- a comprehensive defense of miracles. Of course, any single chapter could itself be a book (and in fact, many chapters are books by the very same authors). But this book clearly sets the stage, offers solid discussions of the underlying philosophy, and delivers some good arguments for believing that God has indeed acted in human history.
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