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In Defense of Miracles: A Comprehensive Case for God's Actions in History [Paperback]

By R. Douglas Geivett (Editor) & Gary R. Habermas (Editor)
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Item description for In Defense of Miracles: A Comprehensive Case for God's Actions in History by R. Douglas Geivett & Gary R. Habermas...

Fourteen expert philosophers, theologians, and apologists refute every objection ever raised to the validity of miracles---from David Hume's landmark 1748 "Essay on Miracles" to Antony Flew's current arguments. You'll get careful, comprehensive insight into fulfilled prophecy, the virgin birth and incarnation of Christ, the empty tomb and post-resurrection appearances, and more.

Publishers Description
Rumors of deception have surrounded claims of Jesus' resurrection ever since the soldiers appointed to guard his tomb made their report to the Jewish authorities. But no one has led the philosophic charge against miracles quite as influentially as David Hume with his 1748 essay "Of Miracles." Refined, revised, restated, his arguments still affect philosophic discussions of miracles today. During the twentieth century, strong arguments have been raised by Antony Flew, now professor emeritus at Keele University in England. Flew has contributed a fresh statement of his objections to the idea of God's acting in history just for this volume, which also includes Hume's classic critique as a part of the case against miracles. In response, Douglas Geivett and Gary Habermas have assembled a distinguished team of scholars to rebut the objections and set forth the positive case for God's action in history: Richard Purtill clarifies the word miracle, while Norman Geisler critiques Hume's case against miracles. Francis Beckwith and Winfried Corduan assess how we would recognize miracles in the past and in the present. Ronald Nash examines naturalism's exclusion of miracles and shows its self-referential incoherence. J. P. Moreland discusses whether science properly rules out the possibility of miracles. God's existence and action in history are probed by David Beck and Stephen Davis, while Douglas Geivett argues that within a theistic framework it is reasonable to expect miracles as confirmation of claims to special revelation. David Clark examines miracles within the context of various world religions. Robert Newman, John Feinberg, William Lane Craig and Gary Habermas conclude by investigating fulfilled prophecy, the virgin birth and incarnation of Jesus, the empty tomb, and the resurrection appearances. In Defense of Miracles is a comprehensive, up-to-date discussion that should not be overlooked by anyone concerned with the current debate over miracles.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: IVP Academic
Pages   330
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 5.75" Height: 8.5"
Weight:   0.85 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 27, 1997
Publisher   IVP-InterVarsity Press
ISBN  0830815287  
ISBN13  9780830815289  

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More About R. Douglas Geivett & Gary R. Habermas

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R. Douglas Geivett is professor of philosophy in Talbot School of Theology at Biola University in La Mirada, California. He is the author of Evil and the Evidence for God, and coeditor of four books: Contemporary Perspectives on Religious Epistemology; In Defense of Miracles; Faith, Film and Philosophy; and Being Good: Christian Virtues for Everyday Life. Holly Pivec holds a master s degree in Christian apologetics from Biola University in La Mirada, California. She is an experienced journalist and researcher, having served as a newspaper reporter, a contributing writer to the Christian Research Journal, and as the university editor at Biola University for nearly ten years as well as the managing editor of the award-winning Biola Magazine. She has more than 200 published articles, many related to the New Apostolic Reformation, church trends, and theological issues. She currently operates a popular blog that critiques the New Apostolic Reformation, called Spirit of Error (


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Reviews - What do customers think about In Defense of Miracles: A Comprehensive Case for God's Actions in History?

Terrific Introduction to the Issues  Dec 20, 2005
A number of the best Evangelical philosophers have worked together to produce a fine series of essays on the philosophical issues of miracles. Undoubtedly the strongest feature of this book is that the reader will walk away knowing the most important issues that are in play in a philosophical analysis of miracles. Despite the fact that each author writes an essay on each issue, I found that most of them only begin to scratch the surface. For example, one essay is a defense of the existence of God and another is a refutation of naturalism, both of which by the limits of lengths of the essays will be unconvincing to those who are not already convinced the author is correct. Many of the other essays (though, not all of them) have this exact same problem. Of course, this does not mean these chapters of worthless. Rather, they merely are the initial framing of arguments and ideas that deserve further exploration and study. After getting a basic grip of the issues, readers can pursue further details in more depth in academic journals or book-length works. Be that as it is, this book is commendable for containing so much information in so little space. I know of no other book that covers so much ground in specifying what the basic philosophical issues are on miracles. Some of the work is a little too quick, but even when the articles have weak arguments, I think they lay out the crucial issues for the topic. So, as a basic introduction to the philosophical problems of miracles, this is a great book. But as a convincing case that some miracles have occurred, I suspect some people may rightfully judge that some of the arguments are specious.
Nothing but Dogma   Sep 26, 2004
The authors commit a very serious fallacy in this book: they assume their own conclusion. They start out by believing that there must be miracles, pick out certain historic events as representative "miracles", and then go on to explain why they must have been miraculous. This is a waste of time with which no serious and rational person should bother.
Covers the Bases Well  Aug 18, 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.
Historic Methodology  Dec 25, 2002
Dr. Gary Habermas received his PhD from the University of Michigan with a speciality in the philosophy of history. Dr. Habermas is very devoted to historical methodology. He has shown this in class (being a student in his philosophy seminar entitled 'The Philosophy of History and the Historical Jesus'). In class Dr. Habermas spent several weeks on historical methodology, and his book on the historical evidence for Christ has an entire appendix on historical methodology.
A Perversion of Reality  Jun 14, 2000
Geivett and Habermas have collected the writings of some of the most ideologically radical and evangelical scholars to buttress their case that miracles are happening all around us now and throughout history. The authors have set out to prove their beliefs by totally ignoring any evidence to the contrary. This book reminds me of several written by UFO fanatics that create a world totally contrary to reality. Even though I tried to keep an open mind while reading this book, I found it difficult to imagine that any "scholar" could collect such biased references and attempt to pass them off as authoritative. Almost all the arguments in this book are flawed and totally discount reality or any of the science we have learned over the past 200 years. Unless you are already a fundamentalist, there is little of value to this book, except as a door stop

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