Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Magic & Miracles

Is there a difference between magic and miracles?

Of course the answer to this depends on who you talk to. Most scientists will tell you that there is no difference between magic and miracles because they both don’t exist except as a fantasy of the imagination or in the movies, i.e., Harry Potter. Many Christians will tell you that they do exist and that there is a huge difference between a miracle and magic. I don’t mean to pick on the Christian faith per se (I consider myself a Christian mystic of sorts), but I do take exception with those who take the position that a miracle is good and magic is bad. For many Christians, a miracle is considered a supernatural act of God and magic is basically a supernatural act of man. So for some Christians, basically the main difference between a miracle and magic is that a miracle is something God does which is good and magic is something that man does that is bad.

Does this make any sense? Who is it that performs the miracles in the Christian Bible? Moses and the prophets, Jesus and the apostles. Are they not men? Jesus is considered both God and man, but he is still part man. So how do they maintain this contradiction? Jesus could walk on water and this was considered a miracle by most Christians. If you saw somebody walking on water today, would you consider that a miracle or an act of magic? Plus, there is the fact that Jesus taught his disciples various miracles that are also considered magic; such as the laying on of hands, expelling demons, spiritual healing and walking on water. This is important, because from a Christian point of view, these acts would be considered magic as these acts were done by men, not God.

I think that most people today consider miracles as an act of a higher supernatural power and magic as a supernatural act of will-directed power.(Although the famous occultist, Aleister Crowley defined magick* as any act of will designed to cause intentional change, I prefer my own definition of magick as a supernatural act of will-directed power). For instance, if someone falls from a ten story building and is not hurt, most people would consider that miraculous. It is considered miraculous as most people would not survive a ten story fall to the ground. The person who had fallen, and survived may contribute his or her survival to God or a Guardian Angel. It would not be considered an act of magic as no person (directing will) was involved. Now in that same scenario, if there would have been a person present who sent forth supernatural power and saved the falling person, then it would be considered an act of magic.

From an esoteric spiritual point of view, a magical act and a miracle use the same supernatural energy. There is no good or bad in supernatural energy. It just is. It is similar to electricity. There is no good or bad electricity is there? It can be used to power your house and it can also be used to tear down buildings. Moral judgment as to whether something is bad or good is determined by us. Magic is considered good (White magic) when it helps to heal a person and considered bad (Black magic) when it is used to hurt someone. Miracles are usually considered good, but remember that after God created the universe, he later destroyed it with the flood. Did he do a miracle or magic?

After the flood, God said, "This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Gen 9:12.

* Aleister Crowely spelled magic as magick to differentiate between illusionists who perform stage magic and real magic.

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