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Again, it is of the nature of fire to burn, but when, e.g., the Three Children were preserved untouched in the fiery furnace ( Daniel 3 ) there was nothing unnatural in the act, as these writers use the word, any more than there would be in erecting a dwelling absolutely fireproof.
Hence, by comparison with the ordinary course of things, the miracle is called extraordinary.
Thus Spinoza calls a miracle a violation of the order of nature ( proeverti , "Tract. But every miracle is not of necessity contrary to nature, for there are miracles above or outside nature.
Again, the term contrary to nature does not mean "unnatural" in the sense of producing discord and confusion.
A miracle is said to be contrary to nature when the effect produced is contrary to the natural course of things.
The term miracle here implies the direct opposition of the effect actually produced to the natural causes at work, and its imperfect understanding has given rise to much confusion in modern thought. Hume says it is a "violation" or an "infraction", and many writers -- e.g., Martensen, Hodge, Baden-Powell, Theodore Parker -- use the term for miracles as a whole.The analysis of these terms therefore gives the nature and scope of the miracle.(1) The word terata literally means "wonders", in reference to feelings of amazement excited by their occurrence, hence effects produced in the material creation appealing to, and grasped by, the senses, usually by the sense of sight, at times by hearing, e.g., the baptism of Jesus, the conversion of St. Thus, though the works of Divine grace, such as the Sacramental Presence, are above the power of nature, and due to God alone, they may be called miraculous only in the wide meaning of the term, i.e., as supernatural effects, but they are not miracles in the sense here understood, for miracles in the strict sense are apparent.Thus the effect in abundance far exceeds the power of natural forces, or it takes place instantaneously without the means or processes which nature employs.