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Two miracles I don´t understand.
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--- Quote from: Silouan on October 25, 2005, 08:52:34 PM ---Welcome back, George - it is nice to have you posting again.
Enjoy your holiday?

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I did, but I can't believe how expensive Greece has become since the Euro. Three Euros for a cup of coffee!!! Highway robbery!!!!
So I popped over the border to Bulgaria for the bulk of my shopping (apart from an exquisite embroidered silk tablecloth set from Soufli which was a bargain and set me back only 300 euros.)

--- Quote from: ozgeorge on October 25, 2005, 08:39:12 PM ---I may be off track here, but in the case of Christ making mud with his saliva, wasn't the man born blind? Therefore it was not so much an act of healing as an act of creation, since Christ was not restoring the man's sight, but rather creating something which did not exist before. Therefore, He recalls the act of creation of man who was fashioned from mud, and therefore Christ surreptitiously identifies Himself as the Creator.
Mind you, I'm still jet-lagged, so I could be way off!

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That is indeed the case with John 9:6; however, interestingly, there are two accounts in the Gospel according to St Mark, in which a blind man’s sight (Mark  8:23), and a deaf man’s hearing (Mark 7:33) are in fact restored by the spit of Christ via direct application. I would reasonably adopt St Cyril's line of argument on those ones.

P.S. Welcome back; hope you had a safe and blessed trip.

+Irini nem ehmot

Yeah the Euro is highway robery itself.  When I was over there the US dollar was at its weakest point, so yeah it was painful.

Happy feast of Saint Demetrios!

--- Quote from: Silouan on October 25, 2005, 11:29:36 PM ---Happy feast of Saint Demetrios!

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And how 'uncanny' that we should meet again on his feast!

The world has found in you a great champion in time of peril,
as you emerged the victor in routing the barbarians.
For as you brought to naught the boasts of Lyaios,
imparting courage to Nestor in the stadium,
in like manner, holy one, great Martyr Demetrios,
invoke Christ God for us, that He may grant us His great mercy.
"The story in St Mark about Jesus healing a blind man has two parts. Newly sighted people cannot make sense of what they see right away, and Jesus recognized this and performed the miracle of helping the man readjust his brain patterns. A true miracle occurred.

GETTING rid of blindness, I'm told, is not such a bargain after all. Human eyes, you see -- even when healed physically -- still need training and rigorous practice before they can transmit what is "real" and "not real" back to the brain. It doesn't much matter how long you've been sightless, either: a decade or so of blindness and your cerebral cortex has to be completely reprogrammed, as if from infanthood. On opening his eyes, the healed seer confronts a nonsensical, frightful, and, well, Cubist landscape. Over that shattered universe he must stubbornly impose the familiar 3D grid we live in.

Oliver Sacks has written about the new seer in An Anthropologist on Mars. Virgil, age fifty and blind since childhood, has had "successful" eye surgery. Five weeks later "he often felt more disabled than he had felt when he was blind. . . . Steps . . . posed a special hazard, because all he could see was a confusion, a flat surface of parallel and crisscrossing lines; he could not see them (although he knew them) as solid objects going up or coming down in three-dimensional space."

Furthermore, Virgil "would pick up details incessantly -- an angle, an edge, a color, a movement -- but he would not be able to synthesize them, to form a complex perception at a glance. This was one reason the cat, visually, was so puzzling: he would see a paw, the nose, the tail, an ear, but could not see all of them together, see the cat as a whole." And, as his wife noted, "Virgil finally put a tree together -- he now knows that the trunk and leaves go together to form a complete unit."

This word-picture of an unmade tree set off associations in my mind. Particularly I remembered Jesus and the Bethsaida blind man. (Told in St. Mark 8:22 - 25. St. Mark's is the least adorned and oldest Gospel, dating roughly from 45 to 60 A.D.) "And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him. And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought."

And the blind man (in what I had always considered a poetic image) replied to Jesus, "I see men as trees, walking."

That is not a poetic image. It is a clinical description. Like Virgil, the Bethsaida blind man can now see, but he cannot yet make sense of what he is seeing. Tree and man run together, as did trunk and tree-top for Virgil. (Both men could see movement because, according to Sacks, motion and color are inherent in the brain; they need not be learned or relearned.) All this, moreover, is not surprising to Jesus. He knows, it would seem, that a newly healed blind man has neither depth perception nor the ability to synthesize shape and form. The blind man's brain must first be recalibrated: must be taught (in one miraculous instant) what you and I have known since childhood -- how to see.

So Jesus heals the blind man for a second time. "After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly."

As far as I can judge, this is irrefutable evidence that a miracle did occur at Bethsaida. Back in 30 A.D. the blind did not often receive sight: there were few, if any, eye surgeons and seldom a decent miracle-worker. No shill in the crowd could have faked it all by pretending to be blind -- because only someone recently given his sight would see "men as trees, walking," would see the Cubist jumble that Virgil told Oliver Sacks about. A faker, not knowing about post-blind syndrome, would have reported that Jesus had given him perfect vision.

The most astonishing aspect of this miracle is its double nature: you get not one cure but two. Often even devout Christians downplay the wonder-working Jesus -- lest they seem naive or over-credulous in a scientific age. We are somewhat embarrassed by New Testament miracles, as if God were cheating in the competition for our belief. We rationalize as an atheist might: "So what if Jesus cured people who were halt and blind? He was a charismatic faith healer. Some of his clientele, no doubt, had come down with stress-induced psychosomatic conditions. Jesus healed them through positive thought or Essene hypnosis, whatever. Rasputin did the same: nothing supernatural about it."

That explanation might still hold for Part One of the Bethsaida event. So let us suppose a man like Virgil, blind since childhood because of traumatic shock. Let us also suppose that Jesus, Messiah-as-therapist, came along and healed Virgil in a non-miraculous way. That does not (and cannot) explain Part Two. Whether Virgil's blindness was physical or psychosomatic, still his brain would have been deprived of the visual exercise and constant drill essential to clear three-dimensional sight. Only by a miracle could Jesus provide that necessary crash course in visual recognition. Charismatic therapists may be able to unblock sight --but they cannot infuse a human brain with that lifetime of visual experience necessary for normal sight.

Both Positivist and Christian are stalemated on the subject of New Testament miracles. Positivist thought is certain that no miracle could ever have taken place -- because such an event would fatally contravene natural law. Your traditional Christian, by contrast, will accept the Gospel accounts on faith. Until now, these two categories of thinking were mutually exclusive: science and faith could not collaborate. But, at Bethsaida, something quite different came about: a miracle that depends on science for its proof, that cannot be understood except by adducing modern medical data --quite unknown in 30 A.D. -- as evidence. And, when one miracle has been proved, it then at once becomes not just possible, but probable, that another miracle can also be proved true. "

D. Keith Mano, National Review, 21 April 1997.
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