Friday, May 18, 2012

A Voice from the Past - Chesterton

But this notion of something smooth and slow, like the ascent of a slope, is a great part of the illusion. It is an illogicality as well as an illusion; for slowness has really nothing to do with the question. An event is not any more intrinsically intelligible or unintelligible because of the pace at which it moves. For a man who does not believe in a miracle, a slow miracle would be just as incredible as a swift one. The Greek witch may have turned sailors to swine at the stroke of a wand. But to see a naval gentleman of our acquaintance looking a little more like a pig every day, till he ended up with four trotters and a curly tail, would not be any more soothing. It might be rather more creepy and uncanny.

G. K. Chesterton, 1874-1934 The Everlasting Man, Chapter 1: The Man in the Cave, (Dover Publications, Inc., 2007, p. 19)

Is there a tendency to rely on the mere concept of slowness to support a theory? Does this work?


  1. The word "miracle" is so overused. I think that the meaning of the word is lost When uses it to refer to something that takes a long time to happen.

  2. I am not sure that it relates to the quote but I would say the definition of a miracle is something that is clearly done by God (or some other supernatural power). I would not say it has to happen quickly, but it is certainly clearer if it does. I agree that the word can be cheapened and be applied to things that may not clearly fit into that category. But I would not totally reject something due to time-frame.

    1. An example of the "common" usage is how people refer to a baby being born as a miracle.

  3. That is a example of what I would call cheapening the word. Under that definition everything becomes a miracle and therefore nothing is specifically a miracle.