Miracles by their very definition defy logical scientific explanation. However human nature is to try to figure a way to explain how something incredible may have occured including what molecular manipulation would be necessary to bring about unexplainable occurrences found in the Bible.

Does the Catholic Church delve into the scientific intricacies involved in miracles associated with Jesus? Is it considered a worthwhile endeavor to do so?

  • Just to clarify. A miracle defies scientific explanation. That does not make it 'illogical'. Otherwise good question, hope it gets upvoted. – StatGenGeek Jan 6 '17 at 2:39

Good question.

I strongly suspect that the answer is no (I am not a Catholic).

Supernatural miracles are by definition, outside the scope of science, generally.


AIG here explains that there are 'miracles of timing' i.e. events and processes that say, occur despite their exceeding improbability.

There are also 'supernatural miracles'. There may be other forms, but generally they would fall into one of these broad categories.

Miracles of timing would be explained by science in the way that any other natural phenomenon would be explained, except to say that they are a miracle by nature of their improbability and perfection of their timing.

Supernatural miracles would be beyond the scope of science given that they occur in contrast to natural physical law which is what is subject to scientific investigation.

The role of science in investigating miracles would be to say that an event, if it occurs in direct opposition to known physical laws, could be described as a miracle.

To be clear. This is not the same as saying:

'science has no explanation for this event',

but rather

'this is in direct, demonstrable opposition to natural law'

For example,

someone who has been dead for 3 days being brought back to life


an amputated limb being fully and instantly restored (including the neural circuitry and brain chemistry required for it to function correctly).

These are simply supernatural events and definitively beyond the scope of science.

As for the molecular and physical considerations involved in these events, who can say?

The other limitation of science to test miracles is that science requires repeatability and control of variables. Unless you can miraculously, instantly grow back limbs in a controlled, double blind experiment, preferrably in a large sample, then science would be limited in what it could discover about this process.

As Isaiah 55:8-9 states:

(8) For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. (9) For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

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  • Thanks for the time and effort I asked this question because so many questions here ask for Catholic explanation of some aspect of some miraculous circumstance. I am hoping a Catholic scholar will weigh in with references showing that attempting to explain how a miracle can be explained scientifically misses the point. – Kris Jan 6 '17 at 2:23
  • No worries. Well I'm a protestant, and a scientist so I guess I'm out of luck! – StatGenGeek Jan 6 '17 at 2:38

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