What we are accustomed to treat as miraculous could not occur in the first place if it were unnatural to this world – if it did not agree with the Nature of this world. So it does thus agree. Miracles are perfectly natural.
Because miracles are natural (albeit rare), Nature is miraculous just as she is ordered, coherent, regular, homeostatic, teleological, and so forth. Or, as perhaps it will be easier to see, Nature is miraculous just as she is in us alive, conscious, active, rational, intelligent, animate, and so forth. Miracularity is as characteristic of this world as are consciousness or homeostasis.
Natural explanations of miraculous phenomena do not therefore evacuate their spiritual significance. Nature is inherently spiritual; is inspired. That there are natural explanations of miraculous phenomena means that there are by the same token miraculous explanations of natural phenomena.
That, therefore, e.g., the world of the people who once farmed the Euxine Basin flooded catastrophically 7,000 years ago due to glacial melting and rising sea levels outside the Dardanelles, so that only a handful of them survived, would not mean it was not flooded by God.
Ditto for the parting of the waters at the Sea of Reeds. That it was a tsunami generated by the eruption at Santorini would not mean that it was not caused by God.
Or likewise for stigmata: that they were psychosomatic would not mean they were not participations of the divine soma.
A “purely natural” explanation *just is* a supernatural explanation; for Nature herself is a supernatural procedure.
That God acts everywhere does not however mean that he acts everywhere with equivalent might, any more than common maleness of all men means that they are all equally masculine. So some events, places, and things are peculiarly charged with holiness. As a priest once explained the importance of partaking the Eucharist in a temple built in a world that is after all throughly suffused with the Holy Spirit: water is ubiquitous in the atmosphere, but to drink one must go to a font, a well, a river.
So miracles – the ones we notice as unusual – are more significant of the Real than the run of the mill events God calls into being from nothingness for us at every new moment. So are they peculiarly compelling evidence of the divine act that maintains all things everywhere in being.
Miracles then are Nature at loci of particularly intense divine inspiration, thus of sanctity. Indeed are they Nature at her own maximum, Nature at her most densely and completely natural; at her most actual, concrete, and causally efficacious. This accounts for their extraordinary impact upon history.
UPDATE: Terry Morris sent a note that said in pertinent part:
Magicians good at their craft can do tricks that *seem* to be inexplicable. But of course we know they are explainable, and relatively easily so because they’re tricks, they rely on deceptions and sleight of hand, misdirection and stuff like that. Whereas what makes an honest to goodness miracle legit is that it *does not* involve misdirection, sleight of hand, etc., otherwise it would be a mere magician’s trick, a deception.
… an interesting point. In our encounters with the extraordinarily miraculous, the deception that makes them seem magical – inexplicable, staggering, impossible, and so forth – lies, not in the miracle itself (which after all is Truth in its mightiest manifestation, ergo Nature at her utmost pitch of excellence in the expression of her True character), but in the veil we drew over our sight in Eden when we Fell. It is not what we see that is deceptive, but our sight.
Related: a great quote I encountered yesterday, from Archbishop Fulton Sheen (who impresses me more with each passing day): “Ever since the days of Adam in the Garden, men have been hiding from God, and complaining that God is hard to find.”