Whenever I greet my friend, not having seen him for a while, I ask him how he is. His reply is invariably the same, ‘Oh… I’m a walking miracle, really’.

I assume it is a joke… but it could well have a deeper meaning. He might be pointing to an underlying truth, as he sees it, that all humans are, in some sense, miraculous.

It’s worth pondering. A miracle is ‘an amazing and wonderful occurrence’. So, we could argue that because human beings are more complex and beautiful than we ordinarily realise, the word ‘miracle’ is entirely appropriate to describe us. Perhaps there is something of the eternal about us. 

Now, I admit, this is getting a bit philosophical… and it might not be the kind of idea that you want to entertain. 

You might prefer to say, like another friend once declared to me, that we humans are just ‘ragbags of biochemical reactions’. In other words, we are nothing more than fleshy beings subject to accident, disease, and the vagaries that the world throws at us.

To counter this bleak view, we should bring into our consideration those moments in our lives when we have been surprised by joy… perhaps, for example, when we fell in love. 

Was that only a biochemical reaction? Or another example: when we saw a film or a play which astonished us by its beauty or its fun… was our response simply a biochemical reaction?

We cannot deny that we are constituted in a very curious way. We have to admit that we are indeed fleshy, and our brains are subject to biochemical activity. 

But the question is: are we more than that? Each of us is aware of our very self, and, perplexingly, we are aware that we are aware. And isn’t that a kind of miracle in itself?