Re: Living and dying with Inaccurate History (fwd)

Glenn Morton (
Sun, 02 Mar 1997 17:30:37 -0600

At 04:07 PM 3/2/97, Rodney Dunning wrote:

>I would certainly agree with this. However, it seems clear that for
>this to prove your point regarding Genesis, the following equation must
>correct or come true = will happen or did happen historically
>But isn't it true that there are many, many cases in which prophecies
>passed the above test through the use of allegory and metaphor, i.e.,
>language that never came true in the sense of literal history?

In such cases, I would suggest that the "fulfillment" of the "prophecy" is
more a matter of what the reader reads into such a passage. As far as I am
concerned, if a prophecy does not make specific predictions, in clear
language, it would hardly count. If you say 'Bulls will run on Wall Street"
This can be taken in two ways: literally male bovines trotting down that
street (which has happened in the past when TV advertisements were filmed)
or the stock market will go up. Is the prophecy fulfilled if EITHER event
occurs? How do I know? That would be useless as a test of someone's
prophetic skill.

If you are depending upon figurative language for prophecy, an extrabiblical
example might suffice to show the problem.

When Croessus, king of the Lydians, consulted the Delphic Oracle asking how
long his reign would be, the response was,

"Wait till the time shall come when a mule is monarch of Media; Then, thou
delicate Lydian, away to the pebbles of Hermus; Haste, oh! haste thee away,
nor blush to behave like a coward."

Croessus thought that he would be king for a long time since no mule was
ever going to be king over the Medians.

Similarly, when Croessus consulted the Delphic Oracle again asking if he
should attack the Persians. The Oracle replied "If Croesus attacks the
Persians, he would destroy a mighty empire." Croesus attacked and he lost,
destroying his own empire.

When Cyrus, king of the Persians allowed Croessus to inquire of the Oracle
again as to why the prophecies were not fulfilled, the Oracle said that
Croessus should have inquired "what empire?" and looked a little closer at
Cyrus' lineage. Since Cyrus' parents were of different races, Cyrus was
that "mule" (like the cross between a horse and donkey).[see Herodotus,
History of Herodotus, Great Books, Vol 6, p.10-22]

Is that a successful fulfillment? Hardly. The only time you can know if a
prophecy is fulfilled is by the same mechanism used in modern science when a
theory predicts what will be found in a new experiment. Such predictions
must be specific enough for someone to tell that what was predicted. If
Einstein's theory had merely predicted that the sun would bend a light ray,
but didn't tell which direction or angle the light ray would be bent, it
would not have been a very strong confirmation of his theory. As it was, he
predicted which specific direction and the angle through which the light
from a star would be bent. If it was any different, Einstein would have
been wrong.

Are we Christians willing to let secular science make more specific
predictions of the future than God, speaking through man, is able to
accomplish? What kind of God is this?

In another post, you wrote:

>Thanks. (I'm enjoying the conversation, by the way.)

Me too. I love hard difficult issues. I love have the most difficult
counters to my position thrown at me, and I love to throw as hard a set of
arguments back. Thanks for the opportunity to do this.


Foundation, Fall and Flood