How Accurate Can Prophecy Be?

Isaiah_(Bible_Card)Predestination, fate, predeterminism all discount the possibility of free will to change the apparently inevitable outcome of converging circumstances. If a stone is falling and there is nothing there to stop it, then it seems safe to prophesy that it will soon hit the ground.  But what of complex human interactions involving countless decisions over the course of centuries? It seems rather far-fetched to accurately pin-point the when, where and/or how of any event, doesn’t it?

Biblical Prophecies are claimed to come from God or His angels but how much does God really know?  God gave us free will to make our own decisions.  If He knew exactly what those decisions were going to be they would, in a sense, already be written in stone.  Our free will would therefore only be an illusion.  So, although God may know what decisions we are most likely to make, there must always be at least a small margin of error to satisfy free will.

With an especially complex system such as human civilization all of those little margins of error accumulate exponentially.  Statistically speaking, any prophecy is very unlikely to occur as predicted because of the astronomically huge number of other possible outcomes.  But strangely enough, in the case of Biblical history, prophecies often do come to pass.  To me this is evidence of God’s tampering with the course of human events.  Most often, I think, this interference goes relatively unnoticed – a tiny nudge here or there. But occasionally, in the case of the documented miracles, God gives a great big shove to set things back on track.

So to answer the question, prophecy can be pretty accurate if it is truly from God.  This is for the simple reason that God obviously cheats.

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