a reply to: iosolomon
Whoa! Great question.
God created our reality with a particular plan in mind, and because He is not restricted as we are by time, He already knows the outcome, having
Also, He already knows the results of our individual actions within that plan, which we have the freedom to determine by our own choices and
subsequent actions. This is where that old adage comes in: If you chose, you are chosen.
It is not a case of God picking out certain individuals, some for heaven and some for hell. We determine our own destinations. And if we chose to
follow and obey God, then we are the elect, because we ourselves have elected / chosen this course of action. Some will succeed and some will fail,
and God knows those results too – in advance of our limitations of time.
Prophecy is when God reveals to an individual some of His knowledge of those results. Often it is very difficult to determine the purpose of prophecy,
particularly when the target of the information doesn’t use or understand the material, or react in an expected fashion.
There also seems to be different levels of prophecy. Some of it is on a personal level for a particular person, while other times it is regarding
future global events, and others are on levels in between these two extremes.
Sometimes prophecy is given to a certain person, simply so that that person can deny the information and not act on it! Often the reason for this is
to emphasise to that person, that this was their own personal decision, because they’ve been asking/praying for a certain outcome, and the result is
actually contra to their expectations.
For example, if someone is earnestly praying that they will get closer to God, so God reveals what this will involve, and they can decide, using their
own free will, for whatever reason/s, too much is being required of them, or maybe they are just not interested in that course of action. Ultimately,
they will be unable to deny that God gave them the opportunity to have their prayers answered.
In this example, God already knows what that person decided, even though He gave them the choice to choose. God has not limited their choice in any
way, because that person could freely have decided to go in the opposite direction to the one ultimately picked.
For instance, I can prophesy / reveal that God will unite Jews, Christians and Muslims, which seems contra-indicated given the current levels of
animosity between these three major religions; so this is a contingent event. (And not only that, He will do it in such a way that none will be able
to claim spiritual superiority over the other. Now that reveals the Power of God!)
The individuals within those [and other] religions [even including atheists, etc.] will have the freedom to choose which option they will take –
either to unite under God, or to refuse the opportunity, which is free will. God already knows all the results and outcomes of each of these choices,
because He is omnipresent.
In this particular prophesy, this information can sway the final outcome, because anyone taking this information on board, will be aware of the vital
importance of their choices and hopefully will put more consideration into their final decisions; including knowing also that they have the freedom of
choice to change their minds at a later stage, as more events reveal the truth of this revelation.
I can’t decide if I am answering this from a theological, or a philosophical, point of view – or both?