Can God make prophecies?

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posted on May, 6 2014 @ 02:36 PM
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assuming God is real (and for those who saw my other threads, it is unrelated to that; this is a strictly philosophical question).

Here is the groundwork for this question, but feel free to address it however you want. I am just sharing my musings on it, but no means, are they complete or exhaustive.

In Thomistic philosophy, God is completely simple. He is omniscient, which means He knows all things (which makes sense if he is the source of all things).

To proceed logically with the question requires first to determine which principles to apply and second, how to interpret the key word "make." It also requires us to define what prophecy is.

The question can be approached either philosophically or theologically, which proceeds from different principles (philosophy from experience and deduction and theology from revelation).

In theology, we are told that God sends prophets and gives them a message which to preach (for example, he sent Moses and Isaiah to preach a certain message, and so He may be said to have made prophecy in the sense of revealing a message to those prophets which were of future events that could not be known at that time with any certainty by those to whom they were revealed). So from a theological standpoint the question is an easy one. It is much harder as a matter of philosophy.

As to the definition of prophecy, a prophecy would be a foretelling of a future contingent event. I define "contingent event" as one the outcome of which is not currently determined by any currently moving natural causes whatsoever. I can easily defend this definition. If the natural forces are currently in motion which will determine the given outcome, it cannot be prophecy... it would instead be a study of cause an effect, the cause already being in motion. This would be more akin to modern material science than prophecy. So in the essence of prophecy is contingency.

As to the second question, to "make" prophecy could be taken as creating the events by which a thing is foretold. It could also be taken simply in the sense of revealing the things that are to be foretold by the prophet, as by a messenger.

Herein lies the heart of the problem from a philosophical standpoint: If an event can be foretold with certainty, it is not contingent. If an event is contingent, its cause is not yet in place so to speak (see the definition). So how can God say with certainty what is future and at the same time that event be contingent (as it must be to be a prophecy)? A further problem is that if God, who in Thomistic philosophy is shown as omnipotent, says a thing is to come, it must come.. .because for it not to occur is to deny God's omnipotence. This also negates contingency. A further problem is even thornier: we experience man to be a "free agent" so to speak. He is able to move and speak and direct his own thoughts... he has "free will" that permits him to choose to do a thing or not.

It seems that either his free will is an illusion or prophecy is an illusion, because to state something as certain to come to pass is to deny that there is freedom for it to be otherwise... but if man is a free agent with the ability to choose one way or another, doesn't a proclamation of the certainty of events which involves the free agency of man mean that this freedom is an illusion? How can the event be certain to come to pass and man still yet be free to act, as we experience?
edit on 6-5-2014 by iosolomon because: forgot to add in a message


EDIT: a reply to: rickymouse

lol yes I didn't mean to do that. I am not sure why I even pushed entered.
edit on 6-5-2014 by iosolomon because: reply to rickymouse




posted on May, 6 2014 @ 02:42 PM
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God told me that your OP was going to be blank after I saw it.
Don't hit enter to scroll down after making the title.

Oh wow, you got it fixed.
edit on 6-5-2014 by rickymouse because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 6 2014 @ 02:59 PM
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Now that I got to read it I can make a comment.

Say that time is like a roll of film with each instant being a frame in the movie. For someone that could observe the whole film as it was stretched out, it wouldn't be a prophesy nor even predicting the future. It would just be glancing at what to us would be ahead in time. It would be impossible to change the future, if the prophesy occurred, it would need to be recorded in the film of the future. Only one path in this theatrical production that is being created in that case.

I don't think that is the case though. I feel that what everyone does really matters. Most of us will never see the result of our action in our lifetime. Every single person, no matter what you do, forms the future. You may not think you effect the world but you do. one way or another, action or inaction. Make sure the things you do are positive, make sure the memories you give others are good memories. Everything I am is from others. Everything I have inherited, learned, experienced is tied to other living beings. I cannot seperate myself from this world.

It wouldn't be a prophesy if it came from god, it would be the future. I'm thinking we aren't going to be able to BS him into believing we can change.

Kind of off topic I think
The devil made me do it.



posted on May, 6 2014 @ 03:01 PM
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originally posted by: iosolomon
assuming God is real (and for those who saw my other threads, it is unrelated to that; this is a strictly philosophical question).

Here is the groundwork for this question, but feel free to address it however you want. I am just sharing my musings on it, but no means, are they complete or exhaustive.

In Thomistic philosophy, God is completely simple. He is omniscient, which means He knows all things (which makes sense if he is the source of all things).

To proceed logically with the question requires first to determine which principles to apply and second, how to interpret the key word "make." It also requires us to define what prophecy is.

The question can be approached either philosophically or theologically, which proceeds from different principles (philosophy from experience and deduction and theology from revelation).

In theology, we are told that God sends prophets and gives them a message which to preach (for example, he sent Moses and Isaiah to preach a certain message, and so He may be said to have made prophecy in the sense of revealing a message to those prophets which were of future events that could not be known at that time with any certainty by those to whom they were revealed). So from a theological standpoint the question is an easy one. It is much harder as a matter of philosophy.

As to the definition of prophecy, a prophecy would be a foretelling of a future contingent event. I define "contingent event" as one the outcome of which is not currently determined by any currently moving natural causes whatsoever. I can easily defend this definition. If the natural forces are currently in motion which will determine the given outcome, it cannot be prophecy... it would instead be a study of cause an effect, the cause already being in motion. This would be more akin to modern material science than prophecy. So in the essence of prophecy is contingency.

As to the second question, to "make" prophecy could be taken as creating the events by which a thing is foretold. It could also be taken simply in the sense of revealing the things that are to be foretold by the prophet, as by a messenger.

Herein lies the heart of the problem from a philosophical standpoint: If an event can be foretold with certainty, it is not contingent. If an event is contingent, its cause is not yet in place so to speak (see the definition). So how can God say with certainty what is future and at the same time that event be contingent (as it must be to be a prophecy)? A further problem is that if God, who in Thomistic philosophy is shown as omnipotent, says a thing is to come, it must come.. .because for it not to occur is to deny God's omnipotence. This also negates contingency. A further problem is even thornier: we experience man to be a "free agent" so to speak. He is able to move and speak and direct his own thoughts... he has "free will" that permits him to choose to do a thing or not.

It seems that either his free will is an illusion or prophecy is an illusion, because to state something as certain to come to pass is to deny that there is freedom for it to be otherwise... but if man is a free agent with the ability to choose one way or another, doesn't a proclamation of the certainty of events which involves the free agency of man mean that this freedom is an illusion? How can the event be certain to come to pass and man still yet be free to act, as we experience?

EDIT: a reply to: rickymouse

lol yes I didn't mean to do that. I am not sure why I even pushed entered.
These contradictions and plenty of other ones are what lead me to realize that people only made up these stories to keep societies in line. The claims of omnipotency are in themselves contradictory to the rest of these claims.

The problem is when one of these glaring inconsistancies smacks a believer in the face, they dont stop and consider that all these stories could be made up. Instead they give up on rational thought and just lay down and accept whatever truth is popular.

When things dont add up. Your working with bad info.



posted on May, 6 2014 @ 03:02 PM
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a reply to: rickymouse

free will oh , free will where art thou ?



posted on May, 6 2014 @ 03:19 PM
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originally posted by: rickymouse

Everything I am is from others.


Well-said. The philosophy of the self. I like David Hume's works on this subject.



It wouldn't be a prophesy if it came from god, it would be the future. I'm thinking we aren't going to be able to BS him into believing we can change.


Good. Good. I agree. But here's the next question: If the future is how God says it is, then do we have free will? Or would free will simply be an illusion, like David Hume concluded that the self was?



posted on May, 6 2014 @ 03:43 PM
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Free will to put it simply is caused by our inability to see the future. There would be no freedom of choice for a totally omniscient being.
that's why the last words written by Moses are of his own burial before it happened. When you reach a certain level you realize that you are just here to bear witness and have no choice in the matter. Your only choice is how good of a witness you are



posted on May, 6 2014 @ 03:44 PM
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Doesn't one need a mouth or a pen and paper to make a prophecy?



posted on May, 6 2014 @ 04:30 PM
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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 determined it.

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?



posted on May, 6 2014 @ 04:49 PM
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a reply to: iosolomon

We have free will along the path that was chosen for us. If we waiver from the path, we may be punished or just nudged back on the path. Oops, got confused there, that is the path our government/society chose for us, not gods path.
I got to learn to keep these things straight.



posted on May, 6 2014 @ 05:33 PM
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Prophecy implies that the human condition is not relegated simply to the common senses. This in relation to an orientation to reality.

As has been offered in the works of many prophets throughout history, or works about them.

In so many words.

It is not to say we should take for granted any claim but rather to make a concerted effort to relate to it ourselves.



posted on May, 6 2014 @ 05:33 PM
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Double post.
edit on 6-5-2014 by Kashai because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 6 2014 @ 06:50 PM
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a reply to: iosolomon

Well if god knows all things and is omniscient then God is a singlularity of consciouseness on a dimensional scale which makes us look like 2 dimensional minds, so he exists without any difference in the past, present and future, is it a prophecy or simply what will be as for god they are the same thing, time and causality are our perception of the universe but how does god percieve it for the past and the future are as real before god as is the present, it is not that god know's what will happen but that it is before god alway's for all time is a single instant that is held like a crystal perfectly clear with all instant's eternally etched within it and all perfectly clear and known.
edit on 6-5-2014 by LABTECH767 because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 6 2014 @ 06:51 PM
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a reply to: iosolomon

Well there is another way of looking at this. All the prophecies seem to work in with older ones or each other. What I have got from the Biblical prophecies is that what ever is spoken about seems to be a reoccurring event or issue. So is it a question of people predicting the future or do they simply understand something that we have no knowledge of? Or some people have knowledge of and not the masses?

From the Book of Genesis to the Book of Revelation similarities can be found from the Flood to what has been predicted in the future. Even Jesus mentions "As was in the days of Noah" so to me this is something which reoccurs in cycles. Astrological, I don't know but it's certainly something which shouldn't be swept under the carpet.



posted on May, 6 2014 @ 06:57 PM
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God is not limited by time, he created it, and you can not comprehend what existing outside of the boundaries of time is like. You are just a human living in a fallen world. You can not even fully understand the implications of your own question, and neither can I.

Your philosophy on life, your world view, your perspective - should come from what God has revealed to you and not what you have experienced in the world. God and the world are in direct opposition and he constantly reminds us of that.

On the topic of prophecy, I should recommend "The Daniel Project" to you as something to watch. If you are contemplating this and have a desire to understand prophecy at this time in your life, you should seek understanding from Jesus. But first, you should know which prophecies have recently been fulfilled. The wicked will not be allowed to understand, as God warned us.

You should also be aware that while the Bible contains God's revelations to man and many of His prophecies, we only have copies of copies of the original texts. The oldest books in existence were copied (not written) anywhere from a little before to a little after Jesus came. The Book of Job is one of the oldest books ever written, and is a part of the Dead Sea Scrolls (which we do not have the originals of).

Faith, as in trust, in God, will be required of you if you really want to understand.
edit on 6-5-2014 by DrinkMoreWater because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 6 2014 @ 07:04 PM
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a reply to: DrinkMoreWater
"God and the world are in direct opposition and he constantly reminds us of that."

Then why did God create it and then said it was "Good".
edit on 6-5-2014 by Kashai because: Added content



posted on May, 6 2014 @ 07:05 PM
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a reply to: DrinkMoreWater

Yes and he is also not limited by life as he created that also, as a christian we can recollect how god's son was the living man whom lived a mortal life, a life which had to end on the cross but how after purifiying himself for 40 days he then ascended his flesh more spirit as from spirit it had come and to spirit it had to return, by this can we rather not see that the true universe is the spiritual one and the only transitory ghosts are the flesh and the physical domein in which all thing die, only the spirit or breath of god is free from the normal rules of this universe and we can ask ourselves as in the book of revelation "there shall be no more time" is the spirit also outside the normal rule of causality.



posted on May, 6 2014 @ 07:08 PM
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originally posted by: Kashai
a reply to: DrinkMoreWater
"God and the world are in direct opposition and he constantly reminds us of that."

Then why did God create it and then said it was "Good".


Because when he created it, it was good. We were tempted by Satan, and the world fell as a result. After that, death and decay entered the world and humans became extremely violent. Every one of our thoughts were, and for the most part still are, filled with sin. Of course, God knew all of this would happen before it ever did. It seems to be a result of free will and the knowledge, not existence but knowledge, of good and evil.
edit on 6-5-2014 by DrinkMoreWater because: typos



posted on May, 6 2014 @ 07:13 PM
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a reply to: LABTECH767

If what you are saying is that matters of the spirit are all that count, and that matters of the world are already dead, then I agree. That was one of the main messages which Jesus blessed us with. I am not sure I fully understand what exactly you mean.



posted on May, 6 2014 @ 07:19 PM
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Well if you ever played a video game, no matter what turns you take, you end up where the program intended you to.





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