Public Theology And Prophecy Data: Factual Evidence That Counts For The Biblical World View -- By: Robert C. Newman

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 46:1 (Mar 2003)
Article: Public Theology And Prophecy Data: Factual Evidence That Counts For The Biblical World View
Author: Robert C. Newman


Public Theology And Prophecy Data: Factual Evidence That Counts For The Biblical World View

Robert C. Newman

John A. Bloom

Hugh G. Gauch, Jr.

[Newman is professor of New Testament at Biblical Theological Seminary, 200 North Main Street, Hatfield, PA 19440–2499; Bloom is professor of physics at Biola University, 13800 Biola Avenue, La Mirada, CA 90639; Gauch is senior research specialist in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences at Cornell University, 410 Thurston Avenue, Ithaca, NY 14850–2488. This paper supplements “Public Theology and Scientific Method: Formulating Reasons That Count Across Worldviews,” published in Philosophia Christi 4 (2002) 45-88. Here we provide a larger sample of admissible prophecies, giving more detail as to the interpretation, fulfillment, and documentation of these prophecies.]

[It] is worth noting that successful prophecy could be regarded as a form of miracle for which there could in principle be good evidence. If someone is reliably recorded as having prophesied at t1 an event at t2 which could not be predicted at t1 on any natural grounds, and the event occurs at t2, then at any later time t3 we can assess the evidence for the claims both that the prophecy was made at t1 and that its accuracy cannot be explained either causally (for example, on the ground that it brought about its own fulfilment) or as accidental, and hence that it was probably miraculous.

J. L. Mackie1

I. Introduction

The key feature of prophecy which allows it to provide humans with evidence that God exists is that successful predictions, though hard to make, can be easy to check. The “hard to make” part reveals God’s involvement, while the “easy to check” part enables human discovery. Prophecy has content “which God alone can know at the time of the revelation,” since it is “not predictable from natural laws” accessible to human understanding, yet this content is the sort “which humans can certainly discover afterward.”2

As noted in our previous paper, for prophetic data to be admissible as evidence that can count across world views, each prophecy must satisfy four criteria: (1) clear prediction; (2) documented outcome; (3) proper chronology; and (4) evidential weight. In addition, the dataset as a whole should satisfy

another four criteria for the data to be relevant: (5) testable hypotheses; (6) world view import; (7) robust conclus...

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