Divine Inspiration: Establishing Criteria

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Divine Inspiration: Establishing Criteria

#1  Postby stijndeloose » Feb 27, 2010 6:27 pm

Establishing rigorous criteria for:

1. GENUINE PROPECY

(1) the prophecy must be clear and unambiguous and include a clear description of the agents, actions, localities, time. In other words, it must clearly and unambiguously state the "who", "where", "what" and "when". It should not be open to interpretation.

(2) the prophecy must have been made *before* and not after the event that allegedly fulfills the prophecy. This needs to be established by clear, scientific and historical evidence.

(3) the prophecy must have been made not just *before* an event but far enough in advance of it to make educated guesswork impossible.

(4) the event that allegedly fulfilled the prophecy did in fact happen, fully and exactly as predicted, at the predicted time. The fulfillment needs to be сonclusively established as historical fact by historical evidence and independent, contemporary reports.

(5) the prophecy must not be one that could have been deliberately contrived fulfillment in an attempt to bring about.
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Re: Divine Inspiration: Establishing Criteria

#2  Postby stijndeloose » Feb 27, 2010 6:27 pm

Defenders of religious scriptures - be it for the Qur'an, the Bible or other religious books - have erected a number of arguments that supposedly constitute evidence of divine inspiration or, even, inerrancy. What is often forgotten, though, is that a number of these arguments is virtually useless unless rigorous criteria are established.

On another forum, we once settled upon the 5 criteria for one of the alleged lines of evidence, prophecy, which you can see in the first post in this thread.

I would like to establish more criteria like the ones in the OP, including criteria for ‘scientific foreknowledge’, historical accuracy, etc. So I’d like your input, and I’ll update the OP as we go along.

Please note that this is a thread purely about establishing criteria, and it’s not meant to discuss particular cases.

Thanks!

S.

PS. We actually had some criteria for ‘scientific foreknowledge’, but I lost them when the other forum went down. :whine:
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Re: Divine Inspiration: Establishing Criteria

#3  Postby Mel S » Feb 28, 2010 4:15 pm

Care is needed here. Prophecy gets used by Christians as a form of “proof” of the truth of Christianity. As such, a criterion based counter is appropriate.

However much prophecy in the NT doesn't work that way. For example, some of it follows the Jewish apocalyptic form, and as such isn't meant to be precise or used as evidence (Daniel 7 quoted in Luke 22 para belongs in that category). The more general approach to prophecy has a sort of “Ah, that's what it meant !” thing. The use of Isaiah 53 is another example- redemptive suffering was prophesied, but using it as a kind of foreknowledge/evidence has its problems.

What is interesting is the use made of this type of prophecy. What seems to have happened is that the earliest Christians have looked in the OT retrospectively for prophecy that fits their knowledge of historical events. Thus Luke 7:27 doesn't use the prophecy of John the Baptist as “prophesied and came true” evidence for Jesus, but as pointing to a quotation in which a messenger announces the coming of YHWH to Israel, which has been identified as having happened in John.

The picture that emerges is of historical events giving rise to subsequent interpretation. I say this, because if the OT had been used to construct a fictional “history”, it wouldn't look like it does.
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