Why is it hard to predict the future? I suppose that first answer that most folks would give is that it’s hard to predict the future because we don’t know the future. And that’s no doubt correct as far as it goes.
However, we might take this to mean that if only we knew the future, then it would be easy to predict the future. The only impediment to predicting the future is our ignorance of the future. Is that a valid inference?
Unbelievers sometimes say they don’t believe in God because God, if he really wanted them to believe in him, would be far more explicit in his predictions than we find in Bible prophecy. Or he would predict some distinctly modern discovery. He would predict the stock market crash of 1929. Or the sinking of the Titanic. Or Einstein’s discovery of special relativity. Or 9/11. Or the invasion of Normandy on D-Day.
Because nullifidians don’t believe in God or Bible prophecy, they don’t bother to think through their position. But if you give the problem a moment’s thought, it would be tricky to predict the future even if you knew the future.
If you tell someone that he will be run over by a drunk driver when he walks to work tomorrow, and he believes you, he will simply falsify your prediction by not walking to work tomorrow. Perhaps he’ll stay home. Or take the bus.
If you predict that someone will name is son Brandon, and he’s aware of your prediction, then even if he intended to name his son Brandon before he knew about your prediction, now that’s he’s heard it, he may change his mind and name his son Brendan instead just to spite you and be contrary.
Prophecy has a countersuggestive potential that could undercut its own fulfillment. So it actually takes a certain amount of ingenuity to accurately forecast the future—even if you know the future.
Because nullifidians don’t believe in divinely inspired prophecy, they don’t make the effort to ask themselves how it would be possible to predict the future even if the future were knowable. The Bible avoids this conundrum in a couple of related ways:
i) In general, the Bible isn’t very specific about the way in which an oracle will be realized. The means. The intervening events leading up to the terminal event.
ii) Scripture compartmentalizes knowledge. It doesn’t predict every element at one time or place. Rather, this is distributed to a number of prophets or seers.
It’s only after the fact that you can see how all these apparently discrete and disparate oracles were referring to the same event. One oracles lays down one condition, and another oracle another condition. It is only with the benefit of hindsight that you can discern how a particular event satisfied all these scattered conditions.