Questions and Answers
by Paul Hazelden


This is a summary of a Facebook conversation from December 2014.

OP: How do atheists try to explain fulfilled prophesies?

Other reply 1: Just like Vegans explaining the allure of smokey bacon... they don't


Me: The truth is, most of them have never encountered a fulfilled prophecy, so they don't need to. Which is fine, because prophecy is not given to us as an evangelistic tool.

OP: of course it is. the bible is full of them

Me: I'm aware that there are fulfilled prophecies in the Bible. But does the Bible contain even one example of a fulfilled prophecy being used as an evangelistic tool?

OP: yes. Acts 2:16- . 7:37-

Me: Acts 7 is nothing like a fulfilled prophecy being used as an evangelistic tool: Stephen is applying the Old Testament text in a way which his hearers will reject - and he knows it.
Acts 2 is closer. But remember - the question here is: How do atheists try to explain fulfilled prophecies? In Acts 2, Peter is not speaking to atheists but to believers - Jewish believers, who believed in God and in prophecy. They already believed it, which is why he used it.
But even for these believers, the fulfilled prophecy is not an evangelistic tool (you ought to believe me because a prophecy has been fulfilled): it is an explanation of the miracle, an answer to the question they are asking, and a point of contact with the listeners (God said you need to listen to this - so listen well!).

OP: they prove GOD wrote the bible

Me: But only if you already believe most of it in the first place. It's like stories of miracles: if you believe, they strengthen your faith; if you don't believe, they are either coincidences or lies. Read a few liberal commentaries - if you don't believe, prophecies and miracles prove nothing.

Other reply 2: I hope you don't mind me butting in on your thread - I'm a friend of Paul's from years back when we shared faith, I am now an agnostic atheist. I agree completely with what Paul said about an atheist not having to explain something they don't recognise as having happened.
A miracle or fulfilled prophecy is almost completely a faith experience, when a believer I would have believed completely in them along with much of the rest of the biblical text.
Even as a believer I was embarrassed by much of the commentary on biblical prophecy - as is almost entirely driven by a particular hermeneutic agenda.
For me everything comes back to the credibility of the existence of a particular religion's God. Everything else is back story, not worthy of consideration until the fundamentals are addressed.

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