An argument that I have heard from some Christians is that we can know that the Bible is divinely-inspired because it predicts the coming of television. I’m not saying that sophisticated Christian apologists like William Lane Craig use this argument—-they would probably shy away from it, shun it completely, or ridicule it. But I have heard this kind of argument from some Christians.
Their reasoning goes like this: the Book of Revelation predicts that
all people or people of various nations will see certain events.
Revelation 1:7 says that every eye shall see the future coming of
Christ. Revelation 11:9 states that people of the kindreds, tribes, and
nations will see the dead bodies of the two witnesses for
three-and-one-half days. But how can everyone, or people from various
nations, see a single event, especially if that event occurs in one
particular location? The answer that some Christians give is that
people will see the event on television. The Bible, therefore,
predicted television about a thousand years ago. God must be its
author! Or so their reasoning goes.
I was wondering if other ancient literature has a motif of everyone
seeing a particular event. I found one place: IV Maccabees 17:14. IV
Maccabees is about Antiochus IV’s torture of seven devout Jewish
brothers, who refused to eat the unclean meat that the king put before
them. IV Maccabees 17:14 states: “The tyrant was the antagonist, and
the world and the human race were the spectators” (NRSV).
The question would then be how the world and the human race were
spectators to Antiochus’ torture of the devout Jewish brothers. Why did
IV Maccabees say that? Maybe the world and the human race are
spectators in that they have heard about the events, through
word-of-mouth of Jews in the Diaspora, or through word-of-mouth of some
of the Seleucids.
Are Revelation’s references to every eye seeing Jesus’ return and
various nations seeing the two witnesses’ corpses a prediction of
television, and thus an indication of the Bible’s divine inspiration?
IV Maccabees says that the world and the human race saw the resistance
of the devout Jews against Antiochus, and that was about a time long
before television. Revelation is most likely partaking of an ancient
motif rather than predicting television.