I confess that I find mistaken predictions amusing, whether they’re about technology or the second coming.
I can’t confirm the one about Thomas Watson, IBM’s chairman in 1943, who is reputed to have said: “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.”
But Hal Lindsey published his great “Aha!” for all the world to read and buy: The world will end in 1988. The year came and went, without a Roman antichrist to be seen, and his prediction turned into an “Uh-oh.” (I think he has since revised his math, and moved the date to the 2060’s — well past his expected lifespan, so there won’t be any personal embarrassment from a second “Aha!” gone “Uh-oh.”)
Maybe Hal just needed one of those five computers.
Oh, he’s not alone; I’m not just picking on him. Jehovah’s Witnesses and just about every other Christian group have had their spokesperson(s) for God in revealing His timetable over the years.
Why is it so hard for us to accept the fact that there are some things we just don’t know? Why do we insist we must and do understand every detail of God and His creation (much like Job’s three friends)?
Jesus said that even He, the Son, didn’t know the day or hour set by the Father for His return (Matthew 24:36) – only that the days of devastation would be cut short for the sake of the chosen (24:22).
Is it possible the Bible is written on a need-to-know basis? Or that – as God more or less told Job – we can ask Him all the questions we want to, but that doesn’t mean we can understand the answers? Or that we could do anything about the answers even if we had them?
How much do we really need to know about gravity in order to live our lives wisely? Do we have to know that an object accelerates at 32 feet per second per second as it falls? That a human body has a terminal velocity of about120 mph as it falls due to air resistance? That a black hole’s gravity bends space and time to create an event horizon around itself?
Or just that if we drop a hammer in a pitch-dark room, it will fall to the floor in the vicinity of our feet even if we don’t see it?