THE PRODIGIES OF THE FALSE PROPHETS
5. "False Christs and prophets will raise themselves up and will do great prodigies and things which will astonish, to the point of seducing even the chosen ones.' These words give us the true meaning of the term prodigy. In theological interpretation, prodigies and miracles are exceptional phenomena outside the law of nature. These being the exclusive work of God, beyond all doubt He can annul them if He so pleases. Nevertheless, simple good sense tells us that it is not possible that He has given those who are perverse and inferior power equal to His own, nor even less the right to undo that which He himself has done. Jesus could never have sanctioned such a principle. If however, according to the sense attributed to these words, the spirit of evil has the power to perform prodigies such as these, and that even those who were chosen would be deceived, then the result would be that by being able to do what God does, then prodigies and miracles would not be the exclusive privilege of God's messengers. This then would prove nothing, because there would be no means of distinguishing the miracles of the saints from those of the devil. Therefore it is necessary that we look for a more rational meaning to these words.
To the ignorant masses all phenomena whose cause is unknown become supernatural, marvellous and miraculous. Once the cause is found, it is recognised that the phenomenon, however extraordinary it appears, is nothing more than the application of one of the laws of nature. In this manner the circle of supernatural facts becomes restricted as scientific knowledge widens. At all times men and women have exploited certain knowledge they possess for the sake of ambition, self- interest and their desire to dominate so as to gain the prestige of possessing supposedly superhuman powers, or to lay claim to divine missions. These are the false Christs and false prophets. The diffusion of knowledge in these matters annihilates their credibility and will result in diminished numbers in proportion to the rate at which Man enlightens himself. The simple fact of being able to perform what some like to call prodigies, does not in any way constitute a sign of a divine mission, seeing that these phenomena may result from acquired knowledge which is within the reach of anyone, or from special organic faculties which either those who are worthy or ignoble are able to possess. True prophets are recognised by their serious characters and total morality.