Your comment about Edgar Cayce being an "abysmal failure" as a prophet is a completely subjective view of his work. There are those who believe that the things of which Mr. Cayce spoke are true. Also, because you can not have a truth without it being believed and it having both epistemic certainty as well as facts to back it up, you can not say as a "truth" that he was a failure as a prophet. Even Nostrodamus was off in many of his predictions, yet he was accurate in what he said.
Thanks for your e-mail. Lou Whitworth, the author of the article you read about Edgar Cayce, is no longer with Probe. Please allow me to reply in his stead.
You begin by stating:
Your comment about Edgar Cayce being an "abysmal failure" as a prophet is a completely subjective view of his work. There are those who believe that the things of which Mr. Cayce spoke are true."
Although I would probably not have chosen to use the adjective "abysmal", the claim that Cayce was a failure as a prophet is actually not subjective. It is based on the objective authority of God's Word in the Bible. The Bible actually sets up an objective standard for determining whether someone is, or is not, a true prophet. This standard is nothing less than 100% prophetic accuracy. In Deuteronomy 18:20-22 we read the following:
"But the prophet who shall speak a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he shall speak in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die. And you may say in your heart, 'How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?' When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him."
In light of this passage, the Christian reasons as follows:
Edgar Cayce uttered certain prophecies, or healing remedies, that were not accurate.
God's word says that a true prophet is always accurate in what he predicts.
Therefore, Edgar Cayce was not a true prophet of God. Biblically speaking, he was a false prophet.
This, of course, is not to deny that Edgar Cayce may have uttered some prophecies and healing remedies which were accurate. But since he also uttered some false prophecies, God's word indicates that he was not a true prophet. The same reasoning would also apply to the prophecies of Nostradamus. As you yourself pointed out, "Nostradamus was off in many of his predictions".
There is another passage of Scripture which seems particularly relevant to Edgar Cayce. Remember, even Cayce at times wondered about the true source of his special powers. In Deuteronomy 13:1-4 we read the following:
"If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you saying, 'Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,' you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the Lord your God is testing you to find out if you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall follow the Lord your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him."
This passage is especially interesting in light of Cayce's own comments concerning his powers:
"The power was given to me without explanation...it was just an odd trait that was useful in medicine...That's what I always thought, and against this I put the idea that the Devil might be tempting me to do his work by operating through me when I was conceited enough to think God had given me special power" (Edgar Cayce: The Sleeping (False) Prophet).
Since Cayce was quite familiar with the Bible, he had every reason to be suspicious of the source of his power, especially since he made predictions which did not come true.
But please let me also briefly address your description of truth. You write:
"...because you can not have a truth without it being believed and it having both epistemic certainty as well as facts to back it up, you can not say, as a "truth" that he was a failure as a prophet."
I would simply have to disagree with this statement for two reasons:
1. I can imagine many examples of something being objectively true and yet not being believed by anyone, not possessing epistemic certainty (a very difficult criterion to meet, by the way), and not even having any independently verifiable facts to back it up! For instance, suppose an angel appeared to an unbeliever and told him to repent of his sins and to put his faith in Christ for salvation. Suppose this was an objective experience, capable of sense verification (sight, hearing, touch, etc.) by anyone who happened to be present. But suppose no one was present but the unbeliever - and after having this experience, he concludes it was merely a subjective hallucination! Furthermore, suppose everyone who hears this story accepts his interpretation; namely, that the event was simply a hallucination - not an objective experience. Finally, suppose that the angel leaves absolutely no physical trace of his appearance - nothing to confirm that the appearance had been an objective event in the external world! In this case, it would be absolutely TRUE to say that an angel had appeared to this man, etc. However, no one actually BELIEVES this to be true (including the man who experienced it), it LACKS epistemic certainty, and there are NO independently verifiable facts to support that this event actually happened. The only evidence that this event actually occurred is the man's memory, which he believes pertains to a hallucination - not an actual visit from an angel. In spite of this, however, it would still be TRUE to say that the event actually occurred in the real, mind-independent, external world of the observer; it was completely objective. Such examples could be multiplied, but you get the idea.
2. Since there are good reasons to believe that the Bible is the Word of God, I think that one can legitimately conclude that Cayce was a false prophet by biblical standards. And if this is true, then Cayce was ultimately a failure as a prophet according to the standard of the Ultimate Judge of all such matters, namely, God Himself. The Bible gives us God's standards for determining whether someone is, or is not, a true prophet. Cayce failed to meet these biblical standards. Therefore, the Christian has good grounds for believing that Cayce was not a true prophet.
I know that there are indeed those who believe that the things which Edgar Cayce spoke in his trances are true. But I hope you can see why biblical Christianity must reject that belief.
I wish you all the best,
About the Author
Michael Gleghorn is a research associate with Probe Ministries. He earned a B.A. in psychology from Baylor University and a Th.M. in systematic theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. Before coming on staff with Probe, Michael taught history and theology at Christway Academy in Duncanville, Texas. Michael and his wife Hannah have two children. His personal website is michaelgleghorn.com.
What is Probe?
Probe Ministries is a non-profit ministry whose mission is to assist the church in renewing the minds of believers with a Christian worldview and to equip the church to engage the world for Christ. Probe fulfills this mission through our Mind Games conferences for youth and adults, our 3-minute daily radio program, and our extensive Web site at www.probe.org.
Further information about Probe's materials and ministry may be obtained by contacting us at:
2001 W. Plano Parkway, Suite 2000
Plano TX 75075