Are Prayers Retroactive?
Are Prayers Retroactive?
Recently I had an experience with a loved one having a possibly serious illness, and we prayed that the results of medical tests would be far more lighter than a grave diagnosis. Mercifully, our prayers were seemingly answered when the results came back negative.
Then again, as I felt euphoric over the news, did prayer really have an influence in the more positive diagnosis? The tests did not create or change the state of the body; whether the body was gravely ill or not, it already existed even before the prayer was made. So the diagnosis was only to validate what already existed.
Basically we were praying for a truth we could accept, even though a certain truth already existed.
So how could have prayer changed an existing truth? Or did it?
Did the prayers actually revert the evolution of the body from when whatever illness or problem first began? Did it “time travel” to when the problem first manifested and miraculously changed it?
Did the prayers work retroactively? Are prayers retroactive in character?
I am not a religious expert, and I certainly am no theologian. What I can be certain of is that many skeptics and atheists would point out to this flaw in the logic of prayers and debunk the power of divine intercession. Yet I can’t help but think of the many cases of miraculous healings and interventions that owed its success to prayers. That somehow a fundamental truth was changed because of prayers.
And I have my own theory that could possibly add as a defense:
For us mere mortals, time is linear. We have a past—a series of events that shaped and molded us but occurred before present times. We have our current time, and then we have the unfolding future that will be shaped and molded by how we act on our present.
But humor me here, and let’s pretend that the Doctor in Doctor Who was correct, and time is more a “timey-wimey” set up: if (and to believers is true) God truly existed, He does not live in a linear timeline where He has beginning or end, and the universe itself exists simultaneously for Him. So if He hears prayers somewhere in our present, He can see what we are interceding for in our past, which to Him is also happening in concert with our prayers. So how impossible could it be that He would answer our prayers simply by “touching” or “triggering” the right event at the right time, which would lead eventually to our present with our prayers, and the result of the trigger comes out as “miraculous” to us? If all of time is happening simultaneously, then our past can simply be traversed with the right knowledge and the right tools.
But all that, along with Doctor Who, is purely speculative and borders on the fantastic and the sci-fi. I remember that one Season of the 90s TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, where, to protect an Ancient Key of Power, she was retroactively placed in the hero’s past and subsequently through magic became the hero’s sister. It was a wonderful piece of retconning, and makes my own theory seem like in the same genre as this.
Is this really impossible and fantastical, though, to a Supreme Being who has no beginning or end? Who sees time simultaneously occurring? What if that is how our prayers are being transmitted: beyond our seemingly linear existence?
Again, I do not purport to be an expert; and cynics and skeptics would read this and label me a “fictionist” dabbling in “semantics”: because I could not come up with a plausible explanation, I took logical somersaults to defend myself. To these people, I welcome the skepticism, as I equally welcome ideas that might be borne from this. As for myself, I will try to research this further, and actually would look for a more authoritative opinion on this matter.
Maybe later, I can further explore this question, and the idea created from this. For now, though, I welcome discussion, and an open mind to all possibilities.