The Bible tells us that at the end of this age a deceiver will come working false miracles and drawing virtually the whole world after him. Some theologians take false miracles to mean actual miracles worked by Satan as opposed to miracles worked by God. I suspect that, at least some of the time, false means fake.
Throughout history, there have been plenty of charlatans willing to fake supernatural powers to gull spiritual followers. From Egyptian priests operating hidden levers and siphons to monks coaxing tears from statues of Mary to Uri Geller bending spoons there have always been fakirs willing to trade on the credulity of human kind.
Two of the miracles ascribed to the deceiver are the ability to cause an image to speak and the power to call fire from heaven. Neither seems altogether out of the range of modern technology. The right person willing to use illusion and some of the more arcane findings of quantum physics and numerology could have a hey-day. Imagine how many people would follow a fakir with the skill of illusionist David Copperfield.
Science fiction writers have toyed with the idea of impressing a backward people with “supernatural” technology. Mark Twain pioneered the theme in his hilarious A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. Another amusing story with this theme is David Gerrold and Larry Niven’s The Flying Sorcerers.
All the same, it is not a safe idea to seriously fantasize; the destiny of the deceiver (and his followers) will be to suffer eternally in the Lake of Fire. [This article originally appeared at my now-defunct website The Knowledge of the Glory.]