The TOTAL TRUTH Solution for a Fractured America
Big Picture Answers for America's Big Problems -
Rebuilding on America's Original Worldview

by Leonard Ransil

Section 2: Christianity vs. Rival Worldviews
Chapter 15     Bible Codes Evidence God

The previous chapter, "The Rotten Fruit of Evolution", recounted Hitler's diabolical hatred for Jews that drove him to genocide and to attempt to rewrite the Bible which, in part, describes Jewish history.  Both Jews and Christians believe the Old Testament is divinely inspired. 

Ironically, while the doctrine of Evolution was injected into the world of science to disprove God, various branches of scientific investigation such as archaeology, microbiology and astronomy, give increasing evidence that the Bible is accurate and that the God it reveals exists. 

A relatively new area of objective research that promises to scientifically validate the Bible’s authenticity and its divine authorship involves the systematic study of so-called hidden Bible Codes.  Until computer analysis made such research possible, the codes were virtually impossible to detect because of their complexity.  William A. Dembski of Intelligent Design fame, wrote the following review of Jeffrey Satinover's book, Cracking the Bible Code.  It describes the science involved in code examination.    

Books in Review, Cracking the Bible Code by Jeffrey Satinover, Morrow, 346 pp.
Copyright (c) 1998 First Things 85 (August/September 1998): 61-64.

Cracking the Bible Code, reviewed by William A. Dembski

The "Bible Code" is the name for computer-generated sequences of letters taken from the Hebrew Bible. Researchers string all the letters together, deleting spaces between words. Then, instead of running through the text letter by adjacent letter (as we do in ordinary reading), they run through the text by skipping a fixed number of letters. The resulting sequences, known as equidistant letter sequences (or ELSs), are then inspected for patterns that cannot reasonably be attributed to chance. The Bible Code comprises such equidistant letter sequences.

The Bible Code is controversial because some have presented it as a preprogrammed time capsule set to go off once humans invent computers. The human authors of the Bible, writing well before the advent of computers, would have been incapable of consciously introducing into the Bible the patterns that Bible Code researchers are finding by means of computers. Hence these patterns, if not attributable to chance, must stem from a non-human intelligence. Moreover, if the patterns contain information about subsequent events in world history, this nonhuman intelligence would also have to possess preternatural foreknowledge. And since the Bible claims to be inspired by precisely such a being, the most obvious solution to the identity of this nonhuman intelligence is the God of the Hebrew Scriptures, to wit, YHWH. Here, in broad strokes, is the logic underlying the Bible Code.

Jeffrey Satinover’s Cracking the Bible Code is the place to begin for anyone interested in the subject. It is engagingly written, well-informed, and generally sober. In particular, it avoids the statistical fallacies too commonly associated with coverage of the Bible Code. …..

The best known example of the Bible Code, and one Satinover treats in detail, is the Great Sages experiment. Several Israeli mathematicians took thirty or so prominent rabbis from the Encyclopedia of Great Men of Israel, and looked among the equidistant letter sequences of Genesis for a juxtaposition of rabbi names with their dates of birth or death. They found some. On calculating the improbability of so close a match between names and corresponding dates, the mathematicians concluded that the match couldn’t have happened by chance (the probability was less than 1 in 60,000). The journal Statistical Science tacitly agreed. After an arduous review, its editors finally decided to publish the results of this experiment. Suddenly the Bible Code had a measure of academic respectability.

Nevertheless, one paper in a prestigious journal is hardly enough to settle so controversial a topic.  The Bible Code raises a number of sticking points. For instance, even if a nonhuman intelligence can convincingly be shown to have introduced information into the Bible, the identity of that intelligence remains controversial. That’s not to say that the Orthodox Jewish preference for identifying this intelligence with YHWH wouldn’t be the most plausible one. …..

Another sticking point concerns how to use the Bible Code should it prove genuine. …..  The modest approach uses the Bible Code simply to authenticate the Bible, showing that there is a nonhuman intelligence behind the text. For example, Satinover describes how Bible Code researchers looked among the equidistant letter sequences of Leviticus 1:1-13 and found an overwhelming number of references to the high priest Aaron. What led the Bible Code researchers to look for Aaron’s name were the persistent references throughout this passage to the Aaronic priesthood, yet no references to Aaron himself. In this passage of thirteen verses one would expect on average to find eight references to Aaron among the equidistant letter sequences. There are actually twenty-five. The probability of this happening by chance is less than 1 in 2,000,000.

…..  Throughout Cracking the Bible Code one finds references to "p-values," some of which are quite small. "P-value," short for "probability value," refers to the probability that a given pattern might be present in the equidistant letter sequences by chance. The smaller this probability, the more compelling the inference that a nonhuman intelligence influenced the writing of the Bible. There is, however, a catch.

A small p-value by itself isn’t enough to preclude chance. In addition, the pattern for which one calculates a p-value must be independently given. The Bible Code researcher can’t just willy-nilly search through equidistant letter sequences until something interesting or unusual turns up. Statisticians call this cherry picking or data snooping, and it vitiates any statistical analysis. Patterns must be given independently of the search, and only then can small p-values indicate the finger of God.

…..  Although it’s too early to decide whether the Bible Code is genuine, Satinover makes a good argument for taking it seriously. The credibility of the key players is significant. The main figures involved in this debate, whether critics or advocates of the Bible Code, are top rung, well-credentialed mathematicians. All the fundamental research on the Bible Code has been done openly, and without a hint of deception. It is notable that advocates of the Bible Code have jeopardized their careers, converted to Orthodox Judaism, refocused their research, and in some cases changed disciplines.

Statistical analyses, though yet to decide this debate, have at least been suggestive. Highly improbable, independently given patterns seem to occur in the Hebrew Bible with an obstinacy displayed in no other text. What’s more, if this phenomenon had to occur reliably in some ancient text, there would be no better candidate than the Hebrew Bible, especially its first five books, known as the Torah.

The textual transmission of the Hebrew Bible, and especially of the Torah, is far more accurate than anything else in antiquity. Because the Bible Code is sensitive to copying errors, the Hebrew Bible satisfies a crucial necessary condition for possessing such a code. Indeed, if the Bible Code ultimately proves genuine, we can credit its discovery to generations of obsessive-compulsive scribes who meticulously transcribed the Hebrew Bible. We might then even regard their obsessive-compulsiveness as a divine grace.

The philosopher Bertrand Russell was once asked why he didn’t believe in God. He replied, "Not enough evidence." Satinover’s fascination with the Bible Code is that it may provide evidence for God’s existence that would have convinced even a Bertrand Russell. There has been a long dismal trend of science eroding faith in God. In the Bible Code Satinover sees a unique wedding of science and theology, wherein each reinforces the other.

But perhaps that wedding is not unique. At the same time that research in the Bible Code has taken off, research in a seemingly unrelated field has taken off as well, namely, biological design. These two fields are in fact closely related. Indeed, the same highly improbable, independently given patterns that appear as the equidistant letter sequences in the Bible Code appear in biology as functionally integrated ("irreducibly complex") biological systems, of the sort Michael Behe discussed in Darwin’s Black Box.

This convergence of the Bible Code and biological design should not seem surprising. There is a tradition within both Judaism and Christianity of speaking of two "books" where God reveals himself—the Book of Scripture, which is the Bible, and the Book of Nature, which is the world. I commend Jeffrey Satinover for his efforts to read both books.

Dr. Jeffrey Satinover is the author of five books on a variety of topics, a psychiatrist and former William James Lecturer in Psychology and Religion at Harvard University with degrees from MIT (science & humanities), Harvard (clinical psychology in public practice), the University of Texas (medicine) and Yale (physics). He has been a Fellow in Psychiatry and Child Psychiatry at Yale where he is presently a Ph.D. student and Teaching Fellow in (condensed matter theoretical) physics. Dr. Satinover lives with his family in Connecticut, USA, where he also serves as the quantitative partner for Value Investors, LP, a "boutique" market-neutral hedge fund. He writes and lectures widely on the interface of religion, science and society.

William A. Dembski, a mathematician and philosopher, is a fellow of the Center for Renewal of Science and Culture at the Seattle-based Discovery Institute.

For further study, we recommend these websites: Torah Codes by Doron Witztum and Seek God Ministries.

Total Truth = Big Picture Thinking
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