A fundamental axiom of Young Earth Creationism is that the Bible is the inerrant word of God and that it should therefore be used as a primary source for information about the history of the world and the question of origins. This is challenged by those who believe in evolution, whether theistic or not. Atheist evolutionists at least (and also, sadly, many Christians) regard the Bible as a collection of myths and stories and refuse even to regard it as a primary source for human history, let alone origins.
Any communication system needs a means of assuring the recipient of a message that its purported sender is in fact its real sender. On the face of it, there is a problem in distinguishing the Bible from all other religious texts as being uniquely the Word of God. The majority of people do not believe that it has that status. But if it has, we should expect that God will have given us objective means of ascertaining that.
In fact, he has done so.
In the first place, there are a number of literary structures that span all of the Bible. None of these is, by itself, sufficient to prove divine authorship, but taken together they greatly increase our confidence in it.
For example, it is well known that patterns of seven are found in the Bible, and seven is a number that denotes completeness. There are a number of patterns of seven that cross both Old and New Testaments and therefore demonstrate that both together are the complete word of God.
The following table, taken from Chuck Missler's book, Cosmic Codes, lists a number of significant words and phrases which occur a multiple of seven times through both testaments:
|Hallelujah||24||4||28 = 7 x 4|
|Hosanna||1||6||7 = 7 x 1|
|Shepherd||12||9||21 = 7 x 3|
|Jehovah Sabaoth||285||2||287 = 7 x 41|
|Corban||82||2||84 = 7 x 12|
|Milk||44||5||49 = 7 x 7|
|Isaac||112||14||126 = 7 x 18|
|Aaron||443||5||448 = 7 x 64|
|Abaddon||6||1||7 = 7 x 1|
|Christ at the right hand of God||2||19||21 = 7 x 3|
|After Melchizedek||1||6||7 = 7 x 1|
|The stone which the builders rejected has become head of the corner||1||6||7 = 7 x 1|
|Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself||1||6||7 = 7 x 1|
|Uncircumcision of the heart||6||1||7 = 7 x 1|
In addition to the macrocodes, which are in plain view for anyone who takes the trouble to study the Bible, there are codes built into the Hebrew text itself. These codes are found by counting successive letters at some specified interval, either forwards or backwards, and are therefore called Equidistant Letter Sequences. or ELS.
For example, the first five books of the Old Testament form the Torah, or Law of Moses, part of which God gave to him by his angel on Mount Sinai. Jesus said of the law that not one jot or tittle should pass from the Law until all is fulfilled, meaning not one yod (the smallest Hebrew letter) or hook (distinguishing the letter resh from daleth, for example).
Within Genesis and Exodus, starting at the first taf (T), the word torah is spelt out at 49 (= 7 x 7) letter intervals. In Numbers and Deuteronomy it is spelt out backwards at the same interval. Leviticus does not have the word torah; instead it has the name of God at intervals of seven letters, starting at the first yod, thus:
- TORAH TORAH YHWH HAROT HAROT
This forms a divine signature across the group of five books and incidentally reinforces the spiritual message that all of the law points to God.
These codes in the Torah were discovered in part by the Kabbalists in the Middle Ages. They were first noticed in modern times by Rabbi Weissmandl in the earlier part of the 20th century. The advent of computers has made the task of searching for them far easier and at least some professional statisticians have been satisfied that the codes are real and necessarily of divine origin. It is now possible to search quickly for codes at many different letter intervals across a passage. It is to be expected that some meaningful words or phrases will be found by chance. What makes the Bible codes of great significance is the codes that are relevant to the passages in which they are embedded.
In the creation account, we read the account of God's giving man every seed-bearing plant to eat (Genesis 1:29 ) followed by the beginning of the creation account from Adam's point of view up to the planting of the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden, ending at Genesis 2:9 . Note that this passage crosses the divide between two sections which bible critics allege to be of different authorship and to report conflicting creation accounts.
Within this passage are encoded the names of all seven species of seed-bearing fruit in the land of Israel (note the number seven, by the way) and the 25 trees of Old Testament tradition. While the presence of a number of different encoded words would not be a surprise, the presence of all of these particular words in a passage to which they are relevant is far beyond the bounds of chance.
Gematria is the Hebrew term for codes embedded in the numerical values of Hebrew and Greek letters. Hebrew and Greek used letters of the alphabet for numeric digits; thus Greek alpha is 1, beta is 2 and so on. The numerical value of the letters of a word can be added together to get a single numeric value for that word. For instance the Greek name of Jesus (ιησους) is 10+8+200+70+400+200 = 888.
There are some interesting combinations. The name of God, אל ("El"), has a numerical sum of 31. This is one of the few numbers which when reversed gives a number whose square is also the reversal of the first number's square. 312 = 961 and 132 = 169. 13 is a significant gematrical number along with 7. 961 occurs in a number of critical places and has been called "the signature of God". For example, the sum of the gematrical values of the names Abraham (248), Sarah (505) and Isaac (208) is 961.
Gematria is often very subjective and should not therefore be regarded as more than a reinforcement to our confidence in the Bible. Unrestrained use of it led to much abuse by the Kabbalists and led many away from faith in the true God and obedience to his word.
Ivan Panin was a Russian, born in 1855, who was exiled after plotting against the Tsar and ended up in the US at Harvard University. He studied the Hebrew and Greek of the Bible intensively for most of his life. He discovered that there is a pattern of sevens and thirteens binding the texts together. These are such that they could potentially be used to select the correct version of variant readings.
One example of his findings (taken from Chuck Missler's book) concerns Matthew 1:1-17 , which is a unit of text dealing with the genealogy of Jesus. This passage contains 72 different words in 90 forms (Greek is an inflected language).
- The gematrical value of the 72 head words is 42364 (7 x 6052). The gematrical value of the 90 forms is 54075 (7 x 7725). If one letter were changed, these values would be destroyed.
- The number of nouns is 56 (7 x 8).
- The definite article (the) occurs 56 (7 x 8) times in exactly 7 forms.
- In the first of the two main sections of the passage there are 49 (7 x 7) vocabulary words.
- 28 (7 x 4) of those 49 words begin with a vowel; therefore 21 (7 x 3) begin with a consonant.
- The number of letters in those 49 words is 266 (7 x 38), There are 140 (7 x 20) vowels and 126 (7 x 18) consonants.
- 35 (7 x 5) of these words words occur more than once; 14 (7 x 2) occur only once.
- 42 (7 x 6) occur in only one form; 7 occur in more than one form.
- 42 (7 x 6) of these 49 words are nouns; 7 are not.
- 35 (7 x 5) of the nouns are proper names. These names are used 63 (7 x 9) times. There are 28 (7 x 4) male names.
- There are three female names: Tamar, Ruth and Rahab. There are 14 (7 x 2) letters in those names (in Greek).
- One city, Babylon, is named. It has 7 letters in Greek.
This structure extends beyond the scope of a single book. There are 42 (7 x 6) words used in Matthew that occur nowhere else in the New Testament. Similarly, the number of words used only in Mark, only in Luke or only in John are each a multiple of 7.
The structure of sevens even extends to the Bible as a whole: it has 63 (7 x 9) books in Old and New Testaments together. (There are not 66 in this count: the pairs I and II Samuel, I and II Kings and I and II Chronicles are each regarded as single books in the Hebrew bible.)
The Creator's SignatureEach testament contains a creation account. The Old Testament has Genesis 1 and 2, of course. The New Testament has the gospel of John:
If you take the gematrical values of all the letters in Genesis 1:1 and apply this formula:
In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him. Without him was not anything made that has been made. John 1:1-3
The number of letters x The product of the letter values
The number of words x The product of the word values
you get π (pi) to 4 decimal places.
Do the same exercise on John 1:1 and you get e, again to 4 decimal places. That these two fundamental mathematical constants are encoded in the beginnings of these two books is effectively the creator's signature to the account of His creation.
Atheistic mathematicians and others have attempted to cast aspersions on the codes. For example, mathematician Brendan McKay claims to have found similar codes using Moby Dick and other books.
In the case of the much publicised claims of Michael Drosnin to use the codes to forecast current events, these criticisms are justified. The short codes he claimed to have found are within the range of randomness However, the existence of longer codes and their concentration in passages to which they are relevant is a more recent discovery which is not so easily dismissed.
Ivan Panin's work has been criticised on the grounds that other patterns may exist that he did not look for and perhaps that certain patterns of seven should exist that are not found. He stated that other works, such as the Apocrypha, were searched for these patterns without result. There does not seem to have been any systematic effort to check his work.