Now we were taught a little bit about the Bible, just in the history classes in the Canadian public schools. And I had a gut feeling that this book would be the most difficult challenge to face, and so I purposely saved it for the last. But I did pick it up. And looking at this, I realized the Old Testament was missing, and we did have a Bible in our home so I looked at that. And I checked out some at the library as well. And on page one I saw an account of the Creation.
Now by this time I had been exposed to over a hundred different creation myths from the different religions of the world, and I was expecting something similar. But I was very much surprised by what I found. The first thing that shocked me was to see that it follows the scientific method. I found this in no other account of the Creation. Now, from hindsight it’s obvious that the scientific method was derived from the Bible. I didn’t know that at the time.
And here we have in the Creation account –the scientific method: A statement first of the point of view, then the initial conditions, then the sequence of events, and a concluding statement. That, in a nutshell, is the scientific method. And the Bible follows that whenever it describes a sequence of physical events. And that’s how people discovered the scientific method.
So, taking that scientific method, establishing the point of view first, then the initial conditions, then interpreting the sequence of events, I discovered that here in the Bible we have 11 creation events, and even from the perspective of 1960’s science, I readily realized that all eleven events were correctly stated and in the correct order. And I was trained in probability theory in the high schools (Canadian education does do that for you), and so I was able to calculate the probability that Moses could have put the right events in the right order, assuming he was given the right information in random order. Less than one chance in six billion that he could have put those eleven events in the right order and the three initial conditions.
So I said, “That’s interesting,” less than one chance in six billion that this could have been done by humans from the perspective of knowledge at that time. But the most amazing thing of all was that Moses had correctly described ALL of the events of Creation –the eleven events that are mentioned there.
Now, I looked at what the Babylonians had done, their account of Creation ranks second, in terms of accuracy, with that of the Bible. In the vast majority, everything’s wrong and everything’s mixed up. The Babylonian account you have 13 creation events, two are correctly described and in the correct order. The other eleven are wrong. So it scores two out of thirteen, which isn’t bad. That’s far ahead of what the other accounts had. But the Bible scores eleven-for-eleven on the sequence of events and three-for-three in the initial conditions.
That caught my attention, and I began to go through the book and look for scientific statements. Statements that were true and statements that were false. And, having gotten past those first two chapters I realized something about the Bible: it is direct and it is specific. In all these other books there is an attempt to hide and a veneer of intellectual pride that only if you were one of the “enlightened ones” can you understand what this book is saying.
The Bible was different. Clear, direct prose. And when you do have poetry, likewise it is clear and direct. Moreover, it is unique in that it says things in such specific language, giving names, dates, and places. My struggle with these other books was to find things to test. I’d read pages and pages and pages before I’d find anything specific about history or nature that could be put to the test. But with the Bible every page has several things that could be tested. And the Bible is unique in that it gives names, dates, and places and states things in very precise language.
And that encouraged me, because again I didn’t see this attempt to hide in the scientific record; rather things were clear, direct, and simple. And I saw the same characteristics in this book. But I’ll tell you, after two years of going through the Bible, spending an hour or two a night, studying it and reading it, one notebook became very full, the other notebook remained empty. I had a notebook reserved for established errors in the Bible. After two years that book remained empty.
But I’ll tell you this –I’ll admit this– I found lots of problems in the Bible. The Bible is filled with problems, unsolved problems. Things that I couldn’t understand, still can’t understand to this day. But that didn’t bother me. Because that’s exactly what we see in the scientific record: lots of things we don’t understand. Plenty of unsolved problems. But what we do understand is consistent, free of contradictions, and no errors. And that’s what I found in going through the Bible. Lots of unsolved problems, but no inconsistencies, no errors (with respect to the established facts), and no contradictions.
Now, if you want to read about the account of the Creation I have a little booklet available on Genesis one. This is from my research when I was 17 years old. One that’s free we’re making available is “Biblical Forecasts of Scientific Discoveries.” And I could just go through some of these….how the Bible states that the earth is spherical, when for 2,000 years scientists were saying that the earth was flat. You see, the Bible went against the science of its time. It talks about the stars exceeding the billions when astronomers were saying that there are only 6,000. The Bible correctly describes the laws of physics –you won’t find that in any other holy book.
It talks about which star clusters are gravitationally bound. That really impressed me –just how up-to-date the Bible was. I mean, not until 20 years ago did we know whether or not the Pleiades star cluster was bound. The book of Job –4,000 years ago– Job wrote of Pleiades and said, “The stars are bound to one another” and I remember reading in the Astronomical Journal about how astronomers discovered that those stars are bound to one another. I said, “Hey, here we are discovering something the Bible had mentioned over 4,000 years ago.” So this book was relevant; it wasn’t some dusty old tomb. That’s why wasn’t impressed with all these other holy books — they were out-of-date. But the Bible was up-to-date.
And I found the same thing to be true about its statements about history. It was up-to-date. Now in these other books I saw a claim for supernaturality –that’s one thing in common with all these holy books is that they all try to predict the future. Future science and future history, but especially future history. But the Bible does it to a degree that’s unique. You know in the Qur’an you might find maybe a dozen such statements that attempt to predict the future. The Bible, about 3,500. So the Bible has these statements in great abundance. Moreover, they are very specific –not spoken of in generalities. (You know like “I’m going to cross water in the next year”). But very specific things, naming people by name –sometimes even before they were born. I mean that takes guts to name somebody by name before they’re even born –80 years before they’re born, 300 years before they’re born. The Bible does that. And it gives names, dates, and places.
I remember reading three times in the Bible where God says, “Put me to the test, and I’ll prove it to you.” I didn’t find that in any other holy book. But the Bible challenges us to put it to the test. I said “That’s consistent with the Creator of the universe.” He wants us to investigate, and He wants us to challenge.
I also came across a verse in Deuteronomy 18, that a man is a prophet of God if he predicts the future and is never wrong. 100% accuracy is a requirement; anything less than that is a false prophet. We are not to listen to him. And that again rang true with my starting presuppositions of consistency and total freedom of contradiction. So I began to take up this challenge that I found in the Bible and to put it to the test.
I was amazed to discover that the Bible alone predicted people by name before they were born. One example: King Cyrus. The prophet Isaiah, 80 years before Cyrus was born, predicted what he would do by name. He said there will be a king, his name will be Cyrus, and he will be a king of the Medes and the Persians. And after you have been taken captive by the Babylonians, he will set you free, deliver you from slavery and give you money to rebuild your kingdom, and your temple, and your system of worship. Jeremiah added the detail that it would take place in the 70th year of the Babylonian captivity. And these predictions were made 150 years before the event, 80 years before Cyrus was born, before Babylon was a power to be reckoned with. Or the Medes and the Persians. You see at that time the Assyrians were in force; the Babylonians were nothing, the Medes and the Persians were even less. And yet all this happened.
I said, “I wonder what the odds are of that happening by chance?” What are the odds that Isaiah and Jeremiah could make these statements simply by chance and be right by chance? Well, we have another handout for you that’s free called “Fulfilled Prophesy: Evidence for the Reliability of the Bible.” And we show you how to make these calculations, how to calculate the probabilities, so you can do it for yourself.
Just to give you an example, how many names is it possible for a human being to have? Well, take the number one and divide it by that large number. That’s the odds of picking out the right name before somebody is born. What are the odds of getting the right year? Well, how many years of human history have there been? Divide one by that number. Multiply the two numbers together, and you’re on your way to calculating the probability of all these statements from Isaiah and Jeremiah coming true by chance. The biggest number I was able to calculate was one chance in ten trillion. The probability is less than one chance in ten trillion that that’s an accident.
Now, in this particular handout we give you thirteen such examples. There are 3,500 predictions in the Bible, here are just thirteen. And we take you through them one at a time. The Bible predicts the year in which the Messiah will begin His ministry, and the place, and the manner. One chance in 100,000 that that was simply an accident, that prediction. The chances of the Bible being right on that, and on King Sirus, is one chance in 100,000 times one chance in ten trillion, that’s one chance in a million trillion. And as you go through the other eleven, you wind up with a large number.
The Bible predicts that King Josiah: a man by the name of Josiah will be king of the southern kingdom of Judah, and that he will come and burn to lime the bones of over 400 false prophets, on a particular altar. That prediction was given 300 years before the event. And, a man by the name of Josiah indeed was king of Judah, and he went north to the northern kingdom of Israel and the amazing thing was that the altar was still there. You know, Jewish altars are just twelve rocks thrown on top of one another. Just rough hewn rocks, no cement. 300 years later, the altar is still there. 300 years later, the bones of those false prophets are still there. He dug them up, and burned them to lime on that altar. And then an associate said to Josiah, “This was written of you, years ago.” So he fulfilled it not knowing what was written. The same thing was true of King Cyrus, he fulfilled it not knowing what was written.
And just like with the science, there is an up-to-date nature about these predictions. As I went through the Bible, I found over 200 predictions about the second return of the Jews to the land of Israel to rebuild their nation. First after the Babylonians and now again in our generation. And I wasn’t around to read the newspapers in `47 and `48 (I mean I was born but just barely), so I collected all these things I found in the Bible and went to the library and found microfiche of the London Times and the Jerusalem Post and the San Francisco Chronicler and I began to go through those old newspapers to see whether or not these things in the Bible were really true. And to my amazement I found that they were all true.
Ezekiel speaks about the vision of a valley of dry bones. How there would come a day when the nations of the world will see huge valleys, filled with the skeletons of Jewish people. And when they see those valleys, they will say that the Jews as a nation are finished forever. They will never rise to be a nation again. And Ezekiel says that when the unbelieving gentile nations say that, then the nation Israel will be reborn.
I read through those newspapers and was amazed. Photographs of Auschwitz, of a million and a half Jewish skeletons in one valley. And other sites as evidence of the Jewish extermination by the Nazis and by the Stalinists. And again, there were the newspaper headlines, “The Zionist Movement is Finished.” Why? Because Zionism was rooted in East Europe, and they were all wiped out. Many –most of them– were wiped out. And so the newspapers were saying Zionism is finished, there will be no nation Israel. One year later it happened.
Also, in the Psalms, King David 3,000 years ago said that the nation, when it is reformed for the second time, will be reformed in a great struggle for independence – it means 10 Arab nations, there will be a raid against these Jews in the founding of their nation. And it says…King David…in the Psalms…the key battles will be fought by those who escaped the sentence of death.
And that happened. In 1948, the key battles that opened up the corridor between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, absolutely essential for the new nation Israel, were fought by those who had escaped Hitler’s death camps. They still had the numbers on their wrists. They took the greatest toll, in terms of wounded and killed in all these battles of the war for independence.
That’s just an example. If you want to read up on it some more, here, again, it’s free –“Modern Fullfillment of Prophecy.” We give you the scriptures that I pulled out at the age of eighteen, and it’s all categorized and you can check it out for yourself. Go to the library, if you wish, and dig out those old newspapers –you can see for yourself. And what we have as a bottom line on this “Fullfilled Prophecy: Evidence for the Reliability of the Bible,” taking just thirteen predictions in the Bible, there is less than one chance in 10 to the 138th that this is a human accident and not divine.
Now, when I saw that number, at the age of nineteen, it shocked me. Because I realized that that number was beyond the possibility that certain laws of physics will work. The second Law of Thermodynamics there’s one chance in 10 to the 80 that it will go the opposite way the law says. That law says that heat flows from hot bodies to cold bodies. There’s one chance in 10 to the 80 that it will go the other way. And if it goes the other way it’s not good for us. Think about what that means. If heat begins to reverse its flow, we’re not going to be able to live.
Let me give you one example of that. You know this auditorium is filled with air molecules, but they’re not all the same temperature. Their average temperature is probably 68°F, but some of those molecules are much colder than that and some are much warmer. And there’s a finite possibility that all the cold ones will wander over to your seat, right where you’re sitting, and freeze you solid. That could happen. They could enter your bloodstream and turn your blood to ice.
Think about that. While you’re sitting there listening to me there’s one chance in 10 to the 80th that you’ll die on the spot –as a result of the reversal of the second law. What I had discovered at age 19 is that just based on these thirteen predictions the Bible is 10 to the 58 times more reliable. Now I realized that I gambled my life second by second on that law of thermodynamics, and yet I was unwilling to gamble my life on the message in this book. Because of fear.