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True2Ourselves Forums   > Community Topics > General Discussions  > Mathematical Odds of Jesus Fulfilling Prophecy

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  #1  
Old 06-10-2012, 05:36 PM
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Default Mathematical Odds of Jesus Fulfilling Prophecy

CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS & RESEARCH MINISTRY

"The following probabilities are taken from Peter Stoner in Science Speaks (Moody Press, 1963) to show that coincidence is ruled out by the science of probability. Stoner says that by using the modern science of probability in reference to eight prophecies, ‘we find that the chance that any man might have lived down to the present time and fulfilled all eight prophecies is 1 in 10 to the power of 17." That would be 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000. In order to help us comprehend this staggering probability, Stoner illustrates it by supposing that "we take 10 to the power of 17 silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They will cover all of the state two feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the state. Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up one silver dollar and say that this is the right one. What chance would he have of getting the right one? Just the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing these eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man."

Stoner considers 48 prophecies and says, "we find the chance that any one man fulfilled all 48 prophecies to be 1 in 10 to the power of 157, or 1 in 10,00,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000 000,000,000."

(This information was taken from the book Evidence that Demands a Verdict, by Josh McDowell.)

The estimated number of electrons in the universe is around 10 to the power of 79. It should be quite evident that Jesus did not fulfill the prophecies by accident. He was who He said He was: the only way (John 14:6).

The Christian Defense - The Mathematical Odds of Jesus Fulfilling Prophecy
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Old 06-10-2012, 07:51 PM
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Default Re: Mathematical Odds of Jesus Fulfilling Prophecy

The mathematical odd thing doesn't really work for me because it's based on the Bible... not that I don't believe in the Bible, however, from an outside perspective, it doesn't really mean much. One would say "of course everything works out because it's written to do so."

An atheist looks at the Bible and simply says it's a work of fiction - so who cares about mathematical odds contained in a fictional story?
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Old 06-10-2012, 09:16 PM
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Default Re: Mathematical Odds of Jesus Fulfilling Prophecy

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Originally Posted by Mark View Post
The mathematical odd thing doesn't really work for me because it's based on the Bible... not that I don't believe in the Bible, however, from an outside perspective, it doesn't really mean much. One would say "of course everything works out because it's written to do so."

An atheist looks at the Bible and simply says it's a work of fiction - so who cares about mathematical odds contained in a fictional story?
That atheist arguement won't wash, will it? Considering Micah prophesied about Jesus coming out of Bethlehem 700 years before Jesus was born and Isaiah prophesied about 780 years before Jesus came and fulfilled what Isaiah had prophesied. Noting too that Jesus was born in Bethlehem which was not even the home of Mary and Joseph.

And Micah 5:2 connects with Genesis 35:19, there being some 800 years between the two books. It defies reason that a human could orchestrate such timing.
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Old 06-11-2012, 10:50 AM
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Default Re: Mathematical Odds of Jesus Fulfilling Prophecy

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Originally Posted by Maizie View Post
CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS & RESEARCH MINISTRY

"The following probabilities are taken from Peter Stoner in Science Speaks (Moody Press, 1963) to show that coincidence is ruled out by the science of probability. Stoner says that by using the modern science of probability in reference to eight prophecies, ‘we find that the chance that any man might have lived down to the present time and fulfilled all eight prophecies is 1 in 10 to the power of 17." That would be 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000. In order to help us comprehend this staggering probability, Stoner illustrates it by supposing that "we take 10 to the power of 17 silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They will cover all of the state two feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the state. Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up one silver dollar and say that this is the right one. What chance would he have of getting the right one? Just the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing these eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man."

Stoner considers 48 prophecies and says, "we find the chance that any one man fulfilled all 48 prophecies to be 1 in 10 to the power of 157, or 1 in 10,00,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000 000,000,000."

(This information was taken from the book Evidence that Demands a Verdict, by Josh McDowell.)

The estimated number of electrons in the universe is around 10 to the power of 79. It should be quite evident that Jesus did not fulfill the prophecies by accident. He was who He said He was: the only way (John 14:6).

The Christian Defense - The Mathematical Odds of Jesus Fulfilling Prophecy
If I were to put on a black hat and play the bad guy here, just for conversation's sake, I would probably say that you can't prove that Jesus ever actually did rise from the dead or do most of those other things so you can't prove that he fullfilled prophecy. I would say that you are using the second half of a book to prove the first have and visa versa.

Of course, I don't actually think that. I am just being Devils Advocate
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Old 06-11-2012, 01:42 PM
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Default Re: Mathematical Odds of Jesus Fulfilling Prophecy

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Originally Posted by CatholicCrusader View Post
If I were to put on a black hat and play the bad guy here, just for conversation's sake, I would probably say that you can't prove that Jesus ever actually did rise from the dead or do most of those other things so you can't prove that he fullfilled prophecy. I would say that you are using the second half of a book to prove the first have and visa versa.

Of course, I don't actually think that. I am just being Devils Advocate
There were Roman soldiers who guarded the tomb where the body of Jesus was placed and not only soldiers but a heavy duty number because of the fear of someone stealing the body to further the resurrection Jesus had foretold.
From then until now there is living proof of the resurrection by the sheer numbers of people who know Jesus Christ personally.
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Old 06-11-2012, 01:49 PM
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Default Re: Mathematical Odds of Jesus Fulfilling Prophecy

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Originally Posted by Maizie View Post
There were Roman soldiers who guarded the tomb where the body of Jesus was placed and not only soldiers but a heavy duty number because of the fear of someone stealing the body to further the resurrection Jesus had foretold.
From then until now there is living proof of the resurrection by the sheer numbers of people who know Jesus Christ personally.
But... this is not acceptable proof to an unbeliever who demands proof!

"Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.

But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:

For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here." Matt 12:38-41

God is not going start us out on our walk with Him by providing proof:

"But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." Heb 11:6

An unbeliever may call it putting the cart before the horse, but God doesn't quibble with unbelievers. For Him it is really is 'His Way or the highway'!

And that is NOT the "highway of holiness"!
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Old 06-11-2012, 02:12 PM
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Default Re: Mathematical Odds of Jesus Fulfilling Prophecy

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But... this is not acceptable proof to an unbeliever who demands proof!

"Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.

But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:

For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here." Matt 12:38-41

God is not going start us out on our walk with Him by providing proof:

"But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." Heb 11:6

An unbeliever may call it putting the cart before the horse, but God doesn't quibble with unbelievers. For Him it is really is 'His Way or the highway'!

And that is NOT the "highway of holiness"!
Well, exactly how does the unbeliever dismiss the mathematical probability which M.I.T. formulated about the impossibility of just anyone fulfilling the prophecies which Jesus obviously did?

I would guess much like the rich man did in Luke 16:20-31.

"And he (Abraham) said unto him (the rich man), If they hear not Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead".
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Old 06-11-2012, 03:39 PM
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Default Re: Mathematical Odds of Jesus Fulfilling Prophecy

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Originally Posted by Maizie View Post
Well, exactly how does the unbeliever dismiss the mathematical probability which M.I.T. formulated about the impossibility of just anyone fulfilling the prophecies which Jesus obviously did?

I would guess much like the rich man did in Luke 16:20-31.

"And he (Abraham) said unto him (the rich man), If they hear not Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead".
You are relying basically on two things: 1) the truth of the Bible and 2) the accuracy of human history. Only followers of God believe in the first. The second has been shown repeatedly to be in error due to political motivations, conjectures, and lack of acceptable supporting evidence. I am a firm Bible believer, but I know that my belief is not enough for others.

Paul says that we live by faith and that is so. Once we begin walking according to that faith, God will begin to write some things in our heart, which, I believe, are stronger than faith, but no one but another believer will accept what a believer says God has written in his heart, and even some believers will hedge on that. Thus, we have a world full of unbelievers and multitude of often opposing doctrines held by believers.

We certainly do need God's help!
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Old 06-11-2012, 06:04 PM
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Default Re: Mathematical Odds of Jesus Fulfilling Prophecy

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That atheist arguement won't wash, will it? Considering Micah prophesied about Jesus coming out of Bethlehem 700 years before Jesus was born and Isaiah prophesied about 780 years before Jesus came and fulfilled what Isaiah had prophesied. Noting too that Jesus was born in Bethlehem which was not even the home of Mary and Joseph.
So we have a prophesy which could be interpreted to say that a messiah would be born in Bethlehem and then decades after the event someone wrote that – hey, the messiah was born in Bethlehem after all.

If you want to look at this uncritically, then it all makes some sense. But if you bring even the most reasonable of questions to the table it all starts to unravel. Possibly because this is one of the more specific examples.

But that’s the problem with prophesies – they need to be vague so that they can be interpreted in the manner which suits the person doing the interpretation. Being specific makes it easier to discount.
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Old 06-11-2012, 06:20 PM
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Default Re: Mathematical Odds of Jesus Fulfilling Prophecy

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So we have a prophesy which could be interpreted to say that a messiah would be born in Bethlehem and then decades after the event someone wrote that – hey, the messiah was born in Bethlehem after all.

If you want to look at this uncritically, then it all makes some sense. But if you bring even the most reasonable of questions to the table it all starts to unravel. Possibly because this is one of the more specific examples.

But that’s the problem with prophesies – they need to be vague so that they can be interpreted in the manner which suits the person doing the interpretation. Being specific makes it easier to discount.
Mathew, Mark, Luke and John (authors of the New Testament) are either a. mad men b. telling the truth... *"prankster" is not an option because they were persecuted (imprisoned/ killed) for teaching their faith (and after witnessing Christ being crucified on the cross).

If you read the Gospels and believe you are reading the thoughts and words of four crazy people, then you have your answer. However, if you read the Gospels and see sanity, beauty and truth (from four totally different people), then you have to ask yourself the obvious question: why would they write these things (at the threat of death) if it weren't true?
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