I’ve recently had a gentleman (altonwoods) commenting on my blog who is trying to get me to see the truth, which, to him, is Christianity. To try to convince me that Christianity is true, he put forth this argument:
Did you know that Jesus’ life fulfilled over 300 individual prophesy’s[sic]? and that the odds on that are mathematically impossible?
(conservatively estimated to be 10 to the 156th power)
It was something I hadn’t heard before, and even though it sounded to me like someone was high when they came up with those numbers, I asked for more information. He told me that he got the information from a Peter Stoner *snicker* who wrote the book Science Speaks.
In the comments on my post about the atheist being expelled from the Creation Museum, altonwoods posted this list of 8 prophesies that have been fulfilled by Jesus (numbers added by me):
1. Micah 5:2 That He would be born in Bethlehem 1:100,000
2. Zechariah 9:9 That He would ride into Jerusalem on a donkey (the foal of a colt) presenting Himself as a king. 1:100
3. Zechariah 11:12 That He would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver 1:1000
4. Zechariah 11:13 That the 30 pieces of silver would end up in the hands of the potter. 1:100,000 (who owned the field that was bought with the blood money Judas Escariot threw on the floor)
5. Zechariah 13:6 That He would be wounded in His hands in the house of His friends 1:1000 (Which refers to His experience with Thomas and his doubts about Jesus’ resurrection)
6. Isaiah 53:7 That He would be led to the slaughter like a lamb and would make no defense for Himself even though He was innocent 1:1000 (this is definitely a conservative estimate, you’re facing crucifixion here!)
7. Isaiah 53:9 That He would die with the wicked, and be buried with the rich. 1:1000 (excluding attorneys of course) We know He died a criminal’s death and that He was buried in a tomb provided by Joseph of Aramathia…Was Joseph just that interested in seeing an 800 yr old prophesy fulfilled that he donated a brand new tomb?
8. Psalm 22:16 16 For dogs have surrounded Me; The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet; Whats most interesting is that this prophesy concerning the crucifixion is given 700 years before the practice of crucifixion was even invented. (Jewish capital punishment was stoning).
I’m not a Bible scholar, so my knowledge of the history of the area and the characters in the stories are limited to what I learned in Bible study, and that was a few years ago. With that said, I still want to talk about these prophesies.
The thing is, that the people writing the New Testament had access to, and were probably well versed in the stories of the Old Testament. So wouldn’t somebody who believes that Jesus is the son of God be motivated to work the details of the prophesies into the Gospels? Furthermore, Jesus was a Jew, so of course he knew the prophesies…
If you look at #2 above, which says that “He”, aka Jesus, would ride in on a donkey. That’s a pretty specific statement, so it does seem to be an amazing coincidence that Jesus did return to Jerusalem on a donkey. But if you read Matthew 21:4, it says “All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet…” It says it right there in the Bible that Jesus was actively taking steps to make sure that he fit the prophesies. Go ahead, look it up yourself.
The numbers given by Stoner in this book are questionable to me too…they seem to have been pulled out of his ass…seriously they’re all products of 10?
Number 8 is the only prophesy of the ones altonwoods gave me that appears to actually be predicting something that was beyond the scope of the knowledge at the time that it was written. That’s assuming that it’s true that crucifixion wasn’t invented until 700 years later, which I’m too lazy to look into. But reading Psalm 22, I don’t see anything about crucifixion.
The King James version does say that the person’s hands and feet are pierced, but it doesn’t say that that’s because they’ve been nailed to a cross. To me, it’s simply talking about being attacked by dogs…if you’re fighting off dogs you’d be using your hands and feet, and dogs can pierce skin with their teeth. No mysteries there.
altonwoods said about Stoner’s work: “If science is whats credible to you, check this out!” Using the Bible as evidence for the Bible’s truthfulness is not scientific. If you want to convince me that Christianity is true then you’ll have to do so by other means that quoting the Bible, because it’s nothing more than a collection of stories.