Friday, April 17, 2015

A question of mathematics

What evidence is there that the Bible is divinely inspired?

That would have been a good question to have asked Ivan Panin. (Or not, depending how much time you had to listen to the answer.)

Panin was born in Russia in 1855. Exiled as a young man for activities against the Czar, he studied in Germany, then moved to the United States. He was a brilliant mathematician, with a knowledge of Hebrew and Greek.

One day he discovered, apparently by accident, remarkable mathematical structures in the Scriptures. Hebrew and Greek did not use figures, but letters of the alphabet to indicate numbers (aleph equals one, bet equals two, etc).

Take the first verse of the Bible: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." In Hebrew, in which it was originally written, it has seven words. They have a total of 28 letters (4 x 7). The first three words have 14 letters (2 x 7). The last four words have 14 letters (2 x 7). The fourth and fifth words have seven letters. The sixth and seventh words have seven letters.The three key words have 14 letters (2 x 7). The number of letters in the four remaining words is 14 (2 x 7). The numeric value of the three nouns totals 777. The numeric value of the first, middle and last letters is 133 (19 x 7). The numeric value of the first and last letters of all seven words is 1393 (199 x 7).

Seven in the Scriptures speaks of divine perfection. The word seven is said to appear 287 times in the Old Testament (41 x 7). The word seventh is said to appear 98 times (14 x 7). The word sevenfold appears seven times. The word seventy appears 56 times (8 x 7).

Similar structures occur throughout the /Scriptures, and are so complicated they could not have been placed there by human hand.They occur only in the Bible, and not in any other literature, including the Apocrypha.

Panin's discovery led to his conversion to Christ. He spent the rest of his life producing 43,000 pages of closely written notes on his discoveries. Before he died in 1942, he challenged anyone to disprove his findings. He had no takers.

Bible numerics is a fascinating subject. If you wanted to know more, you could start by googling Ivan Panin.