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Addendum to the Poll Regarding the Messiah

I just wrote a poll about the chances of any person fulfilling 48 of the 300 prophecies in the Bible, noting that Jesus fulfilled all 300. I mentioned that the chances of any person fulfilling 48 prophecies were one in 10 to the 157th power. This number is so large that it deserves an addendum to describe it.

To do so, let’s consider electrons. Everyone knows how tiny an electron is, right? If I had a one-inch line of electrons and started counting them at a rate of 250 per minute, without stopping and counting night and day, it would take me 19 million years to count all the electrons in that inch.

Now, suppose that we could create a sphere of nothing but electrons and that sphere held nothing but 10^157th electrons, with no spaces between them. Are you curious how large that sphere would be? The radius of that sphere would be the greatest distance seen by the Hubble Space Telescope; about 13 billion lightyears. That is the distance light travels in 13 billion years at about 186,000 miles per second. 

The chances of a person fulfilling even 48 of the 300 prophecies in the Old Testament in regard to the Messiah would be like somehow marking a single electron in a sphere the size of the observable universe, and having an astronaut blasting off into that vastness, then having them select a single electron and finding that they’d selected the one that had been marked. 

Put in a different way, a person would have a better chance of winning every single lottery and “Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes” for the next 1,000 years, than to fulfill just 48 of the biblical prophecies regarding the Messiah. 

Yet, Jesus didn’t just fulfill 48 of the prophecies or even all but one or two, he fulfilled them all. The scientific think-tank that figured out the probability of fulfilling 48 of the prophecies didn’t go on to figure out the chances of fulfilling all 300 prophecies, which Jesus did. There is a good reason they stopped at 48. The chances of fulfilling all 300 would be something on the order of one in ten to such a large power that it could take millions of years just to write all the zeroes. 

  • Do you find this number to be mind-boggling?

    • Yes
    • No
    • It is much too large to grasp or imagine

What do you think?

11 points
Legend

Written by Rex Trulove

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7 Comments

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  1. There is considerable doubt as to whether many of the supposed prophesies are anything of the kind. The gospel writers, particularly Matthew and Luke (or whoever they really were) were notorious for plucking texts out of context and assuming that they were prophesies.

    • Neither Matthew or Luke prophesied. However, they did quote prophecies that were already written. The general consensus among biblical scholars, not all of whom are believers, is that the prophecies were valid and written well in advance of the birth of Jesus. In fact, a few people tried to use that tact in an attempt to invalidate the Bible. Not only did they fail, but they are now leading Evangelists, after becoming devout Christians.

        • Possibly, but the name doesn’t ring a bell. I’ve read a few articles by skeptics, though, so like I said, it’s possible. I’ve also read a few articles that thoroughly refute one skeptic or another. I need to be in the right mood and frame of mind to read things like that, though, or I won’t get much out of it. Of course, that applies to a great number of topics, too.

          • I would also recommend “The Bible for Grown-Ups: a New Look at the Good Book” by Simon Loveday.

            In the past I have had several debates with Christian believers over such matters – my position being that I want to look at religious texts from the angle of the texts and the contexts in which they are written, and devoid of the “God glasses” through which they are often read. I find this to be a fascinating study, and I also take the line that many Christians would gain a great deal from doing the same. It is certainly not my aim to convince anyone to abandon their beliefs, merely to urge them to justify those beliefs based on something more substantial than just “faith”.

            However, the usual response – after a while – is for my interlocutors to fall back on the line “if it’s in the Bible it must be true”, even when different parts of the Bible say things that are completely at odds with each other.

            They then refuse to answer any of my questions!

        • Here is the thing…in order to argue either side in a way that is meaningful, a person needs to be able to read and understand ancient Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic. Outside of recognized Biblical scholars, not many people can

          What I find especially interesting is how the people lived back then. it gives tremendous insights into the bible, especially when the actual meaning of the Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic words are considered. This is also a major difference between reading the bible and studying the bible. It makes a huge difference.

          For example, the Bible says, “‘God is love”. That is an impactful statement, but it is more so when a person knows that the word that was translated in this statement into “love” was agape. This is one of three kinds of love mentioned in the Bible but then it is necessary to know what agape means. Agape is the highest form of love and is probably best understood by people as unconditional love, though even that falls short by a few orders of magnitude. The meaning of the simple statement becomes far more profound.

          There are many helpful books that have been written to help with biblical understanding and some of them are well-known, such as Strong’s Concordance. There are also a number of Bible dictionaries that can help, though they aren’t as good as being able to read and understand Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic. Here is one that you might find helpful, though: Companion to the Bible by Re. E.P. Barrows, D.D., Professor of Biblical Literature. He is a biblical scholar.

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