People keep sending me video clips of this guy, Gregg Braden, spouting ridiculous techno-babble and pseudo-scientific new age quackery about “ancient alphabets” and “mysterious numbers” and how he found a way to remix DNA, the Periodic Table, and the Jewish Gematria letter code to uncover a “hidden message” hidden inside every single person.
So, after the bazillionth time someone sent this to me, I finally decided enough was enough and I had to write something in response.
Just in case you haven’t come across this video clip [there are a few dozen versions of it out there floating around], here’s the basic summary of what Braden says:
“Every ancient alphabet – bar none has always, from day one…each letter had a mysterious number…we don’t know where the numbers came from. They never change. It’s a unique numeric code.
“And the study of that code was called “Gematria” and the last 32 laws of Gematria were formed in the 2nd century….and the only way Gematria works is that you cannot deviate from these laws. There are specific laws that apply to the numbers.
“So, our ancestors were also talking about life using words and numbers. They had a letter and a mysterious number.
“We’re using the periodic table. We’ve got a whole bunch of numbers. Which of those numbers equate to the numbers from the ancient alphabet?
“So it should be possible to look at human DNA – Carbon, Oxygen, Hydrogen, Nitrogen – and different combinations of that and substitute the ancient letters for the numbers based upon this correlation.
“What we now know is that the atomic mass of the element – the numbers of the atomic mass – are the numbers that equate to the mysterious numbers…” of the ancient alphabets.”
So, to translate, Braden claims that he’s taken the Atomic Mass of 4 specific elements – Hydrogen, Nitrogen, Oxygen and Carbon – and transposed those numbers into Jewish words using the Gematria.
Why does he use those 4 elements? Because, he claims, those are what DNA are made of.
So, when he keeps claiming that this message is hidden in human DNA, this is what he’s referring to. It’s not actually DNA because when we sequence the human genome those letters are GATC.
He chooses Hydrogen, Nitrogen, Oxygen and Carbon because those are the 4 main elements found in the human body. But, it’s not exactly DNA, so don’t let that part confuse you. [Although I suspect he would really prefer if it did confuse you since it makes him sound more scientific].
He also tries to work in references to the Sefer Yetzirah, a third or fourth century Kabbalic text that says “Within the letter is a great, concealed mystical exalted secret… from which everything was created.”
Anyway, here’s the table he shared in one of his videos to explain the hidden code and where he calculated it:
So, it would probably help to explain what the Gematria is: Gematria is the practice of assigning a numerical value to a name, word or phrase by reading it as a number, or sometimes by using an alphanumerical cipher. The letters of the alphabets involved have standard numerical values, but a word can yield several values if a cipher is used.
Most Christians are aware that both Greek and Hebrew use an alpha-numeric system of letters and corresponding numbers. So, this is pretty much what Braden is using.
But it literally drives me crazy that every time refers to this fact, he keeps saying “there’s a mysterious number” and that “we don’t know where it comes from” as if no one can figure out how A = 1 and B = 2 and C = 3, etc. because it’s just “too mysterious” for anyone to understand.
“When you take those numbers and correlate them with the ancient table [Gematria? Sefir Yetzirah?]
“What we find is that in the human DNA our genome is built in layers….like an introduction to a book…the introduction to every cell of life in carbon-based DNA the introduction is the same and the first translation literally reads – literally – “God Eternal Within the Body”
So, where is he getting this? Well, it’s complicated.
First, he combines Hydrogen and Nitrogen [HN] and then he combines Oxygen and Carbon [OC].
Why does he do this? Because if he didn’t do that it wouldn’t come out the way he wants it to. Stay with me.
Here’s another little table he uses:
See, Hydrogen has an Atomic Weight of 1 and Nitrogen is 5, so that’s why he lists it as “1,5” and Oxygen has an Atomic Weight of 6 and Carbon is 3, so that’s why he writes it as “6,3”.
Ok, then he transposes the 1,5 and the 6,3 in the Ancient Hebrew Gematria to arrive at the letters YH and VG.
Still with me?
Ok, then he says that it’s obvious that “YH” is the secret name for God [Yahweh] and that VG is the phrase “within the body.”
See? It’s so obvious!
Here’s a few problems I have with Braden’s scientific method:
The Atomic Mass of those elements – Hydrogen, Nitrogen, Oxygen and Carbon – is not 1, 5, 6, and 3.
They are actually 1, 14, 16 and 12.
So, what’s a “scientist” to do? Well, why not try a little creative mathematics with those numbers? Maybe 14 could become 5 if we add together the 1 and the 4. Awesome! And maybe the 16 could become a 6 because….we want it to! And maybe 12 could become 3 if we add the 1 and the 2? YES!
Isn’t “science” fun?
And his Gematria skills aren’t that impressive either. I asked two different Jewish Rabbis what they thought of this methodology and they both said it was nonsense. One Rabbi went as far as to say: “This came out years ago — it’s BS.”
And he’s right. It is BS.
Because Braden’s methods are designed with the end in mind. He NEEDS the answer to work out so the “hidden message” is what he wants it to be.
Everything else is just creative nonsense to help him achieve that end.
I came across another blog article that questioned Braden’s logic by noting:
“If unscientifically adding numbers together is okay, which he has done with nearly all his “evidence”, then the following must be valid: nitrogen, with atomic mass 14, could equally pertain to Hebrew letter 14 (1 + 4 =5), or even letter 15 by just getting rid of the 1 as he did with oxygen; oxygen, with atomic mass 16, could also be Hebrew letter 15 (5+1=6) or Hebrew letter 16; and carbon with atomic mass 12, could also be Hebrew letter 12 or even 21 (2 + 1 =3). The link between these “alphabets” now seems more tenuous…
“But if the link is valid, as he says it is, then it must be valid both ways. So Y, the tenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet, could be relating to neon which has atomic mass 10 or manganese with atomic mass 55 (5+5) or silicon with atomic mass 28 (2+8) or fluoride with atomic mass 18 (1+8) or even radium with atomic mass 226 (2+2+6). And that is just one letter and just some of the transitional elements. Try doing it with the other three letters and you come up with loads of other elements.
“Also, why put the elements in the particular order to give YV VG? The “introduction to our genetic code” could just as well have been YG VH.”
And, of course, everyone knows that YG VH means: “You Go Van Halen!”
Anyway, here’s the deal: I would love for Braden’s “discovery” to be true. I do believe that God is within everyone and I do agree that if we could embrace this notion that it would end war and poverty and famine and violence in our world. But inventing nonsensical pseudo-scientific mystic-babble isn’t the way to achieve this paradigm shift. Especially if it’s so easily and obviously cooked up gobble-dee-gook.
If you want ancient texts that affirm the God code in every human being, try The Gospel of Thomas, or maybe even Ephesians, Colossians or the Gospel of John. But, for the love of God, please do not take anything Gregg Braden says about DNA, mysterious codes, or atomic numbers seriously.
And please stop sending me his video clips.
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Keith Giles is the best-selling author of the Jesus Un series. He has appeared on CNN, USA Today, BuzzFeed, and John Fugelsang’s “Tell Me Everything.” He hosts the Second Cup with Keith podcast, and co-hosts the Apostates Anonymous podcast, and the Heretic Happy Hour Podcast.
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