Examining Biblical Prophecy – pt. 3 – second prophecy

Examining Biblical Prophecy – pt. 3 – second prophecy April 11, 2016

Here we continue examining some Biblical prophecies (Index) – the footnote.

I missed this before, but the author attempts to discuss the probability of these thirteen prophecies all coming true – 1:10^138.

For the sake of putting the figure into perspective, this probability can be compared to the statistical chance that the second law of thermodynamics will be reversed in a given situation (for example, that a gasoline engine will refrigerate itself during its combustion cycle or that heat will flow from a cold body to a hot body)—that chance = 1 in 1080. Stating it simply, based on these thirteen prophecies alone, the Bible record may be said to be vastly more reliable than the second law of thermodynamics. Each reader should feel free to make his own reasonable estimates of probability for the chance fulfillment of the prophecies cited here. In any case, the probabilities deduced still will be absurdly remote.

Yeah, I contest those probabilities. In many of these cases, my calculation isn’t something like 1:10, it’s more like NaN.

Given that the Bible proves so reliable a document, there is every reason to expect that the remaining 500 prophecies, those slated for the “time of the end,” also will be fulfilled to the last letter.

I do not grant that it is “reliable” in any useful way, or that it has been shown to be so.

When the author talks about 2500 prophecies, does that include the grouped or ungrouped claims? For instance, Daniel 9:26 says:

And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing. And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed.

Is this one prophecy, or 8-9? If we’re examine each individual statement, in this 1000ish-page book, it’d be easy to dig up 2500 claims. Was that 2500, only including ones that seem like they had been fulfilled? Was the “Jerusalem destroyed by a flood” claim part of the 2000 demonstrated to be fulfilled, or part of the 500 remaining?

That’s one reason this comes across to me as poorly defined.

… skipping the author’s “You’d better believe or burn” random digression …

*The estimates of probability included herein come from a group of secular research scientists.

Yes, that mysterious group of “secular research scientists”. Who? Top. Men.

As an example of their method of estimation, consider their calculations for this first prophecy cited:

So here we go – how did we get that 1:10^5 probability?

Since the Messiah’s ministry could conceivably begin in any one of about 5000 years, there is, then, one chance in about 5,000 that his ministry could begin in AD 26.

It’s an interesting way of looking at it… but why 5000 years? Why not 1000 or 10000? Regardless, it’s ignoring probability-increasing factors. In a way, it’d be like asking,

What is the probability of a meal appearing on the table I’m setting at, in the restaurant, within an hour?

Did you say anything?

Yes, I said to the waiter that I predict there will be a meal on my table shortly.

Then the probability is near 100%

It’d be one thing if this prophecy was unknown up until it happened, but if it wasn’t, and you had zealous people believing it, and wanting it to come true… it’s bound to happen sooner or later. That’s just one example of omitting factors that don’t lower the probability.

As I mentioned, their year range is completely arbitrary. By their logic, if it’s only 1 year, the probability would be 100%. If it’s a trillion years, it’s virtually zero. So this isn’t really a useful probability at all. It may as well have been – “{insert random 0-100% value here}”… because there’s no justification to it.

What is the probability of that (supposedly) happening in 26 AD? Unknown – at least, based on simple dates, it’s incalculable in any useful sense.

Since the Messiah is God in human form, the possibility of his being killed is considerably low, say less than one chance in 10.

The author is using these probabilities to show that the scripture is accurate. The scripture says that the messiah will be killed. Wouldn’t that mean that the probability of the messiah being killed, if the scripture is accurate, is 100%? It just seems odd.

But generally, what does being “God” bring to the table in terms of survivability? Does it give the Messiah +3 to constitution? Not even all Christians buy that Jesus was an incarnation of God, so if we’re granting that aspect of a specific doctrine, why not the fact that Jesus was designed to be killed?

According to the Jewish, in the Torah (first 5 OT books, and Daniel later discusses), the “messiah” was not necessarily a savior, and was more likely to a king. So the “God” incarnation was something extra thrown in. It’d be like saying there’s a 1:26 chance that the Messiah’s name starts with “J” (assuming English, obviously), so let’s arbitrarily add that to the probability calculation – and what do you know? Jesus nailed it!

Not to mention, there’s no confirmation the claim that this character was God – so we can’t say it was fulfilled. It’s much more likely that the Messiah (if there was one) was a regular human, and thus, a much higher chance of being killed (apparently).

So, this 1:10 probability claim doesn’t make sense either.

Relative to the second destruction of Jerusalem, this execution has roughly an even chance of occurring before or after that event, that is, one chance in 2.

If we know that a certain type of egg will expire within 7 days, and we don’t know how long ago that egg lifecycle started, we might be able to say that there’s a 1:2 chance that it’ll expire after 3.5 days…. but there’s a lot of specifics about the starting conditions there that we can use to calculate. The author may be arguing something similar here, when assuming that the “70 years” and “26 AD” figures are correct… as opposed to yet more unsubstantiated claims of a book.

Hence, the probability of chance fulfillment for this prophecy is 1 in 5,000 x 10 x 2, which is 1 in 100,000, or 1 in 105.

In reality, it’s more like a NaN x NAN x NAN, or NAN:NAN probability.

I’m probably safe in assuming that other rest of the probability calculations are just as nonsensical.

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