A fundamental axiom of Young Earth Creationism is that the Bible is the inerrant word of God and that it should therefore be used as a primary source for information about the history of the world and the question of origins. This is challenged by those who believe in evolution, whether theistic or not. Atheist evolutionists at least (and also, sadly, many Christians) regard the Bible as a collection of myths and stories and refuse even to regard it as a primary source for human history, let alone origins.
Any communication system needs a means of assuring the recipient of a message that its purported sender is in fact its real sender. On the face of it, there is a problem in distinguishing the Bible from all other religious texts as being uniquely the Word of God. The majority of people do not believe that it has that status. But if it has, we should expect that God will have given us objective means of ascertaining that.
In fact, he has done so.
In the first place, there are a number of literary structures that span all of the Bible. None of these is, by itself, sufficient to prove divine authorship, but taken together they greatly increase our confidence in it.
For example, it is well known that patterns of seven are found in the Bible, and seven is a number that denotes completeness. There are a number of patterns of seven that cross both Old and New Testaments and therefore demonstrate that both together are the complete word of God.
The following table, taken from Chuck Missler's book, Cosmic Codes, lists a number of significant words and phrases which occur a multiple of seven times through both testaments:
|Hallelujah||24||4||28 = 7 x 4|
|Hosanna||1||6||7 = 7 x 1|
|Shepherd||12||9||21 = 7 x 3|
|Jehovah Sabaoth||285||2||287 = 7 x 41|
|Corban||82||2||84 = 7 x 12|
|Milk||44||5||49 = 7 x 7|
|Isaac||112||14||126 = 7 x 18|
|Aaron||443||5||448 = 7 x 64|
|Abaddon||6||1||7 = 7 x 1|
|Christ at the right hand of God||2||19||21 = 7 x 3|
|After Melchizedek||1||6||7 = 7 x 1|
|The stone which the builders rejected has become head of the corner||1||6||7 = 7 x 1|
|Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself||1||6||7 = 7 x 1|
|Uncircumcision of the heart||6||1||7 = 7 x 1|
In addition to the macrocodes, which are in plain view for anyone who takes the trouble to study the Bible, there are codes built into the Hebrew text itself. These codes are found by counting successive letters at some specified interval, either forwards or backwards, and are therefore called Equidistant Letter Sequences. or ELS.
For example, the first five books of the Old Testament form the Torah, or Law of Moses, part of which God gave to him by his angel on Mount Sinai. Jesus said of the law that not one jot or tittle should pass from the Law until all is fulfilled, meaning not one yod (the smallest Hebrew letter) or hook (distinguishing the letter resh from daleth, for example).
Within Genesis and Exodus, starting at the first taf (T), the word torah is spelt out at 49 (= 7 x 7) letter intervals. In Numbers and Deuteronomy it is spelt out backwards at the same interval. Leviticus does not have the word torah; instead it has the name of God at intervals of seven letters, starting at the first yod, thus:
This forms a divine signature across the group of five books and incidentally reinforces the spiritual message that all of the law points to God.
These codes in the Torah were discovered in part by the Kabbalists in the Middle Ages. They were first noticed in modern times by Rabbi Weissmandl in the earlier part of the 20th century. The advent of computers has made the task of searching for them far easier and at least some professional statisticians have been satisfied that the codes are real and necessarily of divine origin. It is now possible to search quickly for codes at many different letter intervals across a passage. It is to be expected that some meaningful words or phrases will be found by chance. What makes the Bible codes of great significance is the codes that are relevant to the passages in which they are embedded.
In the creation account, we read the account of God's giving man every seed-bearing plant to eat (Genesis 1:29 ) followed by the beginning of the creation account from Adam's point of view up to the planting of the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden, ending at Genesis 2:9 . Note that this passage crosses the divide between two sections which bible critics allege to be of different authorship and to report conflicting creation accounts.
Within this passage are encoded the names of all seven species of seed-bearing fruit in the land of Israel (note the number seven, by the way) and the 25 trees of Old Testament tradition. While the presence of a number of different encoded words would not be a surprise, the presence of all of these particular words in a passage to which they are relevant is far beyond the bounds of chance.
Gematria is the Hebrew term for codes embedded in the numerical values of Hebrew and Greek letters. Hebrew and Greek used letters of the alphabet for numeric digits; thus Greek alpha is 1, beta is 2 and so on. The numerical value of the letters of a word can be added together to get a single numeric value for that word. For instance the Greek name of Jesus (ιησους) is 10+8+200+70+400+200 = 888.
There are some interesting combinations. The name of God, אל ("El"), has a numerical sum of 31. This is one of the few numbers which when reversed gives a number whose square is also the reversal of the first number's square. 312 = 961 and 132 = 169. 13 is a significant gematrical number along with 7. 961 occurs in a number of critical places and has been called "the signature of God". For example, the sum of the gematrical values of the names Abraham (248), Sarah (505) and Isaac (208) is 961.
Gematria is often very subjective and should not therefore be regarded as more than a reinforcement to our confidence in the Bible. Unrestrained use of it led to much abuse by the Kabbalists and led many away from faith in the true God and obedience to his word.
Ivan Panin was a Russian, born in 1855, who was exiled after plotting against the Tsar and ended up in the US at Harvard University. He studied the Hebrew and Greek of the Bible intensively for most of his life. He discovered that there is a pattern of sevens and thirteens binding the texts together. These are such that they could potentially be used to select the correct version of variant readings.
One example of his findings (taken from Chuck Missler's book) concerns Matthew 1:1-17 , which is a unit of text dealing with the genealogy of Jesus. This passage contains 72 different words in 90 forms (Greek is an inflected language).
This structure extends beyond the scope of a single book. There are 42 (7 x 6) words used in Matthew that occur nowhere else in the New Testament. Similarly, the number of words used only in Mark, only in Luke or only in John are each a multiple of 7.
The structure of sevens even extends to the Bible as a whole: it has 63 (7 x 9) books in Old and New Testaments together. (There are not 66 in this count: the pairs I and II Samuel, I and II Kings and I and II Chronicles are each regarded as single books in the Hebrew bible.)
In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him. Without him was not anything made that has been made. John 1:1-3If you take the gematrical values of all the letters in Genesis 1:1 and apply this formula:
The number of letters x The product of the letter values
The number of words x The product of the word values
you get π (pi) to 4 decimal places.
Do the same exercise on John 1:1 and you get e, again to 4 decimal places. That these two fundamental mathematical constants are encoded in the beginnings of these two books is effectively the creator's signature to the account of His creation.
Atheistic mathematicians and others have attempted to cast aspersions on the codes. For example, mathematician Brendan McKay claims to have found similar codes using Moby Dick and other books.
In the case of the much publicised claims of Michael Drosnin to use the codes to forecast current events, these criticisms are justified. The short codes he claimed to have found are within the range of randomness However, the existence of longer codes and their concentration in passages to which they are relevant is a more recent discovery which is not so easily dismissed.
Ivan Panin's work has been criticised on the grounds that other patterns may exist that he did not look for and perhaps that certain patterns of seven should exist that are not found. He stated that other works, such as the Apocrypha, were searched for these patterns without result. There does not seem to have been any systematic effort to check his work.
聖經密碼，也稱作Torah密碼，最初指的是在《希伯來聖經·創世記》的開頭每隔50個字母跳讀，就可以拚出“Torah”一詞（意指《摩西五經》，即《創世記》、《出埃及記》、《利未記》、《民數記》及《申命記》），另外在《出埃及記》、《民數記》和《申命記》中亦是如此。這種現象後來被稱做Equidistant letter sequences（等距字母序列），簡稱“ELS”。這個密碼，由於The Bible Code一書的出版而聞名於世，書中作者聲稱這些密碼可以預言將來。此論受到無神論者和許多宗教團體強烈質疑。
到了1980年代，以色列希伯來大學的數學家Eliyahu Rips和物理學家Doron Witstum利用計算機高速計算對比（一套精密的數學運算模式），挑選聖經時代以來的32位知名人物，結果發現他們的名字和出生與死亡日期在《創世記》中都是編在一起的。後來他們把整本希伯來文聖經原文去除了所有字間距，連貫成總長304805個字（因為根據傳說，摩西從上帝手中接受的聖經就是“字字相連，無一中斷”），采用計算機跳躍碼方式，在字符串中尋找名字、單詞和詞組，最終找到了一係列相關信息。據此完成了《創世記等距離字母順序解碼》（Equidistant Letter Sequences in the Book of Genesis）這篇論文。
經過耶魯大學、哈佛大學、希伯來大學多名數學家驗證，以及美國Statistical Science雜誌（Institute of Mathematical Statistics的機關期刊之一）的三次複核後（他們經過數學分析，證實聖經密碼為巧合的可能性隻有二十五億分之一，後來研究人員以更高難度測試，發現為巧合的可能性低至五萬兆分之一），於1994年8月，正式發表在了Statistical Science雜誌上（對於這篇論文的爭論參見下麵的“各方觀點”）。
1997年麵世的《聖經密碼》（The Bible Code）引起了世人對聖經密碼的關注，作者Michael Drosnin是一名無宗教信仰的記者，曾於《華盛頓郵報》和《華爾街日報》 工作，他經過5年的采訪和深入調查研究後寫成此書。他甚至通過密碼找出了“Year of Bible Code Revealed 1997”的詞組。但Eliyahu Rips在一篇文告中宣稱：“我本人並不支持Drosnin對讀碼的見解，也不讚成他所下的結論……凡是從Torah （摩西五經）中擷取信息或以其為預言的根據，是無益和沒有價值的。這不僅是我個人的意見，也是每一位從事解碼研究的科學家的意見。”到目前為止，他已出版 了續集《聖經密碼II》（The Bible Code Ⅱ），其副標題為“倒數計時”（The Countdown）。在 文中他做的最後結論是：“聖經密碼可能既不是‘正確的’，也不是‘錯誤的’。密碼要告訴我們的，可能是‘什麽事可能發生’，而不是‘什麽事會發生’。不 過，因我們不能讓我們的世界毀滅掉，我們不能什麽事都不做，隻是在那裏等待——我們必須假定，聖經密碼裏頭的警告是真的”。
聖經密碼的支持者認為，雖然任何一本書都可以找到隨機字母組合，但要找到像“薩達姆”和“飛毛腿”及開戰日期等相關訊息，除了聖經外，包括《戰爭與和平》（俄語:Война и мир）在內的各類十萬甚至百萬字母的書籍，和千百萬種電腦製造的實驗個案，都沒有找到如此連貫的訊息。
1999年，數學家Brendan McKay、Dror Bar-Natan和Gil Kalai及心理學家Maya Bar-Hillel，在Statistical Science上發表了一篇論文，聲明他們提供了足夠的證據來駁斥Witztum和Rips的論文。他們的主要觀點是：