Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me - John 5:39.
THE WORD "Scriptures" in this passage refers to the Old Testament. Christ is saying that in the Old Testament we will find the prophecies referring to Himself. It is therefore in these prophecies, and their fulfillment, that we may look if we wish to find evidence that Christ is the Messiah, the Son of God, the saviour of mankind, and everything else which was prophesied of Him, and which He claimed to be.
If we find these prophecies to be fulfilled in Christ, we will establish not only that Christ is the Messiah predicted in the Old Testament, but that those prophecies were given by God Himself. For if they were not given by God, no man would have fulfilled any number of them, as will be evident later in this chapter.
In order to evaluate our evidence we shall use the same principle of probability which was stated and used in the preceding chapter.
In evaluating these prophecies, we shall have to answer this question regarding each prophecy: One man in how many men has fulfilled this prophecy? I realize that some will object to this question, saying that these prophecies were made with respect to Christ, and no other man has, or even can, fulfill them. This, of course, is true when you consider the mass of prophecies regarding Christ, but it is not true of all individual prophecies. It was prophesied, for example, that Christ would be born in Bethlehem; certainly other persons have been born in Bethlehem. It was prophesied that Christ would be crucified; other men have been crucified. I certainly am not trying to be sacrilegious in asking these questions; but I am trying to look at the evidence entirely unbiased, that I may the better give a clear argument.
The Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship at Pasadena City College sponsored a class in Christian evidences. One section of the work of this class was to consider the evidence produced by the fulfilled prophecies referring to the first advent of Christ. The students were asked to be very conservative in their probability estimates. They discussed each prophecy at length, bringing out various conditions which might affect the probability of any man fulfilling it. After discussion, the students agreed unanimously on a definite estimate as being both reasonable and conservative. At the end of the evaluations the students expressed their feelings thus: If any one were able to enter into the discussions and help in placing the estimates, as they had done, that person would certainly agree that the estimates were conservative. The estimates used in this chapter are a combination of the estimates given by this class on Christian evidences combined with estimates given me later by some twelve different classes of college students, representing more than 600 students. I have carefully weighed the estimates and have changed some to make them more conservative. If the reader does not agree with the estimates given, he may make his own estimates and then carry them through to their logical conclusions.
We considered the following eight prophecies:
1. "But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting" (Micah 5:2).
This prophecy predicts that the Christ is to be born in Bethlehem. Since this is the first prophecy to be considered there are no previously set restrictions, so our question is: One man in how many, the world over, has been born in Bethlehem?
The best estimate which we can make of this comes from the attempt to find out the average population of Bethlehem, from Micah down to the present time, and divide it by the average population of the earth during the same period. One member of the class was an assistant in the library so he was assigned to get this information. He reported at the next meeting that the best determination of the ratio that he could determine was one to 280,000. Since the probable population of the earth has averaged less than two billion, the population of Bethlehem has averaged less than 7,150. Our answer may be expressed in the form that one man in 7,150/2,000,000,000 or one man in 2.8 x 105 was born in Bethlehem.
2. "Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me" (Mal. 3:1).
Our question here is: Of the men who have been born in Bethlehem, one man in how many has had a forerunner to prepare his way? John the Baptist, of course, was the forerunner of Christ. But since there appears to be no material difference between the people born in Bethlehem and those born any other place in the world, the question can just as well be general: One man in how many, the world over, has had a forerunner to prepare his way?
The students said that the prophecy apparently referred to a special messenger of God, whose one duty was to prepare the way for the work of Christ, so there is a further restriction added. The students finally agreed on one in 1,000 as being extremely conservative. Most of the members thought the estimate should be much larger. We will use the estimate as 1 in 103.
3. "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation: lowly, and riding upon ... a colt the foal of an ass" (Zech. 9:9).
Our question then is: One man in how many, who was born in Bethlehem and had a forerunner, did enter Jerusalem as a king riding on a colt the foal of an ass? This becomes so restrictive that we should consider an equivalent question: One man in how many, who has entered Jerusalem as a ruler,
has entered riding on a colt the foal of an ass?
The students said that this was a very hard thing to place an estimate on. They knew of no one but Christ who had so entered. The students thought that at least in more modern times any one entering Jerusalem as a king would use a more dignified means of transportation. They agreed to place an estimate of 1 in 104. We will use 1 in 102.
4. "And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends"(Zech. 13:6).
Christ was betrayed by Judas, one of His disciples, causing Him to be put to death, wounds being made in His hands.
There seems to be no relation between the fulfillment of this prophecy and those which we have previously considered. We may then ask the question: One man in how many, the world over, has been betrayed by a friend, and that betrayal has resulted in his being wounded in his hands?
The students said that it was very rare to be betrayed by a friend, and still rarer for the betrayal to involve wounding in the hands. One in 1.000 was finally agreed upon, though most of the students would have preferred a larger number. So we will use the 1 in 103.
5. "And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver" (Zech. 11:12).
The question here is very simple: Of the people who have been betrayed, one in how many has been betrayed for exactly thirty pieces of silver?
The students thought this would be extremely rare and set their estimate as one in 10,000, or 1 in 104. We will us 1 in 103.
6. "And the Lord said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prized at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the Lord" (Zech. 11:13).
This is extremely specific. All thirty pieces of silver are not to be returned. They are to be cast down in the house of the Lord, and they are to go to the potter. You will recall that Judas in remorse tried to return the thirty pieces of silver, cut the chief priest would not accept them. So Judas threw them down on the floor of the temple and went and hanged himself. The chief priest then took the money and bought a field of the potter to bury strangers in. Our question is: One man in how many, after receiving a bribe for the betrayal of a friend, had returned the money, had it refused, had thrown it on the floor in the house of the Lord, and then had it used to purchase a field from the potter?
The students said they doubted if there has ever been another incident involving all of these items, but they agreed on an estimate of one in 100,000. They were very sure that this was conservative. So we use the estimate as 1 in 105.
7. "He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth" (Isa. 53:7).
One man in how many, after fulfilling the above prophecies, when he is oppressed and afflicted and is on trial for his life, though innocent, will make no defense for himself?
Again my students said they did not know that this had ever happened in any case other than Christ's. At least it is extremely rare, so they placed their estimate as one in 10,000 or 1 in 104. We will use 1 in 103.
8. "For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet"(Ps. 22:16).
The Jews are still looking for the coming of Christ; in fact, He might have come any time after these prophecies were written up to the present time, or even on into the future. So our question is: One man in how many, from the time of David on, has been crucified?
After studying the methods of execution down through the ages and their frequency, the students agreed to estimate this probability at one in 10,000 or 1 in 104, which we will use.
If these estimates are considered fair, one man in how many men, the world over, will fulfill all eight prophecies? This question can be answered by applying our principles of probability. In other words, by multiplying all of our estimates together, or 1 in 2.8 x 105 x 103 x 102 x 103 x 105 x 103 x 104. This gives 1 in 2.8 x 1028, where 28 means that we have 28 ciphers following the 2.8. Let us simplify and reduce the number by calling it 1 in 1028. Written out this number is 1 in 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.
This is the answer to the question: One man in how many men has fulfilled these eight prophecies? But we are really concerned with the answer to the question: What is the chance that any man might have lived from the day of these prophecies down to the present time and have fulfilled all of the eight prophecies? We can answer this question by dividing our 1028 by the total number of people who have lived since the time of these prophecies. The best information available indicates the number to be about 88 billion or 8.8 x 1010.
To simplify the computation let us call the number 1011. By dividing these two numbers we find that the chance that any man might have lived down to the present time and fulfilled all eight prophecies is 1 in 1017.
Editor's note: It is probable that 88 billion or 8.8 x 1010 assumes a growth rate for the earth's population which is much too small - that most of the people who have ever lived are still alive today - suggesting that this number may be too large by a factor of ten. If so, this will affect the final result by the same factor of ten; ten times fewer total people who might have fulfilled these prophecies means only one tenth the chance that one of them might have done it by accident. Our number would become 1018 instead of 1017. The number used in this book is very conservative.
Let us try to visualize this chance. If you mark one of ten tickets, and place all of the tickets in a hat, and thoroughly stir them, and then ask a blindfolded man to draw one, his chance of getting the right ticket is one in ten. Suppose that we take 1017 silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They will cover all of the state two feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the state. Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as far s he wishes, but he must pick up one silver dollar and say that this is the right one. What chance would he have of getting the right one? Just the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing these eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man, from their day to the present time, providing they wrote using their own wisdom.
Now these prophecies were either given by inspiration of God or the prophets just wrote them as they thought they should be. In such a case the prophets had just one chance in 1017 of having them come true in any man, but they all came true in Christ.
This means that the fulfillment of these eight prophecies alone proves that God inspired the writing of those prophecies to a definiteness which lacks only one change in 1017 of being absolute.
Sometimes we weigh our chances in the business world, and
say if an investment has nine chances in ten of being profitable, and only one
chance in ten of being a failure, it is safe enough for us to make the
investment. Whoever heard of an investment that had only one chance in 1017 of
failure? The business world has no conception of such an investment. Yet we are
offered this investment by God. By the acceptance of Jesus Christ as our Savior
we know, from only these eight prophecies which lack only 1 chance in 1017 of
being an absolute proof, that that investment will yield the wonderful dividend
of eternal life with Christ. Can anyone be so unreasonable as to reject Jesus
Christ and pin his hope of eternal life on such a slim chance as finding the
right silver dollar among this great mass, covering the whole state of Texas
two feet deep? It does not seem possible, yet every man who rejects Christ is
doing just that.
More than three hundred prophecies from the Old Testament which deal with the first advent of Christ have been listed. Every one of them was completely fulfilled by Jesus Christ. Let us see what happens when we take more than eight prophecies.
Suppose we add eight more prophecies to our list, and assume that their chance of fulfillment is the same as the eight just considered. The chance that one man would fulfill all sixteen is 1 x 1028 x 1017 or 1 in 1045.
Let us try to visualize this as we did before. Take this number of silver dollars. If you make these into a solid ball, you will have a great sphere with a center at the earth, and extending in all directions more than 30 times as far as from the earth to the sun. (If a train had started from the earth at the time the Declaration of Independence was signed, and had traveled steadily toward the sun at the rate of sixty miles per hour, day and night, it would be about reaching its destination today. But remember that our ball of silver dollars extends thirty times that far in all directions.) If you can imagine the marking of one silver dollar, and then thoroughly stirring it into this great ball, and blindfolding a man and telling him to pick out one dollar, and expect it to be the marked one, you have somewhat of a picture of how absolutely the fulfillment of sixteen prophecies referring to Jesus Christ proves both that He is the Son of God and that our Bible is inspired. Certainly God directed the writing of His Word.
In order to extend this consideration beyond all bounds of human comprehension, let us consider forty-eight prophecies, similar in their human chance of fulfillment to the eight which we originally considered, using a much more conservative number, 1 in 1021. Applying the same principle of probability used so far, we find the chance that any one man fulfilled all forty-eight prophecies to be 1 in 10157.
This is really a large number and it represents an extremely small chance. Let us try to visualize it. The silver dollar, which we have been using, is entirely too large. We must select a smaller object. The electron is about as small an object as we know of. It is so small that it will take 2.5 x 1015 of them laid side by side to make a line, single file, one inch long. If we were going to count the electrons in this line one inch long, and counted 250 each minute, and if we counted day and night, it would take us 19,000,000 years to count just the one-inch line of electrons. If we had a cubic inch of these electrons and we tried to count them, it would take us 1.2 x 1038 years (2 x 1028 times the 6 billion years back to the creation of the solar system).
With this introduction, let us go back to our chance of 1 in 10157. Let us suppose that we are taking this number of electrons, marking one, and thoroughly stirring it into the whole mass, then blindfolding a man and letting him try to find the right one. What chance has he of finding the right one? What kind of a pile will this number of electrons make? They make an inconceivably large volume.
The distance from our system of stars, or galaxy, to the next nearest one is nearly 1,500,000 light-years; that is the distance that light will travel in 1,500,000 years going 186,000 miles each and every second. This distance is so great that if every man, woman and child in the United States, 200,000,000 of them, had a library of 65,000 volumes, and you collected every book in all of these libraries and them started on this journey of 1,500,000 light-years, and decided to place one letter from one of the books on each mile (e.g., if "the" was the first word in the first book you would put "t" on the first mile, "h" on the second mile, and "e" on the third mile; then leave a mile blank without a letter and start the next word in the same manner, etc.), before you complete your journey you will use up every letter in every book of every one of the libraries and have to call for more.
Space, by some authorities, is supposed to extend in all directions to the distance, not of 1,500,000 light-years. but more than 4,000 times that far or 6,000,000,000 light-years. Let us make a solid ball of electrons, extending in all directions from the earth to the distance of six billion light-years. Have we used up our 10157 electrons? No, we have made such a small hole in the mass that we cannot see it. We can make this solid ball of electrons, extending in all directions to the distance of six billion light-years 6 x 1028 times.
Suppose again that we had this great amount of electrons, 10157 of them, and we were able to make 500 of these tremendous balls, six billion light-years in radius, each minute. If we worked day and night it would take us 1010 times the 6 billion years back to creation to use up our supply of electrons. Now, one of these electrons was marked and thoroughly stirred into the whole mass; blindfold your man and ask him to find the marked electron.
No man could in any way look over this mass of electrons, blindfolded or not blindfolded, and pick out any one electron, let alone the one that had been marked. (The electron, in fact, is so small that it cannot be seen with powerful microscope.)
To the extent, then, that we know this blindfolded man cannot pick out the marked electron, we know that the Bible is inspired. This is not merely evidence. It is proof of the Bible's inspiration by God--proof so definite that the universe is not large enough to hold the evidence. Some will say that our estimates of the probability of the fulfillment of these prophecies are too large and the numbers should be reduced. Ask a man to submit his own estimates, and if they are smaller than these we have used, we shall add a few more prophecies to be evaluated and this same number will be reestablished or perhaps exceeded.
Our Bible students claim that there are more than three hundred prophecies dealing with Christ's first advent. If this number is correct, and it no doubt is, you could set your estimates ridiculously low on the whole three hundred prophecies and still obtain tremendous evidence of inspiration.
For example you may place all of your estimates at one in four. You may say that one man in four has been born in Bethlehem: that one of these children in four was taken to Egypt, to avoid slaughter; that one in four of these came back and made his home in Nazareth; that one in four of these was a carpenter; that one in four of these was betrayed for thirty pieces of silver; that one in four of these has been crucified on a cross; that one in four was then buried in a rich man's tomb; yes, even that one in four rose from the dead on the third day; and so on for all of the three hundred prophecies and from them I will build a number much larger than the one we obtained from the forty-eight prophecies.
Any man who rejects Christ as the Son of God is rejecting a fact proved perhaps more absolutely than any other fact in the world.
THREE CHAPTERS have been submitted, each giving a different type of evidence of the authenticity of the Bible. Chapter 1 dealt primarily with Genesis 1, and showed how recent developments in science prove that the account of God's formation of this universe is accurate, and that some of this evidence has come about by development in science within the last few years. Chapter 2 dealt with the fulfillment of geographical prophecies, and used some events which have happened in recent years to complete the fulfillment of many of the prophecies quoted. The evidence in this chapter depends on historic facts, or recent occurrences, the truth of which no man doubts whether he be Christian or non-Christian. Chapter 3 dealt with the fulfillment of prophecies regarding Jesus Christ, the fulfillment of which is recorded in the Bible and to a great extent in profane history. We even date all events today from the birth of Christ (A.D.)
In each chapter the definiteness of the evidence has been stated as a probability. If you wish to know the definiteness for the evidence in the three chapters combined, you will have to multiply all of the individual probabilities together. The result is an astonishingly large number, 1 in 1.5 x 10239 representing evidence so overwhelming that no human mind can make any start at comprehending the definiteness of it.
We have not by any means exhausted the evidence in the Bible. We have only briefly introduced the scientific evidence, there being many references through-out the Bible which give accurate scientific information, written thousands of years before science knew anything about it. We have dealt with only a few of the prophecies regarding geographical places. Many times the number which we have considered could be cited. The studies could all be greatly enlarged, and our numbers representing probabilities could all be tremendously expanded. Neither have we exhausted the types of evidence available. Other chapters could be written dealing with such items as prophecies regarding the Jewish people; the present fulfillment of prophecies heralding Christ's return; evidence of the historical accuracy of the Bible as revealed by archaeological expeditions; changes wrought in the lives of men who were deep in sin, and have accepted Christ as their Savior, and indeed have become new men. When these probabilities were evaluated, they would all have to be multiplied by the probabilities already developed. So the evidence mounts and mounts until we believe it must be accepted by every man who gives it serious consideration.
We have shown that by very recent developments of science Genesis 1 agrees perfectly with all of the sciences concerned. There does not appear to be a contradiction of any magnitude still remaining. There is, however, this extremely strong argument, or proof, for the Bible's truth.
We have shown that prophecies made in various places in the Old Testament have been fulfilled in recent times, often thousands of years after their writing, with such exactness that we must believe that the prophecies were given by God Himself. No human being has ever made predictions which hold any comparison to those we have considered, and had them accurately come true. The span of time between the writing of these prophecies and their fulfillment is so great that the most severe critic cannot claim that the predictions were made after the events happened.
With the prophetic accuracy of the Old Testament established, we have studied its prophecies with respect to Christ and found that Jesus Christ fulfilled every one of them to the last minute detail. We have shown numerical evidence that this fulfillment proved Jesus Christ to be the Son of God, the promised Savior.
We do not believe that the strength of the argument has been overdrawn in any case, but that in most cases it has been understated. We consider, therefore, that we have produced not only evidence of the inspiration of the Bible but proof of its inspiration.
Since the Bible is true, as we have proved it to be, the Christian must take his Bible seriously. It is the guide to the Christian for his daily conduct, and tells of his responsibility to God and his fellowmen. He should follow its teachings.
God teaches us most emphatically that we have a responsibility to win men to Him. As Christ was going from the Last Supper, over the brook Kidron and up to the Garden of Gethsemane, He was praying, and said: "As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I sent them into the world" (John 17:18). Just as the salvation of mankind depends on the finished work of Jesus Christ, so the salvation of the world depends on the Christian carrying the gospel to it. If Christ had failed, there would be no salvation. If we fail to carry the message of salvation to the world, it will have no salvation.
On the evening of the day of His resurrection, Christ met His disciples and said: "Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. ... Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they re retained" (John 20:21,23). Christ is telling His disciples that if they go out and win a man he is saved, and if they do not win that man he will be lost. The responsibility for the salvation of the men and women around us lies on our shoulders.
Again, shortly before His ascension, Christ said to His disciples: "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world" (Matt. 28 18-20). Christ, in this last command to the disciples, strengthens His two earlier statements, telling them again to go, but also telling them that He has all power and that He will go with them. Why should a missionary fear to go to the foreign field when Christ, with all power, is going along? That is much better than if he were accompanied by all the fleets of the world. Why should any man hesitate or fear to speak to his companion, friend or neighbor when Christ goes with him?
Thus Christ's instruction to win men to him was given three times--just before He was taken from His disciples to be crucified; at His first meeting with them after His resurrection; and again just before His ascension. The last instructions you give a friend before leaving, and the first things you tell him when you return are always the things which are uppermost in your mind and of the greatest importance. Likewise, the things which Christ told His disciples just before His death, the first thing after His resurrection and the last thing before His ascension must have been the items of greatest importance to Him. Especially is this true since on these three occasions He gave His disciples the same message. Their job was to win men. Can we not then, as Christians and as the church of Christ, realize that this above all other things is what Christ desires of us? If your church and my church are to be the kind of churches that Christ intended, we must make it our first job to win people to Christ.
Paul takes up the same theme in II Corinthians 5: 18-20:
And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.
Notice that God reconciled us to Himself and gave to us the ministry of reconciliation. These both occur in the same verse, in the same sentence. We do not have to choose, we do not have the right to choose. God have us this ministry in the same hour that we accepted Him. We are ambassadors for Christ. What an honor that is! It would be an honor to be an ambassador of the United States to some foreign country, but it is an infinitely greater honor to be an ambassador of Jesus Christ. We should not be embarrassed when we speak to a man about Christ. We should feel highly honored to have the opportunity of representing our Lord and Savior. An ambassador must deliver messages from his home country to the country to which he is an ambassador. He should interpret those messages, but he dare not change them. How unfaithful an ambassador would a man be considered, if he received a communication from his home country to be delivered to some official in the country where he had his ambassadorship, and them was too busy with the business or social affairs of that country to deliver it until later! How unfaithful then must God consider us when we have a message from heaven to be delivered to a lost man here on earth, and we say that we are too busy with things of this world and put it off! Our first job must be to fulfill our ambassadorship to God; things of this world must come later.
Paul also tells us that when we speak to a man about Christ, we are doing it in Christ's stead. Christ wishes to speak to this man about his salvation, but He asks us to do it for Him. We ought then to go to that man with all the love with which Christ would have gone, love enough to die for him. We should not give up if the message is rejected the first time; we should pray for him, and go again and again. (Christ prayed all night.) We should yearn to win this one to Christ. (Christ wept over lost men.)
Paul gives us another picture of our duty to Christ in II Corinthians 3:2-3: "Ye are our epistles written in our hearts, known and read of all men: forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart."
We are the epistles of Christ known and read of all men. We could give a man one of the epistles written by Paul, and he might read it and lay it aside. He might tire of it very quickly. But the Christian is read of all men, continuously and untiringly. The majority of all the people of the world know Christ, not through the Bible, but by reading the Christian as his epistle. You never heard of a man tiring of reading a Christian. He may not like the story written by a certain man's life but he continues to read it--to read his life, his every act and word. How it behooves us as Christians to live lives that will show Christ in His true light, to say and to do things which will make others want to accept Christ as their savior!
As a boy, I knew a man in our neighborhood who always held some office in the church, but the men in the neighborhood said that B------- P------- did not live a Christian life. They said he smoked, occasionally got mad and swore, and they thought he went to town and got drunk. I do not know if any of these things were true. I do know, however, that large numbers of the young men in that vicinity said they would never go to church as long as B------ P------ was a member. Yes, he was an epistle of Christ; he was read untiringly by all who knew him, but the epistle did not tell a story of the redeeming grace of Jesus Christ. It turned people away from Christ instead of drawing them to Him. B------ P------ had a mother, a saint whom everybody loved. She fell and broke her hip and was confined to bed for the rest of her life. During this time the church was unable to support a pastor. Everyone loved Grandma P------ and many called on her regularly, Christian and non-Christian alike. For those three years she made it her habit to give her testimony to everyone who called on her; to read to them from her Bible and pray with them. They went away feeling that they had been close to God. Thus for those three years, Grandma P------- kept up the religious life of a whole community and kept the church alive. Perhaps that church did have a pastor. Yes, Grandma P------ was also an epistle of Christ, and what a glorious message everyone read in her life! What a powerful message a saint of God gives through his life and testimony! I would that the church were full of them.
Since we know that the Bible is God's message to man, every man will be wise to take note of its teachings. When it gives a definite plan of salvation, all men must recognize it and not try to make one of their own and pin their hopes of eternal life to it.
John 5:24 gives us the plan of salvation in a very positive simple way: "Verily, verily, I say unto you He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life." Over and over again the plan of salvation is given, and always it is the same--faith in Jesus Christ. We are not saved because of the righteous life that we live or the good that we do. Ephesians 2:8-9 reads: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast."
This seems to be a hard teaching to many. They say that God is a God of love, and as such they do not believe that God will condemn a man to hell if he is a good man and honest. There is one of two places where we may spend the future eternity: one is heaven and the other hell. Christ is preparing a place for us, wishing us to be with him in heaven. Hell was created for the devil and his angels. If a man accepts Christ he will spend eternity with Him in heaven. If he rejects Christ and thus associates himself with Satan, he will certainly share Satan's future abode in hell.
No, do not accuse God of condemning men to hell, after He has sent Christ into the world and has shown His great love for men by giving Christ to die on the cross for their sins. If you must accuse someone, accuse your pastor; perhaps he has not done all that he could to reach those that are lost. Accuse me, for I know that I have not done all I could. Should you not face the problem honestly and say that you, by your own will, accept Christ and heaven or condemn yourself to hell by rejecting Him? "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life" (Rom. 6:23).
But you say you are talking about the moral man. Certainly hell cannot be his wages; he has done nothing to deserve it. Let us try to think this thing through. In the sight of our own laws, the man deserving the greatest punishment is the one who has broken the greatest law. Should not the same be true with God? The man who breaks His greatest commandment is the worst sinner.
A man once came to Jesus and asked the question: "Master, which is the great commandment in the law?" Jesus answered: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind" (Matt. 22:36-37). Does the moral man who rejects God, love God with all his heart, mind and soul? Certainly not. Then he has broken the greatest law of God and stands before God as the greatest sinner of all. God's reaction to this man is given in John 3:17-18: "For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." The moral man is not condemned because of any immoral act, any crime or vice that he is guilty of, but because he has not believed on Christ and has broken the greatest commandment.
Let me tell you a story which has greatly helped me to see this thing clearly. On the night before I left to do graduate work in the University of California, my father and mother and I were sitting around a table reading. My father found an item which he read aloud. As near as I can remember, it was this: Four years earlier in a different part of the country there was another family whose son was ready to go to college; but there was no money available for a college education. The father and mother talked the matter over and said, "Our son has been a very good boy. He has always done well in school and he should have a good education, but how can we send him to college?" They decided that there was only one possible way and that was to sell half of the farm and raise the money. This they did and sent the son to college. The son was a brilliant student, and the college was extremely well pleased with his work. At the end of four years, he completed his course and was ready to graduate with the highest honors, and the highest academic record ever made in that college. The father and mother again held a conference, and felt that it did not seem right for the son to b e graduating so far from home without at least one of his parents with him. They sold part of the remaining stock and raised enough money so that a railway ticket was bought for the father to be with his son. But there was not enough money for a new suit of clothes. The father arrived on the campus and, seeing his son with a group of students, rushed up to him and greeted him. The son stared back coldly and said, "No, there is some mistake here. You are not my father, I do not know you."
When my father finished reading, he turned to me and said "Peter, is that what you are going to do when you finish college?" I can never forget that story. But what do you think of that young man? He certainly stooped the lowest that it is possible for a son to stoop in his relation to his father. It would have been better for him to have stolen the money for his education, or to have done anything except to take all that his parents could give, through great sacrifice, and then disown them. What must that father do, if he is a just father? Can he say to that son, "Well, son, that is all right. I will continue to send you your monthly check and the estate will be yours as it always has been"? No, that father must say to the son, "Son, as long as you disown me, I must disown you, but I will ever be looking forward to your coming back and again owning me as your father. Then I will be glad to own you as my son."
As the years have passed, this story has taken on a very different meaning for me. In the place of the son, I see the moral man, the man who has not broken a single law of the land. He has no bad habits, his morals are above reproach, he is looked up to by all of his associates. Then I look at the non-christian country and see its lack of morals, its impossible code of ethics, the treatment of the wives and children, and I realize that my moral man obtained his morality, his code of ethics, his uprightness, his courtesy to the members of his family and his honesty, from Christianity, or from Christ and God. Then I see the non-christian moral man looking up into the face of God and saying. "This is my code of ethics: this is my own standard of morality; this is my own standard of treatment of my family; it is my own standard of honesty in my business dealings. You have had nothing to do with my life. I will have nothing to do with Christ as my Savior or You as my God." I marvel that God does not answer with fire from heaven and devour that man. Certainly God cannot take him to heaven to dwell with Him eternally. Satan himself has not done worse.
If you are this nonchristian man or woman may I entreat you to accept Christ as your personal savior now? Confess to Him your sin of rejection, recognize Him as your Creator, your God. See Christ upon the cross as a sacrifice for your own sin. See in that sacrifice the great love of God, who gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. See the love of Christ when He refused to come down from the cross but said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."
You must either accept Christ as your personal savior or reject Him. There is no middle ground. You are either saved, with your name written down in heaven where you will spend eternity, or you are lost and will spend eternity in hell with Satan and all that is evil.
When the children of Israel strayed from God and began to worship idols, Joshua went out before then and said:
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve ... but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the Lord, to serve other gods; for the Lord our God, he it is that brought us up and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and which did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way wherein we went, and among all the people through whom we passed.
Will you not say with Joshua: "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord"?
consider the two following statements as contracts between yourself and God. One of these contracts is in effect as you finish reading this book. Which one do you now choose?
1. I believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and accept Him as my personal Savior. By this act my sins are all blotted out and I become a son of God, a joint-heir with Jesus Christ. I now have eternal life and shall spend eternity in heaven with Christ.
How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation? - Hebrews 2:3
2. I will not accept Jesus Christ as my savior. I realize that this is the greatest sin against God that any man can commit and in so doing I affiliate myself with Satan. I shall live a life in sin against God, and for this decision I shall spend eternity in hell with Satan.
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord - Romans 6:23
If you have not signed number 1, do not deceive yourself. You must choose this very moment. Look again at number 2, for in the sight of God your name is signed there, even in the rejected blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. It is dated this very moment.
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved - Acts 16:31.
Editor's Note: Science Speaks was originally published in 1944, by Moody Press, under the title, From Science to Souls. The original edition contains the following explanation of how the book came to be written:
By Peter W. Stoner
More than 25 years ago (that is, more than twenty-five years before 1944 - Ed.), there were Chinese government students in the University of California at Berkeley. Twelve of these students went to Dr. McAfee, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, and asked that they be given a special Sunday school class so that they might obtain information about the Christian religion. These students were sent to this country to become engineers, doctors, etc., and to take this training back to China for the improvement of their country. They said that they considered that the religion of any country had much to do with its development, so they wished to learn what our religion was in order to interpret its effect on our culture.
Dr. McAfee came to me and asked me to take the class. I did not realize what was involved until I had started the work. Then I realized that they had no foundation whatsoever in our religion, nor had they any faith in our God or Jesus Christ.
After much prayer, I felt led to start the study of the Bible from its scientific connections, later to take enough prophecy to show the Bible's accuracy, and finally, to present Christ.
We spent the first winter studying the Bible's relation to science. The students took references to the University library and reported on them as faithfully as they would have, had it been a university course.
When We had Completed the scientific part of the plan, the whole group went to the pastor and told him that they were convinced that our religion was the true religion, for no other religion had such proof of its having God as its author. They all accepted Christ as their Savior and joined the Church.
I have carefully followed the development of science and its relation to the Bible in the years since that time. Today, developments of science have greatly increased the evidence of the inspiration of the Bible. I have attempted to set forth this evidence.
The references given in this chapter are only those that happen to be on my desk or the most easily accessible to me. The reader can find equivalent material in a very great number of different books. These or corresponding references should certainly be read in order to obtain a satisfactory understanding of the subject under consideration.
In Part III of Chapter One (in From Science to Souls but not in Science Speaks) we examine a few of the theories given by the Church long ago, and which are still in general use. These have tended to open the door to the destruction of the faith of our young people, when they have learned that scientific facts drastically disagree with their earlier teaching in the Church.
It should be clearly understood that Chapter One deals with the correlation between Genesis and science, as science stands today (1944). Tomorrow science may discover new facts and this chapter may need revision. Every development of science in recent years has shown more clearly the truth of the Bible. We may be confident that future developments in science will only add to the evidence here produced.
Editor's Note: At the time of the writing of this preface, the universe was believed to be about 2,000,000,000 years old. In later editions of Science Speaks, this measurement was corrected upwards as measurements improved. Present estimates are typically in excess of 10,000,000,000 years and sometimes as high as 20,000,000,000 years.
By Peter W. Stoner
Let us consider the explanation which places all of the geological ages between the first and second verses, declares that the earth was created perfect and was wrecked by the casting of Satan down to earth, and claims that the days of Genesis involved only the reformation of the earth and the recreation of the life upon it in days 24 hours long, covering a total length of time of one week.
I think God did create the earth perfect, but perfect for His own immediate purpose, not necessarily perfect in the meaning which I would attach to the word. No two of us would likely agree as to what a perfect earth would be. Let us be careful in our interpretations. Not so long ago men were persecuted because they announced that the orbits of the planets were elliptical instead of circular. People then thought that the circle was the perfect curve and therefore God created the planets to move in perfect circles. Today we know that the planets all move in elliptical orbits and we also recognize the ellipse is just as perfect a curve as the circle. Let us be careful about reading into the Bible something that is not there, but which we think ought to be there. Our thoughts are not God's thoughts. We are extremely likely to be wrong. Our Bible does not say that God created the earth perfect. Therefore, we dare not teach children so.
What do we know about an early destruction of the earth by the fall of Satan? Nothing. That is also read into the biblical account. The only effect on this earth caused by the casting of Satan out of heaven seems to be still future. (See Rev. 12:7-12 and Rev. 20:1-3.) These will certainly occur in the Great Tribulation period. Other references which are usually cited are Jer. 4:23-26; Isa. 24:1,5,21-23; Isa. 45:18; Ezek. 28:11-19 and Isa.14:1,4,9-17. A careful study of all of these passages will show that they have nothing to say about a prehistoric time but refer to the Revelation passage, the casting of Satan out of heaven during the Great Tribulation period or to judgments against Jerusalem. In fact, we are clearly taught that Satan still has access to heaven and is our accuser there.
Yes, there is one passage which is not as clear as the others, that is Luke 10:17,18. Here, after the disciples report that the devils are subject to them, Christ says that he saw Satan fall from heaven like a star. The past tense is used, but so is the past tense used in many of the prophecies throughout the Bible. (In Isaiah 53 you will find several prophecies referring to Christ. Some of these are in the future tense, some in the present but most of them are in the past tense. This passage alone quite conclusively shows that the tense used in prophecies does not necessarily indicate the time when the event will happen or whether it has happened in the past. The number of such prophecies is great but I will mention two more: Ps. 22:18 fulfilled in John 19:23,24; Ps. 34:20 fulfilled in John 19:32-36.) I think this is most likely prophetic, referring to the same event recorded in Revelation. We are told that Satan lost his position as the covering cherub, but we are not told that he was cast down to the earth or that anything on the earth was destroyed at that time.
I shall not further pursue this evidence, for in reality it has little to do with the subject at hand. Even if the earth had been wrecked by the fall of Satan between the first and second verses, there is an abundance of scientific evidence which shows that it could have no relation to the Genesis account.
For sake of argument, let us ignore the evidence just cited and see what happens if we place the geological ages between the first two verses. Verse 2 says that the earth was without form, void and dark. Translate it became if you prefer. In either case, it perfectly describes a dark nebula: the physical condition of a nebula is that it contains no particle larger than the smallest particle of dust and its main composition is separate atoms with many electrons stripped off. Now suppose the geological layers were laid down between these two verses and then the earth was reduced to isolated atoms and reassembled again, would there be any fossils remaining? Not the slightest trace of one. No, according to this translation, the geological ages can not be placed between the first and second verses. Everything on this earth, in rock layers, fossils or anything else, happened after the second verse. Again, suppose that the second verse is changed in its translation so that it does not mean a separation of particles as described above. Let us see what is involved.
This explanation of Genesis is always given to make the Days of Genesis 24-hour days. This then places all of the acts of God, described after the second verse as happening in recent times, approximately, say, in the last 6,000 years, certainly in the last geological period. This introduces several insurmountable difficulties.
1. This would make light first to appear on this planet 6000 years ago. We could not convince any geologist that light first appeared either 6,000 years ago or 60,000,000 years ago. This explanation would make the verses 3 to 5 definitely contradict known facts of science.
2. Verses 6 and 7 would tell us that the earth was completely covered with clouds and there were no oceans until 6,000 years ago. Again, this dramatically contradicts known information of science, as the covering of the earth solidly with clouds pre-dates nearly all geological eras and periods of time.
3. Verse 9 describes the earth as being completely covered with water, and according to this theory no continent rose from the water before some 6,000 years ago. Any geologist can produce definite evidence that it was hundreds of millions of years ago when our continents were formed. So this explanation becomes absurd. Geology has very reliable means of setting approximate dates for many of its periods, best of which is the rate of change of Uranium to lead. This rate cannot be altered by any known means; the percentage of Uranium that changes to lead in a century is well known. In any layer where Uranium is found, the per cent which has changed to lead gives an authentic date to that deposit.
4. Verses 14-18 would, according to this explanation, tell us that the sun never shone thwough the heavy clouds until 6,000 years ago. This is quite as false as any of the other results above mentioned. (Note: the 6,000 years above mentioned is the time usually taught. Any other comparable age would give the same difficulty.)
I trust I have made it clear that this attempt to explain the first chapter of Genesis contradicts science at many points. These may easily be verified by referring to any available historical geology. We cannot hope to teach our young people this theory and then expect that their faith will not be shaken when they study science.
We accuse the colleges of destroying the faith of our young people. It is often true, but too often it is true because we have given our young people false teachings which are sure to lead them into dangers. Let us make sure that what we teach our children is true to the best information obtainable both from science and from the Bible, then we will not have them slipping away from the faith.
The canopy theory, as often thought [taught? -Ed], would place spherical shells of various kinds of material around the earth, then have the shells, one after the other, break down and fall upon the earth, forming different layers of the earth, and the breaking down of the ice layer cause the flood and the ice age.
So far as I know this theory was never accepted by science. I have not been able to find it or any reference to it, in any science text or encyclopedia. Generations ago it was known to be contrary to the laws of force which act throuout the physical universe. The rings of Saturn have supplied a field for research which has a definite relation to the canopy theory. As early as 1750 the principles involved in a canopy over the earth were quite well understood and by 1850, such a canopy was well known to be impossible. (See Young's General Astronomy, pp. 390-395, for a brief discussion of these principles.) I can think of nothing more dangerous than to try to teach such a theory to our younger generation.
May Bible students become more scientific and scientists become better Bible students; then we will be able to overcome the wrecking of the faith of our young people in the colleges.
Critics of my grandfather's book have suggested many possible errors. Among these, that the estimates may be too high, or that the events are statistically connected - so that fulfilling one prophecy will virtually guarantee fulfillment of another. Although my grandfather repeatedly invited critics to supply their own estimates and see what happens, I have found that most critics are content to skip the exercise; so, I have included this chapter as an example of what sort of numbers a person playing the devil's advocate might obtain. Every attempt has been made to keep these estimates conservative beyond any reasonable challenge:
1. "But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting" (Micah 5:2).
This prophecy predicts that the Christ will come out of Bethlehem. In Micah 5:3 we learn that Bethlehem is also to be his place of birth. This greatly limits the total number of candidates which could possibly be the Messiah to those who came from Bethlehem. In this passage (particularly Micah 5:4) we also see that the Christ must be male.
The present population of Bethlehem is about 20,000, but the average population of the ancient city stayed well under 10,000. If we assume a very high birth rate of 40 / year / 1000 population (modern Africa averages 41, Asia 24, Europe 11), this means less than 400 individuals per year would have been born in Bethlehem. Because about half of these would be female, this further restricts the total number of possible Messiah candidates to less than 200 individuals per year.
2. "Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Messiah, the Prince, (Anointed One, the ruler) comes, there will be seven `sevens', and sixty-two 'sevens.'" Daniel 9:25
In addition to where the Messiah will come from, we are also told when he will come. This will further restrict the candidates from which we can draw.
The clock started in 445 B.C. when Artaxerxes Longimanus issued the decree to "restore and rebuild Jerusalem". From that time we are told to count off 49 (7x7) and 434 (62x7) periods (understood as years in other similar Biblical passages). This puts the Messiah at about 483 years after 445 B.C. or at about A.D. 39 (there being no zero year). Because different calendars were used by different ancient people, the length of these "years" might have been as short as 360 days (very likely the length of the calendar Daniel used in Babylon) or as long as 365.25 days. If the shorter year is assumed, the 483-year span is reduced by 360/365.25 to about 476 years - 7 years less or about A.D. 31 (coincident with the final part of Jesus' ministry - when "his hour had come").
There are many different ways we might understand "when" the Messiah "comes." These might include, when he is born, when he assumes power, or when he is "cut off" (e.g. Daniel 9:26). If we assume the Messiah lives 100 years, in addition to the 7 year uncertainty in our date, we have a 107 year window beginning in 69 B.C. and extending until A.D. 39 for the birth of the Messiah. Taken together with the place of birth, this reduces the number of candidate Messiahs to less than 107 x 200 or less than 21400.
If we allow that there might have been as many as about 25,000 men who could potentially have been considered the Messiah, we are being sufficiently generous that we probably will not be challenged. King Herod, in Matthew 2:16, appears to have felt he had a much tighter window (2 years) than we have assumed here. (Of course, Herod had additional information which we cannot use here.)
3. "Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me" (Mal. 3:1).
This prophecy evidently refers to a special messenger of God, whose one duty was to prepare the way for the work of Christ, so there is a further restriction added. Our question here is: Of the men who have been born in Bethlehem during the allowed window, one man in how many has had a forerunner to prepare his way? John the Baptist, of course, was the forerunner of Jesus, but for how many of the other 25,000 might we have allowed that the prophecy had been adequately fulfilled? This was a time of unrest for Israel and various false prophets of one kind or another were fairly common. Most, of course, were proclaiming themselves. Were there as many as a hundred prophets proclaiming someone other than themselves? A thousand? Of these, how many were featuring a Messiah from Bethlehem?
Let's assume there were 1250 prophets (about one a month) all featuring a Messiah, from Bethlehem, other than themselves. (Assuming one in every 20 candidates had a prophet to "prepare the way".) Surely we are being sufficiently generous. This brings our candidates down to 1250 - one a month from Bethlehem, and with a forerunner.
4. "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation: lowly, and riding upon ... a colt the foal of an ass" (Zech. 9:9).
Our question then is: One man in how many, who was born in Bethlehem and had a forerunner, did enter Jerusalem as a king being lowly and riding on a colt the foal of an ass? If we assume that a plot is afoot to imitate the Messiah for profit or other gain, we might expect the perpetrators to deliberately set this one up. Unlike the "messenger" above, this one requires no lengthy advance planning. And perhaps even a seeker of wealth and power could act lowly long enough to pull this one off.
5. "And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends"(Zech. 13:6).
5b. "For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet"(Ps. 22:16).
Christ was betrayed by Judas, one of His disciples, causing Him to be put to death, puncture wounds being made in His hands and feet. Betrayal is, by definition, not an element subject to advance planning. Neither is crucifixion something one would deliberately want to include in one's plans. Still, crucifixion was the standard method of execution at this time and betrayal was not too unusual.
Let's assume one man in 10 of those in high profile roles got betrayed and crucified. Now our number of candidates is down to 125. (All from Bethlehem, all with forerunners, and all betrayed and crucified within the critical century.) If this sounds less than generous, remember that the population of Bethlehem is less than 10,000 and we are assuming a crucifixion rate totaling more than 2% of its male population within 107 years (ignoring any additional crucifixions of those not having forerunners - presumably a much greater number).
6. "And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver" (Zech. 11:12).
The question here is: Of the people who have been betrayed, one in how many has been betrayed for exactly thirty pieces of silver? Remembering that betrayal is not a planned element, this must be left to chance alone. If planning is involved, we must consider the likelihood that the religious leaders of the day might wish to avoid prophesied quantities, such as "30 pieces of silver," in their payoffs.
What motivation causes one friend to betray another? A small amount of money? Not likely. We might expect either a larger amount or different motivation entirely. Perhaps the chances are as good as one in fifty of exactly matching the amount; they are certainly not as good as one chance in 10.
If we assume one in ten, the number of viable candidates are now down to less than 13.
7. "And the Lord said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prized at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the Lord" (Zech. 11:13).
This is extremely specific. All thirty pieces of silver are not to be either kept or returned. They are to be cast down in the house of the Lord, and they are to go to the potter. You will recall that Judas in remorse tried to return the thirty pieces of silver, but the chief priest would not accept them. So Judas threw them down on the floor of the temple and went and hanged himself. The chief priest then took the money and bought a field of the potter to bury strangers in.
Our question is: One man in how many, after receiving a bribe for the betrayal of a friend, would return the money, have it refused, throw it on the floor in the house of the Lord, and then have it used to purchase a field from the potter? This is also outside of the control of conspirators.
Money is valuable. Most who accept it keep it. Those few who attempt to return it are likely to find willing help. This has to be a one in a hundred shot from the beginning, without including the "temple" and "potter" elements.
Furthermore, if we are allowing for conspiracy, we must remember that the others involved in this drama have their own goals. If the Messiah knows to line up a donkey, we should expect the Jewish priests be motivated to avoid destinations like a "potter" as determinedly as amounts like "thirty." These elements must be considered chance at best. A one in a thousand shot for this prophecy must be considered conservative.
If 13 candidates are each subjected to a one in a thousand chance, there is less than one chance in 75 than even one of them will succeed.
8. "He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth" (Isa. 53:7).
One man in how many, after fulfilling the above prophecies, when he is oppressed and afflicted and is on trial for his life, though innocent, will make no defense for himself? It is difficult to imagine why anyone would do this. Any conspiracy theory has to end here - there is nothing left to gain and a great deal to loose. One in a hundred is probably generous. Perhaps a candidate who was mute would fulfill this prophecy; we should not expect it of one who was able to speak. We will assume one in a hundred.
This brings the chances against a candidate fulfilling these prophecies down to less than one in 7500.
9. "They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing." Psalm 22:18
Dividing of garments between attending Roman soldiers was normal at crucifixions, but casting lots was not. We know from John 19:23,24 the reason why this exception was made; one garment was seamless so they decided to cast lots for it instead of tear it. What are the odds against this exception? This seems to have been a rare event since the soldiers had to discuss how to deal with it. Surely it would be conservative to assign a probability of one in twenty-five.
This brings the chances down to one in 187,500.
10. "He was assigned a grave with the wicked and with the rich in his death." Isaiah 53:9
The fact that he was crucified probably takes care of the first half of this prophecy. But how many are buried with the rich? In Matthew 27:57 we find a rich man named Joseph getting the body of Jesus from Pilate and placing it in his own tomb. What odds do we assume here? One in ten? One in six?
If we say one in six, our chances drop to less than one in a million of any man fulfilling these 10 prophecies.
If the odds of the Biblical authors of making these predictions, without divine aid, are as "good" as one in a million, we must still conclude that it was sufficiently improbable as to be unreasonable to assume. We must still conclude the presence of divine inspiration.
At this point in time, Science Speaks is more likely to be weighed for its historical significance than its usefulness as an evangelical tool. "silver Dollars" are now collector's items rather than what a person might carry in their pockets, and formal hermeneutics have become increasingly complex, during the century since these arguments were constructed. In particular, the internet, by its magnitude alone, has made it difficult to do a thorough job of addressing "all" objections which a critical person might raise. e.g.: This page Here.
As the number of motivated and creative critics increases, it becomes the responsibility of the apologist to evaluate the number of possible ways each prophetic statement might (in theory) be interpreted. For example, in the the Wikipedia page (linked above), the complexity of nailing down the exact size and location of the ancient (and completely removed) original city of Tyre becomes a difficult issue (particularly on an increasingly built-up Mediterranean waterfront).
As the complexity of interpreting the passage increases the number of ways it might have been fulfilled, the numerator of each probability-term increases with it. This numerator was usually presumed to be "1" in my Grandfather's book (as in my "Challenge" above), but this is no longer a satisfactory assumption. The job of answering every critic with a computer is, at best, a full time job. As the numerators increase, their product also increases greatly.
Those of us who attempt to use century-old arguments to defend the Gospel, must understand that we have a hundred years worth of raised objections which must now be addressed. See Here for some different strategies.