As our investigation of code phenomena has expanded and deepened, every one of the stock opinions of most code skeptics, as well as those of most code proponents, has been contradicted by new evidence. It shouldn’t be surprising that reality can stubbornly disagree with preconceptions, yet it is often true.
The saga of Bible codes has been characterized by attempts to rush to judgment. To advance above this primitive state, we must bravely confront and listen to the realities of hard data—impartially gathered and analyzed.
The articles in this issue support various findings that are upsetting to both code critics and proponents. Here are some of those findings:
- Longer ELSs in grammatically reasonable Hebrew can be found in books other than the Bible.
- The rate at which such longer ELSs appear in non-Biblical texts is dramatically less than in the Bible. Consequently, there is strong support for the claim that real Bible codes do exist in abundance.
- The primary claim of code critics that “codes can be found in any book” is a primitive assertion that greatly over-simplifies and distorts the real situation. Much more relevant would be the question, “Is the discovery rate of longer ELSs in the Bible decidedly greater than that from a control text?”
- Any long ELS in the Bible could be a coincidence, or it could be partly intentional and partly coincidence. The longer it is, the less likely it is to be coincidental. For example, an ELS from our Ezekiel 37 cluster that is 25 to 31 letters long is about 70% likely to be intentional. If it is 39 to 45 letters-long, it is about 95.5% likely to be intentional; if 45 to 59 letters-long, 99%; and if 60 or more letters-long, it is 99.8% likely to be intentional.
- To date there is no reliable way of objectively distinguishing among these alternatives, although subjective reviews may indicate that a particular ELS is unusually “appropriate” or “descriptively accurate.”
- Because of the many uncertainties inherent in the message of any single ELS, Bible codes cannot reliably be used to make predictions or to attempt to support doctrinal positions or opinions. Furthermore, even if we could be certain a code is real, we do not know for certain who is speaking, and the source could be an untruthful one.
It is only natural to ask why a superior intelligence would intentionally encode messages underneath a sacred text when those messages are unreliable. A plausible answer is that the intelligence sought to provide implicit evidence within the text of its authenticity as its composition, while at the same time discouraging human attempts to derive new truths or predictions from encoded messages. This suggests an intent to emphasize the importance of the content of the literal text (as opposed to the content of any encoded messages).
Perhaps the only real purpose of codes is analogous to that of the embedded strip in new $20 bills. It adds nothing but proof that the bill is the real thing. Alternatively, encoded material could merely be a by-product of a super-human intelligence for which the mere task of producing a literal text without such supplemental content would be too mundane.
A True Head-to-Head Comparison|
The great rallying cry of the Bible code skeptics has always been, “You can find codes like this is any book.” When they were talking about Drosnin’s examples, these skeptics were dead right. But what about such an assertion regarding the extensive clusters presented on our web site? And what about clusters of intermediate complexity? Where should the line be drawn?
With our Isaiah 53 cluster vs. Hanukah cluster in War and Peace study we compared the extensive cluster about the last days of Christ with the Hanukah codes in War and Peace to show that while it may be possible to find codes like the ones presented by Drosnin in his two books, the skeptic’s counter-example does nothing to call into question the reality of many of the codes in clusters like those in Isaiah 53 (as well as Ezekiel 37).
While Drosnin did much to introduce the public to Bible codes, he simultaneously did code researchers a great disservice by giving skeptics an entire book of trivial examples that skeptics could easily discredit.
Although code research has come a long way since his first book in 1997, there has been a lingering question mark over the whole phenomenon because of skeptical opinions that continue to appear on the internet even though they are long out of date.
So while code research has moved on dramatically, it is also fighting a rear guard action against these old, outdated statements from critics of the codes. It is a rare week when we don’t get at least one e-mail asking us about the codes in Moby Dick or War and Peace.
Most likely, code skeptics would take exception to our comparison of the Hanukah cluster from War and Peace with the Ezekiel 37 cluster. It is not a fair comparison, they would say, because we searched for many more ELSs in Ezekiel 37 than they did in War and Peace. And they are right. However, our purpose in making such a comparison was to show that the Hanukah cluster is no longer a relevant counter-example. It has been hopelessly outclassed.
There has been a great need for a level playing field on which some kind of head-to-head comparison would be made of Bible codes with those “discovered” in an admittedly ordinary book. A natural way to do this would be to conduct an experiment in which a Hebrew expert would be handed a sizeable collection of pre-defined initial ELSs, equally drawn from the Hebrew Bible and from War & Peace (or some other control text). The Hebrew expert would then search for extended ELSs around each initial ELS. The two collections of extended ELSs would be compared and analyzed. For the past six months the BCD research team has been conducting such a study—the Islamic Nations ELS Extension Experiment. We present the preliminary findings here.
Using the Hebrew spellings of a group of Islamic nations, we located ELSs of them in a 78,064-letter portion of War and Peace that is provided with Codefinder software. We also found them in the 78,083-letter book of Ezekiel using the same software. (Actually, in order to have enough letters to match the size of the War and Peace text, we had to use part of Jeremiah as well as the beginning of Hosea. So the text actually runs from Jeremiah 51:52 through Ezekiel to Hosea 1:9.)
The nations we searched for as ELSs appear in the following table, along with their Hebrew spellings:
Codes Seminar Set for April 29
The Horizon Institute will be presenting a free seminar on Bible codes Tuesday, April 29, 7 p.m., at the Red Lion Hotel, Medford, Oregon.
Bible Codes: Fact or Fiction will feature speakers Ed Sherman, president of the Isaac Newton Bible Code Research Society, Dr. Nathan Jacobi, our Hebrew expert, and Dave Swaney, editor of Bible Code Digest.