Theology Thursdays: The Dead Sea Scrolls, Prophecy and Messiah VI
Michael Drosnin states he does not believe in God. He also states he does not believe in any religion. Yet the use of mathematics has helped to convince him that there is a code in the Bible that predicts future events. Why? Because he believes that mathematics shows that the probability that the code is not real is so miniscule that it would be unreasonable for him to disbelieve it exists. What is it about the use of mathematics that establishes truth for anyone? How mathematical are any of us when considering a subject or commenting on an issue. What is the relationship between logic, reason and mathematical thinking? Some Christians say the basis of their belief is not "logical" or "reasonable," therefore it can't be explained to another person. I think that type of thinking is contradicted by the scriptures - particularly in I Peter 3:15 which reads (Amplified translation): But in your hearts set Christ apart as holy [and acknowledge Him] as Lord. Always be ready to give a logical defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope that is in you, but do it courteously and respectfully. Logic is defined, in one meaning, as: "The study of the principles of reasoning, especially of the structure of propositions as distinguished from their content and of method and validity in deductive reasoning."
Think for a minute. Whether one claims to be religious, atheist or agnostic, what are the means by which any of these three groups can arrive at truth? Think deeper. What are we really saying to another person when we say something is true or false? Think even deeper. What are we saying when we state something is a "fact" or "real?" Can we prove that something is a fact or real? What is the difference between "evidence" and "proof?" How many of us really know, with certainty, anything that we talk or write about? All of this gets into the spirit of the word "epistemology." A word that most people have never heard or could not define.
Once one gets into the deepest study of the concepts underlying the principles embodied in the words "knowledge" and "truth," it becomes apparent that reality is not divided in "secular" and "religious" categories.
Mathematics is key to proving this as true. The study of the nature of prophecy is one area where "anybody" can see this if they looked into it.
It is interesting to see how many Christians are totally ignorant of the Biblical prophecies that it is said Jesus of 2,000 years ago fulfilled, in what is said to be the "first coming." It is also interesting to see how unaware of the prophecies contained in the Book of Daniel and the Book of Revelations many Christians are. Move into a study of theology in Islam and Judaism. Why are so many Muslims and Jews either ignorant or disinterested in the prophecies that speak of circumstances and human beings that would appear at the end of the world, performing certain acts? These special human beings are said to be critical to the Supreme Being's plan of salvation - guiding people out of the reign of one world and into what is described as the Messianic era, The Kingdom of God, or the Hereafter, depending upon the religion. Can a person truly believe in a book of scripture if they are ignorant of the prophecies contained within it? If so, for how long?
Lastly, can a Muslim, Jew or Christian be tricked or deceived if they do not know the prophecies that are central to God's plan of salvation? Can it be argued that belief in prophecy is optional for a person that believes the Holy Qur'an or Bible comes from God?
Ultimately, the Middle East Conflict boils down to three different views of the identity of God's chosen people and the boundaries of a land promised to them by God, no?
Consider this excerpt below from the book, This Is The One by Minister Jabril Muhammad. Assume that there is a Supreme Being, for the purpose of the point of this excerpt:
We all believe that the prophecies recorded long before our time about the distant future came from God. How can we prove this to others who don't believe as we do? If we knew enough mathematics we could prove the truth of the prophecies to any reasonable person.
Let's return to the present. Fifteen hundred years ago there were not many people that the public knew who were able to show the truth of prophecy. Nowadays, the public has access to enough knowledge to determine with mathematical exactness the validity of divine prophecy. Let us now turn to a little mathematics.
George Boole, a mathematician, wrote in his book, The Laws of Thought that:
"The probability of an event is the reason we have to believe that it has taken place, or that it will take place.
"The measure of the probability of an event is the ratio of the number of causes favourable to that event, to the total number of cases favourable or contrary, and all equally possible (equally likely to happen).
"From these definitions it follows that the word probability, in its mathematical acceptation, has reference to the state of our knowledge of the circumstances under which an event may happen or fail. With the degree of information which we possess concerning the circumstances of an event, the reason we have to think that it will occur, or, to use a single term, our expectation of it, will vary. Probability is expectation founded upon partial knowledge." (page 244)
In The Universal Encyclopedia of Mathematics, pages 338-339, we read:
"Probability - If an event occurs n times, and if we may expect the event to turn out in a particular way (a favourable event, a success) m times out of the n trials, each of the events being equally probable, then the probability P of a success is
"A probability is always a number between 0 and 1. If the probability of occurrence of an event is 1 the event will certainly take place. If, on the other hand, the probability of occurrence of an event is 0, then the event will certainly not take place.
"Addition law of probability theory: If an event can come about in several independent ways, the overall probability that it will occur is equal to the sum of the individual probabilities."
Consider this from the book, Pi In The Sky by John D. Barrow:
A mystery lurks beneath the magic carpet of science, something that scientists have not been telling, something too shocking to mention except in rather esoterically refined circles: that at the root of the success of twentieth-century science there lies a deeply 'religious' belief - a belief in an unseen and perfect transcendental world that controls us in an unexplained way, yet upon which we seem to exert no influence whatsoever...
This sounds more than trifle shocking to any audience that watches and applauds the theatre of science. Once there was magic and mysticism, but we have been taught that the march of human progress has gone in step with our scientific understanding of the natural world and the erosion of that part of reality which we are willing to parcel up and label 'unknowable'. This enterprise has been founded upon the certainty that comes from speaking the language of science, a symbolic language that banishes ambiguity and doubt, the only language with a built-in logic which enables an intimate communion with the innermost workings of Nature to be established and underpinned by thought and action: this language is mathematics.
As science has progressed, it has become more mathematical in its expression and more unified in its structure. Scientists believe there to be one Universe with a single universal legislation from which all the diverse subdivisions of science ultimately receive their marching orders. In recent years, the search for this single 'Theory of Everything' has become the new Grail of fundamental science. If found, its content will be a piece of logically consistent mathematics. But what is mathematics and why do we entrust it with the secret of the Universe? Why do we look to mathematics for answers to ultimate questions about the nature of physical reality? What is the foundation upon which this magical mathematics rests? Indeed, what is mathematics and why does it work? If we cannot answer these questions our scientific explanations of the Universe are based ultimately upon things we do not understand...
Setting aside Michael Drosnin's view of the Bible code, and the mathematics that have persuaded him, what would it take for any reasonable person to believe that the correspondence between the history of Black people in America and the prophecies and storyline of the Bible and Holy Qur'an is not an accident, by chance, or mere coincidence?
What would it take to persuade a Black Christian preacher of the same? Can a Black pastor teach this openly without coming into conflict with what is taught in Christian theological seminaries and what comes from the Vatican?
Think of all of these questions in light of the fact that Black slaves in the Western Hemisphere were kept from reading the Bible from 200 to 300 years, and the fact that Islam was kept out of the Western Hemisphere (in a mass way) until last century. Remember what happened to the slaves who were brought to these shores who were Muslim.
Surah 9:33 of the Holy Qur'an reads, " He it is Who sent His Messenger with guidance and the Religion of Truth, that He may cause it to prevail over all religions, though the polytheists are averse." One Muslim commentator says of Surah 9:33, "a greater manifestation of the fulfillment of these words will be witnessed in the latter days when the Messiah of this ummah makes his appearance" Muslim theologians should look deep into what Minister Farrakhan said about the Arabic word Kitab juxtaposed to the Messiah, in his Saviours' Day Address last Sunday.
Does God's plan of salvation in any way include the raising of a warner who would also teach Black people in America the deeper meaning and prophecies of the Bible and Holy Qur'an - two books that were kept from them during slavery? Could it be that Isaiah 29:18, 24, Surah 3:47, Genesis 15: 13-14, Joel 3: 1-8 and Holy Qur'an 2:129 refer to events of the latter days, taking place in the United States of America?
The most "ecumenical" approach would be to handle this subject according to the the law of compound probabilities - a mathematical law which can be used to calculate the probability of a specific set of conditions, requirements, or qualifications being fulfilled.
Thursday, February 27, 2003