The Bible Code by Michael Drosnin has been roundly criticized by the Christian community. Drosnin is an athiest-turned-agnostic who has a distinctly non-Biblical view of God and, seemingly, less than no idea what the Bible has to say. He appears to have no grasp of Jesus Christ nor a grasp of Judaism.
His popular book is about a mathematical curiosity, citing probabilities that substantiate some of the predictions he discusses early in his book, and then completely departs from any semblance of logical, systematic exploration of the topic that he, himself introduces.
That makes his book perfect for outreach.
In discussions with truly intellectual atheists, one of the fundamental problems is trying to get them to accept that the Bible is the Word of God. Without that premise, it does not matter what the Bible says, since they do not accept it. One of the arguments, and a valid one, is that all the support is coming from interpretations from people who truly believe the Bible is what they are trying to prove it is. They argue that if you don’t believe the Bible is the Word of God, you can just as easily prove that it isn’t. With all the books by liberal theologians “rescuing the Bible from fundamentalists,” it is not hard for them to prove their point.
This time it’s different. This time an atheist is writing. This time it’s one of them, and Michael Drosnin, even though he has a distinctly different agenda, proves the Bible even though he, himself, does not want to believe it. Without resorting to anything but what Drosnin has published, one can systematically lead a thinking non-believer through a series of logical discussions based solely on information presented by a fellow atheist.
First, the New Testament gains its credibility from the Old Testament. The Old Testament was used by Jesus and the Apostles to demonstrate that what they were saying was true. Searching the Old Testament to confirm the truth preached was “noble-minded” (Acts 17:11). Miracles were used as signs, but the Old Testament was used as proof. (Note that the antichrist will perform many miracles and signs, so we cannot rely solely on miracles.)
Scond, the Old Testament relied on prophecy to prove God was speaking. Prophets were tested on their ability to predict the future, and if a prophet was wrong, he was a false prophet and the law called for him to be stoned. God told Israel what would happen if they rebelled, and what would happen if they were faithful, and each time God was true to His Word.
Third, prophecies for modern times often seem vague and ambiguous. The “end times” have been “imminent” for nearly 2000 years, and people seem disinclined to listen to prophecy anymore. Many believe that the prophecies are simply interpreted by each generation to match the age in which they live. While a careful study of prophecy might lead one to discover the prophecy of Israel being founded and Jerusalem being recaptured matching the exact day each took place, those prophecies are definitely cryptic.
But now comes Michael Drosnin, the atheist to show that the Bible contains some incredibly complex codes that would do any military cryptographer proud. The simple fact of the existence of the code is curious. Certainly Moses, a man, could not have encrypted his writings with such details. Could Isaiah? Could any human being encrypt their writings with a digital code so sophisticated that 3000 years would pass before the code was finally broken? Even if the code did not speak of prophecy, simply having significant encoding would be evidence of divine authorship.
The code does contain prophecy, though. It talks of events in startling detail. It names Yitzhak Rabin and speaks of his assassination. The probability of that occurring randomly is enormous. When Drosnin explores many of the prophecies in the Bible Code, it is startling to see how many things the code contains. While these events are in our past, they are in the distant future for the writers of the original texts. Whether Moses or the prophets, how could they have known? It is evidence of God once again proving Himself through prophecy.
Drosin does make a number of mistakes that are important to point out. These mistakes, though, show that he does not believe, and lend credibility to his underlying statements of fact. The facts as he discovered them prove a point he tries desperately to avoid, and he does avoid them in his writings. That makes it all the more compelling when we can show the point Drosnin inadvertently proves.
Drosnin seems to have a belief that God is not all-powerful or He would not need us to take action. Because God chooses not to act, Drosnin concludes that God cannot act. The logic involved is certainly erroneous. Not doing something does not mean that the thing cannot be done. Even on a human level, there are many things we could do but choose not to do. Our act of omission does not mean we did not have the power to act.
Drosnin also departs from a statistical analysis to fly off into some speculation of his own without any analysis. He matches years and events without consideration of the probability of randomness, and he interprets his findings without regard to the lack of information. While he points out that the year of the code also contains a question “will you change it?” he seems to overlook that the same year was encoded in the Japan incidents. Such an encoding would be asking the same question, “Will you change it?”
If one looks to the back of the book and reads the introduction original paper “Equidistant Letter Sequences in the Book of Genesis” one will see that the mathematicians analyzing the phenomena of the code state that we know precious little of the language of the code. It says, “Note also, that we did not decode the foreign language of the text yet: we do not recognize its syntax and we cannot read the text.”
That is why the code is better at predicting our past than our future. When we are looking for things in our past, we know what words we are hunting. We know to look for Kennedy, Dallas, Oswald, and Assassination. We know to look for Lincoln and Booth, for Jupiter and Shoemaker-Levy, for Murrah Building and McVeigh. We do not know what we are looking for in the future. We don’t understand the language of the code, so we cannot understand quite what it is telling us, and though Drosnin’s book tells us that, Drosnin himself seems to forget.
“‘If this is real, then I will believe in God, not only in God, but the God of Israel, and I will have to become religious,’ said Ben-Zion Netanyahu as I entered his living room.” – The Bible Code, page 79.
“If you accept the hidden statements in the Torah,” said Rips, “then you should also accept the open statement.” – The Bible Code, page 177.
The Bible Code has already helped lead at least one atheist to Christ. It was the final catalyst to getting him to open up to the possibility that God was real and that the Bible was true. It was not a long journey after that.
It can be a tool to build, or an instrument of destruction. As in so many things, it largely depends upon what we, as the Body of Christ, do with The Bible Code. Drosnin struggles with wild assertions toward the end in an obvious effort to hang on to his beliefs. If we look past his errors and consider the magnitude of the facts he reveals, we should marvel at our God.
Scott Conway of J.A.Guardian has an analysis of The Bible Code for use by any church who would like it. The report is free to all church leaders, and all Christian churches, ministries and individuals are free to make as many copies as they like. “The Bible Code Report” is available at no charge via fax or mail to as many churches as want them. For individuals, it may be faxed for free, or mailed for $2.00 for postage and printing. Call (760) 582-8770 for details.