Books are meant to illuminate and educate. They should not be meant to mislead and confuse. I believe in the First Amendment. I think folks should be able to say what’s on their minds. Even when the words stab deep into every belief I hold precious, I still (albeit reluctantly in this case) agree with Voltaire, “I may never agree with what you say, but I will defend with my life your right to say it.”
The book which has my blood pressure at the boiling point and my Irish temper raging is The Bible Code by Michael Drosnin. Spending a portion of my life reading and reviewing books for these pages, I try to find something good to say about most works. This work will be the exception.
Understand that Drosnin, whose main claim to fame seems to be that he used to work for a couple of major newspapers, doesn’t believe in God. Thus, he does not believe that the Bible is in any way, shape or form the Word of God.
Hang onto your hats! According to Drosnin, the Bible is a computer program provided by some alien intelligence. Lest you think I misread, “What Moses actually received on Mt. Sinai was an interactive data base which until now we could not fully access. The Bible that ‘God’ dictated to Moses was really a computer program…”
Running amok through the Torah (the first five books of the Bible), he jumps without pause through Daniel, Revelation and Isaiah to justify his position. Drosnin would have us believe there is a mathematically based code in the Bible. According to him, the work of a modest mathematician named Eli Rips is at the heart of this “revelation.”
The problem with this work is that the “logic” behind it has enough holes in it to drive a train carrying two jumbo jets right through. First, he suggests that an “atomic holocaust” is set for either the year 2000 or the year 2006 with the “mathematical probability” resting more favorably on the year 2006. This is the time that the world could, should, or might come to an end. Given all that, why would he be concerned with a great earthquake that the code predicts will take place in Southern California in the year 2010, or the “possibility/probability” of a comet or meteor striking the earth and eliminating it’s occupants some 100 years later?
The thing that really steams me is that there are Christians out there who will actually believe this contradiction-filled work which relies on the premise, first and foremost, that there is no God.
Drosnin, as an atheist, must find better ground for himself than “divine inspiration.” While he weaves a very convincing web of things said and done and “revealed” through this “code,” he does a complete about face when it comes to the future. That, he tells us, is something that can be changed. While it is foretold, he warns us, there is no absolute certainty in the “predictions.” Yet, he spends an inordinate amount of time telling us the story of the code revealing such events as the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, the death of President John F. Kennedy and the Oklahoma City bombing by Timothy McVeigh (who he tells us is identified in the code as the bomber). Boy, could he have saved the FBI a lot of time!
Of great importance is what is missing in the work. Drosnin, having told us that some “super intelligence” way out there in space dropped in to give Moses a computer program, fails to note the rest of the natural order of things. Never mentioned is the beauty of the earth and the magnificent systems therein. Never does he mention the trees or the flowers or the stars in the sky. Never is mentioned the sun or the moon or the mysteries of love and joy. I must only assume that the “aliens” were too busy trying to tell us that as a people we’re a mess, but that with the addiction of a new program to our laptops, we might be able to survive the approaching (he says it’s already begun) “End Days” mentioned in the Bible.
Chuck Missler, one of my favorite authors and Bible historians, often refers to the Bible as “an integrated message system.” His work on the “first revelation of Christ in the Bible” as seen in Genesis 5 is wonderful. While, I still don’t understand a bunch of it, I am comfortable with the thought that the Living God whom I believe (sorry Drosnin) put us here has already shown us the future. It is one, inevitably, “with Him, through Him and in Him.”
This book, with all of it’s “escape” language strikes me the same way the “big lie” of the Nazis did. There is enough of a kernel of truth in it to attract those whose faith is firmly planted in the shifting sands and blowing winds of time. There is enough Bible history in it to make the casual reader accept at face value the weakness of the premise. It appeals to those who have not enough faith to take the Word of God as presented, but would prefer feeling that they — in some way — are the masters of their own destiny. Therein lies the danger of this work and others like it that will most assuredly follow. It points in a direction and to a goal unattainable until the final day when Our Lord in all His majesty returns for His children.
So, “be not deceived.” This is a book that can get you headed in the wrong direction unless, as you approach it in prayer, you understand what it is. It is the work of a man detailing in some fashion the work of others still exploring the edges of what they believe they may have found in the Bible. Some of those “others” have already stated publicly that they didn’t say what Drosnin ascribed to them and that they believe the work is an interesting, yet “unproven” application of statistics.
I am forced to quote a mathematics professor who told us once in college, “There are liars, damn liars, and statisticians.”
Paul McShane of Carlsbad writes monthly book reviews for Good News, Etc.