Probability and Chance

Probability and Chance are words that have taken on a different meaning in these days then they had when they began. These terms in the past were almost always associated with mathematics and statistical theory. Instead, people today use them as replacement terms for dumb luck and happenstance.

Well, if you read your Bible much you quickly realize that things do not occur because of dumb luck but instead because of Divine Providence.

I just finished the book of Isaiah and there are so many texts that obviously talk about Jesus that I wanted to see what the probability would be of one man fulfilling so many things. I am doing this not to prove that Jesus was who He said He was, I already believe that, instead I am doing this as an encouraging exercise to show that since I believe these things about Jesus I would only expect these things to be true about Him.

Here we go.

Say you flip a quarter that has 2 sides Heads and Tails, within that flip there is only one of two possible outcomes, Heads or Tails. Therefore the probability of a Heads outcome is 1/2. The probability of flipping two Heads in a row is 1/4. The probability of flipping 10 Heads in a row is 1/1024. The probability of flipping 100 Heads in a row is 1/79 million million million million million (that’s 79 with 30 zeros after it).

So as you can see, the likelihood of a particular event or outcome becomes far smaller when you add more variables.

Let’s now turn to Jesus. Jesus fulfilled hundreds of prophecies of the Old Testament but what is the probability of Jesus fulfilling only 8 prophecies of the Old Testament? (Graph taken from http://www.goodnewsdispatch.org/math.html)

Old Testament Prophecy New Testament Fulfillment Probability
Christ to be born in Bethlehem
(Micah 5:2)
And Herod asked where Christ had been born … they answered Bethlehem
(Matt 2:4-6)
2.8 x 105 or 1 in 280,000
Forerunner of Christ
(Malachi 3:1)
John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ
(Mark 1:2-8)
1 x 103 or 1 in 1,000
Christ to enter Jerusalem riding on a donkey
(Zech 9:9)
Christ enters Jerusalem riding on a donkey
(Matt 21:4-11)
1 x 102 or 1 in 100
Christ to be betrayed by a friend
(Psalm 41:9)
Judas betrayed Jesus
(Luke 22:21)
1 x 103 or 1 in 1,000
Christ to be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver
(Zech 11:12)
Judas sold out Jesus for 30 pieces of silver
(Matt 26:15)
1 x 103 or 1 in 1,000
30 pieces of silver casted down and used to buy a potter’s field
(Zech 11:13)
30 pieces of silver used to buy a potter’s field
(Matt 27:3-10)
1 x 105 or 1 in 100,000
Although innocent, Christ kept silent when on trial
(Isaiah 53:7)
Jesus kept silent when questioned
(Mark 14:60-61)
1 x 103 or 1 in 1,000
Christ crucified
(Psalm 22:16)
Jesus was crucified
(John 19:17, 18)
1 x 104 or 1 in 10,000

To answer the question what is the probability of one man fulfilling all eight prophecies, the principal of probability is applied. Therefore, multiplying all eight probabilities together (1 times 2.8 x 105 x 103 x 102 x 103 x 103 x 105 x 103 x 104) gives us 2.8 x 1028, or for simplicity sake 1 x 1028 or 1 in 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. In other words it is impossible. But it happened and Jesus fulfilled hundreds of prophecies not just 8!

So what do we do with this?

These results demand that you make a decision. You simply cannot walk away from these facts unchanged. They are too compelling.

Either the Bible is God’s Word and Jesus was who He said He was or the Bible is a huge fraud and Jesus was not who He said He was.

These are the only two options.Which one are you choosing?

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