Reasons to Believe

10 Criticisms of the Bible Code

Definition

The Bible Code (BC) is an alleged detectable code numerically derived from the letters of the Hebrew Old Testament text (especially the Torah).

Significance

The biblical "code words" allegedly predict with amazing accuracy major world events such as the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, as well as many other events. This predictive element of the code is appealed to as validation of the supernatural (divine) authorship of the Hebrew Bible.

Ten Criticisms

  1. The BC can be explained naturally in light of probability factors and human manipulation (see the articles by Dr. Hugh Ross and Dr. Robert C. Newman).
  2. The BC makes the Bible into a secret mystery document that contains esoteric truths (in some ways similar to the ancient heresy Gnosticism). The Bible, however, condemns the pursuit of secret mysteries and esoteric messages (Col 2:3-9; 1 Tin 6:20).
  3. The BC alters the literary nature of the Bible. Instead of containing esoteric truths, the Bible actually contains historical documents which are interpreted according to their literary genre.
  4. The BC associates the Bible with a mystical and even occult-like methodology (in some ways similar to the Kaballah).
  5. The BC is a distraction from the central teaching of the Bible. The message of the Bible centers on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (which are historical and factual events in nature), not on esoteric speculations.
  6. The BC confuses the intent of Scripture. Scripture is a record of redemptive history, not a search for esoteric codes. "But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name" (Jn 20:3 1).
  7. The BC changes the focus of the Old Testament. The Old Testament is ultimately about Christ, not esoteric codes: "Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms" (Lk 24:44).
  8. The BC changes the focus of biblical revelation. The Bible is not a mystery book, but is rather a direct revelation from God which speaks with simple clarity concerning God's will for mankind (2 Tm 3:15-16).
  9. The BC contains some predictions that have not come to pass (Dt 18:20-21). It is therefore disqualified as divine prophecy.
  10. The BC represents an unsound apologetic method. If you are looking for evidence to validate Christianity that is biblically based, prophetic in nature, and statistically sound, turn to the Messianic prophecies fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ. This method was used by the apostles.

Conclusion

There are serious mathematical, biblical, and theological problems associated with the Bible Code theory.

Kenneth Richard Samples is the vice president of philosophical and theological apologetics for Reasons To Believe.

Copyright 1997 Reasons To Believe

 

Subjects: Bible Codes, General Apologetics , Historical Apologetics

Kenneth R. Samples

I believe deeply that “all truth is God’s truth.” As an RTB scholar I have a great passion to help people understand and see the truth and relevance of Christianity’s truth-claims. Read more about Kenneth Samples.