Odds of One Person Fulfilling 8 Prophesies?
1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000
Having predictions about a person and events come true requires more than hunches or inklings. The Old Testament prophets foretold over 300 prophesies of a coming Messiah. These prophecies were written hundreds of years before Jesus was born, and His fulfillment of them was recorded by eye witnesses. Below are just a few examples of prophesies Jesus fulfilled.
- How does one predict the specific date of the appearance of a great future leader who will be betrayed and rejected by His own people, then be silent before His accusers?
- How does one predict Jesus being born in a specified city? (Bethlehem) This is what the prophet Micah did 700 years before Jesus was born?
- How does one predict the death of Jesus by Crucifixion? A manner of death unknown for hundreds of years and foresee the executioners gambling for His clothing? This is what David did in 1000 BC.
- How does one predict hundreds of years in advance that Jesus would be crucified with two others who would have their legs broken?
- How does one predict that Jesus would visit the second Jewish Temple and be killed before its destruction which occurred in AD 70?
- How does one predict that Jesus would be born of a virgin, be a prophet and speak in parables?
- How does one predict that Jesus would be buried in a rich man’s tomb?
- How does one predict that a messenger would live in the wilderness and prepare the way for Jesus? This was fulfilled by John the Baptist?
What are the odds that one person could fulfill so many predictions? The “science of probability” attempts to determine the chance that a given event will occur. The accuracy of the science of probability has been well established without doubt. For example, insurance rates are fixed according to statistical probabilities.
Professor Emeritus of science at Westmont College, Peter Stoner and his students calculated the probability of one man fulfilling eight prophecies (predictions) made concerning Jesus. The estimates were worked out by twelve different classes representing some 600 university students. The students carefully weighed all of the factors,discussed each prophecy at length, and examined the various circumstances. They made their estimates conservative enough so that there was unanimous agreement even among the most skeptical students. Stoner also encouraged other skeptics or scientists to make their own estimates to see if his conclusions were correct. He then submitted his figures for review to a committee of the American Scientific Affiliation. Upon examination, they verified that his calculations were dependable and accurate.
For example, concerning Micah 5:2, where it states the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, Stoner and his students determined the average population of Bethlehem from the time of Micah to the present, then they divided it by the average population of the earth during the same period. They concluded that the chance of one man being born in Bethlehem was one in 300,000. After examining only eight different prophesies, they conservatively estimated that the chance of one man fulfilling all eight different prophesies was one in 100,000,000,000,000,000!
To attempt to understand this number, Stoner says, imagine filling the state of Texas knee-deep in silver dollars. Include one silver dollar with a black check mark on it. Then, turn a blindfolded person loose in this sea of silver dollars. The odds that the first coin they would pick up would be the one with the black check mark, are the same odds as eight prophesies being fulfilled accidentally in the life of Jesus.
In another calculation, Stoner used 48 prophesies and arrived at the extremely conservative estimate that the probability of 48 prophesies being fulfilled by one man was 1 with 157 zeros. The probability for over 300 historically documented prophesies being fulfilled by one man is impossible, unless you’re Jesus! Stoner concludes, “Any man who rejects Jesus Christ as the son of God, is rejecting a fact, proved perhaps more absolutely than any other fact in the world.” Even mathematicians and statisticians who were atheists had to acknowledge that it is scientifically impossible to deny that Jesus is the Messiah.
Mathematician David Williams / Professor Peter W. Stoner, Chairman, Mathematics and Astronomy. Pasadena City, Pasadena, California, "Science Speaks", The American Scientific Affiliation