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  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by why1942 View Post
    I'm beginning to thinks so....

    I also have Casper Labuschange's book, "Numerical Secrets of the Bible". I was not shocked when I read about the reaction in the Preface, but I always struggle to understand academia's ability to be "willingly ignorant" of so many verifiable issues.

    Also, I would be very interested in reading your brother-in-law's introduction to the Bible Wheel. Is it available somewhere online?

    why1942
    My attitude has changed a lot since I wrote that comment back in June of 2007. I no longer think that the academic scholars are driven by "a visceral and irrational rejection of the Bible as the Word of God." I now realize there are plenty of rational reasons to reject the Bible as the Word of God. Indeed, the Bible Wheel is one of the few things stopping me from doing the same thing, the others being the fulfillment of Daniel's prophecy of the 70 weeks, the holographs, and the powerful typology and symbolic structure which seems to be beyond mere chance.

    I'll see if I can find that letter and post it. It's been a few years.
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

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  2. #42
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    Jun 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by why1942 View Post
    Also, I would be very interested in reading your brother-in-law's introduction to the Bible Wheel. Is it available somewhere online?
    Here's the letter (with footnotes, no less!):

    Dear __________,

    I am writing to introduce this very interesting book written by my brother-in-law Richard McGough, a book which I think you will be particularly interested in. Richard was my best friend as an undergraduate, and I can testify that he is one of the smartest and level-headed people I know. In this book, Richard elaborates what seems to be a highly significant pattern of apparent design running throughout the Protestant Canon, what he calls the 'Bible Wheel.' I know the claim that there are such high-level patterns in the Bible is no longer taken seriously by most mainstream academics (though people like the famous literary critic Northrop Frye are the exception[1]), both because of the zeitgeist of our modern age and because of the past history of such attempts. But I think Richard has actually discovered the real thing. I can testify that when I occasionally do have doubts about Christianity, this is one of the two or three pieces of evidence that take me aback from my doubts and cause me to doubt my doubts. So, I take the pattern he has discovered very seriously.

    As you know, the Protestant cannon contains 66 books. What Richard has discovered is that if you roll the 66 books in a circle, as though you were rolling up a scroll, you get three consecutive circles of books, forming 22 spokes. (See page 23 of his book.) The first interesting thing is that there are 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet, which each have a traditional Jewish meaning (see page 21) and which the Jews attached great religious significance to. Further, each of these letters is traditionally arranged in a certain specific order, just as our alphabet is ordered from A to Z. (This order is embedded in various places in Scripture, most clearly in Psalm 119, in which the whole alphabet is arranged in the standard order from Aleph to Tav – see pp. 108-109.) Each of these letters can then be lined up with the spokes in a non-arbitrary way, with the first Hebrew letter, Aleph, being lined up with the first spoke (which has on it Genesis, Isaiah, and Romans). The fact that this can be done is itself of some significance. But there is more. Richard claims that the themes/content of the books put together on each spoke not only naturally go together, but go together with one of the few traditional meanings of the corresponding Hebrew letter. This is at least quite clear for the first and last spokes. Many commentators have claimed that Genesis, Isaiah, and Romans naturally go together, seeing a common theme between them, as Richard documents (see pages 60-68). But that they go together is also obvious for another, somewhat independent, reason. Genesis is the first book of the law, Isaiah is the first book of the prophets, and Romans is the first book of the New Testament letters. These three "first books" line up with the first letter Aleph, which being the first letter of the alphabet is a natural symbol of first things. That the books on the last spoke, #22, go together is also obvious. The Song of Songs, Acts, and Revelation all deal with the theme of consummation. We see the marriage metaphor common to the Song of Songs and Revelation, and in Acts we see the giving of the Holy Spirit (birth of the Church – the Bride) and the historical consummation of that which 'all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken' (Acts 3:24, see page 79). It is particularly striking that both Stephen (Acts 7) and Paul (Acts 13) made the consummation explicit in their sermons by retracing the entire story of the Bible from Genesis to its fulfillment in Christ (see page 80). Not surprisingly, Tav, the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, is symbolically associated with completion and consummation, much as the Greek letter Omega. (See pp. 365 and following).

    A particularly stunning example is of the alignment of the symbolic meaning (or one of the main symbolic meanings) of the 18th Hebrew letter, Tzaddi. Rabbinic tradition testifies that Tzaddi symbolizes righteousness. Indeed, according to Richard, 'many Jews know the Eighteenth Letter by the name Tzaddik, the Righteous one' (p. 320), and various derivatives based off this letter, are associated with righteousness (p. 319) – e.g., Tzedek means righteousness. Each of the books on the eighteenth spoke (Job, Matthew, and 1 John) fit beautifully with this theme of Righteousness – e.g., Job is the preeminent Old Testament example of a righteous man, and the book of Job deals with righteousness and the problem of evil. Further, Richard did a word count of the number of times the word 'righteousness' occurs in the Gospels and Acts, and it occurs in Matthew more than it does in all the other books combined (p. 323). Richard gives similar evidence for each of the Spokes, though I have not had a chance to thoroughly examine the correlations that Richard claims occur on the other spokes, so I cannot say that I know they hold up to scrutiny. All I can say is that Richard is a very careful operator in this regard.

    My biggest worry is that of 'cherry picking,' after the fact reading some common theme into the books that are grouped together on a given spoke. What particularly impresses me about the three spokes I mentioned above is that the common theme clearly seems to arise out of the content of the books and further it is associated with one of the few main meanings of the corresponding Hebrew Letter. So, at least in these cases, the 'cherry picking' explanation seems inadequate. [2]

    The other major designlike pattern that stands out in my mind, which I actually find the most impressive as potential evidence for design because one can perform a straightforward calculation of mathematical odds, is what Richard calls the Canon Wheel. (See chapter 3.) When the books are rolled up, the various groupings of the books form a perfectly symmetrical two-dimensional pattern, as illustrated on pages 31 and 32. You will notice that the Torah and Wisdom Books symmetrically fall on either side of the dividing line between spoke 1 and 22, with the number of books in each of these divisions being 5. The same goes for New Testament History and the Major Prophets, each also lining up with the Wisdom and Torah, respectively. You will also notice that the other divisions of books contribute to this symmetric pattern. Finally, as illustrated on page 33, these divisions line up with the 'Tri-Radiant Halo,' a classic depiction of Christ. Richard and I calculated the probability of such a symmetry (or any other significant symmetry of the same magnitude) occurring by chance – that is, by randomly dividing up 66 books into seven divisions. The chance is one in 688,324 (Richard goes through the calculation on his website, at http://www.biblewheel.com/Wheel/probabilities.asp), and this does not include the fact that the symmetry Richard has discovered matches a significant religious symbol , such as the 'Tri-radiant' halo, which would put the odds at more like one in 82 million. Probabilities like this are very difficult to simply dismiss. (As an aside, notice that there are seven divisions, and that the books form 3 circles, numbers of obvious religious significance for Christians, both denoting completeness – seven days of creation and the Holy Trinity. This further adds to the impressive character of the canon wheel pattern.)

    To see the significance of the above patterns, we could imagine the Bible containing more books, say the Old Testament Apocrypha in addition to those in the Protestant canon. In that case, one could not even get started: The Bible could not be rolled up to form three concentric circles of 22 books a piece, as would be needed to match the letters in the Hebrew alphabet. Or, one could imagine the divisions being changed by one or more books. In this case, the symmetric pattern would be entirely lost. Or, one could imagine the order of the books being slightly different, in which case the alignment of the books on the spokes – such as the three mentioned above--would likely be lost. Thus, the number of books, the divisions they fall into, the order of the books, and the content of the books all must be extraordinarily fine-tuned in order for the sort of pattern Richard has discovered to emerge.

    So, that is the basics of the book. There is much more to it, but I cannot go into it here, except to say that other interesting patterns pop out when the book is rolled up as Richard has done, such as the fact that the last Hebrew letter, Tav, which means 'seal' among other things, is identical to the traditional form of the cross (p. 37), thus signifying that Jesus fulfilled, completed, and sealed God’s revelation. There is also the intriguing fact that the central letters of the alphabet, which spell the word melek (king), align with the books of Kings (p. 105). People often object to Richard claiming that the choice of the number and order of the books is arbitrary, along with the divisions of scripture. Richard’s response is two-fold: (i) The arrangement in the Protestant cannon flows from the natural divisions already in scripture, along with their order; and (ii) Since Christians already believe that God guided the formation of the books, and what books were selected to be canonized, there is no reason to think that God would not have also been involved in guiding the way the Bible was divided and the order of the books.

    Let me elaborate a little on point (ii). First, Christians should not find it surprising that God left marks in the Bible of divine design. Those sympathetic to intelligent design, both at the cosmic and biological level, should especially not find this surprising. If the Bible really is 'God’s book,' this would complete the 'fingerprints of God' in creation – cosmos, bios, and then the Bible. One natural place to leave a mark of design is the overall structure of the Bible, since Christians believe that God is the ultimate author of the entire book, and thus the entire book – in its holistic aspects, not just its individualistic aspects -- should reflect that authorship. Further, that authorship is likely to extend to the entire process of the formation of the present Bible, including the arrangement of the books. Since creation testifies to the fact that God is a great artist, who likes elegant and beautiful patterns, one would even expect that to occur in the Bible, if it indeed is 'God’s book.' This pattern, however, also can be seen as serving another theological purpose, that of divinely authenticating and 'sealing' the canon of Scripture. Given that this pattern withstands scrutiny as not being explicable by chance, but requiring divine design, it would resolve the debates about the validity of the (Protestant) canon.[3] It could also offer an additional hermeneutical tool for understanding the unity and thematic interlinking of Scripture, which is at the heart of how Richard understands the significance of the Bible Wheel. For all these reasons, it theologically makes a lot of sense that God would guide the formation of our current canon, with its current order, to produce this sort of pattern.

    Finally, it is interesting to see what happens if we do a Bayesian analysis. Call H the hypothesis that the Bible has such an overall pattern that is discernible by us. Given Christianity is true, the prior probability of H, P(H), is not small. Further, given H, the pattern, E, that Richard discovered, would also not be highly improbable: that is, P(E/H) is not small. Finally, as we saw above, P(E/C) is very, very small, where C is the hypothesis that the pattern occurred by chance. Just considering the symmetrical pattern of the cannon Wheel itself leaves us with a chance of around one in five hundred thousand, let alone the other patterns, such as the lining up of the content of some of the spokes. Thus, we have: P(E/H)/P(E/C) is enormous – on the order of 500, 000 – giving us a huge Bayes’s factor. Since by the odds form of Bayes’s theorem, P(H/E)/P(C/E) = P(H)/P(C) x P(E/H)/P(E/C), it follows that P(H/E)/P(C/E) is going to be on the order of 500,000 times larger than P(H)/P(C). So, unless one thought that the a priori probability of H was super low, it follows that P(H/E)/P(H/C) >> 1, and hence P(H/E) ~ 1, given that H and C are one’s only alternatives. The burden is thus on the skeptic to either provide an alternative explanation or to argue that the a priori probability of H is extremely low, not just assume that it is, since there are clear reasons to think that it is not.

    So, a simple Bayesian analysis tells me there is really something important going on here. I know that finding patterns like this is out of fashion, given the past history of related sorts of things, such as the Bible code. But, I think that this is on an entirely different plane, and has a significant a priori probability, unlike the Bible code and similar sorts of things. (That God would encode information in the Bible to predict things about Rabbi’s seems on the face of it quite implausible, and thus has a very small a priori probability, unlike the kind of pattern Richard has found.) The reason I present the Bayesian analysis is that such an analysis places our judgment of whether this pattern as being intentionally designed by God on objective grounds that bypass those initial dismissals based on the fashion of the day. I must confess that, emotionally, I am somewhat subject to these fashions myself, and I am often struck with incredulity that Richard could have really discovered such a divine design. But, I find myself being unable to deny, among other things, the mathematical odds and the compelling nature of the sort of objective analysis that I presented above. [4]

    I should end by saying that the book is as well documented as most books that are published with major university presses. The difference is that the topic is entirely out of fashion in our modern academic world, and Richard has written the book in a style that mixes careful argument and documentation with his obvious religious enthusiasm for what he is seeing, something that might be off-putting to some people. One should not allow that to deter one from the main content of the book, however. Not only is the book fascinating reading in its own right for just the wealth of information it contains, but more importantly, if the apparent design-like features of the pattern Richard has discovered hold up to careful scrutiny as not explicable by chance, which I am confident that many of them will, this would be an enormously important discovery.

    [1] See, Frye, The Great Code: The Bible and Literature

    [2] The 'cherry picking' explanation seems least adequate in the cases of the first and last spoke since for other spokes one could argue that given enough spokes, one could always find one or more on which the books and Hebrew letter seemed naturally integrated together more than would be expected by chance. The first and last spokes, however, stand out among all the spokes because of their special locations, and so the fact that such an integration occurs on them cannot be adequately explained by 'cherry picking' the spokes one looks at. These are the first spokes one would look at to test the claims of the Bible wheel.

    [3] Interestingly, the final book of Revelation makes the Bible Wheel complete, giving it 66 books. Revelation not only is the only book in the New Testament that speaks of not adding or subtracting from God’s revelation, but uses the language of 'seal' (e.g., the seven seals) much more than any other book in the Bible (p. 366). Further, as mentioned above, the Hebrew letter Tav corresponding to this spoke not only has as one of its meanings 'seal' but is written in the shape of a Cross – and thus is symbolically associated with the idea of being 'sealed by the blood' of the Lamb and Jesus statement on the Cross that 'it is finished.'

    [4] It should also be noted that if a pattern like this were found in some author like Shakespeare, most people would take this as evidence of Shakespeare’s brilliance in designing his literary works, as long as the pattern was not beyond human capability. In fact, people have looked for such patterns in great authors, expecting this sort of thing from truly great literary minds since such minds love producing elegant and clever high-level patterns. If we expect exceedingly brilliant human authors to do this, how much more should we expect this of a divine author. In any case, it is important that we apply the same standards of credulity or incredulity in this case as in the human case.
    The response to this long detailed letter by an esteemed professional colleague consisted of little more than a mindless ejaculation of the word "preposterous!"
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

    Check out my blog site

  3. #43
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    11

    Thanks for the letter

    Thanks for posting this. I have added it to my supporting documentation and have read through it once now. I will go through it more closely once I finish the book and start my analysis.

    why1942

  4. #44
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    Apr 2018
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    Question about Torah Code for why1942

    Very interested in more info on this. I have a video called "Why God Used A Rib To Make Eve" that is basically my only real explosion thus far. But looking into the Missler Torah Codes. I still find it strange that Genesis and Exodus have this 50 spaced code.....then that Numbers Duet have this 50 spaced code in reverse spelling TORH. Now I get that its not exactly like Missler states it.....I"ve looked at it myself. But just because its not as HE claims it....doesnt stop it from existing. The YHVH in Leviticus is cool....but I also get that it could be just chance. However to have 4 mirrored 50 spaced TORH HROT dividing the Pentateuch seems quite fascinating to me. But thats me.....I think Missler is brilliant....but hes human.....and I dont agree with everything he does....and thats okay. I am also interested in that you said the name YHVH appears thousands of times in code throughout the Old Testament.....would this be the same for the New Testament? Also would this pattern of YHVH be found in say Moby Dick? Thanks again for your research. Its helped me avoid errors in my future presentation of this.





    Quote Originally Posted by why1942 View Post
    Hi Richard,

    After I made my post, I bowed to my curiosity and skimmed the Bible Wheel website, including downloading your book. I would be happy to read through it and provide feedback.

    Would you like my responses to be available to the public (on the forum) or privately by email? Along those lines, would you grant me permission to post my review of your book on my website as one of my research projects (I would also provide a link to your book and website)? If not, I would still be happy to review it privately.








    I agree with you about the can of worms. I used to think that I had only 1st hand doctrinal beliefs, but came to the realization that most if not all of my beliefs are 2nd or 3rd hand. I've never fit well with traditional Christian denominationalism (primarily Baptist, but also Church of Christ, some independent progressive churches, etc) there always seems to be something in their teaching/doctrine that they obsessively focus on that is extra-biblical.

    At any rate, I will provide my feedback soon. Point of interest,though. You described the bible as a "supernatural historical novel". Did you mean that you accept the idea that there is a supernatural realm (i.e. God exists) and he/she/it has communicated with/to us via a historical novel (i.e. providing spiritual guidance through fictional stories) or do you mean that you discount a supernatural realm (i.e. no actual God) and consider the bible to be a creation of human intellect, no different than the writings of other religions (or John Grisham's latest novel)?

    The way you describe your beliefs (as I understand it) sounds very similar to a Deistic world-view.

    why1942

    P.S. Why1942? It has actually no historical significance. I was changing my email address about a year ago and had to come up with something. At the time I was in grad school, majoring in history, so I just picked a random year and asked why. I get asked that question frequently. ;-)

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