Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Internal Consistency

“Internal consistency is the extent to which tests or procedures assess the same characteristic, skill or quality.”

“How well each item relates independently to the rest of the items on the scale and how they related overall.”

In the world of psychology, we would say that the Bible has excellent internal consistency – 100%, in fact.  Even if one person wrote it over a reasonable amount of time (20 to 50 years, maybe?), you couldn’t expect that kind of accuracy.  But the Bible was written over a period of about 1300 by nearly 40 authors and it has perfect internal consistency.  That, by itself, should, repeat should, convince everyone that it is inspired by God.

In case that’s not enough to convince you, an article called “Fulfilled Prophecy: Evidence of the Reliability of the Bible” by Hugh Ross, Ph.D. might help.  Dr. Ross states that there are about 2500 prophecies throughout the Bible and about 2000 of them have already been fulfilled…without even one mistake.  Do you know any psychics who can claim anything near that?  Check out Nostradamus.  He made literally thousands of predictions, but from what I could find, nobody is willing to come up with a percentage of right/wrong ones.  The ones that do seem to be right tend to be out and out hoaxes that someone wrote after the fact, or are counted as right because he used such vague language.  According to one writer, Barbara Mikkelson:

“A prediction that can only be interpreted after the events it supposedly foresees have occurred is not a 'prediction' at all. If I could spew out a thousand vague 'prophecies' and not have to explain what they meant until after the events they supposedly predicted had occurred, I'm sure I could manage a pretty impressive record for accuracy too.”

Even more modern psychics can only get about 60% accuracy, even with considerable fudging and vagueness.  God’s prophets have a stunning 100% accuracy record.  Amazing!

Dr. Ross states that
“the probability of any one of [the 2000 fulfilled prophecies] having been fulfilled by chance averages less than one in ten (figured very conservatively) and since the prophecies are or the most part independent of one another, the odds for all these prophecies having been fulfilled by chance without error is less than one in 102000 (that is 1 with 2000 zeros written after it)”

Here are a few of the prophecies that Dr. Ross mentions as being the most spectacular – that is they are extremely specific, were predicted longest time before the event and/or have the most “supernatural” involvement.

Daniel predicted that the Messiah would begin his public ministry 483 years after the issue of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, as well as the crucifixion of Christ just before the 2nd destruction of Jerusalem (Daniel 9:25-26).

Probability of chance fulfillment=1 in 105.

Bethlehem named as the birthplace of the Messiah, 700 years before His birth (Micah 5:2).

Probability of chance fulfillment=1 in 105

 Zechariah’s prediction that the Messiah would be betrayed for the price of a slave (30 pieces of silver) and that the money would be used to buy a burial ground for Jerusalem’s poor foreigners (Zechariah 11:12-13)

Probability of chance fulfillment=1 in 1011.    

Both David and Zechariah describe Jesus’ death 400 years before crucifixion had been invented.  They also stated that His body would be pierced, but no bones would be broken (Psalm 22 and 34:20; Zechariah 12:10)

Probability of chance fulfillment=1 in 1013

 Isaiah named Cyrus as the destroyer of Babylon and the man who would release the Jews “150 years before Cyrus was born, 180 years before Cyrus performed any of these feats (and he did, eventually, perform them all), and 80 years before the Jews were taken into exile”

Probability of chance fulfillment=1 in 1015.

Dr. Ross ends by saying that the probability of just the prophecies he lists in his article (13 altogether) is about 1 in 10138.  
“…this probability can be compared to the statistical chance that the second law of thermodynamics will be reversed in a given situation (for example, that a gasoline engine will refrigerate itself during its combustion cycle or that heat will flow from a cold body to a hot body) - that chance = 1 in 1080.  …the Bible record may be said to be vastly more reliable than the second law of thermodynamics.”
By the way, my (or your) chances of winning the lottery are 1 in 107.  Wow…maybe I should buy a ticket!  The odds are looking pretty good.  Ha!

Anyway, based on those statistics, I feel pretty comfortable in believing that the 500 prophecies that are left unfulfilled at this time, will be fulfilled with 100% accuracy.  What do you think?

If you’re interested, one website called Fulfilled Messianic Prophecies ( lists about 200 prophecies by text with the text that tells the fulfillment of that prophecy…check it out!

OK, so, how can anybody not see the truth here?  Isn’t it amazing that people still don’t believe that the Bible is inspired and true?
But you know those folks, right?  They will fight about absolutely everything!  If you say something is black he (or she) will say it’s white.  No matter what you say, he’ll say the opposite, just to argue.  My dad used to say that people like that would argue with a tree if they couldn’t find a live person to argue with.
Well, there are people who will refuse to be convinced of the truth and reliability of the Bible, no matter how often you or I show the proof: they won’t believe it.  Mrs. White talks about these guys.
“Some look at us gravely and say, ‘Don’t you think there might have been some mistake in the copyist or in the translators?’  This all probable, and the mind that is so narrow that it will hesitate and stumble over this possibility or probability would be just as ready to stumble over the mysteries of the Inspired Word, because their feeble minds cannot see through the purposes of God.  Yes, they would just as easily stumble over plain facts that the common mind will accept, and discern the Divine, and to which God’s utterance is plain and beautiful, full of marrow and fatness.  All the mistakes will not cause trouble to one soul, or cause any feet to stumble, that would not manufacture difficulties from the plainest revealed truth.”{Selected Messages, Vol. 1, p.16}
She goes on to remind us not to get all wrapped up in criticizing the Bible but to read it as it is.  If we start sorting through trying to figure out what’s inspired or not inspired then we “have stepped before Jesus to show Him a better way than He has led us.”{1SM17}

Well, I know I’m not qualified for that job!  Are you?  YIKES!

I think it all comes down to this:  The Bible is the only book that can lead you and me to Jesus and, through Him, salvation.  Is that something you’re willing to miss out on just to argue about who wrote what, who was inspired or not inspired, and where the punctuation ought to be?  I think we should follow Ellen White’s advice and “cling to your Bible, as it reads…obey the Word, and not one of you will be lost.”{1SM18}


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