Re: Wheel of God

From: iain.strachan2 (
Date: Thu Aug 09 2001 - 15:35:42 EDT

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    Thanks for this reply, George, and for not "raising the stakes" in the irritation that I perhaps allowed to get too much the better of me in the post.

              The possibilities you speak about may indeed have some value, but it seems to me that they need to be approached in a tentative fashion without commitment to a once-for-all grand mathematical scheme for the whole Bible. Science has generally succeeded by proceeding from local to global, not vice versa.

    But you must also realise that most of Jenkins's work is on the "local" level, mainly concerned with Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1. "Wheel of God" is the first theory I've seen that attempts to produce a global picture, but examination of his web-site also shows a lot more "local" phenomena, such as gematria, and so forth. I tend also to look at local pictures - the underlying mathematical structure (if there is one, and clearly I believe I have seen enough to suspect there is), may be beyond our abilities at this point to get the whole picture. One has to do the normal scientific thing and test out hypotheses. Recently I tested out a possible hypothesis. Namely if the mathematical structure of Genesis 1:1 is correct, and that the Seven Day Creation description in Gen 1 is highly important ( note I don't necessarily say literal), then perhaps texts that refer to it might also display peculiar numerical structure. In fact I found a direct numerical link between the gematria of the fourth commandment (which refers to the six days of creation), and the first word of Gen 1:1. I shan't bore you with the details, because I sense that such numerical data is only of interest to those who have been looking into the matter, and the details would require some time to elucidate.

    I will also add, that I came into this subject rather unwillingly and pretty skeptical. I had being doing some research into apparent numerical patterns that were present in classical music ( largely in the music of the composer Shostakovich). It was my thesis (in a couple of articles that have been published, and cited subsequently), that this was deliberately done by Shostakovich for reaons, at present best known to himself. In the course of researching the wider use of the subject of "numerology", I came upon many wacky and wild web-sites going on and on about the "sacred number 23" and the "fundamental 23-ness of the cosmos", and such like. The whole subject gave me the creeps - and it didn't help my thesis that here was a tormented genius of a composer, denied the artistic freedom to experiment - as other 20th Century western composers openly did - with mathematical structure in the composition of music. But when I found Vernon's web-site, it was immediately apparent that the mathematical pattern in Gen 1:1 was _much_ more extreme and peculiar than anything I'd encountered in Shostakovich, and that it also was pretty hard to explain it away as a human contrivance (even if one adopted an extreme liberal view of the dating of Gen 1:1 to after the invention of the alphabetical numeration scheme). If anyone wishes to take up the challenge, I constructed from a spell checker dictionary of 150,000 words, a set of seven lists, each word having the numerical values of the first seven words of Genesis (using the same letter encoding scheme as in the Hebrew, applied to the English alphabet). Taking the seven lists, it looked well-nigh impossible to even construct a grammatical sentence, let alone one relevant to a pre-specified topic (like the beginning of time).

            The topic of homosexuality and its relationship with biblical authority seems to me to be of considerably greater immediate practical importance for the church than is the search for math structures in the biblical text. It is, moreover, a subject to which Christians who take the Bible seriously and who respect the scientific process could make an important contribution.

    I hope it is clear from the above that I do both, and that my other contribution to the list on this topic will be of some interest.

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