Re: The Nature of Atheist - Christian dialogue

From: Vernon Jenkins (
Date: Thu May 01 2003 - 19:40:33 EDT

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    You wrote (in part):

    "As we are in the Easter season surely the least important verse in John 21
    is verse 11 on the 153 fish? Hendricksen's comments in his commentary are
    wonderful - 'strange interpretations'. Don Carson is less dismissive but
    questions the value of numerics. So what about triangular numbers, the
    Trinity is more important."

    You appear to regard the numerics as somehow 'competing'
    with the words of scripture rather than 'complementing' them. It is the
    additional information the numbers convey that demonstrates the
    Judaeo-Christian Scriptures to be divinely-inspired. Concerning Jn.21:11, I
    suspect that both Carson and Hendricksen have overlooked some significant
    details concerning 153.

    Among the clear certainties of life we may observe the following:

    Taking any multiple of 3 (as normally expressed as a denary, or base-10,
    object) and summing the cubes of its digits - repeating the process as many
    times as may be necessary to obtain a final stable outcome - we find that
    outcome invariably to be 153 - the 17th triangular number. Here are two
    examples which demonstrate the principle:

        3 -> 27 (ie 3^3) -> 351 (ie 2^3 + 7^3) -> 153 -> 153 ...

    1624623 -> 540 -> 189 -> 1242 -> 81 -> 513 -> 153 ...

    In other words, this simple digit transform converts one third of all
    natural numbers (as normally represented) to the number of fishes caught by
    Peter and his companions. Observe the significance of 3 in Jn.21: this was
    the 3rd time Jesus had appeared to the disciples since his resurrection; he
    questions Peter 3 times; 153 has 3 digits.
    The number of disciples involved in the event was 7 - another number having
    a clear biblical significance..

    John, along with Peter, had earlier been judged by the Sanhedrin to be
    "unlearned and ignorant men" (Acts 4:13). Clearly therefore John's including
    the detail, "153 fishes...yet was not the net broken",
    in the last chapter of his gospel is as mysterious as his building an
    accurate value of the universal constant 'e' into the numerics of his first

    These matters provide tangible, and in my view, conclusive evidence that the
    real Author of the gospel that carries his name was not John, but the Lord.
    And that should encourages one to believe the whole Book to be God's word to
    man - and hence essentially immune to the depredations of the higher critics
    and others.

    I also note that you perceive a lack of significant numerics in the Book of
    Acts. You will be interested then to know that in the account of a shipwreck
    in which the Apostle Paul was directly involved, all 276 souls were brought
    safely to land (Acts 27:37, 44). Observe that 276 is 23rd trangular number,
    and a multiple of 3; the detail that "none were lost" resonates with "yet
    was not the net broken".

    One gets the impression that the undergirding of these miraculous happenings
    with an equilateral triangle (also found in 666 and the Bible's opening
    words) is particularly significant as a symbol and seal of divine activity.

    Michael, are these numerical observations really as worthless as you would
    have us believe? When I last wrote I requested amplification of your earlier
    charge "To interpret Rev.13:18 the way YOU DO IS TO DELIBERATELY
    MISINTERPRET HOLY SCRIPTURE." (sic). It really would help if you were to
    point out where I go wrong - indeed, I see this as your duty as a Christian


    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Michael Roberts" <>
    To: "Iain Strachan" <>; "Dr. Blake Nelson"
    Cc: "ASA" <>
    Sent: Thursday, May 01, 2003 1:22 PM
    Subject: Re: The Nature of Atheist - Christian dialogue

    > I am the naughty boy who said that Vernon means that "you have to have a
    > PhD in Maths to get saved" My reason is that his arguments are so
    > and complex that they are beyond the wit of those who lack the maths. Sure
    > there is a little numerics in the bible but to find it everywhere and in
    > way that Vernon does is to conclude that the biblical writers were
    > to put it in this numeric form which most Christians have never realised
    > including all the leading biblical scholars of all ages.
    > Can you imagine that Luke's careful work in writing Luke-Acts also
    > complex numerics. If so he should have told us in Luke ch1 vs3. As he
    > I conclude that either he wasn't concerned or he was concealing his
    > from thick Christians like me. If the latter I lose respect for Luke - and
    > the rest.
    > I also reckon Vernon's approach makes travesty of the Bible as God's word
    > and its accessibility. It's no better than some of the nonsense on the so
    > called End Times nonsense. Stop messing around with and up scripture.
    > Further Ivor Gratten Guinness's (related to Os Guinness) argument can be
    > used to denigrate scripture as a numeric construct with a secret bible
    > and thus liable not to be reliable as the numerics exceed the history in
    > importance. If the controlling factor in writing the bible was
    > numerics, is what it says about God secondary? It sounds like it. Was Luke
    > really like that? We end up with all sorts of weird interpretations which
    > will make B Theiring seem quite mild.
    > I would point out that I do have a degree in theology and have taught up
    > M.A. level. I am pretty familiar with biblical commentators from the early
    > church until today. These do point out the numerics of 666 or 616 (there
    > a question which one is right) and 153, , 3, 6, 7 etc but none come out
    > such convoluted and obscure arguments as does Vernon.
    > I have pointed out that these arguments will convince no one and what is
    > needed today and especially in Britain is basic bible teaching. As we are
    > the Easter season surely the least important verse in John 21 is verse 11
    > the 153 fish? Hendricksen's comments in his commentary are wonderful -
    > "strange interpretations". Don Carson is less dismissive but questions the
    > value of numerics. So what about triangular numbers, the Trinity is more
    > important.
    > Hence no apologies but an appeal to concentrate on the core of the
    > Faith and not pfaff about with obstruse interpretations.
    > Finally to quote Iain I find Vernon's argument totally specious and hope
    > does not mind my choice of the word.
    > When it comes to Jim's problems, as far as I am concerned rejecting YEC is
    > the most important thing and whether you are Day-Age, Gappist, Framework
    > secondary and is not a primary issue. If I can persuade a YEC that them
    > earth is a million years old and he thinks the DAy age is right then I
    > rejoice.
    > Michael
    > ----- Original Message -----
    > From: "Iain Strachan" <>
    > To: "Dr. Blake Nelson" <>
    > Cc: "ASA" <>
    > Sent: Wednesday, April 30, 2003 11:10 PM
    > Subject: Re: The Nature of Atheist - Christian dialogue
    > > Blake,
    > >
    > > Thanks for the comments. I also recall that things got pretty heated at
    > the
    > > time. Jim was posting very frequently to the list -often several times
    > > day-, and often getting pretty unpleasant with those who disagreed with
    > him.
    > >
    > > But at the time, my impression (my apologies to Jim if this is was
    > > completely wrong), was that if someone was posting that frequently to a
    > list
    > > and was so fired up about an issue (Day-Age), that they frequently got
    > > angry, that what was going on was a massive crisis of faith. Jim had
    > > booted YEC out by about a million light years, and perhaps wanted to
    > an
    > > alternative that would resolve the crisis. In those circumstances, I
    > really
    > > question whether the right approach was to systematically challenge his
    > > views (just as my views on ID and Vernon's numerics have been
    > systematically
    > > challenged by people who don't like them). It seems to me that people
    > just
    > > couldn't resist the temptation to show how the Day-Age view, with which
    > they
    > > didn't agree, was intellectually a non-starter. Was this really the
    > > Christian thing to do in the circumstances?
    > >
    > > Another point I recall here was that for a while, Vernon was prohibited
    > from
    > > posting to the group about Bible Numerics. At the time, the person
    > > proposing that this subject should be avoided, did have the grace to
    > mention
    > > that it was not Vernon who was responsible for the bad feeling, but
    > > who responded to him. It has been my observation that there have been
    > many
    > > very nasty and sarcastic comments made about Vernon's position, in this
    > case
    > > from people who were clearly not experiencing a crisis of faith. A
    > > example was the suggestion that "you have to have a PhD in Maths to get
    > > saved" (again, my fallible memory may have got the exact words wrong;
    > > certainly having a PhD in Maths was a major component). This was
    > > untrue on at least three counts, namely:
    > >
    > > (a) Vernon never implied you had to understand his work to get saved.
    > > (b) Vernon doesn't have a PhD in Maths. (Sorry, Vernon; hope I haven't
    > > blown your street-cred!! :-)
    > > (c) Schoolchildren at around year 7 or 8 in Britain are taught about
    > > triangular numbers (the major part of Vernon's work); it's part of the
    > > standard Maths curriculum.
    > >
    > > The poster in question ought have been well aware of much of this &
    > > therefore I can only conclude that he could not resist making a nasty
    > > sarcastic jibe. It is this kind of thing that every day makes me feel
    > like
    > > turning my back on the list. By all means one can make a reasoned and
    > > courteously phrased argument as to why one thinks the numerics are not
    > > helpful, or have an alternative explanation to the one proposed by
    > > (and to be fair some of the group have done this and we've had some
    > > constructive exchanges on it); but to resort to insults and ridicule is
    > yet
    > > another example of the depressingly unchristian behaviour I observe on
    > > list.
    > >
    > > I live in hope that we can all learn to function better as a Christian
    > > community, and can each benefit from the insights into our Creator and
    > > works that we each have received.
    > >
    > > Best wishes,
    > > Iain.
    > >
    > >

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