Mathematical Probability Jesus was the Christ

In his book, ‘Science Speaks’ Peter Stoner explores the mathematical probability that Jesus was the Christ by looking at Messianic prophecy. Stoner was chairman of the mathematics and astronomy departments at Pasadena City College until 1953 when he moved to Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California. There he served as chairman of the science division.

Dr. David R. Reagan explains, “Stoner calculated the probability of ONLY EIGHT Messianic prophecies being fulfilled in the life of Jesus. As you read through these prophecies, you will see that all estimates were calculated as conservatively as possible. Keep in mind Jesus fulfilled 108. Accidental fulfillment of these prophecies is simply beyond the realm of possibility.

  1. The Messiah will be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2).
    The average population of Bethlehem from the time of Micah to the present (1958) divided by the average population of the earth during the same period = 7,150/2,000,000,000 or 2.8×105.
  2. A messenger will prepare the way for the Messiah (Malachi 3:1).
    One man in how many, the world over, has had a forerunner (in this case, John the Baptist) to prepare his way?
    Estimate: 1 in 1,000 or 1×103.
  3. The Messiah will enter Jerusalem as a king riding on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9).
    One man in how many, who has entered Jerusalem as a ruler, has entered riding on a donkey?
    Estimate: 1 in 100 or 1×102.
  4. The Messiah will be betrayed by a friend and suffer wounds in His hands (Zechariah 13:6).
    One man in how many, the world over, has been betrayed by a friend, resulting in wounds in his hands?
    Estimate: 1 in 1,000 or 1×103.
  5. The Messiah will be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12).
    Of the people who have been betrayed, one in how many has been betrayed for exactly 30 pieces of silver?
    Estimate: 1 in 1,000 or 1×103.
  6. The betrayal money will be used to purchase a potter’s field (Zechariah 11:13).
    One man in how many, after receiving a bribe for the betrayal of a friend, has returned the money, had it refused, and then experienced it being used to buy a potter’s field?
    Estimate: 1 in 100,000 or 1×105.
  7. The Messiah will remain silent while He is afflicted (Isaiah 53:7).
    One man in how many, when he is oppressed and afflicted, though innocent, will make no defense of himself?
    Estimate: 1 in 1,000 or 1×103.
  8. The Messiah will die by having His hands and feet pierced (Psalm 22:16).
    One man in how many, since the time of David, has been crucified?
    Estimate: 1 in 10,000 or 1×104.

Multiplying all these probabilities together produces a number (rounded off) of 1×1028. Dividing this number by an estimate of the number of people who have lived since the time of these prophecies (88 billion) produces a probability of all 8 prophecies being fulfilled accidently in the life of one person. That probability is 1 in 1017 or 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000. That’s one in one hundred quadrillion.”

Stoner writes, “…we take 10^17 silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They will cover the state two feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly. Blindfold a man and tell him that he must pick up one silver dollar and say that this is the right one. What chance would he have of getting the right one? Just the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing just eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man, from their day to the present time, providing they wrote in their own wisdom.

“Now these prophecies were either given by inspiration of God or the prophets just wrote them as they thought they should be. In such a case the prophets had just one chance in 10^17 of having them come true in any man, but they all came true in Christ [Mashiach].

“This means that the fulfillment of just eight prophecies alone proves that God inspired the writing of those [eight] prophecies to a definiteness which lacks only one chance in 10^17 of being absolute.” – Stoner, Peter W. Science Speaks. Chicago: Moody Press, 1963, pp 100-107

‘Science Speaks’ by Peter Stoner can be purchased at Amazon.com by clicking here.

Former atheist and author Lee Strobel talks about Stoner’s work in his video, “How Likely was it for Someone to Fulfill These Prophecies?”

click here to view the video…

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