The Remarkable Word Patterns in the Book of Genesis | The Institute for Creation Research
The Remarkable Word Patterns in the Book of Genesis

A truly amazing, as well as enigmatic, phenomenon of hidden word pairings in the Masoretic text of the Book of Genesis has recently been reported by a team of Israeli scientists. The discovery was first reported in 1988 in the eminent Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, then further developed and published in another prestigious scientific journal, [1] and recently reviewed and evaluated in a liberal theological journal. [2]

That a paper with such remarkable implications could be accepted in publications of this genre is itself amazing. Space allows only brief mention of these studies here, but believers in the divine inspiration of the Bible—especially Genesis—need to know of their existence.

The editor of Statistical Science made the following introductory comment: "(The authors) searched the Book of Genesis looking for pairs of words spelled out by picking out every "d" th letter, where "d" is some integer. "The pairs of words were names of personalities and dates of their birth or death taken from the Encyclopedia of Great Men of Israel. When the authors used a randomizatron test to see how rarely the patterns they found might arise by chance alone they obtained a highly significant result, with the probability p= 0.000016. Our referees were baffled: their prior beliefs made them think the Book of Genesis could not possibly contain meaningful references to modern-day individuals, yet when the authors carried out additional analyses and checks the effect persisted."

The authors themselves (one is on the mathematics faculty of the University of Jerusalem, the other two at the Jerusalem College of Technology), after showing that this amazing signal could not be found in other writings, ancient or modern, conclude their study with the following somewhat understated evaluation: "We conclude that the proximity of ELS's (equi-distant letter sequences) with related meanings in the Book of Genesis is not due to chance." Other Biblical books, as well as secular books, were found not to contain the pattern—only Genesis!

The author of the review article in the theological journal, Dr. Satinover, who serves as the medical director of a psychiatric institute in Connecticut, said that when the studies were reviewed by skeptical scientists, they could find no flaw in the data or the analyses, but nevertheless refused to believe they were more than a fluke. When asked what standard of proof would be necessary to convince them, most replied: "There is no standard. I will not believe it regardless."

As to the purpose or meaning of these amazing patterns deeply and cryptically embedded in the Hebrew text, Dr. Satinover says: "Some would say it is the Author's signature. Is it His way of assuring us that at this particular, late moment—when our scientific, materialistic doubt has reached its apotheosis, when we have been driven to the brink of radical skepticism—that He is precisely who He had said He is in the astonishing, radical, core document of the Judeo-Christian tradition?"

1 Doron Witztum, Eliyahu Rips and Yoav Rosenberg, "Equidistant Letter Sequences in the Book of Genesis," Statistical Science: A Review Journal of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics (vol. 9, August 1994), pp. 429-438.
2 Jeffrey B. Satinover, "Divine Authorship? Computer Reveals Startling Word Patterns" Biblical Review (vol. XI, October 1995) pp. 28-31, 44-45.
Both of these papers can be obtained from Living Truth Ministries, in Austin, Texas.

* Dr. Henry M. Morris (1918-2006) was Founder and President Emeritus of ICR.

Cite this article: Henry M. Morris, Ph.D. 1996. The Remarkable Word Patterns in the Book of Genesis. Acts & Facts. 25 (5).

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