What Are the Odds?

What Are the Odds?

One of my favorite subjects in school was probability and statistics. I loved calculating the odds of rolling dice, flipping a coin, and drawing a playing card! Knowing the odds of an event occurring is helpful and used in many areas of life. 

  • Insurance companies use probability to know how much to charge you and the chances of you getting into an accident based on multiple factors like age, location, and vehicle.
  • Meteorologists use the knowledge to forecast the weather. 
  • Casinos use probability to give their games of “chance” like slots and table games, just enough edge to make money, and yet not so much that you won’t return to play again.

Sports Books also use probability as well as historical data to calculate the odds of a given sporting event. One common bet on sports is called the Money Line. It’s a straight-up bet on who you think will win the game. There are many factors to be considered, in terms of probability, you have a 50% chance of choosing the winning team.

When it comes to the Bible, probability and statistics come into play when you consider prophecy. Prophecy is a prediction of something happening. And the odds of it actually happening are also 50%. Either the event you predict will happen or it won’t. 

  • Jesus fulfilled prophecy when he was born of a virgin. 
  • Jesus fulfilled prophecy when he was born in Bethlehem.
  • Jesus fulfilled prophecy when he was killed by crucifixion. 

Scholars have said there are over 48 prophecies surrounding Jesus, his birth, life, and death. The odds that one man would fulfill more than even 1 prophecy become very slim quickly. For example, if Jesus were to fulfill just 2 prophecies, the odds become 25%. Add another prophecy and the odds are 12.5%. If you were to calculate Jesus fulfilling 4 prophecies it would be 1 in 4 or 6.25%. I took the numbers and dropped them into a Numbers spreadsheet and just extended them out to 48 prophecies. Here are my results. 

According to my calculations, the odds of one man fulfilling all 48 prophecies are 1 in 281,474,976,710,656 (1 in 281 trillion)! The percentage odds of this happening is  0.00000000000035527136788005%! Compare these odds to other common events today.

Odds of being struck by lightning in your lifetime: 1 in 15,300.

Odds of winning the lottery: 1 in 292.2 million.

Odds of being killed in a plane crash: 1 in 11 million.

There comes a point when probability is out of the realm of possibility and, for me at least, something supernatural, even miraculous is going on. I’m struck with the number of prophecies in the Bible as well as the fulfillment of those same prophecies. And here’s the kicker – every prophecy in the Bible has come true! This is no longer a question of odds, but a matter of proof. Because in the natural world, given the odds, it’s not really possible, but divinely orchestrated. 

So, if you want to play along, take out a coin and flip it over and over, each time predicting what will come up. Let me know how many you guess correctly in a row. You may get 3, even 4 in a row. But 48 guessing 48 flips in a row, while in the realm of possibility, would probably take a miracle! Which is what appears to be happening with the life of Jesus Christ. 

For an even more exhaustive examination of probability in the Bible, and probably more accurate, check out Peter Stoner’s findings at https://firmisrael.org/learn/how-many-prophecies-did-jesus-fulfill/