This article translates the first verses of Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1, into Hebrew and Greek numeric values, then uses a single formula on both to get good approximations for e and pi, each times large multiples of ten.

In the Hebrew and Greek languages, each letter had a numeric value, as shown on the next page.

Here is Genesis 1:1 written in Hebrew. It is written from right to left.

בראשית ברא אלהים את השמים ואת הארץ

Now consider this expression: (number of letters)(product of letters) / (number of words)(product of words) ≈ 3.141554508×10^17(approximation of πtimes a power of 10) The absolute error is less than 0.00004

Here is John1:1 written in Greek. It is written from left to right.

Εν αρχηι ην ο λογος και ο λογος ην προς τον θεον, και θεος ην ο λογος

Now consider the same expression used in Genesis: ...≈ 2.718312812×10^40(approximation of e times a power of 10) The absolute error is less than 0.00004.

Numerology has obviously been considered; the interesting parts are the constraints:

  • use of the same formula
  • use of the opening verse in each instance

and the accuracy achieved.

How likely is this to happen with random text? How much does the multiple of ten caveat arbitrate these findings? Are these examples in any way exceptional?


Reluctantly I am adding the disclaimer (that I hoped would both be a given and irrelevant) that I am not on a mission to prove Divine Intent; even if the odds of this happening are faithfully interpreted as extremely low, they will not be lower than the odds that a deity bestowed Pi and Euler's number into an ancient book.

  • 1
    Little help with the greek text: The actual text in modern greek is: "εν αρχή ην ο λόγος και ο λόγος ην προς τον θεόν και θεός ην ο λόγος" . And εν = into, αρχή = beginning, ην = is, ο/τον = the, λόγος = reason(for this text), προς = to, θεόν = God, και = and . And the original text : "ἐν αρχἦ ἦν ὁ Λόγος καί ὁ Λόγος ἦν πρός τόν Θεόν καί Θεός ἦν ὁ Λόγος· οὗτος ἦν ἐν ἀρχῇ πρός τόν Θεόν" wich makes things more complicated as ancient letter 'companions' are used that varies the letters. Jul 15 '19 at 15:07
  • 6
    I think you're asking on the wrong site. Try stats.stackexchange.com to answer "How likely is this to happen with random text?" and christianity.stackexchange.com and judaism.stackexchange.com to answer what theological perspectives on the topic exist, and support and criticisms therein (i.e. the value of this thing if it's a mathematically exceptional thing).
    – fredsbend
    Jul 16 '19 at 3:17
  • 3
    @NateEldredge On this site, can you see any numerology related question answered differently from the next? Details aside, they'll all say the same thing: with essentially arbitrary starting points, skip values, etc., meaningful patterns are easy to find in any text, data, static, whatever (even the revealed message is arbitrary, like "why in the hell math constants in ancient text?"). Such skeptic examples abound. A fun one I remember demonstrated that Twain's Tom Sawyer predicted the Kennedy assassination.
    – fredsbend
    Jul 16 '19 at 3:29
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    How do you define the product of words and letters? Doesn't make sense. Jul 16 '19 at 16:09
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    @JeromeViveiros is the vote on a question a vote on the believabilty of the claim? hope not, as i upvoted some 'this BS needs debunking right now' issues...
    – bukwyrm
    Jul 17 '19 at 14:27

There are a lot of formulas that look simple.

"The absolute error is less than 0.00004" (actually that's the relative error) basically means that the first four digits match (when ignoring the location of the decimal point). So the chance of two given verses matching a given formula to this extent by random is about 1e-8.

On the other hand, the Bible has 80 books, probably 5 languages that could be used without making it too much of a stretch (Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, Latin, English), there are a dozen or so famous constants which could be reasonably used. Let's say there's ten possible ways to get a number (sum of letters, sum of words, product of letters, product of words, sum of pairs, the whole sentence as a number, product of words read backwards etc. - this is probably a low estimate), and we restrict ourselves to the four basic arithmetic operations, that's at least 10^4*4^3 options (more because e.g. (a*b)/(c*d) is not the same as a*(b/c)*d but it's hard to put a number on that). Take that all together and we are at 2.5e9 already, and there are probably plenty more fudge factors.

  • 3
    This answer has the spirit I was looking for: giving reason to be skeptical. There are some details you generalize though: the languages examined here are the original written languages of the text, and the fact that they use the first line in each book: these constraints are not appreciated in your response. Jul 16 '19 at 0:53
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    @user7778287: If this is the kind of answer you are looking for, you have asked in the wrong place. This is likely to be deleted.
    – Oddthinking
    Jul 16 '19 at 4:27
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    @fredsbend how do you expect a question about a purely mathematical argument to be answered if not "theoretically"?
    – Tgr
    Jul 16 '19 at 8:34
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    This answer is biased against the claim. The two verses are closely linked to each other by wording, and they are theologically very prominent. Greek and Hebrew, the original languages of these verses, are more logical choices than any other. Pi and e are the first two constants mentioned in the list, which suggests they may be more prominent targets than any other constant. Yet, your back-of-the-envelope calculation incorrectly assumes equal probabilities for each of these factors. It's very hard to model this correctly, but a convincing theoretical answer would have to attempt exactly that.
    – Schmuddi
    Jul 16 '19 at 9:09
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    The point is that I have considerable doubts that your calculation (80 * 5 * 10 * 10^4 * 4^3) is "the right operation to match reality, and no other factors or complications have been omitted" (as stated in the FAQ answer). As my previous comment shows, there are several complications that your answer ignores. That's why I consider your answer inappropriate for this claim.
    – Schmuddi
    Jul 16 '19 at 10:11


This is Numerology https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Numerology#Lack_of_evidence, It is star signs/ astrology for numbers. There is no scientific evidence that backs this up in any way. I find it best summed up by the movie Pi

From the 1998 movie Pi

You want to find the number 216 in the world, you will be able to find it everywhere. 216 steps from a mere street corner to your front door. 216 seconds you spend riding on the elevator. When your mind becomes obsessed with anything, you will filter everything else out and find that thing everywhere.

A more basic example of this is the picture that circulates occasionaly of the fact that attitude adds up to 100, which is nicely written up here:

From http://www.flyingcoloursmaths.co.uk

This awfully (100) selective (100) use of words is not reputable (100), according to this researcher (100) - it's inapplicable (100) and therefore (100) discredited (100) and deserves someone immature (100) like me to excoriate (100) it.

  • 3
    What does the movie quote have to do with the question? In order to derive π and e from the bible verses, you need to do a fairly complex (and also fairly arbitrary) transformation from letters to numbers, and then some more. This is totally unrelated to the observation that once that you believe a certain number is meaningful, you (allegedly – a movie quote is not exactly a reliable reference) start seeing it everywhere.
    – Schmuddi
    Jul 15 '19 at 12:19
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    @Schmuddi Doing arbitrary and complex transformations you can derive any number from any source. I can derive today’s date, the name of the fourth US President or my car’s fuel consumption from your comment. Does this mean that you enciphered them all in your text? No. And this is what this answer is about - if you want to find something you’ll “find” it (which means “invent” in this case).
    – Common Guy
    Jul 15 '19 at 12:34
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    @CommonGuy: Please, you don't have to tell me that numerology is nonsense. As my comment already implies, I know very well that you can derive virtually everything from anything. What I'm trying to point out here is that this answer is presently not really a good answer because it's attacking a straw man with the movie quote.
    – Schmuddi
    Jul 15 '19 at 12:38
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    I would add some non-wikipedia sources to this. Numerology is obviously BS; but wikipedia is pointing to other sources, so citing those sources directly would probably make a better answer.
    – JMac
    Jul 15 '19 at 13:10
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    You aren't answering the question.
    – fredsbend
    Jul 16 '19 at 3:19

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