# Proof of Numerology Part One

I have always been a person extremely interested in mathematics and probability. After reading the genealogy given in Genesis 5, for the dozenth time, I wanted to conduct an experiment. In the biblical genealogy we are given 10 patriarchs (Adam-Noah). And we are given a list of numbers pertaining to ages (I will call them age-numbers). There are 30 age-numbers in all (3 for each patriarch)… and each patriarch follows a formulaic pattern in the genealogy. “Adam lived 130 years and begat a son named Seth; the days after he had begotten Seth were 800 years; and all the days of Adam were 930 years: and he died”. This formula can be written simply as a+b=c.

With the help of Ancestry, I wanted to conduct my own genealogy, from my actual history, using the same exact formula proposed in the biblical genealogy. 10 ancestors, each ascribed 3 age-numbers, with the formula a+b=c. PS There is a slight variation in the case of Noah, where his formula involves the number of years he lived after the flood, instead of after the birth of his first son.

Here are the 10 patriarchs from the Bible:

130 - 800 - 930
Seth
​105 - 807 - 912
Enos
0​90 - 815 - 905
Cainan
​070 - 840 - 910
Mahalaleel
​065 - 830 - 895
Jared
​162 - 800 - 962
Enoch
0​65 - 300 - 365
Methuselah
​187 - 782 - 969
Lamech
​182 - 595 - 777
Noah
​ 500 - 350 - 950

Now here is a list of my own genealogy (the biblical names are simply coincidental)

Daniel
​ 35 - 29 - 64
Ephraim Sr.
​22 - 50 - 72
Ephraim Jr.
​47 - 31 - 78
Moses Sr.
​36 - 52 - 88
Moses Jr.
​37 - 49 - 86
Henry Sr.
​34 - 51 - 85
Calvin
​25 - 59 - 84
Henry Jr.
​34 - 18 - 52
Floyd
​31 - 61 - 92
Donald
​23 - 41 - 64

The number distribution (numbers ending with a specific digit) of the biblical patriarchs are as follows:

Numbers ending in 0 — 130, 90, 70, 500, 800, 840, 830, 800, 300, 930, 910, 350, 950, — 13 numbers in total.

Numbers ending in 2 — 162, 182, 782, 912, 962, — 5 numbers in total.

Numbers ending in 5 — 105, 65, 65, 815, 595, 905, 895, 365, — 8 numbers in total.

Numbers ending in 7 — 187, 807, 777 — 3 numbers in total.

Numbers ending in 9 — 969, — 1 number in total.

Given these considerations, there are only 5 digits (0,2,5,7, and 9) that appear at the end of the age-numbers, out of the 30 given. There is an especial tendency to lean towards the numbers 0 and 5 (occupying two thirds of the numbers of the total numbers). The odds of 30 random numbers only showing up half of the known digits is expressed by the following equation: 1 in (10 / 5)^30 pr 1 in 1,000,000,000.

Now let us compare the number distribution of my genealogy:

Numbers ending in 0 — 50, — 1 number in total.

Numbers ending in 1 — 31, 31, 51, 61, 41, — 5 numbers in total.

Numbers ending in 2 — 22, 52, 72, 52, 92, — 5 numbers in total.

Numbers ending in 3 — 23, — 1 number in total.

Numbers ending in 4 — 34, 34, 64, 84, 64 — 5 numbers in total.

Numbers ending in 5 — 35, 25, 85, — 3 numbers in total.

Numbers ending in 6 — 36, 86, — 2 numbers in total.

Numbers ending in 7 — 47, 37, — 2 numbers in total.

Numbers ending in 8 — 18, 78, 88 — 3 numbers in total.

Numbers ending in 9 — 29, 49, 59, — 3 numbers in total.

Thus far in my genealogy it can be shown there is no especial tendency towards any digit (except for the slightly above average frequency of 1,2, and 4). Given 30 random numbers, the average number distribution of any given number is 3 (or 30 / 10). The numbers 1,2 and 4 are only slightly above average with a frequency of 5, while the biblical genealogy has a major tendency towards 0 and 5 (13 and 8 times, respectively). Notice also that in my genealogy every single digits appears at least once, while the biblical genealogy only ever shows half of the digits.

The second comparison I wish to make is the number distribution of repeated numbers. The biblical repeated numbers are the following:

65, 65, 800, 800, — 2 repeated numbers in total.

My genealogy repetitions are as follows:

31, 31, 34, 34, 64, 64, — 3 repeated numbers in total.

In my genealogy, the number of repetitions are slightly higher. However, when we analyze the total range of numbers in both genealogies, the odds of my genealogy pumping out three duplicates is significantly higher than that of the biblical genealogy, pumping out two duplicates.

The range of biblical numbers (from least to greatest) is 65 - 969 … 905 number possibilities in total.

While the range of my genealogical numbers (from least to greatest) is 18 - 92 … 75 number possibilities in total.

Ending up with three pairs of duplicate numbers, with a set 75 possible numbers, and picking 30 at random, is not that unlikely. But the probabilities change drastically when then the set of numbers is changed from 75 to 905.

Next I will compare the age-numbers that refer to begetting, in both sets, and arrange them from least to greatest.

The Biblical begetting ages - 65, 65, 70, 90, 105, 130, 162, 182, 187, 500

My ancestor’s begetting ages - 22, 23, 25, 31, 34, 34, 35, 36, 37, 47

In the biblical data, you’ll notice a fairly gradual incline of numbers. There is no great disparity of adjacent of numbers in the first 9: ranging from 65 - 187. It is only when you get to the last number, 500, where a big leap occurs. 500 being a great leap from the lowest number, 65, as well as being nearly 3 times as largest then its runner up, 187. 500 is also over three times the average of the begetting-age-numbers, 156.

Compared to the date in my genealogy there is no number you could pick out, and say there is any special difference with the rest of the numbers… it’s just an uninteresting gradual incline.

Now, I will compare the age-numbers that refer to lifespans, in both sets, and arrange them from least to greatest.

The Biblical lifespans - 365, 777, 895, 905, 905, 910, 912, 930, 962, 969

My ancestor’s lifespans - 52, 64, 64, 72, 78, 84, 85, 86, 88, 92

Here again we a similar trend in the Biblical data… a general trend of 9 numbers and a single number that stands out. Only this time it’s in reverse. The average lifespan of the patriarchs are 853, which is well within the range of numbers 777-969. The only number that deviates significantly from this average is the first number, 365, which is less than half the average life-span. Notice again the the disparity between 365 and the number that comes closest to it, 777, which is still less than half his age.

Compared to the data in my genealogy there is nothing very significant about their ages. The person who died the earliest lived to be 52, while the oldest was 92. The average lifespan was 76.5, so yes my great ancestor Henry Jr. died a little bit prematurely, but nothing of great significance. The greatest leap between any two adjacent numbers, in the list of my ancestor’s lifespans, is that of 12 years.

All leaps in total, with my ancestors, range from 0 - 12 : 0, 1, 1, 2, 4, 6, 6, 8, 12

All leaps in total, with the biblical ancestors, range from 0 - 412 : 2, 5, 7, 10, 18, 20, 118, 412,

Given the average lifespan of the pre-Flood patriarchs, 858, and the average lifespan of my ancestors, 76.5, it gives us a proportionate difference of 11 (11 times greater than mine). So thus, my next comparison will be the ratio of significant numbers, given our base-10 counting system, and the context of the genealogical account. How many numbers are divisible by 100, in the biblical genealogy vs. how many numbers are divisible by 10 on my ancestry.

500, 800, 800, 300 - 4 numbers in total - the Bible

50 - 1 number in total - my ancestry

Given the age-ranges in the Bible, there are 9 numbers that are divisible by 100 : 100 - 900. Given the age-ranges in my ancestral account, there are also 9 numbers that are divisible by a numerically significant number (in this case 10) : 10-90.

My genealogy had 30 opportunities to pull out a numerically significant number… but it only pulled out 1.

The biblical account, on the other hand, (though still given 30 opportunities) is on average 10 times MORE unlikely to come up with a numerically significant number … and yet it pulled out 4.

After reading all the data-points we reach my final point.

Is it just pure coincidence that the age-number lifespan that stands out in the biblical account, 500, and the age-number of the begetting ages that stands out in the biblical account, 365, are BOTH pointing to the two significant characters in the genealogy of Genesis 5: Enoch, who walked with God, and lived to be 365; and Noah, who walked with God, and begat his children at 500?

In this study I’ve compared an ancient Hebrew genealogy to that of a modern 21st century one, and compared the results. Does the data point to the conclusion that we should read the genealogy of Genesis 5 in the exact same fashion we should read a modern one?

Tim,
You seem to have a talents and insights in mathematics and probability. That talent is needed for research that could better humanity in so many ways. DNA is really a mathematical code for disease and illnesses. The whole field of Bioinformatics is in need of new ideas, new coders, new researchers to find why groups of ATCGs cause diseases. Looking at number patterns in the Bible might seem a noble quest but if you refined those talents to, say looking at the genome of a Neanderthal and compared it with living person, can insights into Type -2 diabetes be found? The old is counting on the young to help all of us live longer and healthier.

@TimothyHicks
You might enjoy this post by Jim Stump on ANE numerology:
Long Life Spans in Genesis: Literal or Symbolic? - Article - BioLogos

@Patrick

Thank you for the compliments, Patrick. My three great interests are music, mathematics and literature (particularly Biblical). Conducting this experiment was exciting because it involved two of those interests simultaneously.

I think it is a noble quest for people coming up with cures for diseases, medicines, ways to live longer, healthier etc. Absolutely.

Though I think another noble quest is also that of enriching the lives, not always with quantity, but with quality.

With my experiment I don’t aim to add new meaning to the Bible necessarily… But to add weight to the idea that these numbers concerning the Genesis 5 patriarchs, aren’t just objective data-points — the ancient people were not concerned with writing down exact numbers like we are today. My aim was to show the implausibility of creating a completely concise record, using the numbers in Genesis 5 and Genesis 11, like those at AiG do.

@Christy

I’ve read many articles concerning Genesis 5, and the main thing that pops up is the sexagemisal system, with the addition of the number 7.

The data is compelling to me, but the reason I conducted this experiment in the way that I did, is because many people are still not convinced of symbolic numbers, or of numbers that follow an obscure counting system.

I wanted to show, by contrast, what a completely objective modern genealogy looked like to bring it home why these numbers cannot be looked at in the modern sense.

Right now I’m working on Proof of Sacred Numbers Pt. 2 — using the Genesis 11 genealogy instead.

-Tim

Tim,
Yes, Jim Stump’s post on ANE numerology was fascinating. It really shows how literal interpretations are not necessarily the only way to interpret seemingly simple statements like Adam lived to be 930 years old. Numbers meant different things in the ANE than they do today. If I labeled you a 3 and Christy a 4 in today’s world, you would immediately think that Christy is 1 more than you in something. But to ANE people, labeling someone a 3 meant something different than labeling them a 4. Perhaps they assigned numbers as badges of honor. That a person lives a long and good life, he was a 969. Another special person was a 958. and so on. I really have a hard time accepting that even these ancient people believed that any person could live nearly a millennium. Even in ancient times, you know who was your mother and your grandmother. If a really old woman was your great grandmother, you would know that too, but never did you ever see someone who was your great, great, great, great grandmother and that doesn’t even get you close to 900 years between your birth and your progenitor’s birth.

@Patrick
Four is my favorite number! It was my jersey number when I played sports in high school and the date I was born on, and the number my dad always picked when he said “pick a number from one to ten” to decide who got something between my younger brothers and me, though they didn’t figure out it was always 4 until we were too old to play the game any more.

Maybe I will try to read some deep meaning into your prophetic pronouncement of my four-ness. Surely it could not just be random…

I just knew your were a 4. Your picture has 4 written all over it. 4’s are wise, happy, good and loving.

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@Patrick

I agree with you that it’s a very narrow approach to assume that when the Bible tells a number, then it’s specifically referring to a quantitative value. There’s a very obvious example in 1st Samuel 16 and 17 that says that David is the youngest of 8 sons. But in 2 Chronicles it lists the sons of Jesse, and calls David “the seventh”… the eighth son isn’t even mentioned.

It would seem to me that the Samuel account is more of the “down to earth history” whereas the Chronicles account is giving especial attention to David and the number seven — which has obvious importance to the Hebrews. David is given many special comments / compliments by the authors… “a man after God’s own heart” “blessed by God” etc.

A lot of this is covered in a paper on the ASA web site. Making Sense of the
Numbers of Genesis

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