Can you explain the Bible code?

The Bible Code is both a book and a phenomenon which claims that one can find hidden (encrypted) messages in code in the first five books of the Bible in the original Hebrew text. These hidden messages are purported to predict events that occurred thousands of years later, such as the Holocaust and the assassination of JFK. Basically, the Bible code claims that the hidden messages can be discovered by analyzing “equidistant letter sequences” (ELS).

Those who believe in the Bible code claim that these messages are the “fingerprint of God” imbedded in the biblical texts. Skeptics point out that the ELS method can be used to reveal similar messages in a phone book or in War and Peace, pointing out that such combinations of letters forming words is simply a mathematical probability. The bottom line for us as Catholics is that we don’t believe in a God who keeps secrets. The essence of Scripture is “revelation” which is the very opposite of a secret. Revelation means that God has gone out of his way to reveal himself and his message of love to us. The ultimate revealing of God, of course, is Jesus Christ, the human face of God. Jesus’ death on the Cross – the execution of a naked man – reveals to us a God who allowed himself to become vulnerable and thus, accessible to all. Codes block access. Secrets withhold information. Our God will have none of that: he reveals himself and his message of love to us fully and without hesitation and he tells us to spread that message to all nations….not to keep it secret!

Joe Paprocki

Joe Paprocki, D.Min., is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press in Chicago. He has over 30 years of experience in pastoral ministry in the Archdiocese of Chicago. Joe is the author of numerous books on pastoral ministry and catechesis, including The Bible Blueprint, Living the Mass, and bestsellers The Catechist's Toolbox and A Well-Built Faith (all from Loyola Press).


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