Is numerology the means by which your destiny can be revealed? Where can
you find reliable information about the future?
NUMBERS AND YOU
|Do NUMBERS have hidden meaning? "Of course!" some
exclaim, pointing to an intriguing example-the terrorist attacks of September
11, 2001. "The moment I heard the news," says one numerologist, "1 noticed
the date: 9-11-2001." The number 11 is generally considered to be one of
the "master numbers" by numerologists. So numerology enthusiasts have compiled
a list of various items related to the terrorist attack that point to the
"master number" 11. This is just a portion of what they found:
The tragedy occurred on the date ........ 9 + 1 + 1 = 11.
September 11 was the 254th day of the year. ...2+5+4=11.
The airplane that hit the north tower was Flight 11.
That flight had 92 people on board.... 9 + 2 = 11.
The airplane that hit the south tower had 65 passengers. ...6+5=11.
The Twin Towers resembled the number 11.
In English the expression "New York City" has 11 letters.
|Numerology-in which special significance is attached
to figures, their combinations, and numerical totals-has been a widespread
practice in Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Why the allure? According to
one Web site, decoding the letters of the alphabet used in names-one popular
aspect of numerology-"yields accurate information concerning personality,
nature, qualities and shortcomings." According to this source, studying our
"date of birth uncovers our life path, with its joys and trials."
Are these claims true? Or could there be hidden dangers in the metaphysical
study of numbers?
THE ALLURE OF NUMBERS
|IMAGINE a world without numbers. There would be
no money. Trade would be restricted to face-to-face
barter. And what about sports? Without numbers, not only would we be unable
to keep score but we could not even define how many players should be on
each team! Besides their practical application, however, numbers carry
an aura of mystery. This is because they are abstract. You cannot see,
touch, or feel numbers. To illustrate: An apple has a distinct color, texture,
size, shape, smell, and taste. You can check each of these properties to
see whether a certain object is indeed an apple, a lemon, a ball, or something
else. A number, however, is not like that. One collection of seven items
may not share anything in common with another collection of seven items -other
than their "sevenness." Hence, to comprehend
the meaning of numbers -for example, to discern the difference between
six and seven-is to grasp something very abstract indeed. And this is
where number mystics come into the picture.
|From Pythagoras to Pseudoscience
Attributing special meaning to numbers wcommon in ancient societies. Pythagoras,
a Greek philosopher and mathematician who lived during the sixth century
B.C.E., taught that all things can be reduced to numerical patterns. He and
his followers reasoned that the whole universe exemplifies
proportion. Could it not be, then, that
mathematical relationships are inherent in all material
HIDDEN MESSAGES IN THE BIBLE?
|In his book The Bible
Code, journalist Michael Drosnin claims to have discovered hidden
messages by means of computer analysis of the Hebrew Scriptures. According
to Drosnin's claims, the "code' yielded the words "assassin that will
assassinate" along with the name Yitzhak Rabin -and this was found a year
before Israeli Prime Minister Rabin was killed.
As expected, The Bible
Code created its share of controversy. Dave Thomas, a mathematician
and physicist, demonstrated that computer analysis of any text will produce
what appear to be cryptic messages. Analyzing Drosnin's own text, Thomas
came up with the words "code," "silly,' and "hoax." "Hidden messages can
be found anywhere,' Thomas says, "provided you're willing to invest time
and effort to harvest the vast field of probability."
With its capability of making an unlimited number of calculations, a computer
would likely find some combinations of letters that could be used as some
sort of prediction. But this is merely a coincidence and does not prove that
the Bible contains hidden messages.
|Since Pythagoras' day, numerical readings have
been used for prediction and dream interpretation
as well as for memory aids. They have been employed by Greeks, Muslims, and
members of Christendom. Using a system of numerology
Jewish Cabalists assigned
a numerical value to each of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet and thereby
claim to have found hidden meanings in the Hebrew Scriptures. Modern-day
numerology is similar. Often, your name and birth date will be the starting
point. A numerical value is assigned to each letter in your name. By adding
these-along with the numbers of your birth month and date-a numerologist
establishes your key numbers. He then ascribes special meaning to these numbers,
which he feels provide a complete description of you-including your personality,
your unconscious desires, and your destiny.
Perhaps the real attraction of numerology lies in the seeming accuracy of
its analysis. "Many people have come to believe in numerology through finding
how closely the numbers fit those to whom they are applied," writes Edward
Albertson in his book Prophecy for the Millions. Yet, numerology has
also been labeled a pseudoscience. Why? Are there
reasons for you to be suspicious of its claims?
SHOULD YOU LOOK TO NUMBERS FOR GUIDANCE?
|DOES numerology stand up under the scrutiny of
science and reason?
the means by which our destiny can be revealed? Should you build your
future around numerological findings and
One objection that numerologists have been unable to overcome is that different
cultures use different calendars. For example, what if someone lives where
the Chinese calendar is used? Consider the date mentioned in our opening
article - September 11, 2001. According to the Chinese calendar, that was
the 24th day of the 7th month of the 18th year of the 78th cycle. The Julian
calendar would express the same date as August 29, 2001. According to the
Muslim calendar, it was 22 Jumada II 1422, while the Hebrew calendar had
it as 23 Elul 5761. How could there be numerical significance to a date that
is expressed in so many ways? Another factor: Languages often have unique
spellings of names. For example, the letters contained in the English name
John have a numerological value of 2, but the letters in the Spanish spelling
of the same name-Juan-have a value of 1.
It is one thing to recognize that many aspects of the
universe can be explained by mathematical formulas. These formulas can
be tested and demonstrated. But it is quite another matter to claim that
your name was preordained to coincide with your date of birth and to be linked
with certain numbers so that you can ascertain your destiny.
The conclusion is clear: To believe that numerological interpretations are
accurate, when they are based upon such widely variable factors as calendar
and language, is to stretch the limits of credibility to an absurd
THE VARIETY OF CALENDARS POSES A SERIOUS OBSTACLE TO NUMEROLOGY
GREGORIAN September 11, 2001
CHINESE 24th day of the 7th month of the 18th year of the 78th cycle
JULIAN August 29, 2001
MUSLIM 22 Jumada II 1422
HEBREW 23 Elul 5761
| "Time and Unforeseen Occurrence"
Some become interested in numerology because they desire to make their life
predictable. However, the Bible makes it plain that the details of human
life cannot be mapped out in advance. We read: "The swift do not have the
race, nor the mighty ones the battle, nor do the wise also have the food,
nor do the understanding ones also have the riches, nor do even those having
knowledge have the favor; because time and unforeseen occurrence befall
them all." (Ecclesiastes 9:11) Yes, many
events take place
unexpectedly. Such chance happenings defy efforts to predict outcomes
based on birth date or numerical value of a name.
Consider another example: In encouraging generosity, the Bible states: "Send
out your bread upon the surface of the waters, for in the course of many
days you will find it again. Give a portion to seven, or even to eight, for
you do not know what calamity will occur on the earth." (Ecclesiastes
11:1, 2) With few exceptions, calamities are things that people do not -indeed,
cannot-know in advance. Hence, mathematics
professor Underwood Dudley writes regarding numerologists:
"They fail to
give chance sufficient credit. Amazing things can happen at
It is true that numerologists may make some predictions that come true. What
accounts for this? In some instances, the outcome may be coincidental. Then,
too, sometimes the language of numerologists is so ambiguous that it could
apply to several outcomes. But there is something more serious to
ARE HOROSCOPES RELIABLE?
"At times you are outgoing, but at other times you are
reserved. You find it unwise to reveal too much about yourself to strangers
You are an independent thinker who needs proof of a matter before gullibly
accepting it. You like variety in life, and you be con unhappy when you are
hemmed in by rules. You have great potential, which you have not tapped entirely
You tend to be critical of your performance and abilities."
Does that sound like you? If so, you may be putting more
meaning into the description than it deserves. After all, most of the above
statements are true for the majority of people. Hence, readers will tend
to accept those statements that seem accurate and ignore those that do not.
According to the book Why Do Buses Come in Threes-The Hidden Mathematics
of Everyday Life, "researchers have found that if the star signs on a
horoscope are removed, people are unable to identify
which paragraph belongs to their own sign, but if the signs are included
they will believe their own star reading to be the most accurate."
| A Form of Divination?
The Bible does not mention numerology by name. But it does tell of Haman,
an Amalekite who plotted the extermination of the Jews living in Persia during
the fifth century B.C.E. The account says: Haman ordered the lots to be cast
("purim," they were called) to,find out the right day and month to carry
out his plot. The thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar,
was decided on."-Esther 3:7, Today's English Version.
In ancient times, casting lots was a legitimate way of settling a controversy,*
(Proverbs 18:18) But Haman cast lots to practice divination-something that
the Bible condemns.
Deuteronomy 18:10-12 states that God detests anyone who employs divination,
a practicer of magic or anyone who looks for omens or a sorcerer. or one
who binds others with a spell or anyone who consults a spirit medium or
professional foreteller of events . Everybody doing these things is something
detestable to Jehovah." The Bible links divination and uncanny power to
spiritism. Wicked spirits can maneuver events to suit their purpose. Whether
this is the case in a specific instance or not. One thing is certain: The
practice of spiritism is condemned by God. and it can bring one under the
control of wicked spirits-1 Samuel 15:23, Ephesians 6:12.
Numerology is devoid of scientific basis, and it fares badly when examined
under the light of reason. More important,
because it is a form of divination, numerology conflicts with Bible teachings.
In view of that, numerology is not a beneficial means of regulating your
life or planning your future.
*when lots were east, small items such as pebbles or small bits
of wood-were placed in the folds of a garment or in a vase. After this, they
were shaken. The one whose lot was drawn out was the one who was chosen.
SYMBOLIC NUMBERS IN THE BIBLE
Certain numbers used in the Bible have
symbolic meanings, but only within the context of the Scriptures in which
they are used. For example, the number four is used to denote allness or
universalness. This idea is conveyed in such expressions as four extremities
of the earth" and "four winds of the heavens." (Isaiah 11:12; Daniel 8:8)
At times, the number six represents
imperfection. Interestingly, the number given to Satan's earthly political
organization by the book of Revelation is "a man's number"-666. (Revelation
13:18) Here six is raised to the third degree, underscoring the imperfection
of that beastly organization. When the number seven is used in a symbolic
way, it represents completeness. (Leviticus 4:6; Hebrews 9:24-26) These and
other symbolic numbers used in the Scriptures gain meaning from their prophetic
Although the Scriptures give a measure of importance to certain numbers,
the Bible does not encourage us to link the letters of certain words with
numbers to uncover mystical truths.