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Less Than 1 Chance in 479 Million Moses Made Up The Creation Account

Being a mathematician, I like to think about things like this. There are twelve events in the Biblical account of creation that science has confirmed are correct and in the correct order. So I ask myself, what are the chances of just guessing the correct order.

Here are the events
1. Light separated from darkness
2. Creation of the earth covered in water
3. The separation of the dry land from the seas
4 – 6. The creation of plants in a particular order – grasses, plants with seeds and fruit bearing trees
7. The placing of the heavenly bodies in relationship to the earth. This is often explained as the clearing of the atmosphere (from one composed mostly of water vapor and carbon dioxide to one with more oxygen due to plant photsynthesis) enough to see these creations.
8-11 The creation of animal life in a particular order – fish, birds, modern land animals, live stock
12. The creation of man

Think of the problem like this. Take a deck of cards. Keep just one suit -let’s say hearts. Toss out the ace. Hand the remaining twelve cards to a one year old child. Ask him/her to hand you the cards one at a time. In order. What are the chances said toddler will start with the two and give them all to you in order right up to the king? It’s a basic probability question (no, come back! forget I said anything about math.) I’ll just tell you the answer. It’s one chance in 479,001,600. (If you want the formula it’s below) In other words Moses had less than one chance in 479 million of just correctly guessing.

Now compare this to other creation stories or myths. Many of these have remnants of the true creation story in place. Most leave out the hard and fast details found in Genesis. Many don’t even come close to actual events or the order of actual events.

What’s the simplest explanation? Moses actually just did guess it correctly? The ancients knew a lot more about science and the origins of the earth than their records show? Or Moses got it straight from the creator of the universe during one of his “face to face” talks with God (Exodus 33:11) or from information handed down to him from ancient prophets?

To me the simplest explanation is Moses got it straight from the creator.

The chance of getting the first card correct is 1 in 12. If you get that correct you have eleven cards left. The chance of getting the next card correct is 1 in 11. What are the chances of getting the first and second cards correct? It’s 1 in 12 times 1 in 11 (1/(12*11) or 1 in 132. So the answer for getting all twelve in order is 1 in (12*11*10*9*8*7*6*5*4*3*2*1) or 1 in 479,001,600.

Iff you believe there is proof of a world wide flood (see and also that when the Bible mentions the time of Peleg when the earth was divided is referring to the splitting apart of the continents rather than a simple division of lands among people, you now have fourteen events in order. What are the chances of that happening? 1 in 87,178,291,200 or basically 1 in 87 billion which is more people than have ever lived on the earth.


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2 comments… add one

  • Michael November 27, 2013, 8:03 pm

    Dear Margaret,

    If it isn’t too much trouble could you please explain how you calculate the statistic that you have been quoted with in Christian media and reference details of that Smithsonian letter.

    I have an apologetic leaning (and 3 kids who might need confidence boosting given the aggressively secular influences in our culture) and like to have this sort of information.

    Thanks in advance.


    • Margaret Hunter November 27, 2013, 8:05 pm

      The formula I used to find the probability of randomly putting those 12 events in Genesis in the correct order is found in introduction to probability. The chance of guessing the first of twelve things correctly is 1 in 12. You now have 11 items left. The chance of guessing the second is 1 in 11. You multiply those numbers to get the probability of guessing both 1 and 2 correctly. So that is 1 in (12 x11) or 1 in 132. Now you continue this for all the rest getting this
      1 in (12x11x10x9x8x7x6x5x4x3x2x1) which is 1 in 479,001,600 or less than 1 in 479 million.

      I understand your concern since there has been a false divide created between religion and science. There is no divide, just as there is no divide between science and art or science and the study of history. Many scientists, including top scientists, are religious. Science is a tool for understanding the physical world around us. It does not create happy people, happy relationships or strong families, now does it explain where we came from, why we are here and where we are going.

      Here are some links you might find useful
      Scientists and God (theoretical physicist and anglican priest who writes on why science and religion are not divided) about Episcopal Bishop who teaches physics and astronomy at a local university

      From the International Science magazine, Nature, is an article making it clear that fossil records do not support natural selection as the source for sudden appearances of new species

      Also on my site here is a useful link with quotes from good resources