Ivan Panin's Letter
T he Inspiration of the Scriptures Scientifically Demonstrated
By Ivan Panin
For some months preceding Sunday, November 19th, 1899, the New York Sun had been devoting the better part of a page of its Sunday edition to the discussion of the truth of Christianity. On that date it printed a letter from one W.R.L., in which he denounced Christianity, using the oft-refuted “arguments,” and challenged “some champion of orthodoxy to come into the arena of the Sun,” and give its readers some “facts” in defence of the Christian religion. The writer had not seen the N.Y. Sun for years; but on his way from South Framingham to Grafton, Massachusetts, a copy of the Sun of that date, left on a vacant seat in the train, fell into his hands. The following letter met that challenge.
The letter was reprinted by the writer himself in a pamphlet of some fifty pages with the Greek Text of Matthew 1:1-17 and the vocabularies thereto, enabling the scholarly reader to verify his statements for himself.
Sir: - In today’s Sun Mr. W.R.L. calls for a “champion of orthodoxy” to “step into the arena of the Sun,” and give him some facts:
Let us examine the first part of this genealogy.
Its vocabulary has 49 words, or 7 x 7. This number is itself seven (Feature 1) sevens (Feature 2), and the sum of its factors is two sevens (Feature 3). Of these 49 words 28, or 4 sevens, being with a vowel; and 21, or 3 sevens, begin with a consonant (Feature 4).
Again: These 49 words of the vocabulary have 266 letters, or 7 x 2 x 19; this number is itself 38 sevens (Feature 5), and the sum of its factors is 28, or 4 sevens (Feature 6), while the sum of its figures is 14, or 2 sevens (Feature 7). Of these 266 letters, moreover, 140, or 20 sevens, are vowels, and 126, or 18 sevens, are consonants (Feature 8).
That is to say: Just as the number of words in the vocabulary is a multiple of seven, so is the number of its letters a multiple of seven; just as the sum of the factors of the number of the words is a multiple of seven, so is the sum of the factors of the number of their letters a multiple of seven. And just as the number of words is divided between vowel words and consonant words by seven, so is their number of letters divided between vowels and consonants by sevens.
Again: of these 49 words 35, or 5 sevens, occur more than once in the passage; and 14, or 2 sevens, occur but once (feature 9); seven occur in more than one form, and 42, or 6 sevens, occur in only one form (Feature 10). And among the parts of speech the 49 words are thus divided: 42, or 6 sevens, are nouns, seven are not nouns (Feature 11). Of the nouns 35, or 5 sevens, are Proper names, seven are common nouns (Feature 12). Of the Proper names 28 are male ancestors of the Christ, and seven are not (Feature 13).
Moreover, these 49 words are distributed alphabetically thus: Words under a-e are 21 in number, or 3 sevens; z-k 14, or 2 sevens; m-c also 14. No other groups of sevens stopping at the end of a letter are made by these 49 words, the groups of sevens stop with these letters and no others. But the letters a, e, z, k, m, c, are letters 1, 5, 6, 10, 12, 22, of the Greek alphabet, and the sum of these numbers (called their Place Values), is 56, or 8 sevens (Feature 14).
This enumeration of the numeric phenomena of these 11 verses does not begin to be exhaustive, but enough has been shown to make it clear that this part of the genealogy is constructed on an elaborate design of sevens.
Let us now turn to the genealogy as a whole. I will not weary your readers with the recounting all the numeric phenomena thereof: pages alone would exhaust them. I will point out only one feature. The New Testament is written in Greek. The Greeks had no separate symbols for expressing numbers, corresponding to our Arabic figures, but used instead the letters of their alphabet; just as the Hebrews, in whose tongue the Old Testament is written , made use for the same purpose as theirs. Accordingly the 24 letters stand for the following numbers: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, 700, 800. Every Greek word is this a sum in arithmetic obtained by adding the numbers for which its letters stand, or their numeric values. If we write its numeric value over each of these 72 words, and add them, we get their sum, 42,364, or 6.052 sevens, distributed into the following alphabetical groups only: a—b have 9,821, or 1,403 sevens; g—d, 1,904, or 272 sevens; e—z, 3,703, or 529 sevens; y—r, 19,264, or 2,752 sevens; s—c, 7,672, or 1,096 sevens. But the numeric value of the 10 letters used for making these groups is 931, or 7 x 7 x 19, a multiple not only of seven but of seven sevens.
Let Mr. W.R.L. try to write some 300 words intelligently like this genealogy, and reproduce some numeric phenomena of like designs. If he does it in 6 months, he will indeed do a wonder. Let us assume that Matthew accomplished this feat in one month.
This enumeration only begins as it were to scratch the surface of the numerics of this passage. But what is specifically noteworthy here is the fact that the angel’s speech has also a scheme of sevens making it a kind of a ring within a ring, a wheel within a wheel. If Mr. L. can write a similar passage of 161 words with the same scheme of sevens alone (though there are several others here) in some three years, he would accomplish a still greater wonder. Let us assume that Matthew accomplished this feat in only 6 months.
If Mr. L. can write a chapter like this as naturally as Matthew writes, but containing in some 500 words so many intertwined yet harmonious numeric features, in say the rest of his days—whatever his age is now, or the one to which he is to attain: if he thus accomplish it at all, it will indeed be a marvel of marvels. Let us assume that Matthew accomplished this feat in only 3 years.
Anyhow Matthew did it, and we thus have a miracle—an unheard-of literary, mathematical artist, unequalled, hardly even conceivable. This is the first fact for Mr. L. to contemplate.
A second fact is yet more important: In his very first section, the genealogy discussed above, the words found nowhere else in the New Testament, occur 42 times, 7 x 6; and have 126 letters, 7 x 6 x 3, each number a multiple not only of seven, but of 6 sevens, to name only two of the many numeric features of these words. But how did Matthew know, when designing this scheme for these words (whose sole characteristic is that they are found nowhere else in the New Testament) that they would not be found in the other 26 books? That they would not be used by the other 7 New Testament writers? Unless we assume the impossible hypothesis that he had an agreement with them to that effect, he must have had the rest of the New Testament before him when he wrote his book. The Gospel of Matthew, then, was written last.
Mark, then, is another miracle, another unparalleled literary genius. And in the same way in which it was shown that Matthew wrote last it is also shown that Mark, too, wrote last. Thus to make an example from this very passage: It has just one word found nowhere else in the New Testament, yanasimov, deadly. This fact is signaled by no less than seven features of sevens, thus: Its numeric value is 581, or 83 sevens, with the sum of its figures 14, or 2 sevens, of which the letters 3, 5, 7, 9, from the BEGINNING of the word have 490, or 7 x 7 x 5 x 2: a multiple of seven sevens, with the sum of its factors 21, or 3 sevens. It the vocabulary it is preceded by 42 words, 7 x 6; in the passge itself by 126 words, or 7 x 6 x 3, both numbers multiples not only of seven, but of 6 sevens. We have thus established before us this third fact for Mr. L. to contemplate: Matthew surely wrote after Mark, and Mark just as surely wrote after Matthew.
The phenomena are there and there is no human way of explaining them. Eight men cannot each write last, 27 books, some 500 pages, cannot each be written last. But once assume that one Mind directed the whole, and the problem is solved simply enough; but this is Verbal Inspiration—of every jot and tittle of the New Testament.
There remains only to be added that by precisely the same kind of evidence the Hebrew Old Testament is proved to be equally inspired. Thus the very first verse of Genesis has seven words, 28 letters, or 4 sevens: to name only two out of the dozens of numeric features of this one verse of only seven words—N.Y. Sun, Nov. 21st, 1899 - Corrected.
To this letter several replies appeared in the Sun, but not a single answer..
For in only three ways can it be refuted.
(a) By showing that the facts are not as here given.
(b) By showing that it is impossible for 8 men to write each after the other 7; for 27 books, or some 500 pages, to be each in its turn written last.
(c) By showing that even if the facts are true, the arithmetic faultless, and the collocation of the numerics honest, it does not follow that mere men could not have written this without Inspiration from above.
Accordingly, as many as nine noted rationalists (of whom Drs. Lyman Abbot and Charles W. Eliot are still living [now in 1927 also gone to where they may know] were respectfully but publicly invited to refute the writer. One was not “interested” in the writer’s “arithmetical” doings; two “regretted” that they “had no time” to give heed thereto. Another “did not mean to be unkind,” but ….. The rest were silent. For the special benefit of these the writer printed the original data with numerous details, enabling them in the easiest manner to verify every statement made by him, if they wished. And to the best of his ability he has for years seen to it that no scholar whom surely these things specially concern should remain in ignorance of the facts here recounted, and of hundreds of like cogency.
A notable exception to the above is a lawyer of standing [now also dead], whose books and Law are deemed as of authority. He had the intelligence enough and candour withal to confess that the case for the Bible is thus proved to be an “absolutely unique book.” This much the case itself extorts from the but too well equipped writer on—EVIDENCE; and accordingly he henceforth reads the writer’s Numerics with intense appreciation. And then, fresh from this confession, he betakes himself once more to the circulation of his anti-Christian books in the writing of which he joys to spend his leisure hours.
In the second letter to the N.Y. Sun the author, in discussing some irrelevant “answers” to his first letter, recited the three ways of refuting him and then continued:
“No sane man will try to refute me by the second method. To refute me by the first method I herewith respectfully invite any or all of the following to prove that my facts are not facts: namely Messrs. Lyman Abbot, Washington Gladden, Heber Newton, Minot J. Savage, Presidents Eliot of Harvard, White of Cornell, and Harper, of the University of Chicago, Professor J. Henry Thayer of Harvard, and Dr. Briggs, and any other prominent higher critic so called. They may associate with themselves, if they choose, all the contributors of the ninth edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica who wrote its articles on Biblical subjects, together with a dozen mathematicians of the calibre of Professor Simon Newcomb. The heavier the calibre of either scholar or mathematician, the more satisfactory to me.
“They will find that my facts are facts. And since they are facts, I am ready to take them to any three prominent lawyers, or, better still, to any judge of the Superior or Supreme Court, and abide by his decision as to whether the conclusion is not necessary that Inspiration alone can account for the facts, if they are facts.
“All I should ask would be that the judge treat the case as he would any other case that comes before him: declining to admit matters for discussion as irrelevant when they are irrelevant; and listening patiently to both sides, as he does in any trial.”