In the Bible it is written: “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” (Jn 20:30-31)
Many people have tried to demonstrate a lack of integrity in the Holy Bible. A very common approach is to examine a particular text thought to have been written by a certain individual, and then presume the authority and capability to discern from subtle nuances in the wording of the text that some other person than the supposed author actually authored some part of it, and thereby claim to bring a question against the integrity of the text as a whole. This practice is called Higher Criticism.
This type of subjective attack has been pursued with nearly every book of the Word of God in some manner or other. It has been done, in particular, with the Gospel of John. The text given above, found at the end of the twentieth chapter of John’s Gospel, is said to be the original ending of the book since it is presumed self-evident that the above text itself clearly indicates this.
Daniel Gleason, author of two volumes and a web site (jesus8880.com) dedicated to the validation of higher criticism, claims that if the above text is not the original ending to the Gospel of John, if John was not completing the book when he penned this text, then he was lying when he wrote it. If the ending is in fact the intended one, and John was not lying when he wrote it, then the remaining text of the Gospel of John, the entire twenty-first chapter — which clearly states that it was authored by John the Apostle (21:24) — is in fact the work of another.
Gleason claims to have convincing evidence that this is indeed the case via geometric patterns found in the text of the last chapter of John, which he claims are absent from the remainder of the book. In this manner he thinks to have successfully attacked the integrity of the Gospel of John as a whole — showing that it is inherently inconsistent and flawed.
The implication of Gleason’s research and conclusion is that this last chapter of the Gospel of John is likely a farce. The fact that it is included in the Holy Bible as an inspired text would therefore indicate that the entire Bible is likely a farce as well: that the Holy Bible has no claim upon Gleason’s life as a text inspired by God, a text in which God calls Gleason to repent and turn to Christ for salvation. Such is the evident desire of higher critics: they do not wish to be accountable to a Holy God, and therefore go to great lengths to deceive themselves and others to this end.
First, let us examine Gleason’s logic in deducing what he has. He says (in an archived version of his site from 2003. which he has since evidently tweaked to mask his deceptions), “Verse 30 clearly says that Jesus created other signs in the presence of his disciples but that the other signs were not included in this book. Did John know when he wrote those words that he was going to write another chapter? If he did know, then he lied when he wrote verse 30. If he didn’t know, then the 21st chapter could very likely be a sequel written by a different author that was later appended to the original author’s book.”
Gleason’s reasoning depends upon the assumption that in writing verse 30 John intended for us to understand that no other signs which Christ performed than the ones John had already mentioned in the gospel would be included in his account. Gleason assumes that John meant this, but John did not actually say this.
What John actually said was that there are many other signs done by Christ which are not contained in the Gospel of John. This fact is evidently true … as the Bible defines the Gospel of John. However, John did not say that he had already mentioned all of the signs in his gospel as he penned these words, and that he was intending to close the account without including any other signs in subsequent narrative.
John’s statement in verse 30 is consistent with the notion that John was not yet intending to complete the Gospel, that he was merely elaborating upon the fact that no mortal could ever capture all of the things that were done by Christ in a book. John was evidently moved to include a statement here — prior to his formal close of the narrative — of his motive for including the signs he did include, being (in evident connection with the confession of Thomas at seeing the living Christ) that many others would see the living Christ in the pages of this gospel and would likewise believe on Him.
Even so, suppose Gleason is in fact correct in this assumption. Gleason’s conclusion is that Mark, the author of the Gospel of Mark, either wrote John 21 by himself, or had some help … filling the text with geometric puzzles, similar to those Gleason claims Mark embedded in his own gospel, for some mysterious reason.
Gleason concludes that Mark purposefully preferred this activity to properly completing his own work, that the present ending to the Gospel of Mark found in the Bible was later written by someone other than Mark (which is a very widely held position among textual critics), and that Mark actually wrote the ending to the Gospel of John … though explicitly intending for us to think that John himself was the author … even though John had already formally concluded the book with a clear statement to this end. Covertly, just in case we were to discover and dig into these embedded “sacred geometries” as a means of questioning John’s authorship, Gleason presumes that Mark attempted to mislead us symbolically by pointing toward John the Baptist with these subtle geometric pictures.
Besides making Mark out to be a wicked — and stupidly unpredictable — deceiver, implying that not a single word of the Gospel of Mark should be given even scant credibility, as well as John 21, what else does this position imply?
It implies that Mark got his hands on the original autograph of the Gospel of John before any copies were made of John’s work, actually before any honest person could become familiar with its original ending. If John was an honest man, writing the truth, Mark must have obtained the Gospel of John directly from John himself immediately after he wrote it, and it must be true that Mark did not give the work to anyone else to read, without John minding at all, until John was dead. However, an honest John certainly would have resented such absurd and mindless censorship from a friend and colleague in a matter central to their very lives.
This implies that John knew of Mark’s censorship, collaborated with it, and was also, therefore, dishonest, even if he did not lie in closing his own book: by natural implication all of the twelve Apostles of Christ were also willing and collaborative liars in the overall deception of John 21 … which was of necessity at its root a deception over the very essence of the Christian record (falsifying incidentals while knowing the general truths to be verifiable fact is evidently absurd), something our higher critic friends would not find so very disturbing. Either the writers wrote the truth in all honesty and our Bible is completely trustworthy … or the gospels are full of blatant lies. This deduction is evident in the clear reference Gleason makes to the fact that the addition of John 21 was made before the publication and dissemination of the Gospel of John.
So, if Gleason and company are correct, we presumably have two wily old men, well … actually 12, well … more than 500 folk actually — over 500 deceptive men and women must have been involved in promoting this purposeless vanity, Christianity, in some direct way — all fervently concocting a new false religion … common every day illiterate folk putting their lives on the line daily in their public witness and testimony of the life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of some supposed Jesus Christ (While Josephus, the famous unbelieving Jewish historian of that day, makes explicit reference to Jesus Christ as a historical figure … Gleason can’t even grant us this!) … we must find all in coercive agreement with Mark and John. These people are supposedly privately brainstorming over the best way in which to falsify an historical record of the life of their supposed Savior in order to promote this new religion they were making up … for which each poor disciple had gladly forsaken all earthly comforts, and every faint promise thereof — a religion for which all would gladly be tortured to death for.
It is an historical fact that many of these early Christian leaders were, in fact, tortured to death for this new religion they devised … and not a single one of them ever gave any hint whatsoever that what they were dying for was a bold-faced lie, and that they knew it was a lie. If Gleason’s premise is true, these all died singing and praising a God they knew they had themselves invented.
Well … the best plan these cunning folk, Mark, John, and company, could devise in their collaborative effort to deceive the masses, was that Mark and John should each write out a compelling story of the life of Jesus, but that Mark should not really conclude his own story very well … leave it hanging a bit with no meaningful ending. Instead, Mark should finish John’s story by tacking his favorite fabricated ending onto it, that after John clearly announced the end of his account by saying he would not write anything else. Mark would then falsify the authorship of his own ending stuck onto John’s Gospel by saying that John himself wrote it … contradicting John’s ending and pretending by some subtle hints alluding to his own story that the true author was really John the Baptist — long dead by this time. (!)
Their collective conclusion, that of all 500 witnesses of the supposedly risen Christ … or at least a representative body of them, was that this approach would appropriately promote the spread of this new religion they were inventing. To compliment this wonderful plan, in their peculiar wisdom, they hired some indolent mathematicians — swore them to secrecy — and motivated them to create something really special to perfect their little plan: sacred geometry.
Strategically placed, artfully designed and curiously delightful mathematical gems … woven into the text among the lies of only Mark’s gospel. Why? Clearly, so that some thoughtful, earnest soul (Gleason, we presume) might one day discover these things — with no historical precedent of any culture ever embedding such things in any narrative, no evident mechanism but wild speculation and trial and error to guide the desperate search, and no standard homiletic for interpreting such diagrams — then detail them with painstaking accuracy, discern their true meaning, and finally expose the lies of Christianity.
The early founding Christians were so enamored, so immensely pleased and in such total agreement with this profound plan that they pulled off this feat, in fact, with no one ever saying a single word about it to the unsuspecting world. They then marched off to be tortured for their lies, supremely confident that none of their colleagues would ever betray or expose them all as wicked liars … wasting all their precious effort in the design of these wonderfully sacred little geometries! In their deceptive unity, they would all die heroes … remembered fondly for their bravery and devotion … until the glorious appearing nineteen centuries later of that wonderful discoverer, our true friend, one Daniel Gleason.
Must we state the obvious?
Gleason thus comes to us with his notion of “sacred geometry,” failing any remotely sane test for historical or grammatical validity. It is perhaps difficult not to laugh at him, yet we should mock one so completely bound in lies. However, it is proper to further expose his deception in a careful look at the geometries themselves.
Jesus on the Sea
Gleason constructs geometric relationships between the numerical values of the letters in the words of John 21. He concludes from these relationships that Mark wrote this twenty-first chapter, not the Apostle John as the text claims, and that Mark subtly intended for us to eventually conclude that John the Baptist was the true author.
Gleason begins with a portion of the first sentence in John 21: “After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias.”
In late 2002, Gleason claimed that the numerical value of this phrase is 8560. Both the Robinson-Pierpont Majority Text and the Nestle-Aland 26th/27th edition of the Greek New Testament give a different value, 8630, as follows:
The numerical value of each word in the text is given above it in the table. The difference between results is 8630-8560=70, the value of the Greek article O. Perhaps Gleason omits this for convenience in his calculations, or perhaps he was just ignorant and careless. He does not give his source text or sufficient detail to resolve this. Nevertheless, he evidently noted his mistake after our initial publication in late Dec 2002, as he has it correct in his web site by Feb 2003.
Gleason creates an instance of his sacred geometry with this text, observing its relationship to the number 8880, which he calls the value of the “raised Jesus,” being tenfold the value of Jesus, which is 888. The geometry is:
Gleason states, “The gemmatria value of the words from the first sentence of verse 1 forms a cross that is tangent to the inside of the sea and converges on Jesus in the center of the Sea of Galilee, also known as the sea of Tiberias, just like the verse says! The red cross has a perimeter of 8,560 units.” We examine this claim.
Gleason has inscribed an hexagon within a circle of 8880 units circumference, and inscribed within this hexagon another circle. Determine the diameter of this inner circle by connecting all opposite vertices of the hexagon with three line segments to observe that the hexagon bounds 6 identical triangles with a common vertex at the center of the circle. The central angle of each triangle is thus pi/3, implying they are equilateral with each side the same length as the radius of the larger circle and height the radius of the smaller circle: cos(pi/6)*8880/(2pi) = 1223.950.
Think of the cross inscribed within the inner circle as being composed of 8 identical rectangles, each half its width and half its thickness, such that the diagonal connecting opposite vertices of each rectangle is the radius of the inner circle. The short side of each rectangle is half the width of this cross, which is the radius of a circle of circumference 888, or 888/(2pi) = 141.330. Obtain the length of long side of the rectangle with the Pythagorean theorem: [(1223.950)2 – (141.330)2].5or 1215.763. Note that the perimeter of the cross is four times its height, or 8*1215.763 = 9726.105. This exceeds Gleason’s 8560.
If only the “red” portion of the cross is considered, we have 9726.105- 8*141.330 = 8595.47. This is apparently Gleason’s intent. It is technically different from 8560, though close enough (99.59% fit) that one would likely be unable to dispute his work by constructing the figure to scale.
Gleason continues by noting that joining every other vertex of the hexagon and summing the lengths of the portions of these six lines contained within the inner circle, one obtains the numerical value of John 21:1. He says, “The gemmatria value of the entire verse (12,055 units) is equal to the sum of the lengths of the six red lines in the sea of Tiberias. When the six lines are extended, the tips of the star point to the risen Jesus! Jesus came from the house of David whose symbol is the Star of David. The Sea by computation has a diameter of 2448 units, which is exactly sixteen times 153. These facts will prove to be very important in the coming verses.”
The numerical value of John 21:1 is actually 12,125, which exposes the same phenomenon observed earlier: Gleason is off by 70. As before, we continue in spite of this, and note that he corrected this mistake by early 2003.
To determine the length of the six red lines we note that each full line is twice the height of the equilateral triangles constructed in the first analysis, so the total sum is 12*1223.950 = 14,687.402. We must now subtract the lengths of the line segments between the circles.
The triangle formed from a vertex of the hexagon and the intersections of the two line segments connected to it with the inner circle must be equilateral. Its height is the distance between the circles: 8880/(2pi)-1223.950 = 189.346. Thus the length of a side of each small triangle is 189.346/cos(pi/6) = 218.638. Therefore the length of the six red lines is: 14,687.402 – 12*218.638 = 12,063.751. He claims that this value is 12,055 since that is what he would like for it to be. It is certainly very close. One must actually do the math to see the difference.
Incidentally, it is somewhat evident that the construction of this figure was determined after deciding what its interpretation would be: its fabricator (which we suggest is Gleason, not some ancient mathematician) wanted something to symbolize Jesus being in the center of the Sea of Tiberias. However, if the geometry were true to the story it would not place Jesus in the center of the sea at all: Jesus is never in the center of the sea but on the shore, as John gives the account … it is the disciples that are “in the sea.”
The Diagram Pool
Though one might find these diagrams to be the product of ancient design due to the apparent impossibility of their coincidental occurrence, Gleason never indicates how he discovered these diagrams. He gives no systematic methodology for constructing them or for detecting their presence in the text. He simply presents the diagrams and interprets them according to his pleasure. Is the mere existence of this phenomenon “evidence” of ancient design? Do his findings necessarily imply that someone fabricated the stories themselves so as to produce these supposedly unlikely patterns, as he would have us believe?
In considering the likelihood that these diagrams are a product of chance, rather than implying an intricate design in the supposed fabrication of the gospel records, Gleason states: “The expected probability should be close to 0%.” He thinks that the probability of any of his diagrams giving such results randomly is quite small, implying that it is highly unlikely the relationships occur by chance. With a wave of the hand, he dismisses the probability as small … evidently unsure how small it actually is. Gleason would have us believe that the geometry is so peculiar and the mathematics so precise, it is credible evidence that the story was fabricated in order to match the geometry, rather than the geometry fabricated to match the story. This is, apparently, the entire crux of Gleason’s thesis, and it is evidently quite pale.
We note that in the first diagram above there is no apparent reason to represent 8880 as the perimeter of a circle, as opposed to, say, a square or a triangle. There is no apparent reason for inscribing an hexagon as a second figure, or for including a second circle within the hexagon, or for the choice of a cross in the interior design, or causing the cross to have a width to match the diameter of a circle with circumference 888, as opposed to this circle actually touching the cross at its interior corners, or for taking the perimeter of just the red part of the cross rather than the entire perimeter, or limiting the figure to these few symbols. There are innumerable possibilities available to construct such a diagram … and any one of these could be interpreted similarly if the numbers happened to be close to the desired gemmatria.
It is also absurd to imagine that anyone could ever “think” their way toward constructing such a diagram based on a hint from the passage itself. Evidently, these shapes and their peculiar arrangement have been chosen based on the properties of the text because the mathematics happens to work out somewhat cleanly. There are no doubt many other possibilities that would also give us a convenient match if we cared to invent them, but this one conveniently evidences a more intuitive interpretation than others he might concoct.
Certainly, one need not presume that the design of the geometry came first, and that it has some intrinsic appeal that gives it such independent merit and uniqueness in its interpretation that the text must have been fabricated to accommodate it. There are apparently many more choices for the geometry than for the types of names and places around which to build an interesting story, and very many appropriate phrases from the text that could be used to match any given geometric structure.
Consider the number of possibilities conveniently available for the construction of such a figure. How many phrases or words could be considered? Gleason has not chosen the entirety of verse one, but a portion of it. Why? How many different phrase combinations could be attempted before finding something interesting? Our choices are clearly very many.
Consider the various shapes that could conveniently be included in such geometries: circles, triangles, squares, rectangles, pentagons, hexagons, heptagons, octagons, crosses of various widths. Given the external shape, the 8880 circle, there are at least seven choices for any shape inscribed in this, and 7 choices for a third shape inscribed in this one: we already have 1+7+49 = 57 different figures available to attempt a geometry. We could then consider diameters, radii, circumferences, perimeters or diagonals of any of these interior patterns, or combinations of these patterns, or the lengths of line segments joining any of the vertices of any of the shapes, or the lengths of such segments contained within any of the figures, or between any of the figures. We could juxtapose any number of similar or dissimilar figures instead of inscribing them, and position them at will in some symmetrical arrangement, connecting various features of them and looking for relationships. The possibilities seem quite endless.
With little effort, apparently, we can define a convenient pool of several thousand graphs from which we might derive supposed symbolic significance. The total number of interesting geometric constructions that could be attempted in search of some mathematical coincidence relating two or more topics together is apparently limited only by one’s imagination and the time one is willing to spend in the effort. Many such graphs will produce measurements well within the 1% tolerance of some gemmatria value, from which a palatable interpretation can easily be composed. As one toys with various combinations and patterns, comparing results with another convenient pool of gemmatria relevant to the story, and finds something of interest an appealing interpretation is not very difficult to imagine.
For example, one might claim that Mark devised the concept of the “risen Jesus” in a prophetic sense, predicting that his ingenious fabrication, Christianity, would one distant day spawn a mighty nation which would unite 5 major divisions of the cult (by separating church and state:), “raising Jesus” to new heights, and then “raise” his religion to the ends of the earth. A pentagon, the symbol of this nation’s military might, with sides defined by arcs, in length the number of years that would elapse from the birth of Jesus until the birth of this nation (1776), brings a divided Jesus back together… just connect the vertices with 5 such arcs and you have “raised Jesus” all over again, in an entirely new way! (5 X 1776 = 8880)
That took about 15 minutes to fabricate … by simply scanning a list of divisors of 8880 and using some imagination. Gleason has apparently honed his craft over a multi-year span, and will likely provide us with more sophisticated and intricate entertainment … having no more validity than the above nonsense … all in his own good time.
To actually demonstrate the arbitrary nature of Gleason’s “sacred geometry,” we attempted to construct such a thing from the text of John 11, the story of the Resurrection of Lazarus, since we happen to love the story. Gleason claims such geometries do not exist in the first twenty chapters of John. This effort took the better portion of a lazy afternoon.
The sum of the Greek names Mary, Martha, Lazarus and Jesus is the diameter of the inscribed circle (99.9% fit), yielding a … I’ll not call it “sacred” … geometry.
The square nicely represents the four days Lazarus spent in the tomb: the perimeter of the square is 15 times the value of Lazarus Grave (99.8% fit, combining the grave of Lazarus with 5 — the number of God’s grace, and 3 for the Trinity), and 8 times the value of the word four (99.24% fit… 8 being the number of new beginnings, which will be significant in a moment:). The four main participants in the story, span the mystery of this grave in a journey together during these four days to “raise Lazarus” from the dead. As they journey, Jesus separates the two sisters from their dear brother Lazarus for His purpose in bringing them all back together.
The names of Mary and Martha and Lazarus also permit a second figure involving the word sick (99.73% fit), if the value of each is expressed as a circumference.
The realm of sickness, experienced by all four of the characters in this story, was deeply grievous for as long as the four of them were still in the mystery of its purpose (inner circle, 99.55% fit), concealed in the heart of the Trinity (triangle).
The priceless value of this family’s sickness lies in the fact that when it was “fitted” to the “raising of Jesus” a glorious new beginning was framed (8, the number of new beginnings, is a 99.5% fit).
Thus, we have Jesus, with his “raising” power, giving a family, enveloped by mysterious sickness sourced in the heart of the Trinity, a splendid new beginning.
Could we do better?
Certainly, given time and some ulterior motivation we may find most anything.
What does it prove?
Implications of “Sacred” Geometry
Will one dare claim the above geometry implies Mark also wrote the 11th chapter of John? I think not. There is nothing at all sacred or designed in such coincidence.
These diagrams were constructed in a matter of a few hours simply by looking for relationships between words in the texts and comparing these relationships with known properties of potential geometric shapes. When a relationship was noticed, a little imagination produced the “interpretation” with ease. Each diagram, relationship and meaning was composed entirely subjectively, based on trial and error and random coincidence. This is exactly what Gleason appears to have done.
Given the evident absurdity of the historical reality should one grant Gleason’s claims, and given the lack of inherent grammatical motivation, the mathematical improbability of his presumption must be compelling to retain our interest. It most certainly is not.
Gleason presents us no evidence that he has anything more than craft and chance at his disposal … other than (as we suppose) a sophisticated CAD application and a large collection of figure templates available to assist and guide him in his hunt (which, if he does not have, he certainly should). Given two phrases he wishes to relate, it is simply a matter of time and patience before he will find something of interest. If he tires with one phrase, there are evidently many others to choose from that might provide a compelling diagram.
Conclusion for “Sacred” Geometry
Gleason’s means of identifying and interpreting diagrams is evidently arbitrary, based on abundant trial and error, looking for patterns and relevance in whatever coincidences can be detected. There is nothing scientific, or ethical, about such work. Certainly, it might be imitated with ease on his own writing, showing that he himself is not the author of some portion of it, if that were worthy of our time.
The fact that such nonsense is offered to us by infidels reveals a kind of desperation that may be seen as a comfort in the midst of their attack: if there actually is a valid way to discredit the Bible we may be sure they would not stoop to such absurdity. This kind of thing is, evidently, the best they have.
If Gleason were not intentionally lying to us, deliberately trying to deceive us, he would have fully explained his methodology and how he discovered it, and he would have enlisted the assistance of an able mathematician to provide a reasonable estimate of its improbability. To offer a lie to others as proof, when you yourself know that it is a lie, is sad indeed. This is the very same absurdity he has implied in the authors of the Bible, being himself the guilty one. Such is the insanity of the self-deceived.
Sober reflection upon Gleason’s work sheds some light on an oft-overlooked glimpse into the heart of the God of the Bible: “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.” (Ps 2:4) There are certain kinds of sins that so deform the soul in this life that there is no recovering. Those who give themselves to such wickedness will one day be face to face with the divine Being, the one they so deeply hate, despising every single thing about them. What a dreadful thing to be mocked of God! Pity the soul that finds itself there, before angry omnipotence, destitute of any hope of mercy.
While Gleason yet has the light of God’s mercy and truth about him, we encourage him, and all who find his work amusing, to repent and flee to Christ, the Lamb of God who died to offer them eternal life, and the coming Lion of His wrath.