Regretfully recorded here are results of our attempt to validate Theomatics, as defined and promoted by one Del Washburn.
To introduce this topic briefly, Theomatics concerns a mathematical structure that Del Washburn claims to have discovered in the original Greek and Hebrew texts of the Bible. He claims to have demonstrated, in a most thorough, rigorous and scientific manner, that this structure could not have occurred by chance. If his analysis were correct, it would be evident that no one but God Himself could have designed what Washburn claims to have found.
If Washburn’s claims were valid then it would be possible to demonstrate mathematically that God supernaturally intervened in the writing of the Bible. This would be a very important advancement in the field of Christian Apologetics, perhaps the most profound discovery of recent times.
However, if Washburn’s claims are invalid, and yet generally received by saints and referenced in personal witness and defense of the Christian faith, there is potential for public damage to the glorious name of our Lord Jesus Christ… and an open door for the enemy to molest the Body of Christ with needless confusion and shame.
We are unaware of any other critic who has explained Washburn’s findings, or of anyone who has independently validated them. Due to the important implications of this apparent discovery, we felt the topic worthy of a thorough review.
The task is evidently a daunting one, with little reward for the dishonest skeptic. Yet there would be gold here for the cause of Christ if Washburn’s claims were legitimate. It has been over two decades since Washburn first presented his findings to the world, and still there has been no other independent confirmation or explanation of his results. We are a bit curious as to why we find ourselves alone in pursuing it after so long a delay. Perhaps we are placed in the kingdom for such a time as this.
From our careful examination of Washburn’s publications we conclude that his claims are indeed false, and that the (supposedly scientific) methodology used to validate his claims is invalid. References are four of his key publications:
- Theomatics (T1),
- Theomatics II (T2),
- Theomatics and the Scientific Method (T&SM), and
- A Statistical and Probability Analysis Luke 15:10-32 (Lk15)
We are careful to grant that Theomatics, or something like it, may in fact exist in some manner that has not yet been discovered. What we have shown is that Washburn’s publications have not presented a valid scientific proof for the existence of this phenomenon. As such, his claims are false and his publications are void of any significant contribution.
Our research demonstrates that Washburn has failed to verify even a single instance of Theomatics from a statistical perspective. Further, we show that Washburn has failed to demonstrate an understanding of the mathematical principles involved in making such a claim and that he consistently violates the scientific method in his work.
We have looked very carefully at Washburn’s best examples of Theomatics and have found them all to be well within the scope of behavior expected in a purely random context. We demonstrate, both experimentally and mathematically, that Theomatics, as Washburn has defined it, does not exist at all in the various instances he has presented.
We wish to emphasize that we appreciate Washburn’s efforts to discover and promote evidences of the inspiration of the Word of God. We encourage him and others to continue this work and we offer some suggestions that may yield fruit in this particular field. However, one must insist that publications be throughly validated, consistent with reason and science.
The following presentations are listed in the order we think best facilitates an understanding of their mutual interdependencies. Some basic familiarity with Washburn’s work might be helpful by way of background and confirmation of our references, but is not necessary to gain an understanding of his theories and errors. One may gain a quick overview from the author’s popular Internet site: Theomatics.com, or from the first part of our own proposed site: Theomatics, which we intended to publish had we succeeded in validating Theomatics. Further, a non-technical summary is provided to present the fundamental problem with Washburn’s work in a very simple and concise manner.
In our opinion the research presented below is sufficiently exhaustive to be conclusive, though we will certainly add to it as needed. Washburn has hinted that he has a great deal more material that is of much higher quality than what he has presented. If that be the case, we will certainly be quick to explore any additional results if this seems warranted by the quality of subsequent publications.
The primary benefit we intend herein is the protection of the saints and the name of Jesus Christ from public embarrassment as believers become acquainted with Washburn’s publications and are tempted to reference them in their personal Christian witness and testimony. The four works given above would, in our opinion, bring much needless discredit upon our Lord Jesus Christ if they were seriously explored by unbelievers. We know that we in Christ are of the truth, and that no lie is of the truth. No lie or misrepresentation has any place at all in our defense or promotion of the truth.
Furthermore, due to the sensational nature of Washburn’s claims, his public documented testimony of explicit dependence upon objective, rigorous scientific methodology, his publication of volumes of apparently thorough research, a growing awareness in the Church of his work, and due to the fact that this concerns the nature of the very Word of God itself, and since his ideas actually have significant implications in biblical hermeneutics (how we interpret Scripture), we believe his work would be quite dangerous to the body of Christ if it were ever taken seriously.
Washburn (referred to hereafter as, the author), initially declined to comment on our findings, stating in writing that he had neither the time nor the interest to comprehend and respond to them. Recently however, he did make somewhat of an attempt to answer us, finding a statistician of sorts willing to deny the validity of a peripheral part of our methodology (though he evidently did not comprehend it). Washburn leverages this to conclude that our entire body of research should be ignored and considers the matter closed… simply ignoring our findings, neglecting to apply any methodology at all to interpret them and resorting to slanderous insinuations. We consider this shallowness disappointing and review it for your benefit.
We invite any interested party to correspond with us.
Methodology The methodology proposed by the author to validate Theomatics — noting random results with claimed Theomatic factors in a couple random contexts — is shown to be logically flawed. Correct methodology necessary for any Theomatic research is presented. While this insight in itself does not necessarily disprove the existence of Theomatics as defined by the author, it does prove that none of the author’s published works (as of late 2001) are valid: he has never once, to our knowledge, demonstrated the existence of a single instance of Theomatics.
Phrase Construction The author has apparently been subjective in the process of phrase construction, declining to publish or objectively follow an explicit set of rules in defining the samples of his various experiments. A list of rules compiled from his notes is given and used for our analysis and testing.
Luke 15 We present results of careful consideration, verification, and independent testing of the author’s best (?) published validation of Theomatic significance. His sensational claims and unconventional analysis are both shown to be invalid, masking actual odds of 1 in 589. Robust testing solidly confirms the absence of any Theomatic behavior in this passage.
Son of God In Epistles of John Theomatic occurrences of Son in the Epistles of John, claimed by the author to be a most outstanding Theomatic pattern and upon which T&SM is entirely based, are shown to occur with odds of 1 in 10, far less significant than expected if Theomatics were merely random. No Theomatic patterns exist in this context at all so far as Theomatics has been defined, evidenced by a comprehensive and exhaustive search among all possible factors.
Birth of Jesus The first of four key examples given by the author on his Theomatics web site concerns references to the birth of Jesus Christ being saturated by multiples of 111. The author claims mathematical odds of millions to one, but we demonstrate that significant subjectivity in his phrase construction techniques invalidates his claim.
Root in the New Testament The last of four key examples given by the author on his Theomatics web site concerns references to Root being saturated by multiples of 169. The author claims very unlikely mathematical odds yet gives no detail as to how he has determined this. Surprisingly, we find the actual odds are 1 in 3, and demonstrate significant subjectivity in obtaining even this result.
Wrath in Revelation This example is central to the author’s development of the scientific method in T2, chapter 8. The author conveniently selects an unusual metric after observing some significant behavior in this pattern with respect to this metric: it is such that no other factors match his results in the standard gemmatria. However, odds of a random gemmatria yielding similar results are 1 in 85, demonstrating that the result is quite bland.
Fish The first Theomatic event ever studied by the author, included for any historical or sentimental value it might contain. There certainly is no Theomatic significance; odds are 1 in 3. 23 factors outperform the author’s factor in the standard gemmatria simultaneously in several key metrics.
Satan Referenced by the author in several publications as a significant Theomatic topic, we find the author’s chosen factor outperformed by six random factors in the standard gemmatria in every statistical category simultaneously. There is no metric ever referenced by the author which gives any indication that his factor is a Theomatic candidate: odds are merely 1 in 250. No other factors in this context attain any Theomatic significance.