Here’s the claim:
- Passages in the Hebrew Bible, such as Isaiah 53, foresaw the life and death of Jesus—and thus constitute strong evidence that the Bible is a miraculous book.
Why I’m skeptical:
The Jewish scriptures were read carefully by the authors of the New Testament. In other words, the authors may have shaped their stories to match what they had read.
It would be truly astonishing if Jesus had appeared, say, in CHINA two thousand years ago, where nobody had ever read the Hebrew Bible. If this had happened, then the match between the predictions (in Palestine) and the subsequent Jesus of history (in China) would be quite interesting.
But that’s not how it happened. The Hebrew scriptures were written in the Middle East and those who told stories about Jesus knew those scriptures. The probability that the prophecies are miraculous is reduced considerably by the fact that the writers of the New Testament were influenced by reading the Old Testament.
In other words, instead of something miraculous going on, it is more likely that the gospel writers simply built their Jesus-stories around Old Testament passages that they had read—creating, as it were, self-fulfilling “prophecies.”