Pastor’s Corner: Shuffling Forever

Fellowship Baptist Church

I don’t play poker. The last time I did, I lost all my spending money to a clever kid with a smirk on his greedy face. Since then, I try to work on sure bets. I don’t bet on dice or football or that I (rather than my wife) am right. So it may sound like a contradiction for me to say that I’ll bet you that you will never shuffle a deck of cards into any one pre-chosen order. I raise this challenge to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that we have a Maker. We did not evolve; we were made. Let me explain.

For order in complexity to exist, three things must exist prior to the order: energy, a mechanism, and intelligence. For any one pre-chosen order of a 52 card deck to come into existence what is necessary is a person who has eaten lunch (chemical energy), who has arms, hands, fingers, and eyes (mechanisms), and who is smart enough to guide the mechanisms to sort out the deck (intelligence). It will take him less than 10 minutes to complete the task.

To try to shuffle those 52 cards into the same order will require an almost endless amount of time. With a deck of 52 cards there are 52! (factorial) possible different orders. 52! is 1x2x3x4x5x6x …x50x51x52. This number is 8.065817517×1067. How big of a number is this?

If a billion people shuffled a billion decks of cards once a second for a billion years, they could shuffle a total of 3.15576 x 1025 times. How much longer would they have to shuffle until they ran through the possibilities? Well we can’t say, but we can say that in light of the fact that 8.065817517×1067 divided by 3 x 1025 = 2.66 x 1042, it is IMPOSSIBLE to shuffle a deck of cards into order.

If 52 cards won’t go into order by accident, neither will a protein essential for life fall into order by chance. Somebody made us.

Feel free to email me at

Joe Palmer (7 Posts)

Joe Palmer is the pastor of Fellowship Baptist Church in Kearny. He is happily married with three terrific children and two adoring dachshunds. He is of the very firm opinion that God exists, that the Bible is true, and that God in the person of Jesus Christ has saved him from his sin and prepared a place for him in paradise. His firm opinion is a long studied opinion held with happy confidence, and so, though by nature a bit high-strung and timid, he looks to his future with a joy and happy expectation which makes him largely unafraid of anything or any circumstance. The worse thing that can happen to him is that he can die, and the best thing that can happen to him is that he can die. Everything else is a detail which God will work out for his best. His ambitions revolve around reconciling people to God through Jesus Christ. This he attempts to do by declaring in appropriate ways that God is purely good and that He is the source of all of our joy and happiness. There is nothing about God one would not like, and He is our only hope. Joe is over-weight, out of shape, and as old as the town of Kearny; but he has a peace which surpasses understanding, and such peace makes this middle class American very rich indeed!

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