Truth That Matters

"What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?" - Jesus Christ

SCIENTIFIC ACCURACY IN THE BIBLE

The following points must be kept in mind:-

Firstly: We must distinguish between scientific fact and scientific speculation. People say that “science” has disproved the Bible because scientific theories of origin disagree with the Bible. But as I show, both the  Theory of organic evolution and the Big Bang Theory (the most popular theory of inorganic evolution) rely on scientific speculation, and scientists admit this. An unbiased study of nature actually points to the existence of God. The Bible agrees with every scientific fact, but not with scientific speculation or interpretation.

Secondly: By claiming that the Bible is scientifically accurate, I do not mean that it uses technical language. It is an ancient book designed for lay people; so it uses non-technical language. Note that at least some scientific facts are communicable using ordinary language.

Thirdly: Although the Bible is not a science textbook (and so it is wrong to expect every thing in science to be mentioned in the Bible), it is absolutely bang on target when it speaks on something in the purview of science. This is to be expected if it is what it claims to be: divine revelation. If God does not get everything right, He is not God.

Fourthly: The scientific facts in the Bible are taken from literal accounts. This is not the same as trying to "see" some science in vague, figurative language from an ancient book.

Fifthly: To get a sense of how significant the Bible's scientific accuracy, it is worth stopping for a moment to look at the scientific beliefs expressed in other ancient books and cultures:-

  • The Vedas (Hindu sacred books) taught, to get rain, tie a frog with his mouth open to a tree and repeat some magic words - and presto - rain!
  • The Egyptians believed stars were the souls of dead people who were now gods.
  • The Greeks believed a god named Atlas held the earth on his shoulders. Some taught the earth sat on the backs of several large (very large!) elephant 

Examples

Example 1:–

Look now toward the heavens, and count the stars if you are able to number them... I will multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore.” - Genesis 15:5, 22:17

That the stars are innumerable was discovered only a few hundred years back. Genesis was written in about 1500 BC.

Example 2:

“God hangs the earth upon nothing” – Job 26:7

You certainly know of ancient myths regarding the earth being supported by some god, a turtle on the primeval sea, and so on. Here is Job, who lived around 2000 BC, telling us what modern science knows.

Example 3:

“Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea?” – Job 38:16

Here God is asking Job questions. Although the ancients were good mariners, they were not into diving deep into the oceans. Needless to say, God knows that there are springs in the sea while Job did not, and modern science has discovered these springs recently.

Example 4:–

Thus says Jehovah, Who makes a way in the sea and a path through the mighty waters” – Isaiah 43:16

Ocean currents are another recent discovery. They were probably known to ancient peoples living near oceans, but certainly not to Isaiah, who lived in Jerusalem in the eight century BC. Mathew Fountain Maury is known as the ‘pathfinder of the sea’. He is the father of today’s oceanography. At Richmond, Virginia in the United States, there exists a statue of Maury holding charts of the on one hand, and the Bible on the other. Until Maury’s time there were no charts or sailing lines. He pursued his search after hearing the reading of Psalm 8:8. After hearing the verse, he is said to have exclaimed, ‘It is enough-if the word of God says there are paths in the sea, they must be there, and I am going to find them.’ Within a few years, he prepared charts. His ‘Physical Geography of the sea’ was the first text book of modern oceanography.

Example 5:–

The life of the flesh is in the blood” – Leviticus 17:11

From the 4th Century to the 19th century A.D. a false medical practice known as ‘blood letting’ prevailed. Instead of curing patients, this method killed many. Many scientists and physicians in the medical museum at Alexandria believed blood to be the carrier of disease and hence they pursued ‘the blood letting technique’. However this proved fatal. The cause of the death of George Washington was said to be due to ‘excessive blood letting’.

Example 6:–

[God decided] to appoint a weight for the wind, and mete out the waters by measure.” – Job 28:25

That air has weight and that it is important was recognized only around 300 years ago. The total masses of water on the planet and the atmosphere (and also its composition) are important parameters – if their values were different from their current values, the survival of life as we know it would be impossible. Here the Bible boldly proclaims that God decided the values of these parameters long before man began to think about them! This passage also suggests that there is a parallel between the behavior of air and water, again, a fact well known to anyone studying fluid dynamics (but only realized in the last few hundred years!). The weight of the winds controls the worldwide air mass movements that transport the waters evaporated from the oceans inland over the continents.

God also asks Job:

Do you know how the clouds are balanced?” – Job 37:16.

Job had a sketchy idea. Just a while earlier, he had said:

God makes small the drops of water: they pour down rain according to the vapor thereof:” – Job 36:27

Water vapor is lighter than oxygen and nitrogen, and so it rises up. Since the temperature decreases with height, these vapors condense into water droplets. Small droplets of water can be supported by the hot air that rises from the ground. How will these droplets eventually result in rain? Job says that “God made a decree for the rain and a way for the lightning of thunder” (Job 28:26). Because of the electric energy exchange that occurs in lightning, smaller water drops coalesce into larger ones. “By watering, God wearies the thick cloud” (Job 37:11) and it rains.

Also notice that Job recognizes that lightning and thunder arise from the same phenomenon and that lightning is associated with a “way”, not some reservoir where all the light is “stored”. The same fact is brought out when God asks him: “Where is the way where light dwells?...As for darkness, where is its place?” (Job 38:19) It was Einstein who established that light can be treated as a stream of mass-less particles (when he explained the photo-electric effect), and that all mass-less particles travel at the speed of light – they can never be at rest (that’s part of special relativity).

True, Job was not a meteorological expert, but the statements he makes are not wrong, and he certainly beats his idolatrous contemporaries who thought that rain was the semen of the god Baal – who therefore had to pleased and aroused with human sacrifice and temple prostitution. 

Example 7:

But as a mountain falls and crumbles away, and as a rock is moved out of its place; as waters wear away stones, and as floods wash away the dust of the earth; so You destroy the hope of man.” – Job 14: 18, 19

Erosion usually takes place too slowly for untrained eyes to notice, and yet the Bible mentions it.

Example 8:–

Do you know the ordinances of the heavens? Can you appoint their authority over the earth?” – God asking Job in Job 38:33

This implies that the universe is governed by “ordinances”, laws, as modern science recognizes, and not according to the whims of the gods, as the idolatrous ancients thought. It was the Bible that gave the notion that the universe is designed by an intelligent Creator and hence is governed by laws. The Bible also claims that this God is creative and good, and so this universe is worth exploring. Why bother about systematically exploring a universe if you believe that it is mere illusion or subject to the whims of capricious gods?! Needless to say, modern science started in Europe, which was influenced by the Bible.

Example 9:

God challenges Job: “Can you send lightning, that they may go, and say to you, here we are?”

Good question – does it not have the hint of telecommunication through electromagnetic radiation?

Example 10:–

Although the purpose of the Levitical Laws was not scientific, they do have some medical benefits:-

  1. The clean animals of Leviticus 11 are less prone to infection than pigs, rabbits and other unclean animals, and animals dying a natural death(Deuteronomy 14:21). This subject is developed further in None of These Diseases, by S I McMillen, MD
  2. Caution regarding the use of water (Leviticus 11:36)
  3. Quarantine for venereal disease (Leviticus 15)
  4. Burial of human waste (Deuteronomy 23:13)

It is impossible for a mere human writing in about 1500 BC to have knowledge about hygiene and disease to give medically sound instructions such as the above. Even if he did, he would flaunt his remarkable knowledge instead of presenting it implicitly.

Example 11:–

The Levitical laws are meant to symbolize spiritual realities but there are some medical/scientific benefits in them:-

  1. The "clean animals" of Leviticus 11 are less prone to infection than pigs, rabbits and other unclean animals, and animals dying a natural death(Deuteronomy 14:21). Thus, the dietary laws have medical benefits. More details are in None of These Diseases, by S I McMillen, MD.
  2. The Israelites were cautioned about the use of water (Leviticus 11:36)
  3. Quarantine was prescribed for venereal disease (Leviticus 15)
  4. Human refuse was to be buried (Deuteronomy 23:12-13). This is the basis of good sanitation.

Example 12:–

"Then came the woman in the dawning of the day, and fell down at the door of the man's house where her lord was, till it was light." – Judges 19:26).

The Hebrew word used for "dawning" (panah) is not the normal word for the dawn. Instead it is the word for "turning." Thus, it is not referring to the rising of the sun, but to the rotation of the earth which, after a dark night of evil, once again turns its face to the "light of the world." Note also Job 38:14: "It (i.e., the earth's surface) is turned as clay to the seal," again suggesting the earth's axial rotation each day/night cycle.

Example 13:–

Jewish baby boys had to be circumcised on the 8th day (Genesis 17:12). We now know that Vitamin K, a substance necessary for blood to clot, naturally reaches its peak in an infant's body when the baby is 8 days old.

Example 14:–

The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north, it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits.” – Ecclesiastes 1:6

That the wind has specific circuits discovered only recently. But God spoke this scientific truth through Solomon 3000 years ago.

Conclusion

The scientific accuracy of the Bible ahead of its time shows that it comes from God.