Science in the Bible – Correct or Way Outdated?
by Dennis Crawford
One of the major problems many people have today in accepting the Bible as the Word of God is the supposed conflict between the Bible and science. It is the popular belief that the Bible and science are at odds, that intelligence is on the side of unbelief, and that only childish or sentimental or uneducated people still trust the contents of the Bible (ref.2, p.20). This worldview has caused a prejudice that keeps many from even considering the legitimacy of accurate science being in the Bible. Examining the evidence before deciding will allow for a fair hearing on the subject.
Science, which is knowledge, is the organized body of observation and experiment on present (repeatable) processes. Science can examine and analyze present processes and materials, but science cannot say conclusively how things came into existence because origins are not subject to experimental verification. Science can only show what can be verified now, not what has happened in the past. That task is for historians, biographers, and autobiographers.
Science merely documents nature, while God is the reality lying behind all phenomena, supporting them, directing them, and explaining them. We must be ready to hear the voice of science and the voice of scripture on common matters. Scientific knowledge is invaluable for a knowledge of the Bible–at least to know it fully and completely (ref.2, p.25).
Science is simply the process of discovering the mechanisms of nature which God has put in place to make our universe work as it does. Science has opened up the secrets and meaning of nature, the creation of God. Both science and theology deal with the same universe, one part is physical and the other invisible. Through the scriptures we discover the origin, purpose, and end of the created universe. The reliability of the scriptures can be validated by logical examination of evidence, just as valid scientific data can. Through science we find clues, analogies, and confirmations of the existence and nature of the invisible universe (ref.2, p.28).
If one were to put into operation an automotive plant so fixed that as the finished products were driven off the assembly line they dropped into the maws of the huge smelter from which they were originally derived, it would be judged as a case of a perverted and fantastic mentality. Yet this is precisely the type of analogy much of modern science is following. It is the intent of science to amass all the facts about the universe in its countless facets; it is the function of theology to give these data their purpose and theological ordering (ref.2, p.27).
THE FIVE FUNDAMENTALS OF SCIENCE
After practically a lifetime of study, Herbert Spencer (1820-1903), the famous British philosopher, declared that there are basically five fundamentals of science: time, force, action, space, and matter. Little did Spencer realize he was but echoing what had been written by a man more than 3,000 years prior to him! That man was Moses, his book was Genesis, and his statement: “In the beginning [time] God [force] created [action] the heavens [space] and the earth [matter]” (Genesis 1:1). Thus, with the very first verse of the Bible, it becomes crystal clear to the open-minded inquirer that there is something special, something unique, about the sacred text. A closer examination of the Book reveals many startling scientific facts, placed there hundreds or thousands of years before they were known to the modern scientific mind–buried like precious gems within the text of the Bible (ref.1, vol.1, les.#9, p.33).
Job states, in speaking of God, that “He stretcheth out the north over the empty space, and hangs the earth upon nothing” (Job 26:7). That, of course, is a well-known fact today. The earth is literally “hanging upon nothing.” But we must remember that this was not the concept of Job’s day. Men in Job’s time felt the earth was possibly suspended on the backs of four elephants, which stood on the back of a giant turtle! Or, they felt that the earth was suspended upon the shoulders of a supernaturally strong man! There were many odd views about the condition of the earth, but none stated the matter in the clear and correct manner as does Job. A lucky guess–when everyone else was wrong?
Isaiah says, “It is he [God] who sits upon the circle of the earth ” (Isaiah 40: 22).
The Hebrew word Isaiah used for “circle” means literally something with “roundness” or “spherically.” Of course, the people of Isaiah’s time (and for many generations to come) thought the earth was flat, not spherical. Another lucky guess?
Psalm 19:5-6 contains several interesting facts. In speaking of the sun, the psalmist says that “His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and the circuit unto the ends of it; and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.”
For many years, Bible critics scoffed at the Bible stating that this verse taught the old false doctrine that the sun revolves around the earth! Then, it was recently discovered that the sun is, in fact, moving through space. It is not stationary, as was once thought. In fact, it is estimated to be moving through space at about 600,000 miles per hour, in an orbit so large it would take an estimated 200,000,000 years just to complete one orbit! Another lucky guess?
There is another gem tucked away in these two verses. The writer hints at the fact that the sun is the source of the energy of the earth (“and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof”). An amazing statement, considering when it was written, is it not?
Solomon, long ago wrote, “All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full; unto the place whither the rivers go, there they go again” (Ecclesiastes 1:7). The Mississippi River, when running at an average rate of flow, dumps approximately 6,052,500 gallons of water into the Gulf of Mexico–per second. Where does all that water go? And remember, this is just the water from one river! The answer, of course, lies in the hydrologic cycle, of which the Bible speaks. Ecclesiastes 11:3a states that “if the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth.” Amos 9:6b reminds us that “he…called for the waters of the sea, and poured them out upon the face of the earth; the lord is his name.”
The idea of a complete water cycle was not fully understood or accepted until the 16th and 17th centuries. The first substantial evidence came from the experiments of Pierre Perrault and Edme Maroitte. Astronomer Edmund Halley also contributed valuable data to the concept of a complete water cycle. More than 2,000 years prior to their discoveries, however, the scriptures indicated a water cycle. How? Just a lucky guess?
Matthew Fontaine Maury (1806-1873) was once confined to bed during a lengthy illness. His son, who had been asked to read for him from the Bible, turned to Psalm 8 and upon reading verse 8, drew his father’s immediate attention. The verse reads, “The birds of the heaven, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passes through the paths of the seas.” It had never been noticed by Maury before. Using this verse he decided to find the “paths of the seas.”
Indeed, he found just that! He was the first (of whom we have a written record) to recognize that the seas were circulating systems with interaction between wind and water. His book on physical oceanography is still considered a basic text for studies of that sort. The book, Matthew Fontaine Maury: Pathfinder of the Seas, by C. S. Lewis (published in 1927 by the U.S. Naval Institute), recounts the entire story. Maury “took God at His Word” and found that Word to be fully accurate!
Job was asked by God (Job 38:16), “Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea? Or hast thou walked in the recesses of the deep?” The Hebrew word for “recesses” (or “trenches”) refers to that which is “hidden, and known only by investigation.” What then were these “recesses of the deep” (the Hebrew for “deep” is the word for seas or oceans)?
Man, in previous centuries, thought of the seashore as nothing but a shallow, sandy extension from one continent to another. Then, in 1873 a team of British scientists searching in the Pacific Ocean found a “recess” five and one-half miles deep. Later, another team of scientists found in the Pacific Ocean a trench more than six miles deep! How did Job know the recesses of the deep were there, when they were not discovered for centuries?
The Science of Physics
Moses writes, “…and the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them” (Genesis 2:1). This is an interesting statement because Moses chose the Hebrew past definite tense for the verb “finished,” indicating an action completed in the past, never again to occur. That is exactly what the First Law of Thermodynamics says! This law (often called the Law of the Conservation of Energy and/or Matter) states that neither matter nor energy can be created or destroyed. How did Moses know?
In three places the Bible affirms that the earth is wearing out. Isaiah 51:6, Psalms 102:26, and Hebrews 1:11 all say that “…the earth will wear out like a garment.”
This is precisely what the Second Law of Thermodynamics says: everything is running down, wearing out; energy is becoming less and less available for use; entropy (a measure of randomness, disorderliness, lack of structure) is increasing
That, of course, means the universe eventually will “wear out.” The Bible writers knew it, and stated it clearly. We did not discover it until a few years back. How did the Bible writers know?
The Science of Medicine
Moses told the Israelites that “the life of the flesh is in the blood” (Leviticus 17:11-14). Indeed, Moses was correct. Because the red blood cells can carry oxygen (due to hemoglobin in the cells), life is made possible.
In fact, human red blood cells can carry 270 million molecules of hemoglobin each. If there were any less, there would not be enough residual oxygen available to sustain life after, say, a good sneeze, or a hard pat on the back! We know today that “the life of the flesh is in the blood.” But it was not known even as recently as in George Washington’s day. He was bled to death through the bloodletting process of that day’s doctors. How was Moses so accurate?
According to the Old Testament, circumcision was to be performed on the eighth day of a newborn male’s life (Genesis 17:12). Why the eighth day?
In 1935, Professor H. Dam proposed the name “Vitamin K” for the factor in foods that helped prevent hemorrhaging in baby chicks. We now know that Vitamin K is responsible for the production of prothrombin by the liver. If Vitamin K is deficient, there will be a prothrombin deficiency and hemorrhaging may occur, since both Vitamin K and prothrombin are necessary for proper blood clotting. Oddly enough, it is only on the fifth through the seventh days of the newborn male’s life that Vitamin K begins to be produced (usually produced by bacteria in the intestinal tract). It is only on the eighth day that the percentage of prothrombin climbs above 100%!
The only day in the entire life of the newborn that the blood-clotting element prothrombin is above 100% is day eight. Therefore, the best day for circumcision is the eighth day! Did Moses have access to modern-day scientific knowledge, or did God tell him to write this?
Genesis 3:15 says, “…between her seed and thy seed,” revealing that a female (as well as a male) possesses the seed of life. Such, however, was not believed in Moses’ day, or even until recently. Ancient writers believed that only the male possesses the seed of life, and that the female was nothing more than a “glorified incubator.” One writer even suggested that you could deposit the male semen in the warm mud, and the result would be the same as depositing it in the human female! How was Genesis so accurate?
The Science of Biology
In the field of biology, one of the most commonly accepted and widely used laws of science is the Law of Biogenesis. This law was set forth many years ago to dictate what both theory and experimental evidence showed to be true among living organisms–that life comes only from preceding life and perpetuates itself by reproducing only its own kind or type. As Dr. David Kirk has correctly stated, “By the end of the nineteenth century there was a general agreement that life cannot arise from the non-living under conditions that now exist upon our planet. The dictum ‘All life from preexisting life’ became the dogma of modern biology, from which no reasonable man could be expected to dissent” (ref.7). Such men as Francesco Redi (1688), Lazarro Spallanzani (1799), Louis Pasteur (1860), and Rudolph Virchow (1858) first carried out the experiments which formed the ultimate basis of this law. It was Virchow who documented that cells do not arise from formless matter, but instead come only from preexisting cells (ref.1, vol.IX, les.#6, p.22). This law has no exceptions. (This law, by the way, is one of the major flaws in the theory of evolution!)
Thousands of years before the “Law of Biogenesis,” Moses declared that things reproduce “after their kind” (Genesis 1:11-12, 21, 24). You do not get bananas from corn stalks, buffaloes from zebras, or dogs from cats. Moses was right on target, but how did he know these things, since the science of genetics was not instituted until the year 1900?
Paul, in 1 Corinthians 15:39, states that there are four fleshes–those of men, beasts, birds, and fishes. Today, every evolutionist acknowledges this truth. These fleshes are different indeed in their biochemical makeup. But how did Paul, an itinerant preacher, know this?
Paul also said that it is God who gives all life (Acts 17:25). For centuries men tried to prove spontaneous generation true; they attempted to “create” life through naturalistic process, yet always without success. Men may alter the state that life is, but they cannot create it. But, how did Paul know this almost 2,000 years ago? One of those lucky guesses (ref.1, vol.1, les.#9, p.33)?
In 1885, Edward Suess was one of the first geologists to publish a study based on the geologic framework of all countries. His research, especially in his observations of the world’s mountain ranges, led to his discovery that all land surfaces had been under water. This explains why you find shells on the tops of mountains. Coincidence?
Many huge fossil beds have been found where great numbers of many different types of animals were together. The Flood explains this.
As waters rose, animals sought higher ground and eventually were all together, then were swept off together where currents deposited them along with loads of sediment.
The evidence of quickly-frozen Mammoths in Siberia is in favor of the Flood.
The Grand Canyon is evidence of the Flood: water cut through material that was not yet consolidated after it had been deposited by the Flood.
Ernst Mayr, a leading taxonomist, lists only 17,600 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. How would you get all those animals in the Ark?
Taking sheep as the average size for the animals, you can fit 240 sheep into a two-level boxcar.
The Ark was a huge box with enough space for 522 boxcars (the measurements are in Genesis 6:15).
This means all the animals would fit, leaving plenty of space for food and people.
So, maybe the Flood and Noah’s Ark are not so far-fetched after all?
The Bible is filled with references to actual cities, places, mountains, rivers, and civilizations. Archaeology (the study of history by means of uncovering ancient ruins) has confirmed the Bible record time and time again.
Civilization began in Mesopotamia: the Fertile Crescent has been proved to be the cradle of civilization.
Long lives of patriarchs before the flood: Archaeology has revealed men living great lengths of time.
The Sumerians lived in ancient Mesopotamia (sometimes called “the cradle of civilization”) from 4000 to 3000 B.C. , and seem to have been the oldest people to make use of writing. These people made contributions to many areas which still influence us today in Astronomy, Mathematics, Geometry, Fine Arts, and Architecture. Their day was divided into two 12-hour segments, and their architecture may have been responsible for constructing the famous “Tower of Babel” (ref.4, pp.9-14), from which all languages seem to have originated (ref.6, p.47). Cuneiform from excavations of the capital city of Mari has produced records of familiar Biblical names such as Peleg, Serug, Nahor, and Terah, as well as the city of Haran where Abraham lived, and the city of “Ur of Chaldees” where he lived in his youth (ref.5, pp.26-28). From these excavations archaeologists have recovered a record called The Sumerian King List, which tells of kings reigning for hundreds of years. The Bible is pretty conservative compared to these accounts, and suggests that before the Flood there was a water canopy around the earth which created a greenhouse effect, removing the harmful rays of the sun (see Genesis 2:6-14).
The Great Flood: Archaeologists have found many accounts of a Great Flood which are amazingly parallel to the Bible (Genesis 6-8). The most striking similarities are: divine judgment; a hero who constructs a boat; even the sending out of birds. Mere coincidence?
Today, many believe that Noah’s actual Ark is still in existence on Mt. Ararat in Turkey. Some claim to have seen it. Due to its being under snow most of the time, and being located close to the Russian border, it has been extremely difficult to prove this conclusively.
Stories like the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9); Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18-19); and Jericho (Joshua 6) are no longer regarded as myths. They have been proved by archaeology.
In 1882, Ivan Panin, a Russian immigrant, had just graduated from Harvard. A brilliant mathematician, multi-lingual scholar (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek), and a literary figure, he had traveled as an agnostic and had lectured often on atheism. He began studying the Bible in the original languages, of which he was fluent.
Now, both Hebrew and Greek are unique in that they do not use special symbols for their numbering system, but instead use the letters of their alphabets to represent numbers. Each letter can actually represent a number, too.
Aware of the numerical values of the Greek and Hebrew alphabets, Panin experimented one day by replacing the letters with their corresponding numbers in the scriptures. Suddenly, his trained mind saw a mathematical pattern. The verses he had studied bore unmistakable evidence of “an elaborate mathematical pattern, far beyond random chance, or human ability to construct!” This study marked a turning point in his career, and from that time until his death in 1942, he devoted his entire life to the study of Bible numerics. He later supplied the Nobel Research Foundation with over 43,000 sheets of his studies accompanied by his statement that this was his evidence that the Bible was the Word of God. The Foundation acknowledged, ” investigation has proceeded, we find the evidence overwhelming in favor of such a statement.” Panin found that patterns of prime numbers, such as 11, 13, 17, 23, “but especially 7,” were found in great clusters. When you add up the sum of all numerical values for different words, sentences, paragraphs, passages, and whole books, you find the same pattern in each of these forms:
- The number of words in a vocabulary divides by 7.
- The number of proper names, both male and female, divides by 7.
- The number of words that begin with a vowel, or a consonant, divides by 7.
- The number of nouns is divisible by 7, as are the words that are not.
- The same for words that occur more than once in a sentence, paragraph, book, or the whole Bible are divisible by 7.
- Even the number of words beginning with each letter of the alphabet are divisible by 7.
- And on and on the list goes!
Some examples are:
Genesis 1:1, the very first sentence in the Bible, states, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” In the Hebrew, that comes out exactly 7 words that have exactly 28 (4 x 7) letters, 3 nouns (God, Heaven, and Earth), 1 Hebrew verb (created). Taking the letters of the nouns and substituting their numerical equivalents and adding them up, you get 777 (111 x 7)! The verb had a numerical value of 203 (29 x 7). This process can be carried out as far as you want to go!
Matthew 1:1-11 has 49 words (7 x 7) in the original Greek, with 28 words that begin with a vowel (4 x 7), and the remaining 21 (3 x 7) begin with a consonant, 7 end with a vowel, and 42 end with a consonant (6 x 7). The 49 words have 266 letters (38 x 7); 140 are vowels (20 x 7); 126 are consonants (18 x 7). Of these 49 words, 14 occur only once (2 x 7); 35 occur more than once (5 x 7); 42 are nouns (6 x 7) that have exactly 49 letters (7 x 7). Male names occur 56 times (8 x 7), and women’s names appear 3 times (a prime number), and the letters of their names add up to 14. How far do you want to check it? It keeps coming out the same! Every word, chapter, and book in the Bible checks out this way.
The Bible has its own built-in self-checking mechanism against someone tampering with it! Take out one letter and it damages the whole pattern! How could mere fishermen and tax collectors have conjured up something as remarkable as this mathematical pattern (ref.3)? One mind, one author–one God; many different writers–but one Writer! Can you imagine the kind of Mind that would do this, and not even care if you found out?
These items are just a meager sampling of the science in the Bible.
How did the writers have this scientific foreknowledge?
Simple: God had them put it there, through divine revelation!
All conflict between science and the Bible falls into the realm of interpretation of facts–which interpretation is based upon assumptions (assumptions that can be in error!). No fact of science is in conflict with the scriptures! To set science against theology is simply to oppose Creation to Revelation, and Nature to Redemption. It is the uniform testimony of scripture that the God and Messiah of Creation are the God and Messiah of Redemption. It is the interest of science to amass all the facts about the universe in its countless facets; it is the function of the Bible to give these data their purpose and theological orderings.
Science without scripture sets forth the universal scheme as blind, meaningless, and purposeless, never knowing of an hour of creation, or consummation, and in the perspective of an infinity of years and an immensity of space our human hopes, joys, tragedies, aspirations, civilizations, intellectual and artistic achievements are meaningless, insignificant and trivial. Science in harmony with scripture reveals the universal scheme as meaningful and purposeful, and human life, with all its hopes, joys, tragedies, aspirations, civilizations, and intellectual and artistic achievements, becomes the very center of the universe. It is the insistence of the biblical revelation that God is the God of all humanity, of all the world, and of all the universe.
The more one studies the Bible, from any perspective (Science, History, Prophecy, Numerology, etc.), the more its reliability is established! You can put any test that you want on this book and nothing is even in the same class. No other work of man in any language even faintly resembles the intricate structure and design of the Bible. The Bible is not just a book–it is God who has spoken in history and presents His Truths of the invisible or spiritual side of the universe. These spiritual truths are just as “true” as God’s physical truths that science documents for us. Truth is truth and facts are facts no matter who develops them! The Bible will stand, and has stood, the test of time and is worthy of your investigation. The truth welcomes examination. Find out for yourself: Is the Bible what it says it is, the Word of God? Or, is it just another book in a sea of books?
If all the physical things the Bible says can be proved to be true, then what about the spiritual things? Are they not true also?
The Bible also says that each of us will live eternally, either in heaven or hell, depending on whether we obey God. The Bible says we must: believe (Romans 10:17), repent (turn from sin–Romans 3:23; Acts 17:30), confess Yeshua as the Son of God (Romans 10:10), be baptized into Messiah for the remission of sins (Galatians 3:27; Acts 2:38; Mark 16:16), and be faithful until death (Revelation 2:10). If you were to die right now, would you go to heaven or hell? Please ask yourself: If all the historical, scientific, and prophetic statements in the Bible are true and accurate, then what about what the bible says about your having eternal life (or death) and about the choices you make (or do not make) now that can affect your eternal future? It is in your best interest to study it and find out what God requires of those who would be His children (Romans 8:14-16). Do you not think it is worth examining the Bible to see if it is in fact the Word of God, and to see what you must do to receive eternal life from God?
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Science and the Bible References:
Thompson, Bert & Jackson, Wayne, “Reason & Revelation,” Apologetics Press, Inc., Montgomery, AL 36109
Ramm, Bernard, “The believer View of Science and Scripture,” Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Ferdmans Pub. Co.
Panin, Ivan, “Bible Numerics,” Waubaushene, Canada LOK 2CO
Hyma, Albert, “Ancient History,” New York: Barnes & Noble, Inc., College Outline Series
Seller, Charles E. & Russel, Brian, “Ancient Secrets of the Bible,” New York: Dell Publishing
Free, Joseph, “Archaeology and Bible History,” Wheaton: Scripture Press Publications
Kirk, David, “Biology Today,” New York: Random House, 1975