Science and the Bible
At the end of the age science will increasingly be at the forefront of world affairs. The Bible predicts this:
At the time of the end many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increaseDaniel 12:4
So it is not “either or”! Science supports biblical statements
Clearly the Bible is not a scientific textbook! So when it appears to refer to a scientific concept it is expressed in non-scientific terms. Nevertheless, the writers in both Old and New Testaments claim to convey transcendent knowledge and absolute truth. That is, it is claimed that the biblical text conveys unparalleled, unique, extraordinary, and superior knowledge – knowledge beyond the grasp of man. It justifies this claim by stating the text is God-inspired.
If we doubt what appear to be references to scientific facts, we can check out the biblical claims through today’s scientific knowledge. Here’s a sample of some biblical claims to check out.
Some Biblical Scientific Statements
- Earth’s dimensions: These are not random, they are designed
“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth … who determined its measurements?” (Job 38:4-5)
- Earth is Round: In simple terms the Bible says the earth is round and appears to be “hanging in space”:
“He who sits above the circle of the earth …” (Isa 40:22) “He hangs the earth on nothing” (Job 26:7)
This description is certainly appropriate when the earth is viewed from space since it appears to be circular and floating on nothing
- Astronomy: God brought arrogant Job down to earth when He asked him:
“Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades, or loose the belt of Orion?” (Job 38.31)
The term “cluster” actually conveys scientific truth i.e. many stars, and the term “loose” conveys the fact that the stars in Orion’s belt are actually trying to fly apart!
- Earth’s tides: The position, physical qualities and orbit of each planet affect the Earth in several measurable ways (as in the climate and Earth’s orbit). Earth’s tides are also dominated by the combined effect of the Sun and the Moon’s gravitational pull. Planetary influence is hinted at in Job chapter 38:
“Do you know the ordinances of the heavens … their dominion over the earth? (Job 38:33) Who shut in the sea with doors? … I fixed My limit for it” (Job 38:8,10)
- Ocean currents: Today science has identified major ocean currents, such as the Gulf Stream, the North Pacific Drift and the South Atlantic. The Bible refers to these currents as “paths in the sea”:
“the fish of the sea pass through the paths of the sea” (Psalm 8:8)
- Lightening: An electrical discharge happens when air molecules become ionized. This happens during thunderstorms because of the high static electric fields carried by the clouds which generate “streamers”, i.e. paths for the electrons to flow downwards. This “path” is mentioned in Job 38:
“Who has divided a path for a thunderbolt?” (Job 38:25)
- Radio: Lightning strikes (huge sparks!) produce radio frequency interference that can be detected thousands of miles away. Early radio transmitters were of the spark-gap type and the sparks were “modulated” to send information, as in Morse code. The signal went at the speed of light. This early scientific technique may be in mind when God asked Job:
“Can you send out lightnings that they may go, and say to you, ‘here we are’?” (Job 38:35)
- Noah’s Ark: He was instructed to build the Ark according to certain basic dimensions:
“The length of the Ark shall be 300 cubits, its width 50 cubits, and its height 30 cubits … You shall make it with lower, second and third decks” (Gen 6:15-16)Amazingly, these basic dimensions align well with modern navel practice!
- Solar Eclipse: The Sun’s diameter is about 400 times that of the Moon. Despite this difference the sun-moon-earth distances are such that we see a beautiful corona of the Sun (conveniently permitting astronomers to analyse the Sun’s atmosphere). Is this a celestial “fluke” – or design?
“In the beginning God created … the earth … and God made two great lights … the lesser light to rule the night” (Genesis 1)
- Mathematics: An irrational number called “the golden ratio” Φ = 1.6180339… is mysteriously linked to such diverse concepts as quantum physics, our solar system, DNA and plants. And the related Fibonacci sequence is embedded in music. Pure chance, or God’s design?
“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes … have been clearly seen … through what has been made” (Rom 1:8)
- Medical science has shown that on the eighth day of a new-born male the amount of blood clotting factor prothrombin present in the body is more than 100% above normal, and this is normally the only day in the male’s life when this is the case. This aligns with biblical knowledge:
“He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised” (Gen 17:12)
- We are what we think: Scientific research shows that a positive mental attitude can benefit our health e.g. optimism in older people is good for blood pressure:
“A calm and peaceful and tranquil heart is life and health to the body, but passion and envy are like rottenness to the bones” (Proverbs 14:30)
- Deep sea springs: Hydrothermal vents called “black smokers” are found on the seabed. They are actually hot-water springs. The (ignorant) man Job was questioned about such things:
“Have you entered into the springs of the sea?” (Job 38:16)
- Division of light: The man Job was also questioned about the splitting of white light into colours (clearly an unfair question!):
“By what way is light divided?” (Job 38:24, NASB)
- Knowledge Increase: Over the past 100 years there has been an amazing increase in scientific understanding, as in communications technology, medical science and space science:
“… at the time of the end … knowledge shall increase” (Dan 12:4)
- Evolution: Darwinian (macro) evolution is now being challenged by ‘Intelligent Design’ and the fossil records. Evolution is, after all, a scientific theory to be tested:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever I will set aside” (1 Cor 1:19, NASB)
- Climate Change: The prophet Isaiah was shown a time when the earth would experience extreme heat, drought and storms:
“the earth mourns and withers, the world fades and withers … the inhabitants of the earth are burned and few men are left … the windows above [the floodgates of the heavens, NIV] are opened” (Isa 24:18) (Isa 24:3-6,18)
- Cashless Trading: The book of Revelation foresees a hi-tech trading system:
“He causes all … to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads … no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark” (Rev 13:16-17)
Clearly, when the Bible does make some scientific statement, it tends to be supported by modern science. Man is slowly discovering some of the transcendent truth of God’s creation through science. As NASA says:
While the tremendous technical and scientific accomplishments of NASA demonstrate vividly that humans can achieve previously inconceivable feats, we also are humbled by the realisation that Earth is just a tiny “blue marble” in the cosmos. [NASA history]