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Science in the Bible

See also Intelligent Design

“Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind” [ Albert Einstein ] . . . “Science tells us how the heavens go. Religion tells us how to go to heaven” [ Galileo, astronomer ]

Science in the Bible
science in the Bible
The Pleiades Enlarge

The Bible is not a scientific textbook! So when it appears to refer to a scientific concept it is usually expressed in non-scientific terms. Nevertheless, the biblical writers 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 current scientific method.

The Bible justifies this claim by stating that the text is God-inspired. Why, for example, does the Bible mention the wonders of the Pleiades star cluster to an unscientific man like Job? This was scientific knowledge far ahead of its time!

Bible verses about Science

Biblical Statements Supplementing Science

If we doubt what appear to be biblical references to scientific facts, we can often check out the biblical claims through today’s scientific knowledge. Here’s a sample of some biblical statements to check out.

  • Earth’s design: Earth is not a random rock in space. Earth is designed

    “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth … who determined its measurements?” (Job 38:4-5)

    Science now sees the earth as “just right for life”, as in the earth’s axial tilt, earth’s distance from the sun, and the finely-tuned physical constants

  • 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! Scientific studies show that “the Ark was extremely stable”

  • 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)

  • Blood Moons: This phenonium arises from the scattering of red light around the earth and onto the moon during a lunar eclipse. Blood moons are entirely predictable and feature in prophecy:

    “The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes” (Joel 2:30,31)

  • 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)

    COVID-19 has greatly accelerated the use of cashless transactions (as in “tap and go” card payments)

  • Asteroid impact: Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) have the potential to make a threatening approach to Earth. As of November 2021 were are 2,223 known PHAs (NASA). Bible prophecy implies that there will be a direct asteroid hit at the end of this age:

    “And something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea, … and a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed” (Revelation 8:8,9)

  • The Shroud of Turin: The image on this long piece of linen cloth is the most scientifically tested object in history. And it still defies a scientific consensus. One theory is that the three-dimensional nature of the image print (only a few microns thick) could have been burnt on the cloth by a strong burst of radiation from the body inside the cloth. Is this scientific evidence of Christ’s resurrection?

    Jesus said to the Jews “Destroy this temple [His body], and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19)

More about Science in the Bible

The Bible says that at the end of this age knowledge will increase:

At the time of the end many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase

Daniel 12:4, emphasis added

Here, the Hebrew word for knowledge is דעת (da’at), a noun derived from the verb ידע (yada) meaning “to know” or “to acquire”. The same Hebrew noun is used in Exodus 31:3 in the context of acquiring wisdom, understanding and knowledge, and also in Job 38 verse 2, where God challenges Job about his lack of scientific knowledge.

So whilst some translations of Daniel 12:4 see this as an increase in knowledge of God, the text also implies an increase in scientific knowledge. In fact, this is what we observe today! The global scientific publication output is growing at a rate of approximately 3% annually, and the volume of publications doubles approximately every 24 years, link.

So, according to prophecy, man will increase in scientific understanding and knowledge at the end of this age. That said, there is no implication that science will replace or correct biblical statements that have a science context. Rather, science appears to support such biblical statements.

If you think strongly enough you will be forced by science to the belief in God [ Sir William Thomson, Lord Kelvin (1824-1907), physicist ]

 Far from science having buried God … the results of science point towards his existence [ John Lennox, Professor of Mathematics (emeritus), University of Oxford ]

Scientific Metaquestions

The mathematical physicist Dr John Polkinghorne used the concept of “metaquestions” when relating science and religion. Such questions are raised by science but science is unable to answer through its own scientific methods. Examples:

Why is the universe apparently just right for life (as expressed in the Anthropic Principle)?

Why is the physical universe so rationally transparent to us such that we can understand its pattern and structure?

Polkinghorne argued that both questions can be rendered intelligible by explaining the cosmos as God’s intelligent creation. Einstein simply seemed amazed at the universe:

The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible [Albert Einstein]

More generally, Polkinghorne argued that theology aims to offer enhanced insight into such metaquestions by supplementing science, rather than seeking to displace science. In other words:

It is not “either or”!

Science actually supplements biblical statements

and biblical statements supplement science

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]

More instances of how science relates to the Bible HERE

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