Talk Back 136
Does Science Agree With the Bible?
by: Hira Rose
Editor's note: I have taken the extremely lengthy email sent to me, re-arranged it somewhat for at least a degree of coherence and logical flow, and split it into three documents; Talk Back 136, Talk Back 137, and an addendum containing numerous links to Jehovahs Witness resources.
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Does Science Agree With the Bible?
The Bible’s answer
Yes, for although the Bible is not a science textbook, it is accurate when it mentions matters of science. Consider some examples showing that science and the Bible agree and that the Bible contains scientific facts that differed greatly from the beliefs of many people living at the time it was written.
The universe had a beginning. (Genesis 1:1) In contrast, many ancient myths describe the universe, not as being created, but as being organized from existing chaos. The Babylonians believed that the gods that gave birth to the universe came from two oceans. Other legends say that the universe came from a giant egg.
- The universe is governed day-to-day by rational natural laws, not by the whims of deities. (Job 38:33;Jeremiah 33:25) Myths from around the world teach that humans are helpless before the unpredictable and sometimes merciless acts of the gods.
- The earth is suspended in empty space. (Job 26:7) Many ancient peoples believed that the world was a flat disk supported by a giant or an animal, such as a buffalo or a turtle.
- Rivers and springs are fed by water that has evaporated from the oceans and other sources and then has fallen back to earth as rain, snow, or hail. (Job 36:27, 28;Ecclesiastes 1:7; Isaiah 55:10; Amos 9:6) The ancient Greeks thought that rivers were fed by underground ocean water, and this idea persisted into the 18th century.
- The mountains rise and fall, and today’s mountains were once under the ocean. (Psalm 104:6, 8) In contrast, several myths say that the mountains were created in their current form by the gods.
- Sanitary practices protect health. The Law given to the nation of Israel included regulations for washing after touching a dead body, quarantining those with infectious disease, and disposing of human waste safely. (Leviticus 11:28; 13:1-5; Deuteronomy 23:13) By contrast, one of the Egyptian remedies in use when these commands were given called for applying to an open wound a mixture that included human excrement.
Are there scientific errors in the Bible?
A reasonable examination of the Bible shows the answer to be no. Here are some common misconceptions about the scientific accuracy of the Bible:
Myth: The Bible says that the universe was created in six 24-hour days.
Fact: According to the Bible, God created the universe in the indefinite past. (Genesis 1:1) Also, the days of creation described in chapter 1 of Genesis were epochs whose length is not specified. In fact, the entire period during which earth and heaven were made is also called a “day.”—Genesis 2:4.
Myth: The Bible says that vegetation was created before the sun existed to support photosynthesis.—Genesis 1:11,16.
Fact: The Bible shows that the sun, one of the stars that make up “the heavens,” was created before vegetation. (Genesis 1:1)
Diffused light from the sun reached the earth’s surface during the first “day,” or epoch, of creation. As the atmosphere cleared, by the third “day” of creation, the light was strong enough to support photosynthesis. (Genesis 1:3-5, 12, 13) Only later did the sun become distinctly visible from the surface of the earth.—Genesis 1:16.
Myth: The Bible says that the sun revolves around the earth.
Fact: Ecclesiastes 1:5 says: “The sun rises, and the sun sets; then it hurries back to the place where it rises again.” However, this statement merely describes the apparent motion of the sun as viewed from the earth. Even today, a person can use the words “sunrise” and “sunset,” yet he knows that the earth revolves around the sun.
Myth: The Bible says that the earth is flat.
Fact: The Bible uses the phrase “the ends of the earth” to mean “the most distant part of the earth”; this does not imply that the earth is flat or that it has an edge. (Acts 1:8; footnote) Likewise, the expression “the four corners of the earth” is a figure of speech referring to the entire surface of the earth; today a person might use the four points of the compass as a similar metaphor.—Isaiah 11:12; Luke 13:29.
Myth: The Bible says that the circumference of a circle is exactly three times its diameter, but the correct value is pi (π), or about 3.1416.
Fact: The measurements of “the Sea of cast metal” given at 1 Kings 7:23 and 2 Chronicles 4:2 indicate that it had a diameter of 10 cubits and that “it took a measuring line 30 cubits long to encircle it.” These dimensions might have been merely the nearest round numbers. It is also possible that the circumference and diameter represented inner and outer measurements of the basin respectively.
Joy and gladness understood (Acts 14:17). Evolution cannot explain emotions. Matter and energy do not feel. Scripture explains that God places gladness in our hearts (Psalm 4:7), and ultimate joy is found only in our Creator’s presence – “in Your presence is fullness of joy” (Psalm 16:11).
Blood is the source of life and health (Leviticus 17:11; 14). Up until 120 years ago, sick people were “bled” and many died as a result (e.g. George Washington). Today we know that healthy blood is necessary to bring life-giving nutrients to every cell in the body. God declared that “the life of the flesh is in the blood” long before science understood its function.
The Bible states that God created life according to kinds (Genesis 1:24). The fact that God distinguishes kinds, agrees with what scientists observe – namely that there are horizontal genetic boundaries beyond which life cannot vary. Life produces after its own kind. Dogs produce dogs, cats produce cats, roses produce roses. Never have we witnessed one kind changing into another kind as evolution supposes. There are truly natural limits to biological change.
Our bodies are made from the dust of the ground (Genesis 2:7; 3:19). Scientists have discovered that the human body is comprised of some 28 base and trace elements – all of which are found in the earth.
The universe had a beginning (Genesis 1:1; Hebrews 1:10-12). Starting with the studies of Albert Einstein in the early 1900s and continuing today, science has confirmed the biblical view that the universe had a beginning. When the Bible was written most people believed the universe was eternal. Science has proven them wrong, but the Bible correct.
Ocean currents anticipated (Psalm 8:8). Three thousand years ago the Bible described the “paths of the seas.” In the 19th century Matthew Maury – the father of oceanography – after reading Psalm 8, researched and discovered ocean currents that follow specific paths through the seas! Utilizing Maury’s data, marine navigators have since reduced by many days the time required to traverse the seas.
Light travels in a path (Job 38:19). Light is said to have a “way” [Hebrew: Derek, literally a traveled path or road]. Until the 17th century it was believed that light was transmitted instantaneously. We now know that light is a form of energy that travels at ~186,000 miles per second in a straight line. Indeed, there is a “way” of light.
Briefly, these texts tell us that light travels and that darkness is a real substance that has specific locations within the universe. astronomers now know that darkness is not just the absence of light it is a substance. About 99.73% of all the stuff of the universe is dark stuff: dark energy, exotic dark matter, and ordinary dark matter.
The Bible warns against eating birds of prey (Leviticus 11:13-19). Scientists now recognize that those birds which eat carrion (putrefying flesh), often spread disease.
Matthew Maury (1806-1873) is considered the father of oceanography. His daughter was reading a portion of the Bible to him. While listening, he noticed the expression "paths of the sea" in Psalms 8:8. Upon his recovery, Maury took God at his word and went look ing for these paths. We are indebted to his discovery of the warm and cold continental currents. His book on oceanography is still considered a basic text on the subject and is still used in universities. Maury used the Bible as a guide to scientific discovery. If only more would use the Bible as a guide in their personal lives!
The Second Law of Thermodynamics (Entropy) explained (Psalm 102:25-26). This law states that everything in the universe is running down, deteriorating, constantly becoming less and less orderly. Entropy (disorder) entered when mankind rebelled against God – resulting in the curse (Genesis 3:17; Romans 8:20-22). Historically most people believed the universe was unchangeable. Yet modern science verifies that the universe is “grow(ing) old like a garment” (Hebrews 1:11). Evolution directly contradicts this law.
The characteristic of the universe stated more frequently than any other in the Bible is its being “stretched out.” Five different Bible authors pen such a statement in eleven different verses: Job 9:8; Psalm 104:2; Isaiah 40:22; 42:5; 44:24; 45:12; 48:13; 51:13; Jeremiah 10:12; 51:15; and Zechariah 12:1. Job 37:18 appears to be a twelfth verse. However, the word used for “heavens” or “skies” is shehaqîm which refers to the clouds of fine particles (of water or dust) that are located in Earth’s atmosphere,8 not the shamayim, the heavens of the astronomical universe.9 Three of the eleven verses, Job 9:8; Isaiah 44:24; and 45:12 make the point that God alone was responsible for the cosmic stretching.
What is particularly interesting about the eleven verses is that different Hebrew verb forms are used to describe the cosmic stretching. Seven verses, Job 9:8; Psalm 104:2; Isaiah 40:22; 42:5; 44:24; 51:13; and Zechariah 12:1 employ the Qal active participle form of the verb natah. This form literally means “the stretcher out of them” (the heavens) and implies continual or ongoing stretching. Four verses, Isaiah 45:12; 48:13; and Jeremiah 10:12; 51:15 use the Qal perfect form. This form literally means that the stretching of the heavens was completed or finished some time ago.
That the Bible really does claim that the stretching out of the heavens is both “finished” and “ongoing” is made all the more evident in Isaiah 40:22. There we find two different verbs used in two different forms. In the first of the final two parallel poetic lines, “stretches out” is the verb natah in the Qal active participle form. In the second (final) line the verb “spreads them out” (NASB, NIV, NKJV) is mathah (used only this one time in the Old Testament) in the waw consecutive plus Qal imperfect form, so that literally we might translate it “and he has spread them out . . .” The participles in lines one and three of Isaiah 40:22 characterize our sovereign God by His actions in all times, sitting enthroned above the earth and stretching out the heavens, constantly exercising his creative power in His ongoing providential work. This characterization is continued with reference to the past by means of waw consecutive with the imperfect, the conversive form indicating God’s completed act of spreading out the heavens. That is, this one verse literally states that God is both continuing to stretch out the heavens and has stretched them out.
The Order of Creation According to the Bible
- Creation of the entire physical universe (matter,1 energy,2 space3 and time1) from the invisible5. This creation event includes an expanding universe6, which continues to expand at this time.
- . Preparation of planet earth for the creation of life. The Bible describes the Earth's initial conditions following its creation when the Sun is already shining. The Bible also says that the Earth is controlled by the heavens and not the other way around (geocentrism is refuted)7. The original Earth is described as being without any oceans or water at all8. Science tells us that the Earth's water probably came from cometary collisions that were common during the early history of the Solar System9. The main biblical creation account (Genesis 1) begins after the formation of the Earth's oceans with a description of the Earth as a water-covered planet covered by dense clouds10.
- The dense atmosphere is partially cleared so that light can strike the surface of the earth.
- Formation of a stable water cycle11.
- Formation of continents, including an accurate description of the tectonic activity that produced the continents12
- Creation of plants on the land and their subsequent "production by the land," possibly including some naturalistic processes13 .
- Transformation of the atmosphere from translucent transparent as the Sun, Moon, and stars show through the atmosphere.
8. Creation of swarms of small sea animals and their subsequent "great increase" or "teeming by the water" (consistent with the Cambrian explosion) possibly involving some naturalistic processes14.
- Creation of birds15
- Creation of sea mammals16
- Creation of land mammals that interact with humans17
- creeping land mammals (e.g., rodents)
- large quadruped land mammals (e.g., cattle)
- wild land mammals (e.g., carnivores)
- Creation of modern humans18.
The Bible is unique among ancient creation accounts in that its description of the order of creation is 100% accurate.
Also See five major reasons to trust Bible
also read this Magazine The Origin of Life ..Great Magazine
- In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth. (Genesis 1:1)
This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made earth and heaven. (Genesis 2:4)
Thus says God the LORD, Who created the heavens and stretched them out... (Isaiah 42:5)
"It is I who made the earth, and created man upon it. I stretched out the heavens with My hands, And I ordained all their host. (Isaiah 45:12)
For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it... (Isaiah 45:18)
For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible... (Colossians 1:16)
"Worthy art Thou, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for Thou didst create all things, and because of Thy will they existed, and were created." (Revelation 4:11)
- And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. (Genesis 1:3)
- For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)
He wraps himself in light as with a garment; he stretches out the heavens like a tent (Psalm 104:2)
He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in. (Isaiah 40:22)
- God was acting before the beginning of our timeline and created our timeline:
...This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, (2 Timothy 1:9)
a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, (Titus 1:2)
No, we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. (1 Corinthians 2:7)
To the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. (Jude 1:25)
- The universe was formed at God's command, so that what was seen was not made out of what was visible. (Hebrews 11:3)
- Who alone stretches out the heavens, And tramples down the waves of the sea; (Job 9:8)
Covering Thyself with light as with a cloak, Stretching out heaven like a tent curtain. (Psalm 104:2)
It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. (Isaiah 40:22)
Thus says God the Lord, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread out the earth and its offspring, Who gives breath to the people on it, And spirit to those who walk in it, (Isaiah 42:5)
Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, and the one who formed you from the womb, "I, the Lord, am the maker of all things, Stretching out the heavens by Myself, And spreading out the earth all alone" (Isaiah 44:24)
"It is I who made the earth, and created man upon it. I stretched out the heavens with My hands, And I ordained all their host." (Isaiah 45:12)
"Surely My hand founded the earth, And My right hand spread out the heavens; When I call to them, they stand together." (Isaiah 48:13)
That you have forgotten the Lord your Maker, Who stretched out the heavens, And laid the foundations of the earth; That you fear continually all day long because of the fury of the oppressor, As he makes ready to destroy? But where is the fury of the oppressor? (Isaiah 51:13)
It is He who made the earth by His power, Who established the world by His wisdom; And by His understanding He has stretched out the heavens. (Jeremiah 10:12)
It is He who made the earth by His power, Who established the world by His wisdom, And by His understanding He stretched out the heavens. (Jeremiah 51:15)
The burden of the word of the Lord concerning Israel. Thus declares the Lord who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him, (Zechariah 12:1)
- "Do you know the ordinances of the heavens, or fix their rule over the earth?" (Job 38:33)
- When there were no oceans, I was given birth, when there were no springs abounding with water; (Proverbs 8:24)
- Chyba, C. and C. Sagan. 1992. Endogenous production, exogenous delivery and impact-shock synthesis of organic molecules: an inventory for the origins of life. Nature 355: 125-132.
- And the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. (Genesis 1:2)
"Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding... Or who enclosed the sea with doors, When, bursting forth, it went out from the womb; when I made a cloud its garment, and thick darkness its swaddling band" (Job 38:4-9)
- Then God said, "Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters." And God made the expanse, and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so. (Genesis 1:6-7)
- Then God said, "Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear"; and it was so. And God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:9-10)
Thou didst cover it with the deep as with a garment; The waters were standing above the mountains... The mountains rose; the valleys sank down To the place which Thou didst establish for them. Thou didst set a boundary that they may not pass over; That they may not return to cover the earth. (Psalm 104:6-9)
The LORD by wisdom founded the Earth; By understanding He established the heavens. By His knowledge the deeps were broken up... (Proverbs 3:19)
- Then God said, "Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit after their kind, with seed in them, on the earth"; and it was so. And the earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit, with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:11-12)
- Then God said, "Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures..." (Genesis 1:20a)
- ... and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens." (Genesis 1:20b)
Modern birds created
Feduccia, A. Explosive evolution in tertiary birds and mammals. Science 267: 637-638, 1995.)
- And God created the great sea monsters, and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:21)
Appearance of modern whales
Gingerich, PD., Raza, SM., Arif, M, Anwar, M, and Ahou, X. Nature 368: 844-847, 1994.
- Then God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind"; and it was so. And God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:24-25)
- Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Genesis 1:26-27)
- Thus says the LORD, Who gives the sun for light by day, And the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, Who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar; The LORD of hosts is His name: "If this fixed order departs From before Me," declares the LORD, "Then the offspring of Israel also shall cease From being a nation before Me forever." (Jeremiah 31:35-36)
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