Science and the Bible

Many people believe that science has proved the Bible to be wrong. The education authorities, most newspapers, radio programs and TV shows all take the “theory of evolution” as if it is fact and therefore the idea of an almighty God who created the heavens and the earth surely cannot be true – and therefore by implication everything in the Bible must be false.

In this article we want to briefly look at science in relation to the Bible.

What is Science

The most logical place to start must surely be what we actually define “science” as. The Oxford dictionary tells us that the origin of our English word for “Science” is in fact from the Latin scientia, from scire and it means ‘know’ or “knowledge”. In it’s truest sense then the word science should be used about facts. We “know” that when we do this, that will happen. Its a law or a fact of nature. True science is therefore a fact about something. It is a discovery of a law or rule which when applied will always bring about the expected result.

The problem is that the scientific community has long had to theorize or come up with hypothesizes which they then go about to prove. Many theories have not been proved but people still call them “science”. Sometimes further theories are developed from an existing theory bringing about more and more speculation which is not based on the true definition of science!

One such theory has been very influential in our age – Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution which was published in his book “The Origin of Species” in November 1859. He argued that species develop from being naturally selected. The weaker species die out whereas the stronger adapt and evolve over a period of billions of years.

True science is not an idea. It is fact. It is a law. It is something that can be proved and backed up and repeated over and over.

So the question is has the theory of the evolution of species been proved? The answer is a resounding no. How does one test and observe this idea of an evolution of a species? If Darwin was correct we should have many transitional species that could be brought forward as clear evidence – “look here is a dog growing wings to jump higher”. Do we have such evidence? No! All we have is some dubious fossils, the false claim about some peppered moths and some bogus claims of a few “missing links” where bones found far apart, are assumed to be from the one individual (e.g piltdown man). This is not fact but speculation.

Many scientists have had to change their opinion about natural selection and adopted the idea of mutations. It is thought that these accidental changes can bring about a new species but again there is no evidence!

The more scientists look at life the more confounded they become – there is still no answer to the areas in biology which require an “irreducible minimum” of components. The flagellum of a cell is but one example. The flagellum is like a complex engine made up of many different parts which all come together as one and none have any purpose on their own so couldn’t evolve without the other – the problem is why would they evolve if there was no purpose for them without the final design? There is no adaptation in this process and therefore within what has been called the “simple cell” are some very profound and complex issue which modern science has no answer to! There is also the problem of where life started and how – nothing can come but of a vacuum and yet hear we are! We could go on an on.

Does Science prove the Bible wrong?

So with that brief look at what true science is we turn the focus of this article onto the Bible. Does true science disprove the Bible? It has to be admitted that science has disproved many other religious text’s – for example in Hinduism it is said that the earth is a disk born on the back of three giant elephants who stand upon a giant turtle that flies through space (see hear for more details). The Bible contains no statements of this kind. In fact as we will now demonstrate the Bible is consistent with all that it says about “true” science.

The Bible constant with true science

In this section we hope to go through a few of the amazing things contained within the Bible which are 100% consistent with true science. The Bible is not a scientific book as God only reveals what is essential for our salvation and does not entertain puny human curiosity (which he could probably not ever fully appreciate anyway) about His creation. However God has given us enough evidence to be confident that the writings of the Bible are not only in harmony with true science but also that God knew about many of the facts of science before we did! Its slightly ironic that when one reads the Bible we find that true science has actually been proving the Bible right!

Hear are a few examples of how the Bible and  true science harmonize:

  • Gravity & Space – The Bible talks about gravity (a force of God) – discovered by man in 1687 by Sir Isaac Newton
    “He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.” Job 26:7
  • Shape of the Earth – The spherical shape of the earth is described by the prophet Isaiah (interesting that the Bible stated this all along and that the Roman Catholic Pope, Paul V had such a problem with Galileo who first suggested the earth was spherical after his observances of the movement of the planets in 1610. This historical conflict proves the Catholic church to be fallible but does not prove the Bible is fallible! Consider the verse:
    “Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth?  It is he (God) that sitteth upon the circle of the earth,  and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain,  and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in” Isaiah 40:22
  • Meteorology – The description of the wind cycle is revealed in the Bible only recently documented by science. Also the fact that air has a weight only discovered by Evangelista Torricelli in 1644. This is interesting as we cannot determine the weight of air with our natural eye or senses – how advanced therefore is the author of the Bible!
    “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 6:1
    God understandeth the way thereof,  and he knoweth the place thereof… To make the weight for the winds; and he weigheth the waters by measure.” Job 28:23-25
    “For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:” Isaiah 55:10
    The Bible also describes the water cycle:
    “All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.” Ecclesiastes 1:7
    “He bindeth up the waters in his thick clouds; and the cloud is not rent under them.” Job 26:8
  • Biology & Bacteria – The Bible has many many examples which show it’s author had an amazing biological knowledge. To pick two as examples we have the statement about blood in Leviticus which explains that blood is the key factor to life (only discovered in 1616 by William Harvey) and also the in the law of Moses is a clear commandment to discard used pottery that may be contaminated with bacteria which is amazing since bacteria cannot be seen by the human eye! There are may other examples of how the Bible was medically advanced but this example will suffice for the moment.
    For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul. Leviticus 17:11
    But the earthen vessel wherein it (meat) is sodden shall be broken: and if it be sodden in a brasen pot, it shall be both scoured, and rinsed in water. Leviticus 6:27-28
  • Paleontology – many might be surprised to note that Dinosaurs are mentioned several times in the Bible. See Job 40:15-24 and Job 41:1-34.
  • Astronomy – The Bible describes each star as being unique (which cannot be determined by the human eye). It also outlines the fact that the universe is expanding (stretching):
    There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. 1 Corinthians 15:41
    “(God) …stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain” Isaiah 40:22
  • Hydrothermal vents – A hydrothermal vent is a crack in the earths’s surface from which heated water issues. These happen deep underground and only explored in the last 50 or so years.
    “Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea? or hast thou walked in the search of the depth” Job 38:16

Conclusion

As we can see therefore the Bible, unlike other ancient religious manuscript, is totally in accordance with true science. All provable facts of science are consistent with the Bible – even those discovered thousands of years after they were written in the pages of the Bible.

As the great scientist Albert Einstein stated: “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind”. Both must go hand in hand. Facts cannot be disputed and do not contradict the Bible but to ignore the marvels of design is surely the greatest error of modern science. Isaac Newton once said: “This most beautiful system (the Universe) could only proceed from the dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.”

Has true science disproved the Bible? In no shape of form. The real question is – does the Bible disprove modern scientific theories such as evolution? To answer that you need to read up on the evidence of the Bible – topics such as Bible prophecy and archeology should be understood before concluding.

As the apostle Paul warned Timothy:

“O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.” 1 Timothy 6:20

Open your Bible dear reader – for only within it’s pages will you find consistency and a way to salvation…

Posted by Matt Davies on Saturday, November 14th, 2009

4 comments on “Science and the Bible

  1. Jonathan Morgan on said:

    Attempting to define a word by its derivation and history is a dubious thing. In any case, to limit science to purely facts is to remove most of its value. Its purpose is to *explain* observed facts. We cannot know that the explanations are correct (there could be a different explanation that just happened to produce all the same results as our explanation but differed in some details that we hadn’t tested). The history of science has abounded with things that appeared to be facts based on observed data, but which weren’t (though some of them were close). By your definition, only the facts are science, and so we cannot know which parts are science because we don’t know that our explanation is the right explanation (though it may fit all current observations). In the same way, even if the Bible is true that doesn’t mean that any interpretations you place on its words are true.

    As for theories, the scientific community uses the word to mean, among other things, deductions and explanations that have been made from a considerable body of supporting observations. Something that is just a guess is not a scientific theory – it is a hypothesis. It is hard to attack people by using their words with *your* meaning rather than *their* meaning. You may argue that evolution is not a theory in that sense, but don’t say that it’s just a theory and so unimportant.

    As for the collection of frequently repeated “scientific” facts from the Bible, just think about these questions:
    1. Were these known and expected by people before science found them? If not, why not? Does this show that they didn’t really mean that?

    2. Are not a considerable percentage of them poetic? If so, do they really have a deep scientific meaning?

    To specifics:
    Job 26:7 doesn’t directly talk about gravity, though it may sound like a similar explanation is given of the earth’s position as gravity. This passage is talking about the power of God. In verse 11 it talks about the “pillars of heaven trembling”. Which scientific fact is this showing? Are there pillars holding up the heavens that I haven’t heard of even while the earth is hanging on nothing?

    Isa 40:22 talks about a circle. Why do you assume that is a sphere, not a flat circle? Because science told you so? If God is above this circle [sphere] of the earth, which direction is up? Doesn’t God fill all the heavens?

    Ecc 1:6 (not 6:1) talks about the futility of life, that things seem to keep going on in the same way and that man doesn’t really have an impact. It also talks of the sun rising and going down in verse 5, which doesn’t actually happen (or at least science tells us the earth turns). Is this also one of the Bible’s statements, that the sun does really go up and down around the earth?

    Job 28:22 talks about death speaking. Is this literal?

    Isa 55:10 seems to be saying that the water will come down and not go up to heaven again, but the water cycle says it does go up again. Surely if this is literal it is wrong, not right?

    Lev 6 is talking about the communication of holiness, and how holy things have to be treated specially. It says nothing whatever about bacteria: that is just a guess as to what it may mean. If it really was about bacteria, why is the command just about the sin offering, and not about the ordinary food that ordinary people ate? Didn’t it matter if that was contaminated?

    Saying that Behemoth and Leviathan are dinosaurs is also just a guess. If it is true, what time period is God talking about them existing in (contemporary with Job?) and if so does this agree with when science has found evidence of dinosaurs being?

    1 Cor 15 is talking about the difference between the resurrected body and the earthly body, and illustrates it with observable differences in different types of animals and other bodies now. It says nothing whatever about the stars being unique: that is again interpretation based on the science.

    Stretching out heavens like a curtain would appear to be talking about the initial creation process (when he “spreads them like a tent to dwell in”). If you stretch out a curtain, does it continue to expand in size? I wouldn’t expect it to, so why should I expect that to be a description of an expanding universe?

    Job 38:16 does not necessarily talk about hydro-thermal vents (and doesn’t read to me at all like it). Job 38 is God describing the greatness of his creation in poetic terms. Do you think that the gates of death are an observable scientific fact? That there are storehouses of snow and hail somewhere literally just waiting to be used (and discovered as scientific fact)?

    This is not to say the Bible is wrong or that evolution is right, just to point out problems in the method of reasoning that takes facts demonstrated by science and then finds verses to say that the Bible was there first, while ignoring other verses (even in the near context) that seem to say things against science.

  2. David Barnes on said:

    I agree with Jonathan. These isolated and out of context verses do not prove that the Bible authors knew anything about the science of the universe or the earth.

    You would somehow need to show from the Bible text that the “true” statements were intended to be taken literally, while the false/symbolic ones were not. Otherwise you have a lot of symbolic statements, some of which happen (coincidentally) to be literally true.

    You also need to show that the Biblical texts really are saying what you think they mean. For example, does “one star differeth from another star in glory” really mean that every star is unique, or just that some are brighter than others — something which is obvious to the naked eye?

    (Incidentally, “astrology” is not the same as “astronomy”. “Astronomy” is the scientific study of stars and so on. “Astrology” is looking at star signs to predict the future.)

    Finally, Einstein definitely did NOT mean that science and the Bible were in harmony. http://news.softpedia.com/news/Science-Without-Religion-is-Lame-Religion-Without-Science-is-Blind-85550.shtml

  3. Thanks for both of your comments. We would like to first respond by saying that the purpose of this article was not to show that the Bible is a scientific document explaining and defining science but that we were merely seeing to show that it is consistent with all provable science as opposed to other religious texts.

    The truest definition of Science is subjective and it is accepted that the definition above is not held by all – especially scientists themselves. The “value” of Science is also subjective.

    @ Jonathan -
    1. Regarding your questions: “Were these known and expected by people before science found them? If not, why not? Does this show that they didn’t really mean that?” These facts may well have been known and also expected by Bible believing people. Many people today claim to follow the Bible but how many expect the return of Jesus Christ to the earth (a clear Bible teaching) – it is possible the same is true of consistency of the Bible with scientific facts. The Bible is not read or even studied, especial by the scientific community – yet is widely dismissed.

    2. Let us address each quotation in order:

    Job 26:11 – Regarding the “pillars of heaven” – this can be taken to be literal. The word for “pillar” here in the original hebrew word “ammuwd”. This word is often used in connection with regard to pillars of smoke or fire – not necessary “solid” pillars. Such pillars are confirmed by astronomy as being within the outer regions of space. Its a description of the shape of as object not necessarily a “pillar” that supports a structure.

    Isaiah 40:22 – regarding the “circle of the earth”. Again an appreciation of the actual word used helps. Genesis, a notable scholar suggest this word means “a circle / sphere” – it is translated as “Compass” in Proverbs 8:27 and “Circuit” in Job 22:14. It’ not conclusive but it is consistent with how the earth would look from space even if you took it to mean a 2D circle rather than 3D.

    Ecclesiastes 1:5 says “The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.” From the view point of the earth this happens as science would agree. It is still consistent.

    Job 29:22 – this is not death speaking as you assume but what Job is saying (see Job 27:1). Job is saying that all die but God who created all things knows the way of nature and the weight of the wind and waters he created. In verse 22 Job personifies death as having heard of the end of the wicked man.

    Isaiah 55:10 – read verse 11 and you will have your answer. The allegory is Gods word which was not to return to Him void – therefore the water was to return to it’s place but it would first accomplish the nourishment of plant-life to bring forth fruit. All consistent with science.

    Leviticus 6 – it is true that it says nothing about Bacteria and the law of Moses is symbolic. However it is also true that these examples (and there are more) are very much in line with what science teaches us about hygine.

    Regarding Dinosaurs – if these are not dinosaurs then please suggest an animal that it describes. Because this speaks of dinosaurs this doesn’t mean they were contemporary with job. Also the carbon dating method has many problems and is in no way accurate (see http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/nab/does-c14-disprove-the-bible).

    1 Cor 15 – is completely consistent with the facts of science which is what we set out to show.

    Regarding “Stretching out heavens” – see Isaiah 44:24 – he heavens are still stretching under the guidance of Almighty God. He is still “stretching” them as one would open a curtain. This is still consistent with Science and in no way contradicts it.

    Regarding Job 38:16 – The whole point of this passage is to show the power of God and yes it is accepted that some phrases are poetic (e.g. “Have the gates of death been opened unto thee? or hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death?” clearly is a rhetorical question about Jobs mortality.) However there are places on earth where ice and snow is stored like treasure (v22). There are “springs” in the sea (v16). These are consistent with scientific fact.

    @ David – thanks for your comment about Astrology – we have amended the article as we had meant Astronomy.

    Regarding the literal / poetical nature of the verses above as we have demonstrated the Bible should be read literally unless there is a clear indication it is poetic. Most of the assumed poetical language is down to a lack of understanding as to the true definition of the original Greek and Hebrew.

    Einstein did believe in God (a creator of the heavens and earth) although admittedly and sadly not the God of the Bible http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Did_Einstein_believe_in_God

  4. Jonathan Morgan on said:

    Job 28:22 (not 29:22) does talk of death speaking (whether it is “personification” or not is irrelevant). And I think you mean Gesenius, not Genesis.

    For Proverbs 8:27 the NET Bible and the NIV tell me it is the “horizon”, and most other versions go again for the “circle”. The horizon is obviously interpretation, but it does again make sense and doesn’t require the assumption that the inhabitants of the Bible had a secret knowledge that the earth was a sphere which was somehow lost to us: instead, it requires them to be able to see that the earth has a horizon (which I can see just as well as I can see that the sun rises and sets, and just as well as I can see that not every star looks the same). It is certainly not inconsistent with science, but nor does it suggest that they knew more about Science than they could see with their two eyes standing on Planet Earth. The health laws are in a different class because they were given by God, but they show nothing about whether the writer or the rest of the people knew about bacteria – they were just laws that had to be followed.

    As it happens, I believe the Bible is true and I expect the return of Jesus Christ to earth and the resurrection of the dead, nor am I trying to argue that the Bible is inconsistent with science. However, your claim seemed to be not just that the scriptures were consistent with observed reality but that they had deep scientific knowledge that has been lost to us for several thousand years before science rediscovered them. I think you would need a lot more examples before you could convince me of that. It is certainly true that the facts “may have been known”, but there is no way we can be sure.

    My encounters with most people using the original languages to try and find hidden knowledge have suggested that they don’t have enough knowledge of the original language to make the statements they do. I am not interested in a debate on these lines because I know I don’t have the qualifications in the original languages, but I will suggest that the original language arguments haven’t really made any of your cases conclusive. Google “strongnosticism”.

    In a debate like this, you hold all the cards, because you are quite able to say “Passage x is literal and has exactly the meaning I want it to have”, while “Passage y is personification/figurative/”. I would probably agree with you on the latter, but it doesn’t appear to me that you are using the same method of interpretation for the passages you want to have a special meaning and those that you don’t. I can come up with any number of passages that taken excessively literally are inconsistent with science (though in my previous post I restricted myself to ones somewhere near the context of the verses you cited). I assume that’s not their true meaning. That being the case, why when you show me a handful of verses of which most appear to me to be being taken excessively literally in exactly the same way should I suddenly recognise that is their true meaning? Does this really serve the purpose of the Bible?