THE BIBLE’S AMAZING SCIENTIFIC ACCURACY
Updated March 4, 2005 (first published February 17, 2005) (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, firstname.lastname@example.org) -
The Bible is not a scientific manual, but it is scientifically accurate, even from its earliest pages, which were written thousands of years ago. Following are some examples:
(1) The Bible says plants and animals reproduce after their kind (Gen. 1). This is in perfect harmony with everything that can be observed and tested by modern science. There is great variety within kinds, all sorts of different roses and trees and frogs and dogs, but there is no reproduction between kinds, between roses and trees or frogs and dogs.
(2) The Bible says the earth is hung upon nothing (Job 26:7). Modern science knows that the earth moves freely in space, but this fact is contrary to the teaching of most ancient religions. The Greeks, for example, taught that the world is upheld by Atlas. Others taught that the earth was supported by huge pillars on the back of a giant tortoise and other such fanciful notions.
(3) The Bible says the earth is a circle (Isaiah 40:22). In past centuries many have believed that the earth is flat, but the Scriptures have always been scientifically accurate in this matter.
(4) The Bible says there are paths in the sea (Is. 43:16). Since the 19th century the ocean currents or paths have been charted and ships travel these paths just as trucks travel across roads. Writing in the mid-1800s, Matthew Fontaine Maury, Superintendent of the U.S. Navy’s Depot of Charts and Instruments in Washington, D.C., observed, “There is a river in the ocean: in the severest droughts it never fails, and in the mightiest floods it never overflows; its banks and its bottom are of cold water, while its current is of warm; the Gulf of Mexico is its fountain, and its mouth is in the Arctic Seas. It is the Gulf Stream” (Maury, The Physical Geography of the Sea, 6th ed., 1856, p. 25).
(5) The Bible says there are trenches in the sea (Gen. 7:11; Job 38:16). “For many centuries, man considered the seashore as little more than a shallow, sandy extension that went from one continent to another. Then, in 1873 a group of British scientists carrying out research in the Pacific Ocean discovered a ‘recess’ (trench) 35,800 feet deep. A trench is a long, narrow depression in the ocean floor that looks like an enormous gash with extremely steep sides. The topography and depth of these trenches are used to distinguish them from other valleys and depressions in the oceans. Three major oceans have trenches in them, but the Pacific is most renowned for such. Extensive studies have been carried out on the Marianas Trench off the coast of Guam. In fact, several years ago a research team, using the bathyscaph Trieste, traveled almost seven miles down into one trench. The Bible, however, once again contained such knowledge long before mankind discovered it. Biblical scholars acknowledge that the use of the Hebrew word tehom (‘abyssal depth’ see Genesis 7:11) may well be a reference to such trenches. Job was asked by God, ‘hast thou walked in the search of the depth?’ (38:16). ... We now know -- thanks to years of intense, successful scientific investigations -- that such ‘recesses’ actually do occur in the oceans of our planet. Admittedly, our knowledge of these matters resulted from impressive technological achievements covering many generations. But where did the writer of the book of Job obtain his information? And how did the psalmist know to use a word that depicted oceanic depths? (‘Scientific Foreknowledge and Biblical Accuracy,’ Bert Thompson, Ph.D, Reason and Revelation, October 1993).
(6) The Bible says the air has weight (Job 28:25). It was not until the 17th century that Galileo discovered this, when he constructed an apparatus consisting of a glass bulb with an airtight valve and found that it weighed more after air was forced into it. Prior to this it was thought that air was weightless. In fact, Aristotle had done experiments that he erroneously thought confirmed that air had no weight.
(7) The Bible says there are springs in the sea (Job 38:16). Modern science has discovered that there are thousands of underwater springs that add millions of metric tons of water into the oceans each year.
(8) The Bible says the sea has great depth (Job 38:16). We now know that the deepest part of the sea, the Marianas Trench in Southeast Asia, is 35,810 feet. Man cannot walk there today any more than Job could in his day.
(9) The Bible describes the way of light and the place of darkness (Job 38:19). This is scientifically accurate. “Light is not located in a certain place or situation. Neither does it simply appear, or disappear, instantaneously. Light is traveling! It dwells in a ‘way,’ always on the way to someplace else. When light stops traveling, there is darkness. Thus, darkness is static, staying in place; but light is dynamic, dwelling in a way. Bound up in these energies of light, the electromagnetic spectrum, and the relation between matter and energy are all the phenomena of the physical cosmos” (Dr. Henry Morris, The Remarkable Record of Job).
(10) The Bible describes the parting of light (Job 38:24). It was not until the 17th century that it was discovered that light passing through a prism is separated into seven colors. Further, “This may refer not only to the visible light spectrum (red to violet) but also to all the physical systems developed around the basic entity of light” (Henry Morris).
(11) The Bible says that the light creates wind (Job 38:24), but it is only in recent times that modern weather science has discovered that wind is created as the sun heats up the surface of the earth, causing the hot air to rise and cooler air to fall, creating weather systems.
(12) The Bible describes the amazing hydrological cycle (evaporation, atmospheric circulation, condensation, precipitation, run-off) (Job 38:25-30; Ecc. 1:7). This was created on the second and third days of creation (Gen. 1:6-10) and is one of the amazing and important systems that allow life to thrive on the earth. Yet the process of evaporation and condensation was not discovered until the 17th century and not fully understood until the 20th.
(13) The Bible says the heavens cannot be measured and the stars are without number (Gen. 22:17; Jer. 31:37). Before the invention of the telescope, man could see only a few hundred stars at the most. Yet today we know that the stars are innumerable and that space is seemingly infinite. There are 300 billion stars in our Milky Way galaxy alone. In 1999, observations by NASA astronomers, using the Hubble Space Telescope, suggested that there are 125 billion galaxies in the universe. The most up-to-date star count was announced in July 2003 as 70 sextillion observable stars (70,000,000,000,000,000,000,000). The team of scientists that produced this figure included Simon Driver of the Australian National University, Dr. Jochen Liske from the Royal Observatory Edinburgh, Dr. Nicholas Cross of Johns Hopkins University, Professor Warrick Couch from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, and Dr. David Lemon from St. Andrews University. The study, which is considered 10 times more accurate than previous ones, was a part of the world’s largest galaxy survey, the Two-Degree Field Galaxy Redshift Survey. The team did not physically count the stars. Instead they used some of the world’s most powerful telescopes to count all of the galaxies in one region of the universe and then to estimate how many stars each galaxy contained by measuring its brightness. They then extrapolated these figures out to the whole universe visible through telescopes. This massive figure, of course, probably covers only a tiny percentage of the actual stars.
(14) The Bible describes the circuit of the winds in Ecc. 1:6, but this was not discovered until modern times. “As the land in the equator heats up, it causes the hot air to rise. In the upper atmosphere, the air flows away from the equator. Cooler air will move along to replace it. This produces six major wind belts around the world” (Y.T. Wee, The Soul-Winner’s Handy Guide).
(15) The Bible says the life is in the blood (Lev. 17:11). This was not understood until very recent times. Even in the 19th century, doctors were using “blood letting” as a healing method, to expurgate the alleged “bad blood.” George Washington, America’s first president, died because of this bogus practice. Modern medicine has learned what the Bible has taught all along, that the life of the flesh is in the blood.
(16) The Bible says the stars differ in glory (1 Cor. 15:41). “J. Bayer, in 1603, devised a method or system to indicate their brightness or magnitude. No astronomer today will deny this fact. Stars are now known to differ in size, color, light emitted, density, and heat. Our sun, which is a star, is over 1,000,000 times the size of our earth, yet there are some stars at least a million times as large as our sun, and some smaller than the planet Mercury” (World’s Bible Handbook).
It is important to understand that the Bible, like all writings intended for general reading, uses the language of appearance:
The Bible refers to the sun setting, even though we know that the sun itself does not set but the earth rotates, giving the appearance of the sun setting (Gen. 28:11; Jud. 9:33). It refers to the sun and moon as “the two great lights” (Gen. 1:16). We know that there are many stars that are greater than our sun and moon, but from the perspective of the earth, the sun and moon are the greatest.
What an amazing Book!
THE BIBLE’S AMAZING SCIENTIFIC ACCURACY