Does the Bible Contain Scientific Facts? A Bible Study

Is the Bible anti-science?  Does the Bible contain scientific facts?  Was the Bible actually ahead of science? Do Christians have to throw their brains in the trash by believing the Bible?

A Definition of Science

The word science basically means knowledge.  Just as the word conscience means “with knowledge.”  Science is an ongoing, never-ending process of learning new things.  Science can be said to be the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the realms of the physical and natural universe.  The discipline of science is that once something is established as fact it may be discovered to be untrue due to later findings and then when was thought to be fact is proven to be false, the facts are changed.  The one certain fact about science is that it is never static.  It is always an ongoing, never-ending process.  Scientific knowledge is expanding at an exponentially rapid pace that continues to outstrip the past, but the question remains, was the Bible ahead of scientific knowledge and if so, how far ahead of human knowledge was it?  First, let us take a look at the origins.

Origins

Scientists can not explain the beginning of the universe or the origins of life.  They can only postulate or speculate but in Genesis God states both of these origins as a matter of fact.  In Genesis 1:1 we have the four scientific necessities for a beginning; space, matter, time, and energy.  Now compare these with Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”

Now, let’s plug in the so-called scientific necessities for the existence of the universe into God’s creative act: “In the beginning, [that’s time] God created [that’s energy] the heavens [that’s space] and the earth [that‘s matter].” We could add motion to this as well where it says “the heavens and the earth” because these were all set in motion by the effectual power of God’s spoken word. It is written that God spoke and the worlds existed which is what Psalm 33:9 says, “For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.

For Christians, we understand that “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible” (Heb 11:3).  Even before atomic and sub-atomic microscopes, God declared that the universe is made up of atoms that are unseen by the naked eye.  What is seen is composed then of what is unseen and it is true that by God’s command, “the universe was formed.”

God also created all animals, mammals, vegetation, and His greatest creation…mankind.  The theory of evolution does not attempt to explain the origins of the universe and all matter, nor does it give any rational explanation for the origins of life.  This theory depends on an already-living organism that came from non-living, inorganic material.  That is, all life came from a simple, single-celled organism that sprang up from non-organic matter, even though this has never been done in scientific experiments.  This is only a theory and a faith-based belief system that has no concrete, conclusive evidence.  Evolution says that mankind was created by millions or billions of years over time and by random chance and that at the most basic level, we and all living organisms, are related to an amoeba.  Evolution can be reduced to saying that mankind and all life came from a primordial soup of inorganic material to, in time, become living organisms.  God says that He created them “male and female” after His own likeness and in the image of God (Gen 1:27).  The difference between God’s creative work and evolution is that one is directed by intelligence and the other is by happenstance.

The Bible Ahead of Scientific Knowledge

Scientists know that the universe is expanding but God’s Word has said as much thousands of years ago through Isaiah as he wrote “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 like a tent to dwell in” (Isaiah 40:22).  Job may be the oldest book in the Bible and Job recorded the fact that “He alone stretches out the heavens” (Job 9:8a).  At least three other Old Testament verses reference this same fact writing that God “stretches out the heavens” (Isaiah 44:24, 51:13) and Jeremiah says the exact same thing (Jer 10:12). The important part of these verses is that He “stretches out the heavens” which means that it is still being stretched out…or expanding.

Other astounding scientific facts that were clearly stated are:

  • Air has weight (Job 28:25).
  • All things consist of atoms which are not visible to the naked eye (Heb 11:3).
  • The earth was not flat which was believed for most of human history but is spherical (Isaiah 40:22) which is why the Bible mentions cycles of day and night occurring in different parts of the earth at one time (Luke 17:34-36).
  • The existence of dinosaurs (Job 40).
  • The hydrological cycle (Amos 9:6, Job 36:27-28).
  • The earth is suspended in space and not like some ancient civilizations thought it was held up; some by elephants, others by Hercules, etc. (Job 26:7).
  • Upper air currents circulate around the earth as in the many different jet streams (Eccl 1:6).
  • The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics where things move from order to disorder and are decaying and deteriorating (Isaiah 51:6, Heb 1:10-11).
  • Deep oceanic springs (Job 38:16).
  • The male sperm or seed (Gen 3:15).
  • That blood is a necessity for life.  Too bad the old doctors didn’t know this for they killed thousands upon thousands in blood letting in the belief it helped (Lev 17:11).
  • The orbit of the sun (Psalm 19:4-6).
  • The binding of clusters of constellations by gravity (Job 38:31).
  • Even the stars, once believed to be a finite, countable number, are now regarded as innumerable (Heb 11:12, Gen 15:5, Jer 33:22, Gen 17:7).
  • Quarantines of infectious diseased populations (Lev 13:45-46).
  • The blood clotting principles, reaching their peak levels of vitamin K on a male child’s eighth day, which is when they were circumcised (Gen 17:12).
  • Life saving sanitary practices which were not universally practiced until the late 18th Century (Num 19, Lev 11, 15, Duet 32:10-12).
  • Washing and bathing for sanitary reasons (Lev 15:13).
  • Even dietary laws that promoted good health (Lev 11:9-12).

Conclusion

The Bible is not so much a book about the heavens but more about how to get to heaven.  That doesn’t mean that there is not scientific wisdom in it.  We have already read that the Bible was well ahead of modern man’s scientific knowledge but here is true wisdom.  Fear God, obey Him, repent, and confess your sins and then put your trust in Christ.   This is not only the smartest thing that you could ever do, it is the wisest decision you will ever make.

Article by Pastor Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is Senior Writer at What Christians Want to Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible.

Resources: The Holy Bible (NIV Version),

  • Dorfl

    I looked up the bible verses you cited, and I must say that in most cases you seem to be superimposing a scientific understanding that either isn’t in the verses, or even contradicts them outright. Walking through them in order:

    “Air has weight (Job 28:25).”

    “To make the weight for the winds; and he weigheth the waters by measure.”

    Fair enough.

    “All things consist of atoms which are not visible to the naked eye (Heb 11:3).”

    “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.”

    Here you are taking a statement so vague it could mean anything and giving it a very specific interpretation.

    “The earth was not flat which was believed for most of human history but is spherical (Isaiah 40:22) [...]”

    “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.”

    I don’t understand why you think he isn’t simply talking about a flat circular Earth. That interpretation would fit a lot better with his description of the heavens as being like a tent.

    “[...] which is why the Bible mentions cycles of day and night occurring in different parts of the earth at one time (Luke 17:34-36).”

    “I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left.”

    This assumes that people didn’t sometimes work at night.

    “The existence of dinosaurs (Job 40).”

    “Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it. Then Job answered the Lord, and said, Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth. Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further. Then answered the Lord unto Job out of the whirlwind, and said, Gird up thy loins now like a man: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. Wilt thou also disannul my judgment? wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous? Hast thou an arm like God? or canst thou thunder with a voice like him? Deck thyself now with majesty and excellency; and array thyself with glory and beauty. Cast abroad the rage of thy wrath: and behold every one that is proud, and abase him. Look on every one that is proud, and bring him low; and tread down the wicked in their place. Hide them in the dust together; and bind their faces in secret. Then will I also confess unto thee that thine own right hand can save thee. Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox. Lo now, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly. He moveth his tail like a cedar: the sinews of his stones are wrapped together. His bones are as strong pieces of brass; his bones are like bars of iron. He is the chief of the ways of God: he that made him can make his sword to approach unto him. Surely the mountains bring him forth food, where all the beasts of the field play. He lieth under the shady trees, in the covert of the reed, and fens. The shady trees cover him with their shadow; the willows of the brook compass him about. Behold, he drinketh up a river, and hasteth not: he trusteth that he can draw up Jordan into his mouth. He taketh it with his eyes: his nose pierceth through snares.”

    Even Christians don’t agree amongst themselves what kind of animal Behemoth is. It could as easily be an elephant.

    “The hydrological cycle (Amos 9:6, Job 36:27-28).”

    “It is he that buildeth his stories in the heaven, and hath founded his troop in the earth; he that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The Lord is his name”

    “For he maketh small the drops of water: they pour down rain according to the vapour thereof: Which the clouds do drop and distil upon man abundantly.”

    Fair enough. That is pretty much how the cycle works.

    “The earth is suspended in space and not like some ancient civilizations thought it was held up; some by elephants, others by Hercules, etc. (Job 26:7).”

    “He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.”

    Ish. The Earth is in an orbit, meaning it’s not hanging as much as it’s constantly falling.

    “Upper air currents circulate around the earth as in the many different jet streams (Eccl 1:6).”

    “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.”

    I accept that they realised that the wind changes direction in a fairly cyclical manner.

    “The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics where things move from order to disorder and are decaying and deteriorating (Isaiah 51:6, Heb 1:10-11).”

    “Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished.”

    “And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment”

    If enough time passes, things tend to grow old. Assuming that because the authors of the Bible knew that, they therefore had an understanding of thermodynamics, is a very big stretch.

    “Deep oceanic springs (Job 38:16).”

    “Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea? or hast thou walked in the search of the depth?”

    I suppose you could call a deep sea vent a kind of spring.

    “The male sperm or seed (Gen 3:15).”

    “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”

    Given that they did not go extinct within one generation, I accept that they knew that sperm exists.

    “That blood is a necessity for life. Too bad the old doctors didn’t know this for they killed thousands upon thousands in blood letting in the belief it helped (Lev 17:11).”

    “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.”

    I also accept that they knew that if people bleed enough, they die.

    “The orbit of the sun (Psalm 19:4-6).”

    “Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.”

    Since the sun doesn’t orbit the Earth, I’m not sure what to make of this.

    “The binding of clusters of constellations by gravity (Job 38:31).”

    “Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?”

    But this is false. Orion isn’t gravitationally bound.

    “Even the stars, once believed to be a finite, countable number, are now regarded as innumerable (Heb 11:12, Gen 15:5, Jer 33:22, Gen 17:7).”

    “Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, [so many] as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.”

    “Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, ‘So shall your descendants be.’”

    “As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, nor the sand of the sea measured, so will I multiply the descendants of David My servant and the Levites who minister to Me.”

    “And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.”

    Unless you believe that sand by the sea shore, Abraham’s descendants, David’s descendants and the Levites are in fact infinite, it’s clear that innumerable is here used in the sense of ‘very, very many’.

    “Quarantines of infectious diseased populations (Lev 13:45-46).”

    “Now the leper on whom the sore [is], his clothes shall be torn and his head bare; and he shall cover his mustache, and cry, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ He shall be unclean. All the days he has the sore he shall be unclean. He [is] unclean, and he shall dwell alone; his dwelling [shall be] outside the camp.”

    Keeping away from visibly sick people is something people tend to do instinctively. I don’t see how it reflects any scientific awareness.

    “The blood clotting principles, reaching their peak levels of vitamin K on a male child’s eighth day, which is when they were circumcised (Gen 17:12).”

    “And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed.”

    I accept that they had observed that children circumcised on the eight day tended to fare better. Assuming that they therefore had much understanding of how blood clotting works is an enormous stretch.

    “Life saving sanitary practices which were not universally practiced until the late 18th Century (Num 19, Lev 11, 15, Duet 32:10-12).”

    I’m not going to quote three entire chapters here. I’ll just say that most of those rules appear much more ritualistic than functionally sanitary. E.g. waiting three days before washing after touching a dead body.

    “Washing and bathing for sanitary reasons (Lev 15:13).”

    “And when he that hath an issue is cleansed of his issue; then he shall number to himself seven days for his cleansing, and wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in running water, and shall be clean.”

    There is nothing here implying that the bathing was sanitary rather than ritualistic.

    “Even dietary laws that promoted good health (Lev 11:9-12).”

    “These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat. And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you: They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination. Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.”

    Maybe? I don’t know enough about middle-eastern fauna to say if these dietary rules make sense or not. Either way, every culture has had some basic awareness of which things in their environment were edible and which things weren’t.

    • frostback

      As far as the numbers of the stars go, it wasn’t until the 1920′s that more advanced telescopes revealed that what had been assumed to be mere ‘interstellar dust’ was in fact enormous numbers of extremely distant stars. Apart from these stars, revealed only by modern astronomy, only about 6,000 of the brighter stars are visible from earth, roughly 3,000 from the northern hemisphere and 3,000 from the southern one.

      How could anyone on earth have known that the stars in the sky were beyond numbering? The Bible cited these stars of the heavens as an example of vast multitude – millenia before this assertion was confirmed by science. This is something that critics of the Bible have never satisfactorily explained.

      • Dorfl

        Go out some cloudless night, lie on your back and attempt to count the stars. I think you’ll very quickly find yourself going “did I count that one? I think I counted that one. Or was it those? Why do the stars have to keep moving all the time?!”, making them ‘uncountable’ in a very literal sense. And this is ignoring the fact that you have the help of a positional counting system, which the authors of the old testament did not, making the act of counting anything a lot more difficult for them.

  • Rick_K

    The Bible is a Rorschach ink blot test – people see what they want to see in all that metaphorical verse. But one thing it is NOT is scientific.

    Regarding atoms – anyone with a modicum of knowledge of history knows the Church fought against the concept of atoms for 1500 years. Shame on you, Pastor.

    Let’s look at other science in the Bible:

    the bat is a bird (Lev. 11:19, Deut. 14:11, 18);

    Some fowls are four-footed (Lev. 11:20-21);

    Some creeping insects have four legs. (Lev. 11:22-23);

    Hares chew the cud (Lev. 11:6);

    Conies chew the cud (Lev. 11:5);

    Camels don’t divide the hoof (Lev. 11:4);

    The earth was formed out of and by means of water (2 Peter 3:5 RSV);

    The earth rest on pillars (1 Sam. 2:8);

    The earth won’t be moved (1Chron. 16:30);

    A hare does not divide the hoof (Deut. 14:7);

    The rainbow is not as old as rain and sunshine (Gen. 9:13);

    A mustard seed is the smallest of all seeds and grows into the greatest of all shrubs (Matt. 13:31-32 RSV);

    Turtles have voices (Song of Sol. 2:12);

    The earth has ends or edges (Job 37:3);

    The earth has four corners (Isa. 11:12, Rev. 7:1);

    Some 4-legged animals fly (Lev. 11:21);

    The world’s language didn’t evolve but appeared suddenly (Gen. 11:6-9)

    A fetus can understand speech (Luke 1:44).

    So in the end all we know for certain is that this article is just silly.

  • Nemo

    When you first mentioned atoms, I knew this article wouldn’t have much information in it. How you go from “things not visible” to protons, neutrons, and electrons is beyond me. Now, if the Bible had described those things, and our modern knowledge of atomic physics had derived from that, that would be rather impressive. Instead, you have looked at the Bible after we worked out particle physics, taken a vague, poetic verse, and have reinterpreted it to find prophecy. It is no different from the Nostradamians who insist that he predicted 9/11.


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