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.
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).
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.
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),