Why There Are No Guns In The Bible

Today in my Sunday school class, in mentioning the depiction in Nehemiah of armed Israelites wielding both weapons and tools, inadvertently said “guns” instead of “swords.”

This led to an important observation: if the Bible were not a collection of texts constrained by the knowledge available to its authors, but included revelation of information not thus available, then we should be very surprised that there is no gunpowder in the Bible.

Those most surprised ought to be the young-earth creationists and others like them, who claim that the Bible does reveal more advanced science than it was possible to know it those times – that the language used supposedly corresponds precisely to what science subsequently uncovered. And of course, when it does not, they argue against the science rather than adopt the far simpler and more logical explanation, i.e. that the Bible doesn’t reflect modern science because it wasn’t available to them.

So what do you think? If the Bible revealed truths ahead of its time, should we not expect to find a recipe for gunpowder in its pages? It might not have changed the story of David and Goliath or Joshua and the invasion of Canaan significantly. But it would have provided a clear indication of supernatural revelation, in a manner that some people claim that the Bible does, but so subtly that everyone else is prone to miss it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/thatjeffcarter Jeff Carter

    I’ll bet the recipe for gunpowder is in there if you use Equadistant letter sequencing…

  • Peter Kirk

    Well, there are descriptions of tanks and helicopter gunships in Revelation 9, including a partial recipe for gunpowder in verse 17. I say this tongue in cheek, but some have said it seriously!

    • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      I don’t think that hyacinths mixed with sulphur works as gunpowder! :-)

      I know that some have claimed that John was describing moree advanced weapons – which is, it must be emphasized, the complete opposite of interpreting the text literally. But while they are happy to say that John got a glimpse of the future use of such things, why the way to make those things was not revealed still remains a problem for that way of approaching the Bible, does it not?

      • Peter Kirk

        If only John the Revelator had written νιτρων!

      • http://www.facebook.com/chris.yeager.12 Chris Yeager

        Now the next edition of Late Great Planet Earth will have a “gunpowder in Revelation” chapter….

  • Pseudonym

    I would have expected instructions on how to make antibiotics AND a bunch of ritual to ensure that they are not over-prescribed.

  • David Evans

    Introducing guns might have derailed history in a number of ways. More convincing, and safer, would be to have written Genesis 1 and 2 to conform with the actual order of creation – “light”, then the first stars, then the Sun….There would be no need to introduce any strange scientific notions. Just the order would have been enough to convince later scientists.

    Oh, but I forgot. The evidence can’t be too convincing, or it leaves no room for faith.

  • http://twitter.com/jonhendry Jonathan W. Hendry

    Maybe an unintelligible chapter consisting only of the letters G, C, A, T, (or a similar set of 4 symbols) repeated over and over in various arrangements.


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