By Will Barlow
Science in the Bible
• Cases when the science is “wrong”
• Cases when the science is “right”
• Overview and concluding thoughts
Cases when the science is “wrong”
• Flat Earth
• Dome over the Earth
• Unmovable Earth
• Foundations of the Earth
• Thinking with your intestines
Isaiah 40:22 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;
Daniel 4:10-11 The visions of my head as I lay in bed were these: I saw, and behold, a tree in the midst of the earth, and its height was great. The tree grew and became strong, and its top reached to heaven, and it was visible to the end of the whole earth.
Matthew 4:8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.
Dome over the Earth
Job 37:18 Can you, like him, spread out the skies, hard as a cast metal mirror?
This question by Elihu assumes a hard dome over the Earth — must have been a common belief of that time.
Psalms 19:1 To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
See also Job 9:8, Psalms 102:25, Isaiah 45:12, and Isaiah 48:13.
1 Chronicles 16:30 tremble before him, all the earth; yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.
Psalms 93:1 The LORD reigns; he is robed in majesty; the LORD is robed; he has put on strength as his belt. Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.
See also Psalms 96:10 and Isaiah 45:18.
Foundations of the Earth
Psalms 104:5 He set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved.
See also Job 38:4, Isaiah 48:13, and Hebrews 1:10.
The Bible often speaks of the heart and kidneys in ways that are not medically accurate. Ancient people had particular views about these things — this doesn’t mean that we should believe these things in the same way that they did.
John Walton on God “Correcting” Science
Giving an analogy from the ancient view of the liver, kidneys, and intestines:
“Yet we must notice that when God wanted to talk to the Israelites about their intellect, emotions, and will, he did not revise their ideas of physiology and feel compelled to reveal the function of the brain. Instead, he adopted the language of the culture to communicate in terms they understood.”
— John Walton, The Lost World of Genesis One, page 16.
Cases when the science is “right”
• Numbering the stars
• Ocean Currents
• Human composition
Numbering the Stars
Genesis 22:17 I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies,
See also Jeremiah 33:22.
Job 26:7 He stretches out the north over the void and hangs the earth on nothing.
This may not be describing gravity, but I believe it could be consistent with gravity.
Job 28:25-26 When he gave to the wind its weight and apportioned the waters by measure, when he made a decree for the rain and a way for the lightning of the thunder,
The idea that molecules in air have weight is a recent scientific discovery.
Ecclesiastes 1:6 The wind blows to the south and goes around to the north; around and around goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns.
This looks like it is describing the jet streams and air currents.
Psalms 135:7 He it is who makes the clouds rise at the end of the earth, who makes lightnings for the rain and brings forth the wind from his storehouses.
This looks like it is describing the water cycle.
Job 36:27-29 For he draws up the drops of water; they distill his mist in rain, which the skies pour down and drop on mankind abundantly. Can anyone understand the spreading of the clouds, the thunderings of his pavilion?
This looks like it is describing the water cycle.
Psalms 8:8 the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
Matthew Fontaine Maury believed this verse and discovered ocean currents. Now, this is accepted scientific fact that there are large “paths of the seas.”
Genesis 2:7 then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.
The same elements that make up the Earth’s crust also compose human bodies.
Leviticus 13:46 He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease. He is unclean. He shall live alone. His dwelling shall be outside the camp.
This is describing what we would now call quarantine. See also Numbers 12:14-15.
The Bible also describes hand washing, quarantine after battle, refining metals with fire, etc. All of these are good ideas from our perspective of modern medicine.
But the most amazing example? Circumcision on the eighth day, when Vitamin K levels are at their peak naturally.
• We want to believe the worldview that explains the most evidence
• There are many ways to read Genesis 1, but the primary goal is to ask and answer the questions that the original readers would have had
• There are many ways to reconcile Scripture and each branch of science
• The Big Bang points to a Creator
• Fine-tuning points to a Creator
• The wonder around us in the natural world, whether we think evolution is the right mechanism or not, points to a Creator
• Miracles can be understood as God working within His laws in many cases
At the end of the day, I believe science points to God’s existence.
There is no greater God than the God of the Bible, the God of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Science does not have to be a barrier to the gospel message — it can supplement and support it.