Is the Bible Anti-Science?

This entry is part 19 of 57 in the series Mysteries

Question Twenty

Is the Bible Anti-Science?

Many nonbelievers and skeptics make fun of believers as well as the Bible as being anti science, anti reason and thinking that is contrary to common sense. The basic idea is that anyone who gives the wisdom of the Bible any weight belongs with the flat earthers of the Dark ages.

And speaking of the flat earth, perhaps that is where we should start because one of the main accusations against the Holy Writ is:

“The Bible teaches the earth is flat, covered by a solid dome called the firmament.”

And why do skeptics think this?

They quote this scripture from the King James version:

“And he shall … gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” Isaiah 11:12

From this they assume the Bible teaches the earth is a flat piece of ground with four sharp corners at each end.

The first point to make is that this phrase is still in use today by people who know the earth is round.  It is used as a figure of speech and not intended to state the earth has four actual corners.

On top of this the word “corners” is a mistranslation from the Hebrew KANAPH. This is more accurately translated as “extremity, farthest reaches or border.” In this context the prophet was merely saying that Judah will be gathered from the farthest places they have been scattered from all directions.  Nothing about the shape of the earth is indicated here.

Critics say the Bible teaches the earth is covered by a great solid dome which it calls the firmament and the stars are tiny lights in it.

Many ancient peoples thought the earth was flat and was encircled by a dome.  Some ancient books that didn’t make it into the Bible indicate the writers had some odd beliefs like these but the Bible itself does not.

Obviously the firmament mentioned in the Bible was not a solid dome.  We are told that God created the birds that “fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.” (Gen 1:20) Obviously the birds do not fly in a solid dome, but the atmosphere which is part of the firmament.

The dome idea is reinforced by this scripture from the King James:

“It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in.” Isa 40:22

They say “the circle of the earth” is the dome but to many it sounds like a description of the rounded shape of the earth.  Job reinforces this:

“He drew a circular horizon on the face of the waters, at the boundary of light and darkness.” Job 26:10 New king James.

Sounds to me like the ancient prophets saw the circular form of the earth on the horizon of the waters and were commenting on it.

The critic notes that the Bible says God created the Moon as a “lesser light.” They say that God didn’t seem to know that the moon doesn’t have a light of its own but reflects it from the sun.

This is a weak argument. Even today most people talk about the light of the moon, but that doesn’t mean they are saying it creates its own light.

Contrary to popular belief the Bible supports many scientific beliefs that have only been proven in recent times.

Here are a few.

(1) The Expanding universe. This was discovered in 1929 by Edwin Hubble but the Bible made references to it thousands of years ago.

We just quoted Isaiah saying that God “stretched out the heavens.” The Bible says this several times.  Here is another:

“I, with my own hands, stretched out the heavens and caused all their host to shine…”  Isaiah 45:12,

Astronomers are now telling is that the universe is “stretching” outward like a balloon.

(2) The earth is suspended in the vacuum of space, or virtual nothingness.

Job 26:7, “He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.”

(3) Instead of being the center of the universe the Bible teaches the earth is governed by the heavens.

“Do you know the ordinances of the heavens, or fix their rule over the earth?” Job 38:33 New American Standard

(4) Matter and form were created from the invisible:

“…that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.” Heb 11:3 New American Standard

Science now teaches that the universe came from a singularity that had no visibility.

(5) The universe will have an end.

Einstein has recently been proven wrong about the steady state eternal universe, but the Bible, thousands of years ago, told us that the universe is not eternal.  It says:

“Of old You founded the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. Even they will perish, but You endure; And all of them will wear out like a garment; Like clothing You will change them and they will be changed.” Psalms 102:25-26 New American Standard

The Bible seems to tell us here that when the universe dies it will be replaced by another.

(6) The air around us has weight.

Ancient man thought that the air and wind didn’t weigh anything but the Bible says:

“When He imparted weight to the wind and meted out the waters by measure.” Job 28:25 New American Standard

(7) Water on the earth and sea is recycled into rain.

“He draws up the water vapor and then distills it into rain.” Job 36:27 New Living Translation

“…who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out over the face of the land– the LORD is his name.” Amos 9:6, New International Version

None of the Bibles are perfect in their wording as the wording within it was created by fallible humans, not attempting to be scientific, but to present spiritual truths.  Even so, the Bible is amazingly accurate for a book containing writings that are thousands of years old.

 

Copyright by J J Dewey 2014

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