Science in Scripture

  The Flat Earth Farce

Good science in Scripture? Sounds like some sort of oxymoron to me…

I thought of myself as quite the literary cynic during my dark years. I loved the religious and classical parodies of Sir Terry Pratchett, especially Discworld, which allowed me to feel good about rejecting my religious roots in the name of intellectual skepticism. In Discworld, the earth is a flat table of rock balancing on the backs of four cosmic elephants, which, in turn, stand on the back of a huge cosmic turtle swimming through a vast cosmic sea. I loved this visual. It was a profound snapshot of the misguided nature of ancient religion and scientific ignorance. It was the critical fodder I needed to help justify my treatment of my fundamentalist friends. How could they still believe in the "flat earth" portrayed in the Bible? Surely, it's no different than actually believing in a Pratchett fantasy book.

One day, a hippie buddy gave me something to think about… He challenged me on my preconceptions about science in Scripture. He asked me to show him where the Bible declares a "flat earth." I had no idea. I did a quick Internet search that night – Nope. I couldn't find a flat earth mentioned anywhere in Scripture.

In fact, this started me on a profound journey – I actually discovered solid science in Scripture, way ahead of its time. Remarkably, during a period in history when other ancient thinkers described the earth as a flat table floating in the sea or a stone tablet riding on the backs of cosmic creatures, writers like Job and Isaiah described the earth as a sphere (Hebrew: khug) hanging on nothing in space (Isaiah 40:22; Job 26:7).

Think about it… These were desert nomads getting the science right. It was the rest of the ancient world still presuming a flat earth.

Is there more science in Scripture?

Science in Scripture – Biblical Insights Correspond to Scientific Observations

A number of biblical writers referred to God "stretching out" the heavens thousands of years before modern astronomers started observing the reality of our "expanding universe" (Isaiah 40:22, 42:5, 45:12; Job 26:7; Psalm 104:1-2). Isaiah, Job and the Psalmist use the picture of a tent or canvas being spread out over an empty structure. Today's scientists describe the cosmos as a four-dimensional space-time fabric spreading out over emptiness since its initial beginning ("bang").

Here are some other scientific insights revealed in Scripture long before the corresponding scientific observations:

Time, Space and Matter had a Beginning (Genesis 1:1; John 1:1; Hebrews 11:3; Titus 1:2)

Stars are Uncountable and Distinct (Jeremiah 33:22; 1 Corinthians 15:41)

Hydrologic Cycle (Job 36:27-28; 26:8; Ecclesiastes 1:7)

Genetic Classification (Code) (Genesis 1:21-31, 7:1-16; 1 Corinthians 15:38-39)

Blood as Life Source to Flesh (Leviticus 17:11)

Global Wind Patterns (Ecclesiastes 1:6)

Global Ocean Currents (Psalms 8:8)

Light has Motion (Job 38:19-20)

Air has Weight (Job 28:25)

Principles of Quarantine, Sterilization and Waste Disposal (Leviticus 12-15; Numbers 19)

2nd Law of Thermodynamics (entropy) (Psalm 102:25-26; Isaiah 51:6; Matthew 24:35; Romans 8:20-22; 1 John 2:17)

To be fair, the Bible is a collection of historical documents, not a science text. Yet, where science is mentioned in Scripture, it never seems to contradict contemporary observations. My investigation of science in Scripture continues… With each revealed nugget, I'm stunned by what this means for the overall credibility of the biblical texts.


Image Credit: zgrredek; "Baby A'Tuin - 2"; Creative Commons