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How does the Bible demonstrate its accuracy about scientific data?

I’ll quote a few from, Science and the Bible, © 1951, Henry M. Morris, © Renewal 1979, By Henry M. Morris, © 1986, By Henry M. Morris, Moody Press.

1. Consider the field of astronomy, for example. Since ancient times, people have been fascinated by the stars, and many astronomers have tried to count them. Ptolemy counted 1,056. Tycho Brahe cataloged 777, and Johannes Kepler counted 1,005. The total number of stars visible to the naked eye is perhaps 4,000, counting all that are visible from every point on earth.

Yet the Bible had said that “the host of heaven cannot be numbered” (Jeremiah 33:22), while also comparing “the sand which is upon the sea shore” to “the stars of the heaven” in multitude (Genesis 22:17). Before the invention of the telescope, this must have seemed like a serious scientific mistake in the Bible. Now, however, it must be recognized as a supernatural scientific insight. Astronomers estimate that there are at least 1026 stars (that is, a hundred-million-billion-billion stars), which reflects the same order of magnitude as the number of grains of sand on the earth. Truly, the stars cannot be numbered. If one could count 10 numbers per second, it would take him at least a thousand-million-billion years to count up to 1026.

Look also at 1 Corinthians 15:41: “One star differeth from another star in glory.” This must also have once seemed like a mistake, since every star (except the sun) looks just like a point of light, even through a telescope. Now, of course, it is known that there are many different types of stars, and no two stars are alike.

As far as our solar system is concerned, consider Psalm 19, which is often cited as an example of the Bible’s “prescientific” perspective. In speaking of the sun, the psalmist says: “His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof’ (Psalm 19:6). It is claimed by critics that the writer of this verse must have believed in the unscientific notion that the sun revolves around the earth.

This claim is both unjust and unscientific itself, however. We still use words and phrases like “sunrise” and “sunset” simply because from our natural viewpoint, the sun does rise in the morning, move across the sky, and set in the evening. Navigators, surveyors, and astronomers commonly base their calculations on the assumption that the earth is the center of a great celestial sphere, along the surface of which, in ordered paths, move the sun, moon, planets, and stars. And as far as any practical usage is concerned, that is true. On this assumption, courses can be plotted, positions can be determined, and scores of other practical applications can be made.

As a matter of fact, however, the words of the psalmist may be even more scientific than he could have known. Studies of modern galactic astronomy have indicated that the sun is indeed moving around a center in the Milky Way galaxy in a gigantic orbit that would require two million centuries to complete, even at the tremendous tangential speed of 600,000 miles per hour. Furthermore, it is well known that our own galaxy is moving with respect to other galaxies. The sun’s circuit is from one end of the heavens to the other.

In fact, no one knows where the center of the universe is. For all we know to the contrary, it could even be the earth. Every object is moving with respect to this unknown center, so that all motions must be measured in terms of “relative” motion, measured with respect to some assumed point of zero motion. This arbitrary reference point normally should be the point that makes the calculation easiest; and, in most cases, that would be on the earth’s surface at the location of the observer. Consequently, the psalmist—instead of using prescientific language—was using the most scientific language he could have used in describing the motion of the sun relative to the earth.

It is wonderful to realize that the great Astronomer and Mathematician who created the heavens, setting all the stars and galaxies in their appointed courses and who “calleth them all by their names” (Psalm 147:4), is the same loving God who calls you and me to eternal life in Jesus Christ.

2. The science of geophysics (“physics of the earth”) deals with the earth’s shape, structure, and force systems. In this field also the biblical perspective is surprisingly modern.

It has been only a few centuries since the scientists and teachers all believed in a flat earth, and those intellectuals may well have thought the Bible was unscientific when it described a spherical earth. Isaiah, speaking of God, said: “It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth” (Isaiah 40:22). The word translated “circle” is the Hebrew khug, a more exact connotation of which is “sphericity” or “roundness.” It is also used in Proverbs 8:27: “He set a compass upon the face of the depth [or ‘deep’].” The same word is here translated “compass,” referring to the surface of the ocean taking on a spherical shape (the so-called “sea level”) when God created it.

Today, of course, scientists all agree with the Bible in its teaching of a round earth. Sometimes critics claim that the Bible teaches a flat earth, but there is no such verse in the Bible.

Consider also Job 26:7: “[God] ...hangeth the earth upon nothing.” This is another example of twentieth-century science in the Bible. Even the existence of the hypothetical space substance called ether is rejected by most physicists and astronomers today. The force called gravity is invoked to account for the earth’s affinity to the sun, but that doesn’t explain anything, since no one knows what gravity is or why it works. How such a mysterious “action at a distance” could keep the earth attached to the sun, 93 million miles away, is quite unknown. There is no better explanation than that of Scripture: “He...hangeth the earth upon nothing.”

Related Topics: Apologetics

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