Science and the Bible

The Bible is clearly not a scientific textbook. But when it does mention scientific concepts, these are often confirmed by scientific discovery. For example the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) confirms some fundamental scientific statements in the Bible. When the Bible is confirmed by respected secular authorities like NASA we are more inclined to take the Bible seriously. Maybe it’s not myth or legend as some suggest. Maybe the Bible speaks truth?

If the Bible speaks truth, we should also take note of what it says about Israel. The concept of Israel is found from Genesis to Revelation and many prophecies about Israel are coming true today, link. But for now let’s just look at a few examples where science is confirming the Bible.

NASA

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA, is the United States government agency that is responsible for the civilian space program as well as for aeronautics and aerospace research. Amazingly, much of what NASA discovers simply confirms biblical statements given thousands of years ago. In fact, NASA itself acknowledges that man is humbled by the vast cosmos:

While the tremendous technical and scientific accomplishments of NASA demonstrate vividly that humans can achieve previously inconceivable feats, we also are humbled by the realization that Earth is just a tiny “blue marble” in the cosmos. [NASA history]

Consider a few of NASA’s scientific discoveries and predictions. You will find that science and the Bible agree remarkably well!

Science and the Bible: Pollution

science and the Bible

Air pollution from Carbon Monoxide, 30 April, 2000. Image courtesy of NASA images

Atmospheric Pollution: The image shows heavy Carbon Monoxide (CO) pollution over China as monitored by NASA’s Terra spacecraft. Red denotes 220 parts per billion (0.22 ppm) and blue denotes 50 parts per billion. Exposure to just 100 ppm of CO can lead to headaches and high concentrations can be fatal, link.

Carbon monoxide is a byproduct from the burning of fossil fuels, and this particular image suggests the pollution is arising from industry and vehicles. The image also shows that pollution is generally much higher in the Northern Hemisphere due to greater human population and industrial activity, although it can also be high in the Southern Hemisphere due to forest fires.

Ocean Pollution: Plastic waste is another serious form of earth pollution. Scientists claim that around 8 million tons of plastic bottles, bags, toys and other plastic rubbish ends up in the world’s oceans each year. It affects over 600 different species of sea life with at least 1 million seabirds dying each year. NASA has created a visualization (time-lapse video) of where this pollution concentrates. The study is based on floating scientific buoys that NOAA has been distributing in the oceans for the last 35 years. The NASA modelling shows the location of five “garbage patches” in the world’s oceans – two in the northern hemisphere and three in the southern hemisphere.

The work of NASA simply confirms Bible prophecy. The Bible says that at the end of this age:

The earth is polluted by its inhabitants (Isa 24.5)

Science and the Bible: Star Constellations

Did you know that the Bible refers to specific star clusters? When the man Job questioned God, he got a sharp rebuke. God asked him:

Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades, or loose the belt of Orion? (Job 38.31)

Science and the Bible

The Pleiades star cluster.
Image: NASA-STSci. Enlarge

Here, ‘bind’ is from the Hebrew ‘qashar’ meaning ‘confine’ or ‘compact’, and ‘Pleiades’ is from the Hebrew ‘kiymah’, meaning ‘a cluster’ or ‘seven stars’. So the verse could read: “Can you confine the cluster of seven stars?” Modern astronomy sheds some light on the real meaning of this biblical statement.

Consider: these brilliant stars subtend about 2° to the eye (four times the diameter of the full moon). Normal adults see six or seven stars whilst those with excellent vision see about ten, link. But NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope reveals that Pleiades is an ‘open’ i.e. not tight cluster spanning a few light years across and containing several thousand stars, link! It is much more than a small cluster of seven stars. In fact, in modern astronomy, a ‘star cluster’ usually infers thousands or even millions of stars. So in Job 38.31, is God really saying to Job, “there are really many stars in this cluster of ‘seven’, so can you really confine them to just seven“? Such an accurate scientific description in what is probably the earliest book of the Bible (c1440 BC) is intriguing!

Does the term ‘loose the belt of Orion’ have similar embedded scientific truth? Probably. The Orion Nebula Cluster has long been known as peculiar. Its stars move at a rapid speed, as if the whole cluster were flying apart, link. In particular, it is claimed that the three stars in Orion’s belt are each moving in opposite directions from each other, link. In fact, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has revealed that Orion is like a cosmic nursery, with infant stars wrapped in blankets of warm gas and dust that will one day develop into planets that orbit around the stars, link. So the term ‘loose’ (Heb ‘pathach’, meaning ‘break forth’ or ‘let go free’) appears to reflect this recent scientific discovery of a ‘cosmic birth’, link.

Science and the Bible: A Fried Earth

According to NASA the inner planets of our solar system are in danger. The trouble starts in the distant future when the sun’s core runs out of hydrogen fuel for nuclear fusion. To keep the fires burning, the sun will begin to fuse hydrogen outside the core, in a layer closer to the stellar surface. This will turn the sun into a red giant, at least 200 times wider than it is today. Mercury, Venus, Earth and possibly even Mars could be engulfed.

In 2012 a team of astronomers caught a star in the act of devouring one of its planets. They claimed a red giant appeared to have the fumes of a scorched planet in its atmosphere – something consistent with a rocky world, recently destroyed. Bible prophecy says that one day:

the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up (2 Pet 3.10)

Science and the Bible: Time Stops Still

The following abridged story is widely circulated:

“The space program requires a knowledge of the future position of sun, moon and planets. But when NASA ran their program backwards in time they found that there is a day missing in space in elapsed time. The Old Testament came to their rescue since it records two very unusual historical events: So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven … and did not go down for about a whole day (Jos 10.13) and the LORD brought the shadow back ten degrees (2 Kings 20.11). Adding the total lost time amounted to exactly one day!”

Sadly, this story is not supported by NASA, link. On the other hand, the Bible certainly refers to observable astronomical events, as discussed below.

Science and the Bible: Blood Moons

Total Lunar Eclipse Image: NASA Ames Research Center/Brian Day

Total Lunar Eclipse
Image: NASA Ames Research Center/Brian Day

A lunar eclipse happens when the Earth casts a shadow that blocks sunlight that normally reflects off of the moon. A total lunar eclipse can only happen when the sun, Earth and moon are perfectly aligned such that the moon enters the earth’s umbra. A total lunar eclipse can last for hours as the moon passes slowly through the umbra. During this time the moon will often look reddish due to red and orange light being scattered by the atmosphere (as in sunsets) and illuminating the moon. The moon’s appearance changes from pale-white to pumpkin orange to blood red.

When four consecutive lunar eclipses are all total eclipses (a rare event), the group is known as a tetrad. According to NASA, during the 21st century there will be 85 total lunar eclipses and also 8 tetrads occurring in 2003/4, 2014/15, 2032/33, 2043/44, 2050/51, 2061/62, 2072/73, and 2090/91. Past tetrads have been of great significance to Israel, and the Bible says that something like a blood moon will occur at the end of the age as a warning sign to the nations:

The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon into blood before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD (Joel 2.31)

Science and the Bible: Asteroid Impact?

science and the Bible

Asteroid impact (Rev 8.8,9)

Asteroid impact is certainly a reality. A Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (PHA) has the potential to make close approaches to the earth and a size large enough to cause significant damage in the event of impact. According to NASA there were 1,503 known PHAs by September 2014 and this had increased to 1,835 by September 2017. The total number of discovered Near-Earth Asteroids (NEAs) increased from virtually nil in 1990 to over 15,000 by 2017. Clearly, there are many more we do not know about, and it only needs one to hit!

On 15 February 2013, an asteroid some 45m in diameter passed the earth at a distance of just 27,700km. This is nearer than a geostationary satellite! On 11 March 2014, asteroid CU13, some 190m wide, passed earth at a distance of 3 million km. A potentially catastrophic asteroid some 410m wide link has a slim chance that it will impact Earth in 2032, creating a blast 50 times greater than the biggest nuclear bomb.

Bible prophecy appears to describe an asteroid plunging into one of earth’s oceans:

And something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea … and a third of the ships were destroyed (Rev 8.8,9)

Science and the Bible: More Amazing Facts

Total Solar Eclipse

Elementary science shows that this occurs because both sun and moon subtend the same angle to the eye (they look the same size in the sky). But since the sun’s diameter is about 400 times that of the moon, this is only possible because the sun is about 400 times further away from the earth than the moon. Scientists call this as “a celestial coincidence” whilst others say it is “a beautiful coincidence”, link. NASA points out that this “coincidence” is the only time astronomers can analyse the Sun’s atmosphere or corona, link. How lucky!

Or is it ‘luck’? The Bible says this celestial geometry is not coincidence or luck – it is designed. There is intelligence behind it:

In the beginning … God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night (Genesis 1)

When conversing with Job, God made the point that the celestial geometry is not by chance:

Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me … who set its measurements … who stretched the line on it? (Job 38.4-5)


Springs in the Sea

God also asked Job:

Have you entered and explored the springs of the sea? Or have you walked in the recesses of the deep? (Job 38.16 amplified)

This text implies that water was (and is) springing up from the seabed – from the deep ocean floor.

Science and the Bible

Hydrothermal vent or ‘Black Smoker’
Image NOAA, Public Domain

In 1977 scientists discovered precisely that, although the springs were not cool fresh water springs, link. These deep water springs, sometimes as deep as 3,000 m, tend to form along the mid-ocean ridges near volcanically active areas. Here, water escaping from below the earth’s crust comes through the ocean floor at temperatures as high as 464 °C. These hydrothermal vents are rich in dark dissolved minerals and sulfur and emerge from the ocean floor in ‘funnels’, giving rise to the term ‘black smokers’. But these areas are not void of life; they exhibit abundant and unusual sea life like giant tube worms, huge clams, and mussels, link.

Noah’s Flood? At a depth of 3,000 meters the hydrostatic pressure is more than 300 atmospheres. At this point seawater becomes super-critical at a temperature of 407°C, possessing physical properties between those of a gas and those of a liquid. So the ocean floor can give super-critical water – the explosive form of water. Was this part of the ‘fountains of the deep’ associated with Noah’s flood (Gen 7.11)?


Jerusalem’s Big Quake

This age is rapidly coming to a close and the next age on earth (the Millennium) will be born with a huge earthquake in the Jerusalem area:

In that day His (Christ’s) feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives, which lies before Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in half from the east to the west by a very large valley, and half of the mountain will move toward the north and half of it toward the south (Zech 14.4)

Science and the Bible

Plate tectonics-Israel. Courtesy USGS. Enlarge

Science and the Bible

Mount Olives geological fault. Courtesy Philologos.org

It is well known in Earth Sciences that the Jordan/Dead Sea Valley is not a true tectonic rift but is part of a ‘continental transform’, link. It is a tectonic plate boundary that laterally offsets the Arabian tectonic plate against the African tectonic plate, link. Running SW-NE across this transform or slip-fault are geologic folds. These are formed when two tectonic plates collide. The significant point here is that, as the map shows, geologic folds run SW-NE close to Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives. Given these geological faults, the World Health Organization (WHO) places the Jerusalem area at “high risk”.

The quake will generate “a very large valley … reaching to Azal” (Zech 14.4,5). The location of Azal is debated, but there is good evidence to suggest that it was a town situated near the mouth of the Azal River/Valley. This is the far southern point of the Mount of Olives, link.


Noah’s Ark

The Bible is rather brief on the design of Noah’s Ark:

The length of the Ark shall be 300 cubits, its width 50 cubits, and its height 30 cubits … You shall make it with lower, second and third decks (Gen 6.15,16)

Nevertheless, it turns out that this is sufficient to perform serious analysis of the Ark’s stability using modern ship design techniques. Naval studies concluded that the Ark was extremely stable and could have navigated sea conditions with waves higher than 30 metres, link, link.


Circumcision

God instructed Abraham to circumcise a male child when he is 8 days old (Gen 17.12). Why day eight? Medical science has shown that on the eighth day the amount of blood clotting factor prothrombin present in the body is more than 100% above normal, and this is normally the only day in the male’s life when this is the case, link. Day eight is the optimal day for minimizing hemorrhaging during circumcision!


Our Thoughts and Words affect our Health

Research shows that a positive mental attitude can benefit our health. Scientists from Harvard School of Public Health, the University of Pittsburgh and Boston University linked an optimistic outlook with lower risk of heart disease in older men and less thickening of the carotid artery walls in women, link. An American study of 2,564 men and women who were 65 and older also found that optimism is good for blood pressure. Overall, “optimism appears to protect the heart and circulation”. So optimistic people live longer and, conversely, pessimism is linked to negative affects on health, link. Also, studies show that speaking negative words e.g the word “No” can have negative effects on our health. Fear-provoking words – like poverty, illness, and death also stimulate the brain in negative ways, link, link.

This scientific research simply echoes advice given in the Bible:

A calm and peaceful and tranquil heart is life and health to the body, but passion and envy are like rottenness to the bones (Prov 14.30)
A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed (Prov 15.13)
The light of the eyes rejoices the heart, and a good report makes the bones healthy (Prov 15.30)
A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones (Prov 17.22)

And when it comes to what we say:

Who is the man who loves length of days that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit (Ps 34.12-13)
Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up (Prov 12.25)
Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones (Prov 16.24)
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits (Prov 18.21)

Where do we get this joyful heart? How do we control our tongue? The Bible says it all comes from seeking God and His wisdom:

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom … for by me [wisdom from God] your days will be multiplied and years of life will be added to you (Prov 9.10-11 amplified)
Bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things … godliness with contentment [that contentment which comes from a sense of inner confidence based on the sufficiency of God] is great gain (1 Tim 4.8, 6.6 amplified)

 

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