The Bible was written centuries ago and it has many verses in it that relate to science. One would expect that the lack of modern scientific knowledge of the writers would show through on this ancient document. But instead, there is an amazing treatment of science in the Bible that transcends human invention and the knowledge of the period in which it was produced.
Consider what the Bible does not say.
In 1862, an American adventurer and antiquities dealer named Edwin Smith purchased an ancient Egyptian medical book in Luxor. Ten years later, Egyptologist George Ebers purchased and helped translate it. It is now known as the Papyrus Ebers. It was written in Egypt about 1552 B.C. (around the time of Moses). In his book, None of These Diseases, Dr. S. I. McMillen writes, “Since Egypt occupied the dominant position in the ancient medical world, the Papyrus is of great importance as a record of the medical knowledge of that day.” When it was translated, it was really humorous as to what they believed. For example, the Papyrus Ebers provided the following medical advice …
“To prevent hair from turning gray, anoint it with the blood of a black calf which has been boiled in the fat of a rattlesnake.”
“To prevent balding, mix together the fat of a horse, a hippopotamus, a crocodile, a cat, a snake and an ibex. Then mix in the tooth of a donkey crushed in honey.”
“Victims of poisonous snake bites are to be treated with ‘magic water.’ Water is considered ‘magic’ when it has been poured over an idol.”
“Splinters are to be treated with a mixture of worm’s blood and donkey dung.”
“To stop bleeding, rub donkey dung on a cut.”
“To remove wrinkles, split a toad in half and apply to wrinkled area.”
The ancient Egyptians also believed that our planet was supported by five great pillars, that the Earth was flat, that blood contained evil spirits and that there was spontaneous generation of life. Again, scholars have dated Papyrus Ebers back to the time of Moses. With this in mind, it is interesting to consider where Moses grew up and received his education. Acts 7:22 tells us “Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians …” Don’t you think that we could expect to see some traces of scientific ignorance or medicinal errors shining through in the ancient writings of Moses? Yet, remarkably, we see no scientific mistakes. Not only is this true, but what we do find is that some of our “modern scientific discoveries” were recorded in the Bible the whole time. Consider the following examples:
God told the Israelites to separate people who had infection and disease from the rest of the community. (Leviticus 13)
In the 1500s, the Black Plague was killing multitudes of people in Europe. Then the people began following the Bible’s teachings to separate those who had diseases. This practice helped to end the Black Plague.
God gave the Israelites many teachings about the washing of hands and clothing. (Numbers 19:11-16)
However, the importance of washing to prevent the spread of germs was not recognized until 1865 by Joseph Lister.
God told the Israelites in Genesis 17:12, “every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised …”
In 1935, doctors discovered that the best day for a surgical procedure on a newborn baby is on the eighth day because the blood is at the height of clotting on this day.
Isaiah 40:22 mentions that the Earth is round.
However, many cultures before the 16th century believed that the Earth was flat.
Job 26:7 tells us that “God hung the earth on nothing.”
However, most ancient cultures believed that the world was held up by something.
Isaiah 43:16 and Psalms 8:6-8 talk about “paths of the seas.”
In 1855, Matthew Fontaine Maury, the “father of oceanography,” discovered that there were, in fact, natural currents and paths in the ocean.
Job 38:19-20 speaks about light moving from one place to another.
However, the fact that light moves was not known until Newton discovered the motion of light in the 1600s.
The prophet Jeremiah said that “no person can count all the stars.” (Jeremiah 33:22)
Earlier in history, it was thought that the stars could be counted and even named. Astronomers now understand that the stars are uncountable.
Ecclesiastes 1:6 describes global wind patterns.
However, global wind patterns were not understood until the 1960s with the help of satellites.
Job 36:27-28 and Ecclesiastes 1:7 describe the water cycle.
However, this process was not fully understood by scientists until Perrault and Mariotte in the 1700s.
After thousands of years of being thoroughly scrutinized by skeptics, the Bible continues to prove itself to be historically, scientifically, archeologically, theologically and morally true and accurate.
“All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Russ Whitten is minister of Destin Church of Christ. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This article is an excerpt from Russ Whitten’s new book, “Have You Ever Wondered?” — available now on www.amazon.com.