Month 10:15, Week 2:7 (Shibi'i/Sukkot), Year 5935:273 AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Sunday 8 January 2012
Science and the Bible
Can the Two Be Reconciled?
Shabbat shalom kol beit Yisra'el!
Yesterday as I was walking home I got to thinking about the astonishing advance of technology in our time and thought it ironic that with such amazing strides we are simultaneously regressing socially. We are probably the most emotionally immature generation in history - there has never been so much social dysfunctionality. Suicide rates have never been higher and in spite of huge scientific advances, we are probably the sickest generation in history too. Things which for our forefathers were common sense we have questioned, and sometimes discarded, to our own cost. Something is obviously not right.
As most of you know I am a scientist by profession even though I now, in 'retirement', devote myself entirely to teaching my children and ministering to those interested in the Besorah (Gospel). There are more scientists alive today than in every other generation combined. There is, on average, one new scientific publication every second as knowledge multiplies exponentially. In the generation before my own, Biochemistry as a discipline didn't exist - you were eiter a Biologist or a Chemist. Today there is so much biochemical knowledge that it is no longer possible to cram the basics of this subject into 4 years of university study as it was back then - Biochistry has been sub-divided into many subdivisions. And even in my time it became necessary to specialise in the fourth year and as a result I picked Biochemical Neuropharmacology - which is basically the chemistry of drugs affecting the nervous system, the biochemistry of Morphogenesis - the chemistty of embryonic development, Plant Biochemistry (a huge field in itself today) and one other. There is so much knowledge now that no one single person can ever possibly hope to know it all in even a single field like Biochemistry, let alone a specialist subject like Neuropharmacology. The mind boggles just thinking about it.
So how does one keep abreast in a scientific field? I would say it is nearly impossible. These days you need teams of expertise working together in any one field. Even when I was an educator in Information Technology it was all I could do to keep up with developments, leaving me precious little time for my main task of teaching. One year's text books were out of date by the next year and required constant revision. Indeed I was watching a documentary about enzymes connected with DNA replication the other day and was amazed by all the new information that was available. And with so much new data, old theories are constantly being replaced by new ones. This is no more true than in Cosmology, the most recent theorey being the 'Big Bang'. The latest modification to that hypothesis requires blind religious faith for they demand their disciples to believe that nothing made everything! As evolutionist Dr. Michael Ruse admitted:
I remember going along to an Astrophysics lecture in Oxford and feeling frustrated that there was not enough time to study all the interesting subject. I had my hands full with my own Biochemistry studies to which I had already added some Theology lectures. I was also attending Classical Hebrew classes. There's really just too much. How, then, can one possibly maintain an overall perspective? And indeed, how is that even possible with the need for specialisation early on? I have always had a keen interest in the 'overall picture' - after all, we are a part of this vast cosmos and there is not a thinking soul alive who does not want to understand what his or her place in it is.
"Evolution is promoted by its practitioners as more than mere science. Evolution is promulgated as an ideology, a secular religion - a full-fledged alternative to Christianity, with meaning and morality. I am an ardent evolutionist and ex-Christian, but I must admit that in this one complaint ... the literalists are absolutely right: EVOLUTION IS A RELIGION. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today." 
Being both a theologian and a scientist has, I must admit, been very rewarding indeed. Having multiple disciplies at your fingertips has been a huge blessing. The ancient Hindus used to believe that the earth was supported on the backs of four very large elephants. At the time, this idea was very plausible because scientific observation suggested that everything needs to be supported on something. Elephants were the biggest things known to the ancient Indians and these elephants were thought to be standing on the back of a giant turtle, which in turn was swimming in the sea. Of course, we have long known that was nonsense scientifically, as are many of the other creation myths that are found in religious societies around the world. And it was assumed - quite wrongly - by scientists that the Bible was also founded on similar unscientific myths.
For its time - and that was many millennia ago - the biblical description of our world was at that time considered most unlikely by rationalists. About 4,000 years ago Job said something quite remarkable:
Reading that passage in the 21st century, we are not at all amazed because it's common knowledge that the earth isn't 'hanging' on anything - it is moving physically unsupported in outer space, orbiting the sun which is in its turn moving through space around some unknown centre with a vast radius countless lightyears long. And though there are forces causing planet earth to spin on its axis, and the earth to rotate around the sun, and the sun to move around something else in our galaxy, these things are invisible to the naked eye. Had Job been able to see the earth in outer space, and given the scientific knowledge available in his age (which was precious little), he would have indeed seen the earth "hanging on nothing". So how did he know? There are really only two possible answers - either Yahweh showed it to Him in a vision, or some alien took him up in a spacecraft some distance from the earth so that he could actually physically see with his two eyes what he describes in the Book of Job. Or, I suppose, you could say it was a lucky guess, however 'unconventional' given the consensus of other religious idea of the time.
"[Yahweh] stretches out the north over empty space; He hangs the earth on nothing" (Job 26:7, NKJV).
At the time of Colombus, navigators were concerned that by travelling too far out to sea that they might fall over the end of the world into goodness knows what. Scientific observation strongly suggested that the earth was flat. Water finds its own level, and so the scientists of six centuries ago concluded that the earth must be flat. And yet 2,700 years ago the prophet Isaiah wrote:
The Hebrew word chug, which most English versions translate as "circle" can also be rendered as "ball". When the first astronauts had leeft earth's gravitational field and headed out to the moon, they were the first men that we know of who had ever seen the earth as a "ball". And so we again have to ask the question: how did Isaiah know that the earth was a sphere when the prevailing scientific consensus, backed up by pagan religion myth, was that the earth was flat? Again we are forced to the inevitable conclusion that either Yahweh showed him this in a vision, an alien took him in a spacecraft so that he could see as our own astronauts did, or it was a lucky guess....maybe he saw the moon was round (at least some of the time) and concluded that the earth must be the same. But honestly, which is the more likely explanation?
"It is [Yahweh] who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in" (Isa.40:22, NKJV).
Theologians, who don't want to upset the scientific consensus, sometimes say apologetically that the Bible is not a scientific book. Well, that's partly true - the Bible doesn't set out to be an instruction manual on science in the same way that a Biochemistry textbook does, for example. However, that's not the point - the bible claims to be the Emet (Truth) so what it describes cannot be either myth or fiction, whether it is describing scientific objectivity or not. Therefore its scientific statements must be true whereas the scientitific 'experts' of the time were way off beam.
I have given you two pieces of scientific evidence as to the scientific accurancy of the Bible. I would like to share some more. In an age of instant communication we know that when it is daytime at one longitide that it may be night at another. The husband of my cousin is a keen rugby football enthusiast and loves to follow sporting events in Australia and New Zealand from his home in England. Sometimes he has to lose sleep in order to enjoy live coverage of a rugby match over there as they are about eight hours ahead of us in Oz. Now the Bible refers to an event still future which will happen in a split second, "in the twinkling (blinking) of an eye" (1 Cor.15:52, NKJV). In the same passage, Luke 18, its says that it will be daytime with people working in the field (v.31) and night time with people asleep in bed (v.34). This was spoken by Yah'shua (Jesus) Himself, referring to His coming again. In other words, for people to have been asleep in the dark and working in the field in day light at the same time - in the "blinking of an eye" - you are forced to agree that He had a spherical earth in mind and not a flat one. And whilst other prophecies in the Bible have already been fulfilled in minute detail, this one of Yah'shua (Jesus) still awaits its realisation.
Does any one know how many stars there are? Only 200 years ago a leading British astronomer counted them at between 1,022 and 1,058. Today we probe the heavens with earth- and space-based optical telescopes, radio-telescopes and x-ray detectors, and find that there are billions upon billions of them, far too many even to count! Some, which appear to be simple stars to the unaided eye, reveal themselves to be whole galaxies consisting of millions of stars when seen through a powerful telescope. 4,000 years ago, more than twice as far back as the famed astronomer Ptolemy, Yahweh said to Abraham:
Who can count the grains of sand in a single bucket, let alone on one beach, or every beach? Neither, says the Bible, can you count the stars. I guarantee that there are more grains in a single bucket of sand than that British astronmer's 1,022 or 1,056! In other words, Yahweh told His servant that there were incomprehensibly large numbers of stars in the firmament even though Abraham could only see a few hundred and the British astronomer a mere thousand.
"I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore" (Gen.22:17, NKJV).
There is a very strange reference to a particular stellar constellation in the book of Job. It reads:
What could this possibly mean? As with so many constellations, the stars of Orion are moving apart as viewed from the earth, and the shape as seen from the earth is changing. But this is not the case with that group of stars known as the 'Seven Sisters' or Pleiades. They are not moving apart and Sir Fred Hoyle, the British astronomer, has said that the Pleiades should look the same in a billion years time. 4,500 years ago Job was told that the Pleiades were bound, but Orion was loose. How could he have possibly known? There are only two possible explanations - the odds that it was a lucky guess by the writer are so enormous that we can discount that possibility - and those explanations are that either Yahweh revealed it to Job or to someone else who informed him, or someone from an advanced alien civilisation with a knowledge of astronomy came and told him. Which is the more plausible explanation? Job says it was Yahweh who told him, so unless you believe Yahweh was a spaceman like Erich von Dänicken, you have to conclude that it was Elohim (God) who told him...unless you believe some story teller made the whole account of Job up, in which case, how could the storyteller have known? Again you have only two explanattions - either Yahweh or an alien...unless you want to suggest that there was some advanced civilisation like Atlantis or Lemuria that existed before Job or the 'storyteller' in which case how did they know? And what's the evidence that they ever existed?
"Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades, or loose the belt of Orion?" (Job 38:31, NKJV).
Job also speaks of the weight of the wind (Job 28:25), long before Torrecelli took his inverted tubes of mercury up the mountains to measure atmospheric pressure. Today, satellite pictures bring the pattern of the weather to our TV and computer screens. We see high or low pressure areas depicted by great circuits of clouds. In the recent past, weather stations across the world would telegraph data which allowed the build up of similar pictures to those transmitted from satellites today. But 3,000 years ago Solomon wrote:
Not only is the Bible accurate in its comments concerning astronomy and meterology, but it shows remarkable insights into medical matters. We now know that a small gland in the head controls growth. Although the pituitary is not itself mentioned, Paul speaks of:
"The wind goes toward the south, and turns around to the north; the wind whirls about continually, and comes again on its circuit. All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full; to the place from which the rivers come, there they return again" (Eccl.1:6-7, NKJV).
And whilst this passage is principally referring in context to Messiah as the Head of the Body which is the Messianic Community or Church, in harmony with Hebrew prophetic and literally practice it can also refer to other things.
"...the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from Elohim (God)" (Col.2:19, NKJV).
Moses was told by Yahweh that male babies were to be circumcised on the eighth day, a symbolic cutting of the flesh to indicate a covenant relationship with Elohim (God) (Lev.12:3). As any biochemist will tell you, blood clotting factors, vitamin K and prothrombin, are at their maximum concentration in the blood on the eighth day after birth. Leviticus, written some 3,000 years ago, also lays down laws of hygiene which enabled those who obeyed the Torah - principally the Jews - to pass unscathed through the plagues which decimated Europe in the middle ages. Again we see Yahweh's wisdom in commanding Torah-obedience!
For instance, there were laws about washing oneself and one's clothes after touching a dead body. This all sounds like pretty basic hygiene to us now, but until Hungarian physician Ignaz Semmelweis 'rediscovered' and laid out the truth of antiseptics in the mid 19th century, doctors would as a matter of routine move from conducting an autopsy to delivering a baby without washing their hands. After all, what was the point of washing if you were going to get blood on them again straight away? Neither the ancients nor science knew anything about bacteria until recently, but the writer of Leviticus did. How? Well, you know the possible explanations now.
There were also rules in Torah for the isolation of people with infectious diseases, and for cleaning some pots, or destroying earthenware pots, which had become contaminated. There were laws about diet and how long you could keep meat before it could no longer be eaten and must be burned. All of this was long before our pre-occupation with 'sell-by' dates.
Technology is also described in the Bible. In particular, the Creator is described as a refiner and purifier of silver (Mal.3:3, etc.). The refiner placed the silver ore in an earthenware pot and heated it over hot coals. He sat over the pot, stirring it with a green wood pole to reduce the ore to the metal. The lighter dross floated on top of the shiny metal and could be skimmed off. The refiner knew that the process was complete when he could see his own image in the molten silver.
Just one of these scientific facts is noteworthy in a work of such antiquity. All of them together - astronomy, climatography, medicine, hygiene, and so on (this is not an exhaustive account by any means) - coupled with fulfilled prophecy and verifiably accurate history, make the Bible unique. The idea that a religious book must necessarily be unreliable in its scientific content is manifestly untrue, and has been shown by the examples I have given to be unfounded. Throughout its pages, the Bible has a consistent view of cosmogeny which is creationist. In addition, it specifically excludes evolution by referring to created plants and animals reproducing true to kind.
The miracle of design is everywhere evident, even on the molecular level. have you ever seen the chemistry of a flagellum, the micoscopic hair that propells single celled organisms like Euglena through water? They are High-Tech mechanism, quite brilliant, and unsurpassed in their complexity and efficiency by modern engineering.
No, the Bible is not a science textbook and nowhere pretends to be, but the science is does expound is accurate, in accordance with its profession to me mankinds manual of emet (truth), morality, and the path back to Elohim (God). We are all religious by nature, even atheists, because that is the way Yahweh made us - and the religion of atheism and not a few others is evolution. It claims to be the reason for our existence, just as Yahweh does, and demands our faith, since ultimately it is untestable scientifically. We can examine both evolution and creation from a scientific point of view and decide which theory the evidence fits best, but in the end our decision will be one of emunah (faith). As a scientist committed to rigor and logic, I have not the slightest doubt now that creationism overwhelmingly fits the data best and my emunah (faith), through multiple living encounters with Elohim (God), simply confirms in my lev (heart) what my mind has already been persuaded of.
If you are a seeker after the emet (truth), may you be as richly blessed as I have been, and more. Amen.
 Dr. Michael Ruse, Saving Darwinism from the Darwinians, in National Post, May 13, 2000, B-3
 Roger Price, Science and the Bible (Creation Science Movement, Portsmouth, England: 1987), pamphlet #245
Comments from Readers
"Nice article!" (TBM, USA, 8 January 2012)
"Wow! What an excellent article. Thanks...! As a former health care professional, I will always like reading about science and comparing what I learn with what the word of YHVH says to see if they agree!" (DL, USA, 8 January 2012)