THE SCIENTIFIC ACCURACY OF THE BIBLE
by Wayne S. Walker
"And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds" (Acts 7.22). Even though Moses was instructed in the learning of Egypt, his writings do not contain any Egyptian "scientific" theories of that day such as the beginning of the world from a flying egg or the origin of man from the white worms of the Nile. The Bible is not a book of science, but it does mention several facts which fall into the real of what we generally consider science. While we must be careful that we do not make too much of the figurative language of the scriptures, it is interesting to notice that Biblical references to things scientific are not tainted by the erroneous theories common in the times in which they were written.
"It is He who sits above the circle of the earth…" (Isaiah 40.22). The word translated "circle" can also mean sphere, according to Davidson’s Analytical Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon. In nearly every other civilization, unearthed records show that man taught the earth to be flat. Aristotle, in the fourth century B.C., set forth arguments for a spherical earth, but few were convinced. The Greek-Roman "flat-earth" concept became the standard of the world until the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, when the voyages of Columbus and especially Magellan finally brought about the general acceptance of the rotundity of the earth. By the end of the seventeenth century, the sextant, telescope, theodolite, planetable, barometer, and accurate pendulum clocks proved beyond doubt that the earth is spherical. Yet, Isaiah said so around 700 B.C.!
"Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?" So asks God of Job in Job 38.4. Before 1934, what supports the ground beneath us had always been a subject of interest. The ancients speculated that it was an animal, rock pillars, etc. The theory that had world-wide acceptance in the first third of the twentieth century was that the earth had no foundation but was full of hot molten material and covered with a thin floating crust. However, after 1935, the development of precision chronometers, seismographs, and recording instruments brought about a revolution in our knowledge of the earth’s structure. By 1964, using sensitive seismic instruments that transmit information from the earth’s interior, geologists learned that a bowl is formed for the continental material extending deep into the mantle rock. This mantle rock is now known to for the foundations of our planet.
"Then the channels of the sea were seen…" (2 Samuel 22.16). The word translated "channel" means crevasse or canyon. The universal ancient opinion was that the ocean floors were flat, sandy beds similar to a desert, only under water. In 1504 Juan de la Costa made the first ocean soundings, but they were in shallow water and did little to dispel this false notion. In 1840 the first true ocean sounding was made. However, the famous Challenger Expedition in 1872-1876 marks the beginning of modern deep-sea exploration and discovered the first underwater trench or canyon at 4500 fathoms. Beginning in 1945, using echo-sounding, first introduced in 1911, the systematic crisscrossing by boats of the ocean has given us our current knowledge. In 1971, for the first time in man’s history, a complete map of the ocean floor was compiled and made available, showing the "channels of the sea." (—taken from With All Boldness; August, 1997; Vol. 7, No. 8; p. 8)