Indus School Textbook 051A1
Bible And Modern Science
Before taking up any discussion on Bible and Science, it must be understood very clearly that Bible was NOT written primarily to serve as a textbook of science. Rather, it was written mainly to communicate divine truths to the common man, and hence the language is popular and not technical in style. However, since it is a communication inspired by God, and since God is all-knowing, nothing written in the original autographs can go contrary to the facts of any discipline of science.
Every age has its popular theories and fads, and many of them seem to contradict some statement or other of the Bible. However, we must remember that the popularity of a theory has nothing to do with its scientific accuracy or merit. Therefore if any theory seems to contradict any portion of Bible, it is better to wait till more facts come to light.
In relation to the discussion of Bible and Science, the history of Christianity shows two major types of errors. First, some people who do not have a proper perspective about scientific theories immediately try to harmonize each and every currently popular theory with the Bible, sometimes in every minute detail. Sooner or later that popular theory is discarded by the scientific community, making that "harmonization" laughable.
The second major error is to reject those biblical passage that seem to be in conflict with a scientific theory. People who do this are only exhibiting their ignorance of history which has time and again shown that it was our knowledge, not the Bible, that was in error at a given point.
examination of the repeated controversies will demonstrate immediately that
there is a curious prejudice in the human hearts against the Bible. If a
scientist makes a statement, it is generally accepted with awe even if there is
insufficient data to support his statement. On the other hand if the Bible makes
a similar statement, it is looked upon with suspicion even if there are enough
facts to support it. Such a prejudice is surprising because many of the theories
and assumptions expressed by scientists are highly unstable and are often based
upon incomplete knowledge. The reason for this peculiar behaviour is obvious :
the world is in revolt against God, and it will therefore accept anything which
negates God's existence and actions. It is no wonder that men are hasty to play
up each and every new scientific theory against the Bible.
Errors Of Ancient
Before we actually take up Bible verses that deal with scientific subjects, we must have a look at the "science" of ancient men of learning. This is done to show how erroneous their popular ideas were. Since their knowledge was accepted as supreme, people accepted their theories without any question or doubt. Since the human writers of Bible lived in the periods when such teachings were widespread, there is every possibility of those wrong theories getting included in the Bible. But not even a single such theory has been incorporated into the biblical text. Without any doubt, one has to invoke Divine Inspiration to explain how the biblical writings remained uncontaminated.
A sample of the scientific ideas of reputed ancient scientists and philosophers is as follows :
I)PLATO: One of the greatest men of learning, Plato wrote : "Using the language of probability, we may say that the world became a living soul and truly rational through the providence of God".
He believed that there were only four elements in this universe : Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. According to him, 'Out of such elements which are in number four, the body of the world" was created. Further, he used to believe and teach the world was a vast and visible animal that produced earth-quakes when it moved.
II)ARISTOTLE: Aristotle is credited with giving birth to modern science. He had accumulated a vast mount of knowledge, yet many of his theories were wrong. He used to teach that the earth was the center of the Solar-system. According to him the function of the blood was to cool the brain; also that women had fewer teeth than what men had.
III)ANCIENT GREEKS: The ancient Greeks, who were among the most learned people, thought that god Atlas bore the heavens on his head and shoulders. (This is the reason why today world-maps are called atlases).
IV)THE EGYPTIANS: The sciences and arts were highly developed in Egypt as is clear from the Pyramids and the mummies left by the ancient Egyptians. In spite of their technological advances, their scientific ideas contained a lot of error. For example, they used to believe that originally only the oceans existed. On this ocean appeared an egg (or a flower) from which the sun-god was born. The earth, the sky and everything else in the skies came out of their bodies and activities.
They had such a collection of myths that no person educated in Egypt could have escaped their influence. Yet Moses who was trained in "all the wisdom of the Egyptians" never incorporated even a portion of this mythology in his five books.
BABYLONIANS: The Babylonian
ideas of creation go back to the days of Hammurabi (around two thousand years
before Christ), who was an acknowledged philosopher-king of his times. Yet all
what he wrote, or what is available from ancient Babylonian sources, is full of
myths similar to the Egyptian stories.
We have cited some of the philosophies and beliefs held by few of the most learned of the ancient people. Their beliefs provide the background in which the biblical writers wrote their books. Since their ideas were widely accepted, there was every possibility of these ideas being carried into biblical writings, but this never happened.
Some might try to
argue that pagan philosophers held to wrong notions because they did not have
access to modern scientific equipment; but we must point out that neither did
the biblical writers have access to such equipment. On the contrary, most of
the writers of biblical books were flooded from all sides with wrong
hypotheses and theories cited above. Yet none of them included any
wrong theory in their writings; even Moses who was trained in all the colleges
of higher learning of the Egyptians did not include a single such hypothesis
in his five books. This unconformity can be explained only by the presence of
an "all-knowing" hand behind the writing of the books of the Bible.
Examination of Some Passages -- I
We have stated before that Bible is not a textbook of science. Yet there are a large number of verses that touch upon nature and natural processes that can be called scientific topics. The writers of these passages use everyday language, yet the meaning expressed by them turn out to be true even to minute details.
A large number of passages can be cited from the whole of Bible, and any kind of objective testing will show that every one of these verses is in conformity with the above assertion. The only care to take is not to distort what the original authors have said in their common language of accommodation. For example, when a Biblical author speaks about the "rising" of sun we should not misinterpret such a passage to mean that the author wants to depict the sun as revolving around the earth !
It is impossible
in this small book to discuss all the Biblical passages related to science,
but a number of representative verses are examined below.
I)THE ORIGINAL CREATION: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth". (Genesis 1:1)
The above verse puts a limit to the time for which the Universe has existed. Many theories current in the past decade postulated an eternal universe: a universe that always existed and that did not require a creator or a creation by virtue of its eternal existence.
However, new discoveries of the past few years have revealed that the universe has a finite age. It could not have existed for ever because in that case it would have died out long ago. The above verse says the same thing. There was a certain moment of time in the finite past when God created the universe. It did not exist from eternity past.
II) CREATION OF THE EARTH: And the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep" (Genesis 1:2)
In the early years of the twentieth century, the above verse was said to contain two scientific inaccuracies. First, they said that nothing could be seen in the heavens which was without form and void. Second, there was no celestial body which was covered with darkness.
The accuracy of the above verse was established very soon when Dr. E.P. Hubble started studying nebulae with the help of the first 100-inch telescope. His discoveries with the spiral nebulae and the "dark nebulae" confirmed that stellar bodies do exist which are without form and void and which are dark.
III) LIGHT AND DARKNESS: "And God separated the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day and the darkness He called night". (Genesis 1:4b-5a)
A careful reading of the above verses will reveal that according to it both light and darkness are present at the same time on the earth's surface.
Man has known for thousands of years that there is a dividing line between light and darkness on the disc of moon; but it was only in A.D. 1543 that Copernicus made it clear that to an observer in space, there is exactly such a dividing line for the earth too. This phenomenon was actually seen only in the sixties when the space age began. Moses wrote the above verse about the earth around 1500 years B.C., but his science turns out to be accurate.
IV) THE FIRMAMENT: "And God said Let there be a firmament and let it divide the waters from waters". (Genesis 1:6)
"And God said let there be light in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons and for days, and years." (Genesis 1:14).
At the first glance the word firmament seems to suggest that the heavens are like a solid hemisphere. Many radical thinkers have tried to impose such an interpretation on the Bible, but such ideas cannot be defended on the basis of sound exegesis. The Hebrew word used here is 'RAQUIA', which means expanse or atmosphere. The word suggests something thin and spread out, an apt description of the atmosphere.
The recent revival of the Evolution/Creation controversy has generated very much interest in the "canopy theory" based on the references to firmament. Many theologians and scientists, using all the relevant verses from the Bible, and also the data presently available from science, have postulated the presence of a "canopy" that surrounded the earth that collapsed at the time of Noah's flood. This is an excellent hypothesis and a good number of learned publications have appeared on it.
V) CONSERVATION OF MASS: "Thus the heaven and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended His works which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made," (Genesis 2:1,2).
"...the works were finished from the foundation of the world," (Hebrews 4:3 b).
The above verses make it clear that on the seventh day of Creation, God rested from His work, i.e. He ceased the creation of the material universal.
The Law Of Conservation Of Mass is a fundamental principle of physics. According to it, "matter may be changed in size, state, or form but it cannot be created or destroyed". This law of Physics can be inferred from the verses quoted above. Since God has already finished His Creative act, no more creation of matter is going on in the universe.
Some adherents of the theory of evolution had proposed what is known as the "Steady-state" theory, and some astronomers made it very popular in this century. According to them, our universe is an eternal, never ending one; it has always existed and it will continue to exist for ever. They proposed further that new matter (and energy) is being created continuously to maintain a balanced and stable universe.
The steady-state theory was very popular for many years owing to a number of reasons, that included the way it avoided the issue of the origin of universe. Today the theory has fallen from favour because it conflicts with many fundamental laws of physics. Today all the observations of Physics and Astronomy point to the veracity of the Biblical statements that no creation is going on in the universe. Matter in conserved.
VI) CONSERVATION OF AGRICULTURE: "And six years thou shalt sow thy land, and shalt gather the fruits thereof; But the seventh year thou shalt let it rest and lie still; that the poor of thy people may eat: and what they leave, the beasts of the field will eat. In like manner thou shalt deal with thy vineyard, and with thy oliveyard". (Exodus 23: 10-11).
Even though God has ordered us to subdue the earth, the rules quoted above show that He is interested in some form of conservation too.
In his greed for maximum profit, man cultivates every last inch of the ground for the maximum possible days every year. But the resultant infertility of the fields has been alarming. Agricultural scientists have been trying to solve this problem in many ways. One method, that is standard all over the world today, is to rotate the crops. But even such a rotation in itself is not enough for conservation because the fields very soon start showing the signs of depletion.
The best method
to date is to leave the fields uncultivated once every seven years. This rule
is very much important for the large forest areas which have been cleared for
planting crops. In addition to such conservation, the crop of the seventh year
was to be left for the poor and the animals. This reminds that Lord is
interested not only in the welfare of the land and its flora, but also in
helpless humans and animals.
VII)WASHING FOR HYGIENE: "And Aaron and his sons thou shalt bring unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shalt wash them with water." (Exodus 29 : 4).
"And he that is to be cleansed shall wash his cloth, and shave off his hair, and wash himself in water, that he may be clean; and after that he shall come into the camp and shall tarry abroad his tent seven days". (Leviticus 14:8).
Washing for hygiene is a very important act. It is one of the easiest and effective methods of personal hygiene. Hence the Old-Testament laws were quite specific and compulsory about washing after touching a dead animal, a dead human being, or any unclean thing.
We could understand the exact purpose and advantages of washing only in the twentieth century. Practising the correct procedure of washing prevents the spread of infection. Yet this fact was not clear to doctors before the modern era .
According to Dr. S. I. McMillian, even during most of the nineteenth century, medical surgeons did not know the importance of washing before their operations. "Usually the patient came into the operating room, took off his dresses, and lay down on the operation table. The surgeon just took off his coat, rolled his shirt sleeves, took some instruments out of a bag or cupboard and started to operate". In between the operation he would ask his students to study some details; then they would also handle the same cut by their bare hands. The tragic results are obvious to us.
Today a doctor has to wash up to his elbows for ten to fifteen minutes, put on gloves, and use sterilized instruments and cotton for even a minor operation. Students are generally confined to a glass-walled gallery. All of this is a result of twentieth century developments, and so one wonders at the detailed instructions that were given in the Bible some 3000 years ago.
VIII)CLEAN WATER: Leviticus 11:29 to 36 is a detailed description of clean/unclean water. Pure water is so essential for mankind that such detailed instructions became necessary.
Man learned only in the twentieth century that Cholera, Jaundice, Amoebic Infection, Ringworms and countless other diseases spread through unclean water. The World Health Organization has been campaigning actively to keep all sources of water clean and uncontaminated.
The book of Leviticus, written over 3000 years ago, not only stresses the necessity of clean water but also outlines the procedure to identify clean/unclean water. This makes a lot of scientific sense today.
IX) MEAT FIT AND UNFIT FOR EATING: "And the Lord spake unto Moses and to Aaron, saying unto them, Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, These are the beasts which ye shall eat among all the beasts that are on the earth. Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is clovenfooted, and cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that shall ye eat." (Leviticus 11:1-3)
The whole of Leviticus 11 is a summary of what meats are permitted/prohibited for eating. According to the above verses, the Israelites were allowed to eat only those animals which chew the cud and have divided hoof. The reference is to the Artiodactyla order of mammals, which are herbivorous and have hoofs with even-numbered digits. ('Divided hoofs' in Greek is, ARTIOS meaning even, and DACTULOS meaning finger or toe).
Among the above group are sheep, goats deer and cattle. The pig, camel, and here were prohibited by this rule. It is now clear that the "unclean animals" were often carriers of parasitic infection. Since there was no method for checking such infection, or to destroy it with proper cooking, the prohibition imposed by the Bible makes a lot of sense. This becomes more obvious when we compare the un-hygienic eating habits and customs of the nations that lived around the Israelites.
"These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: Whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat." (Leviticus 11:9).
The above verse sets the rules for eating aquatic creatures. These rules extend up to the twelfth verse, after which there are rules governing the eating of insects and birds.Today we know that the birds, fishes, and insects allowed for consumption are medically the safest and the best for our food.
Even out of the permitted class, eating the flesh of the naturally dead creatures was forbidden. For example, "Ye shall not eat of anything that dieth of itself". (Deuteronomy 14:21)
Man learned only in modern times that this kind of meat is harmful for consumption because the creatures might have died of infectious diseases. Moreover, they might be carrying fleas, ticks, lice etc., which are carriers of deadly diseases like bubonic plague, spotted fever, typhoid etc. Anyone caught today selling such meat would be punished; such laws were enforced only during modern times but the prohibition in the Bible is over 3000 years old.
X) QUARANTINE FOR COMMUNICABLE DISEASES: "Quarantine" is a well-known and well-proven method for restricting the spread of communicable diseases. Quarantine means:
1. A place or period of detention of ships or persons coming from areas known or suspected of infection.
2. To obtain or isolate on account of suspected contagion.
3. To place restrictions on the entry or leaving of premises where a case of communicable disease exists.
The above mentioned ideas and practices became established as having worth only during modern times, but quarantine of contagious diseases was established in Israel as one of the basic rules of health.
In Leviticus 13th chapter we read of a number of skin-disease symptoms which have a tendency to spread very fast. But detailed instructions have been given there to keep the diseases in check. Since modern medicines were not available then for cure, isolation was the best means of prevention. Leviticus 13;45 says, "All the days wherein the plague shall be in him he shall be defiled, he is unclean, he shall dwell alone, without the camp shall his habitation be."
Since those people had no way of disinfecting unclean clothes, they were ordered to burn them. The lepers were ordered to put a covering upon their upper lip and cry "unclean, unclean". These were an added precaution for all bypassers to move away from the source of possible infection.
For contrast, the above should be compared with the present-day practices in India and neighbouring countries. Lepers and beggars with infectious skin diseases are allowed to roam on the streets freely. Most swimming-pools do not insist upon a shower before people take a swim. Usually there is no bar for people with skin diseases.
When such ignorance
is widespread even in the twentieth century, the Biblical laws of quarantine
make amazing reading.
Examination of Some Passages -- 2
XI) RUNNING ISSUES" FROM THE BODY: The whole of Leviticus chapter fifteen is devoted to "running issues". The chapter mentions many types of unusual bodily discharges of men and women. The discharges mentioned in this chapter can be identified with many communicable diseases. The easiest way to stop them from spreading is isolation.
In medicine, isolation and washing are very recent practices but the same have been explained in detail in the Bible. Any qualified doctor will testify to the effectiveness and the medical worth of these Biblical laws.
XII) LIFE IN THE BLOOD: Till recent centuries science did not know the exact function of blood. Patients suffering from various diseases were "bled" to cure them. As recently as in 1799 president George Washington died when he was "bled" to cure a mere cold. However, Bible correctly identifies that "The life of the flesh is in the blood" (Leviticus 17:11). This fact, obvious to everyone today, was discovered only as late as 1616 A.D. by William Harvey.
XIII)THE HEMISPHERES AND THE STARS: Deuteronomy 4:19 speaks of the stars and the heavens. About the stars it comments: "which the Lord God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven".
People often have this erroneous notion that the night sky visible to them is the same as is to all other nations. But the stars visible in the northern and the southern hemispheres are entirely different from each other. Man discovered this only in the modern era, but Bible gave us the same information over 3500 years ago. It says that the Lord has divided the stars unto the nations.
XIV) CONSERVATION: "If a bird's nest chance to be in thy way in any tree, or on the ground, whether they be young ones, or eggs and the dam sitting upon the young or upon the eggs, thou shalt not take the dam with the young". (Deuteronomy 22:6).
Man has hunted animals and birds from the very ancient times. Indiscriminate hunting has caused the extinction of thousands of species. Today we cannot restore the extinct ones, but we can surely conserve those species that are near extinction. Exactly this is being done by World Wildlife Fund and other concerned organizations. Yet the modern man is so ignorant of this need of conservation that even these enthusiastic organizations are not able to achieve full success. This is the 'wisdom' of the modern era.
But 3500 years ago strict instructions were give in the Bible that birds should be conserved. If birds were hunted, the mother-birds were to be left free to keep the bird-population in equilibrium.
XV) SEWAGE DISPOSAL: And thou shalt have a paddle upon thy weapon; and it shall be when thou wilt ease thyself abroad, thou shalt dig therewith, and shalt turn back and cover that which cometh from thee". (Deuteronomy 23:13)
In the above verse, Moses ordered that body-wastes should be buried with the help of a special shovel or paddle. It was always to be with them for the proper disposal of faeces.
Today people take pride in the "all-knowing" twentieth century, yet we can see countless people in our country who do not even know that such wastes need to be disposed off properly. There are innumerable cities, towns and villages where people do not even know the importance of a properly constructed latrine. It has been estimated that those places in India where people do not dispose off human wastes properly, more people suffer from communicable diseases than other places.
To realize the medical/scientific accuracy of the above Biblical statement, we should compare it with the ignorance that exists on these matters even in the twentieth century in the developing countries.
XVI) BUBONIC PLAGUE: The story of the capture of the Ark of the Covenant recorded in I Samuel 5 and 6 contains a detailed account of bubonic plague. Bubo is as enlarged and inflamed lymph node particularly in the axilla or groin, due to such infections as plague, syphilis, gonorrhoea, or tuberculosis. Today we know that rats are a carrier of bubonic plague, but this knowledge is of recent origin. The Biblical passage, written about 3000 years ago has come to the same conclusion. It says "And it was so, that, after they had carried it about, the hand of the Lord was against the city with a very great destruction: and he smote the men of the city, both small and great, and they had emerods in their secret parts" I Samuel 5:9. This is a description of bubonic plague. The carrier of the plague has correctly been identified in I Samuel 6:5 which says, "Wherefore ye shall make images of your emerods, and images of your mice that mar the land".
If the laws of health and hygiene given in the Bible were studied and imposed in the past centuries, some of the catastrophic worldwide plagues could have been arrested.
XVII)THE VALUE OF Pi: "And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one brim to the other; it was round all about his height was five cubits: and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about. And under the brim of it round about it there were knops compassing it, ten in a cubit, compassing the sea round about: the knops were cast in two rows, when it was
cast. And it was an hand breadth thick, and the brim thereof was wrought like the brim of a cup, with flowers of lilies: it contained two thousand baths". (I Kings 7:23,24,26)
Using the data obtained from the above verses, the value of "Pi" (the ratio of radius to circumference of any circle) can be deduced correctly up to the 3-figure value of 3.14 used in the modern classrooms. This is in striking contrast to the Egyptian Value of 'Pi'= 3.16 and Babylonian value of 'Pi' = 3.125. It was the Greeks who much latter calculated it correctly up to 3.14. Thus the Biblical mathematics was much more accurate in this matter over the contemporary maths.
XVIII) METALLURGY: Several metallurgical processes are mentioned in the Bible, some of them with striking modern-day parallels. e.g, "Surely there is a vein for the silver, and a place for gold where they find it. Iron is taken out of the earth and brass is molten out of the stone". (Job 28 : 1-2).
The above passage shows that Job, as far back as about 1700 B.C., knew clearly the how and what of metals extracted out of the earth.
XIX) THE EARTH'S INTERIOR: Today we know that in all probability the interior of the earth is made up of molten metals. People of Job's time (C 1700 B.C.), who held the earth to be flat, just could not have imagined a molten core for it. Yet Job seems to identify the very molten core when he says about the earth; "and under it is turned up as it were fire". (Job 28:56).
XX) SOME HABITS OF OSTRICH: "Gavest thou the goodly wings to the peacocks ? or wings and feathers unto the Ostrich ? Which leaveth her eggs in the earth, and warmeth them in
and forgetteth that the foot may crush them, or that the wild beast may break them. She is hardened against her young ones, as though they were not hers: her labour is in vain without fear;
Because God hath deprived of wisdom, neither hath he imparted to her understanding. What time she lifteth up herself on high, she scorneth the horse and his rider". (Job 39:13-18).
The above passage gives a detailed description of the Ostrich life history, nesting habits, care of the young, intelligence and speed. Each detail has been challenged by one or more ornithologists.
In reality, the Ostrich makes a hole in sand, lays her eggs and covers them (Vs. 4). Many a time she tramples them, and jackals, wild cats and other animals attack them (Vs. 16). It has been found that on occasions Ostriches can be cruel to their chicks (Vs. 16). At first, Ostrich seems to be wise, but over-all it is full of foolish habits (Vs. 17) and therefore in Arabic fables it is portrayed as a foolish bird. In Africa the Ostriches often eat prickly pear foolishly and die; also it often breaks its legs by foolish running; their violent reaction on seeing dogs frequently leads to their death; cock-fights frequently prove fatal. and it has been observed (when domesticated) to foolishly swallow lighted cigarettes and cigars.
The speed of the Ostrich is well-known, and they can definitely defeat horses (Vs. 18). There is an amazing thing in this passage. Even in the twentieth century people believe the fable that Ostriches bury their head in the sand when faced with a storm. But Job's account is correct even in this detail that it omits any such fable.
XXI) THE ENTROPY: "Of the old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the works of thy hands. They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: Yea, all of them shall vax old like a garment; as a vesture shall thou change them, and they shall be changed." (Psalms 102:25-27)
Using the everyday analogy of new garments eventually turning into useless rags, the writer of this Psalm explains what is going on in our universe. Ancient philosophies, like the ones from Greece, and also the modern "steady-state" theory maintain that the universe is unchanging and eternal. According to them, the universe was always here and it will always remain here exactly as it is today. All such theories have been generally abandoned today.
In spite of such theories, which were popular even in ancient times, the writer of the psalm states that matter is not eternal. The Universe is running down every day and after some finite interval of time it will become "useless" like a rag.
The second law of thermodynamics, developed rigorously in the past one century, is a firmly established law. A Consequence of this law is that everything in our Universe is running down. This process is irreversible and one day, like rags, the Universe will die an "entropy death".
The entropy-death is a firmly established principle and there are many more Biblical passages that affirm the same fact.
XXII)THE EMBRYO: "For thou hast possessed my reins: thou has covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them". (Psalms 139;13-16).
The above passage poetically, but accurately, describes some aspects of the embryonic growth. The accuracy of these statements should be contrasted with the scientific views described below.
Till a few decades ago two views were current about embryonic development of organisms. One was called the Pre-Formation theory, the other the theory of Epigenesis. The Pre-Formation theory, widely circulated for the first time in the last century, taught that the human reproductive cells carried a tiny, but whole, human inside it. They claimed that this tiny human called "homoneucleus" could be seen under the microscope. They taught that this microscopic individual grew to become the body of the child.
The Epigenesis believers thought the above theory to be false. They taught that inside the human reproductive cells there was only shapeless material that could form many more cells that would finally become a human being.
Modern biology has confirmed the truth of Epigenesis theory. We know for sure that reproductive cells do not have tiny replicas of men; they have a chemical compound known as DNA which stores all the information necessary for the formation of a human being. This is in striking agreement with the Biblical statements which say that the original substance was "unperfect" which were then fashioned into a form which it did not have before.
XXIII) THE ANT: "Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise; Which having no guide overseer, or ruler, provideth provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest".(Proverbs 6:6-8).
Modern zoology has discovered many social insects, chief among which are the ants and the bees. Most species of ants live an ordered life, though they have no guides or overseers just as is mentioned in the Bible.
Verse eight quoted above was attacked by many who said that it was an error to say that the ant "provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest". But Entomologists working in Palestine have discovered the presence of "agricultural ants" which not only feed on seeds, but also harvests them; if a heavy rain makes their seed-stores wet, they bring the seeds up to the surface to prevent sprouting.
There are still other ants who prepare the soil for crop, plant seeds, keep the field free of weeds and reap the harvest. Clearly, it was the critics and their scientific knowledge which was behind the times, and not the statement of Solomon.
XXIV)BIRD-MIGRATION: "Yea, the stark in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of the LORD". (Jeremiah 8:7)
In the above verse, the prophet was speaking about recognizing the times and seasons, and for this he chose a very good example -- the migratory birds. The migration of birds has been studied in detail in this century, but still it remains a puzzle for us. No scientific theory has been able to explain this behaviour satisfactorily.
Due to some reasons which are unknown yet, many species of birds migrate every year at definite times and seasons. Even though the prophet wrote the above verse hundreds of years before Christ, he was accurate scientifically.
XXV) CHEMICAL REACTION: "Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day. Or like vinegar poured on soda, Is one who sings songs to a heavy heart". (Proverbs 25:20, N.I.V.)
Today all science students know that mixing of most of the common bases and acids evolves Carbon-dioxide. The above verse uses the same idea when it implies that the Carbon-dioxide which evolves when vinegar (acid) is poured upon soda (base) is similar to trouble-making.
XXVI)THE WIND CYCLE: "The wind goeth towards the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits". (Ecclesiastes 1:6-7)
Air currents cannot be seen by the eyes. They need special instruments for detection. Due to this difficulty, a satisfactory theory of wind-currents of the world could be formed only after wind-flow data from the whole of the northern hemisphere and the tropics was collected.
Around the equator there is a zone where air rises due to the heating from the direct rays coming from the sun at that position. This hot air rises and moves towards the north. There it comes down, pushing the air there southwards. This cycle goes on continually and is called the North-East Trade-winds.
For science, such knowledge of the wind-cycles is of recent origin only. Yet the inspired records mention the same thing with unquestionable accuracy. When heated air rises at the south, cold air from the north rushes in to fill the void. The hot southern wind goes to the cold north, carrying moisture, and replenishes the rivers at their sources.
XXVII) THE RAIN CYCLE: "All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again". (Ecclesiastes 1:7).
The "rain-cycle" is a phenomenon known even to school children today. But our knowledge of such a cycle is not older than merely a few centuries. At the time of king Solomon, who wrote the above passage, rain was a mystery for people. They did not know of its natural cycle.
Most ancient civilizations had conceived of rain-gods who made rain at their wish. Many such stories were popular at the time of Solomon, but his writings do not show any influence of those myths. He simply tells that there is a cycle of evaporation and rain that keeps all in a balanced state.
In the book of job we find an equally fascinating and accurate description of rain and related phenomena. It says, "For he maketh small the drops of water : they pour down rain according to the vapour thereof. Which the clouds do drop and distil upon man abundantly. Also can any understand the spreading of the clouds, or the noise of his tabernacle ? Behold, he spreadeth his light upon it, and covereth the bottom of the sea". (Job 36:27-30).
The above verses give an accurate summary of the rain-cycle involving evaporation, condensation, and precipitation. There are many more passages in the Bible which are in accord with modern hydrology and meteorology.
XXVIII) THE SPHERICITY OF EARTH: For a long time people used to think that the earth is flat. It was not considered safe for ships to venture beyond the pillars of Hercules (at the entrance to the straits of Gibraltar) into the Atlantic ocean because at the boundary of the flat earth the ship would fall into the abyss. However, Bible teaches no such error. In Isaiah 40:22 the "circle of the earth" is mentioned in connection with its shape. The word KHUG used in Hebrew refers to a spherical body.
We infer the same from the Lord Jesus when He spoke in Luke 17:34 to 36 about His second coming. This coming was to be instantaneous yet He said, "I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in bed, the one shall be taken and the other shall be left. Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken the other left. Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken and the other left". (Luke 17:34-36)
The Lord Jesus said that He will come in a moment yet three activities corresponding roughly with morning noon and night have been shown to take place at the same moment. Obviously, the reference is to the spherical earth on which alone simultaneity of such events is possible.
XXIX)MATTER AND ENERGY: "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear". (Hebrews 11:3)
Speaking of the material universe, the above passage explains that the things which we seen in the universe are made of entities which are not apparent. A few generations ago the above statement would have looked ridiculous because their science told them that "all things could be accurately and completely described in terms of mechanical laws and models with which they were familiar". This view was refuted only with further growth of science.
Today we know that electricity, magnetism, heat, gravity, and many other phenomenon connected with things "that are seen" are themselves "things that are not seen". Moreover, all of the matter is ultimately energy which cannot be seen.
Bible is interpreted properly, there is no conflict between its statements and
the proven facts of science.