Advanced Scientific Knowledge
Though the Bible is not a science book, when it touches on scientific matters it is either completely accurate or non-contradictory, and often demonstrates remarkable fore-knowledge. There are many scientific facts mentioned in the Bible that were not understood by man until centuries after the Bible was written. Following are a few examples:
The Earth and Space
The earth's shape is perhaps the most important to deal with first since many critics claim that the Bible portrays the earth as flat. This couldn't be farther from the truth and in my opinion is one of the most vaporous arguments used by skeptics against the Bible. There is not a single passage that plainly states that the earth is flat1. The groundswell of this criticism gets its roots from the inaccurate but common belief among many that the ancients on up through the middle ages believed that the earth was flat. The truth is, virtually all learned people have known for the last 2500 years that the earth is spherical [please see footnote 2].
Before the learned ancients surmised that the earth was spherical, the divinely inspired Isaiah wrote "It is He who sits above the circle of the earth...(Isaiah 40:22)". In addition, from the Book of Job we have "He stretches out the north over empty space; he hangs the earth on nothing (Job 26:7)". It should be noted that just last century scientists believed space consisted of a hypothetical substance called Ether (not the chemical), which was the medium between the celestial bodies. Also, the pagans of that time believed in such things as a mythical Atlas character who supported the pillars that held heaven and earth apart, and later carried the earth around on his shoulders. Another interesting tidbit that illuminates the divine nature of Job 26:7 is the recent discovery of a huge hole in space in the direction of the northern hemisphere3.
First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics
The 1st Law of Thermodynamics states that matter can be neither created nor destroyed, and that the amount of matter in the universe remains constant. If the First Law is correct, which every scientific measurement ever made has confirmed, then the universe could not have created itself, it must have been created in the past, no further creating must be going on, and no loss of creation is occurring. The Bible is the only religious book that correctly portrays the First Law by 1) its description in Genesis of a Creator who is no longer creating, and 2) a Creator who is "upholding all things by the word of his power (Heb 1:3)" .
The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, which states that all systems degenerate from order to disorder, was regarded by Albert Einstein to be the premier Law in science. Again the Bible is the only religious book to accurately describe this Law: "For the heavens will vanish away like smoke, the earth will grow old like a garment... (Isa 51:6)", and also a New Testament rendering: "You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You remain; and they will all grow old like a garment; (Heb 1:10-11)"
The Hydrologic Cycle
The circulation and conservation of earth's water is called the hydrologic cycle, which is accurately portrayed in several passages of the Bible, including the following: "For He draws up drops of water, which distill as rain from the mist, which the clouds drop down and pour abundantly on man. (Job 36:27-28)" . Centuries after the Book of Job was written, Aristotle demonstrated only a vague understanding of this process. Though he recognized that rain came from clouds, he incorrectly postulated that air turned into water and vice versa.
It has only recently been learned that most clouds are formed by ocean evaporation, but again the Bible had it right centuries ago: "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 1:7)". The complex nature of how water is supported in clouds despite being heavier than air is clearly implied when God declared to Job "Do you know how the clouds are balanced, those wondrous works of Him who is perfect in knowledge (Job 37:16).
The value of Pi
In the verse of the Bible that contains a circumference and diameter (1 Kings 7:23), the Hebrew word for circumference contains an extra character at the end that can only add value to the word by applying Gematria (each Hebrew letter also represents a number). When taking the ratio of the added character to the value of the original word, the value of Pi is achieved to within 4 decimal places! A more in-depth article by Chuck Missler can be found here.
Scientists have only recently discovered springs of water in the depths of the oceans4. Perhaps this is what the Bible is referring to in the following: "Have you entered the springs of the sea? Or have you walked in search of the depths? (Job 38:16)".
Man from Dust
Researchers at NASA's Ames Research Center confirmed that every element in man can be found in the soil, prompting one of the scientists to say "...the biblical scenario for the creation of life turns out to be not far off the mark"5.
Gravitational Properties of Constellations
God asked Job “Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades, Or loose the belt of Orion?” (Job 38:31). In the last century astrophysicists have discovered that the stars of Pleiades move in unison with each other, and are thus gravitationally bound. They have also discovered that the stars in the belt of Orion are free agents that are not gravitationally bound!6 Interestingly, the three stars that comprise Orion's belt appear to be closer together than the outer stars in the constellation, but are actually farther apart! (they appear closer together because of the 2-D plane we see them in).
Vast number of stars in the Universe
God said to Abraham 'Look now toward heaven, and count the stars
if you are able to number them.' And He said to him, 'So shall your descendants
be.'(Gen 15:5)". And through the prophet Jeremiah, 'As
the host of heaven (stars) cannot be numbered, nor the sand of the sea
measured, so will I multiply the descendants of David My servant (Jeremiah
33:22). And finally, in the New Testament "Therefore
from one man, ...were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude--
innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore. (Hebrews 11:12)"
Precise dimensions of Noah's Ark
The dimensions of Noah's Ark as described in the Bible are ideal for stability. In fact, South Korean architects who examined the dimensions found that the boat was virtually impossible to capsize! Their modeling and analysis found that the ark could survive waves higher than 30 meters! (note that a typical tsunami is only 10 meters high) 7. Many other cultures have flood legends similar to the account in the Bible, but their ark descriptions were never palatable. For example, the Babylonian Gilgamesh Flood legend described an ark that was shaped like a cube, which would be horrible for stability. 8.
"When the Bible touches on
scientific subjects, it is entirely accurate." Dr. Donald
DeYoung, Ph.D. (Physics)
1. Critics will commonly point to several passages that refer to "the four corners of the earth", such as in Isaiah 11:12, but often fail to grasp that this is a colloquialism that is still used today to portray the four compass extremities of the earth. Indeed, the Strongs Greek/Hebrew dictionary defines the word "corner" (gonia) as angle, or quadrant.
2. It is important to note that an incredibly dubious bit of revisionist history occurred in the 1800s that resulted in many people today, including Christians, falling into the belief that the ancients and early church fathers adhered to a flat earth. This was an unfortunately effective lie perpetrated by several unscrupulous men in the battle of humanism over the Bible. This isn't an indictment of modern critics, as I too was taught that for centuries people believed the earth was flat, recalling stories such as those poor ship's crewmen who were worried about sailing over the corner of the earth. The dishonest nature of this revisionism is slowly being dispelled. For more information I recommend Jeffrey Burton Russell's book Inventing the Flat Earth: Columbus & Modern Historians. Dr. Danny R Faulkner also has a fine article regarding this subject in Creation Matters, Vol 2, Number 6.
3. Astronomers find gaping hole in the Universe August 23, 2007. Also, Mitchell Waldrop, Delving the Hole in Space, Science Magazine, Nov. 27, 1981.
7. Hong, S.W. et al., Safety investigation of Noah’s Ark in a seaway, TJ 8(1):26–36, 1994. All the co-authors are on the staff of the Korea Research Institute of Ships and Ocean Engineering
8. Noah’s Flood and the Gilgamesh Epic, Jonathan Sarfati, AiG 29 March 2004