I have heard a few people say that the Bible is scientifically accurate, or that it is a science book. This claim is rather odd and few Christians that I have met agree with it, but someone on a Yahoo Answers page posted an example of this. Let’s take a look at them:
1. Roundness of the earth (Isaiah 40:22)
2. Almost infinite extent of the sidereal universe (Isaiah 55:9)
3. Law of conservation of mass and energy (II Peter 3:7)
4. Hydrologic cycle (Ecclesiastes 1:7)
5. Vast number of stars (Jeremiah 33:22)
6. Law of increasing entropy (Psalm 102:25-27)
7. Paramount importance of blood in life processes (Leviticus 17:11)
8. Atmospheric circulation (Ecclesiastes 1:6)
9. Gravitational field (Job 26:7)
Let’s start with number 1; Isaiah 40:22 says:
“He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
and its people are like grasshoppers.
He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,
and spreads them out like a tent to live in.”
Notice how it uses the word ‘circle’. The earth is not a circle, it is a sphere, which is a 3D circle. The Bible does not say that the earth is round, it is saying that it is a flat, 2D circle.
Isaiah 55:9 is supposed to support the idea of and almost infinite extent of the universe. But the verse says:
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
This has nothing to with the size of the universe. This claim is nothing more than wishful thinking.
The next verse has nothing to do with the laws of conservation of mass and energy
“By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.”
I don’t know if the person who wrote those got the verses right, or even read the verses him/herself! But this verse does support the expansion of the sun. Judgement day will be in 5 billion years time and humans probably would have gone extinct by then.
Ecclesiastes is a bit better, it explains that there is a hydrologic cycle:
“All streams flow into the sea,
yet the sea is never full.
To the place the streams come from,
there they return again.”
But this may be because how rain works was already known at the time. Or just one lucky guess amid a million failures.
In Jeremiah we just have God (yet again) promising someone that they’ll have thousands of children. The verse says:
” I will make the descendants of David my servant and the Levites who minister before me as countless as the stars in the sky and as measureless as the sand on the seashore.”
And everyone already knew that there were lots of stars – look up at night and it’s quite obvious!
The next one is more of a poem:
“In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.
They will perish, but you remain;
they will all wear out like a garment.
Like clothing you will change them
and they will be discarded.
But you remain the same,
and your years will never end.”
And I don’t know how this supports that the total entropy of a closed system will increase over time.
Leviticus states the obvious by saying:
“For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.”
But it is still correct, without blood we die, but that fact is obvious.
Ecclesiastes 1:6 gives us this:
“The wind blows to the south
and turns to the north;
round and round it goes,
ever returning on its course.”
This does not really indicate atmospheric circulation. I don’t even think it describes the wind properly! The verse simply says that wind blows to the south and then goes to the north again, this is not how wind works.
And there is no evidence for a gravitational field in the following verse:
“He spreads out the northern skies over empty space;
he suspends the earth over nothing.”
Of course with wishful thinking and ‘interpretation’ the Bible could mean literally anything you want it to. But that is a bad reason to claim that it supports science. To be fair, the Bible was correct 3 out of 9 times, but these were really stating the obvious.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigtialPhotos.net