Why isn't there clear scientific proof in the Bible?


(Albert Schmidt) #1

That’s a question someone asked me a while ago and I created an apologia around it. Wanted to share it with you guys, maybe you can use, too. Also glad to hear your thoughts, critiques and ideas on it.

So the question is why god hasn’t used any kind of clear scientific language to proof the Bible is his word, like the mention of atoms, gravity etc. This would eradicate any doubt if this book is from god or not.
Here is my answer.

  1. Since god is a highly relational being, he always meets people where they are at, instead of confronting them with things that are too far beyond their capacity. These people had no concept of atoms and it would probably alienate god from the people if he started talking about it. It would also have no impact on the lives of these people at all. They could not use that knowledge for anything. Today we can put it into use, back then it would have been a useless idea and people would ask themselves what this is all about.
    If you compare it to a father and his little child, you start off simple and as the child gets older, you move to the complex. Like in maths, for example. You don’t see children coming to first grade to solve differential equations, rather you increase the complexity step by step as they proceed through school.

  2. Yet, I consider this a legitimate question and you would expect to find scientific proof in the Bible. HOWEVER, the Bible is not written for people in our timeframe only. It is written for the first humans as well as the last humans. That means that it has to be written in a way that both, first humans and technologically advanced humans, are able to read. This can only be achieved through figurative language: just the kind the bible happen to use. The goal is not to provide a scientifically accurate statement (as this would exclude first humans), but to show it to the technologically advanced humans and hear them say: Wow, I guess you could say it that way.
    Here is an example:
    A German secular cosmology website says about the big bang: "Concerning the condition of the universe after the big bang: "There are no atoms or atomic nucleuses, yet. Everything is electromagnetic radiation, which means the Bible is not necessarily wrong when it says “Let there be light”.
    Source: www.kosmologie.fue-eilige.de
    Another example would be the creation account of the earth in its different steps that fit the scientific evidence perfectly. Dr. Hugh Ross has a Youtube video on that, which you should check out if you want to dive into it. Defenitely worth it.

Appreciate your thoughts on it.


(Josephine Dearsley) #2

Hi, an interesting topic…

I think this is a good point.
Is it also possible that we are not always given scientific proof because we are meant to have a relationship with Him and come to Him in faith, not purely by logic. If He gave us absolute scientific proof, perhaps more people would come to Him, but would it really be out of choice and therefore love? He gives us free will and knows us so well. It seems to me that we have to choose to trust God, choose to follow Him and choose to believe. That choice is what sets us apart, that brings salvation and blessings.
Just another thought to add…
(P.s. perhaps there isn’t scientific proof, but if one looks at historical Jewish records, or other sources many of the events significant or small are quite traceable. Partly through the precise genealogy and ages of the people in the old testament).


(Rob Lundberg) #3

I agree that this is very good question. Looking at the responses given, I think I would like to add in here and say that with all the conversations that pop-atheists have with believers, this questions comes up or the objection comes up that you and I “cannot prove the Bible scientifically.”

That is because the Bible is descriptive in historical narrative, and prescriptive where there are commands that we need to obey, using a proper hermeneutic. That being said, I do think that there passages that can be verified scientifically, which are in the Old Testament (though I do not think that is what the question is asking), which I would like to add here:

  • The Spherical Shape of the Earth

“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”(Isaiah 40:22, NIV). The Hebrew language did not have a word for “sphere.” Circle is quite sufficient.

  • The Earth is suspended in nothing

“He spreads out the northern [skies] over empty space; he suspends the earth over nothing” (Job 26:7, NIV).

  • The Stars are Innumberable

"He took him outside and said, “Look up at the heavens and count the stars – if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be” (Genesis 15:5, NIV).

  • The Existence of Valleys in the Seas

“The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare at the rebuke of the LORD, at the blast of breath from his nostrils” (2 Samuel 22:16, NIV).

  • The Existence of Springs and Fountains in the Seas

“In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month – on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened” (Genesis 7:11, NIV). See also Gen. 8:2; Prov. 8:28.

  • The Existence of Water Paths (Ocean Currents) in the Seas

“O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!..When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,…You made him [man] ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet…the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas” (Psalm 8:1,3,6,8, NIV).

*The Hydrologic Cycle

  • “He wraps up the waters in his clouds, yet the clouds do not burst under their weight” (Job 26:8, NIV).

  • “He draws up the drops of water, which distill as rain to the streams; the clouds pour down their moisture and abundant showers fall on mankind” (Job 36:27-28, NIV)

  • "The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course. All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again (Ecclesiastes 1:6-7, NIV).

  • The Concept of Entropy

“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” (Psalm 102:25-26, NIV).

My two cents.


(SeanO) #4

@Albert My approach to this topic generally involves a few questions. What was God’s purpose in revealing Himself to mankind? What if God scientifically demonstrated His own existence - could that achieve God’s purpose in self-revelation?

My assertion is that the answer is ‘no, it could not’. Even if God scientifically proved Himself, that would not convert the heart of mankind. Here are two quotes from Blaise Pascal that I really think hit the nail on the head. God’s purpose is self-revelation is to give people a choice to follow Him or to reject Him.

Men despise religion. They hate it and are afraid it may be true. The cure for this is first to show that religion is not contrary to reason, but worthy of reverence and respect. Next make it attractive, make good men wish it were true, and then show that it is.

"He gives exactly the right amount of light. If He gave less, even the righteous would be unable to find Him, and their will would be thwarted. If He gave more, even the wicked would find Him, against their will. Thus He respects and fulfills the will of all.

If we look at Scriptures, we see that God’s target is not the wise and learned, but the humble in heart who are love what is righteous and true. God’s purpose in self-revelation is not to convince scientists, but to give people everywhere the opportunity to seek Him if they so desire.

Deuteronomy 29:29 - The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.

John 17:3 - Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

1 Corinthians 1:26-31 - Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”

Here is an article you may find interesting as well:

The Lord grant you wisdom and discernment as you share your own thoughts on this topic with others.


(Jimmy Sellers) #5

@Albert:

Atomism have been around for a long time. At least since 500BC, long enough to be argued about and written about. Considering the dates given to Genesis and Job somewhere around 1400 BC, 900 hundred years doesn’t seem to like along time particularly when you consider that the earth was flat a lot longer than that.

Now I know that this not on par with splitting the atom as we understand it today but they certainly understood the idea of division and if they would have had the technology I am sure we would be sailing the solar winds on our dodecahedrons on intergalactic adventures just as Carl Sagan mused about in the Cosmos series. Personally I believe the intellectual capacity to think in abstract and theoretical ways (we might call it scientific to date) have always been part of the image bears of God. I don’t think we are a bit smart that Adam only the beneficiaries of the accumulated human knowledge.

Here are a few excerpts for you to enjoy.

ATOMISM (from Greek ἄτομος = indivisible): The theory concerning atoms. Two opinions of the nature of matter were professed in the Greek philosophical schools. The Eleatic school asserted that matter is infinitely divisible. Democritus, Leucippus, and Epicurus maintained, on the contrary, that in the repeated division and subdivision of anything a point is reached when, by no conceivable means, can it be divided in two; the molecule being a real unity, not compounded of separable parts; in other words, it is an atom. On this idea of indivisibility of matter, Democritus founded his cosmological system. In his opinion, nothing exists but atoms of different shapes and forms, and a vacuum in which the atoms move. The atom possesses, besides the property of solidity, that of movement. The vacuum is nothing by itself; it is only the absence of any impediment to the movement of the atoms. Genesis and destruction proceed from the aggregation and disaggregation of atoms that existed from all eternity (compare Lucretius, “De Rerum Natura,” i. 601 et seq.).

The Motekallamin
This theory—which in ascribing the existence of the whole universe to a fortuitous combination of atoms was intended to exclude all intelligent principle from the world-formation—was later adopted, with many amendments, by the Motekallamin as the basis of their dogma of creation ex nihilo. The universe, they asserted, is composed of atoms (جومر الفرو or الجر), which, on account of their smallness, are indivisible. An atom has no magnitude; but when several atoms combine the sum has a magnitude, and thus forms a body. Atoms were created, and are not—as was supposed by the Greek atomists—always numerically the same in the order of things; but are created anew whenever it so pleases the Creator; their annihilation being impossible. According to Maimonides, the Motekallamin extended the theory of atoms even to space and time. Having seen that Aristotle had proved that space, time, and motion could be divided into parts standing in such relations to one another that if one be divisible the others must be correspondingly divisible, they maintained that space could not be continuous, but that it was composed of indivisible elements; and that time likewise was reducible to corresponding indivisible time-elements.

Saadia
Although the Kalam exercised a great influence on the earlier Jewish philosophy, Atomism found nothing but adversaries among the Jewish philosophers. Saadia rejects the theory of atoms on the ground that it is impossible to imagine that atoms, having no magnitude, could become dimensional bodies (“Al Imanâb weal-I’tikadat,” ed. Landauer, p. 43; Hebrew text, ed. Slutzki, p. 23).

Maimonides
Maimonides devoted a whole chapter in his “Guide of the Perplexed” to combating the theory of atoms as that theory had been elaborated by the Motekallamin. If every motion, he says, is to be resolved into a series of successive motions of single atoms of substance, through one atom of space, and these atoms are supposed to be equal, the velocity of all moving bodies must be the same, which is absurd. In the revolution of a millstone, for example, each point in the extreme circumference of the stone describes a large circle in the very same time in which a point nearer the center describes a smaller circle; the velocity of the outer circle is therefore greater than that of the inner circle (“Moreh”, I. lxiii.).
Among the Karaite philosophers Atomism found no more adherents than among the Rabbinites. Aaron ben Elijah of Nicomedia fully explains the views of the atomists (אנשי המחקר); and, except Levi ben Jefet, who may possibly have been an atomist, all other Karaite philosophers quoted by Aaron ben Elijah were against Atomism (“Eẓ Ḥayyim,” ed. Delitzsch, iv.).

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Lafaist (Lafaye), Philosophie Atomistique, pp. 20 et seq., Paris, 1840; Munk, Mélanges de Philosophie Juive et Arabe, p. 322; Moreh, I., ch. lxxiii.
K.

Singer, I. (Ed.). (1901–1906). In The Jewish Encyclopedia: A Descriptive Record of the History, Religion, Literature, and Customs of the Jewish People from the Earliest Times to the Present Day, 12 Volumes (Vol. 2, pp. 274–275). New York; London: Funk & Wagnalls.


(Michael Shotwell) #6

Simple answer, science deals with only natural occurances the bible deals with many supernatural that are outside of the scope of science. The bible was far ahead of science in many respects, dietary laws, cleanliness, and geography. We did not know about bacteria until the last century or so.
In my opinion that evolution is its own religion that needs more faith to believe than the bible and the earth is not millions old. Science has proven the bible and one must be willfully ignorant to suppose otherwise, unless they only believe what they have been told. (No insult intended).
Ive seen things that science cannot explain. I backed my truck over my daughter in my driveway. When i got out to see what happened she was screaming with her arm and shoulder under the wheel! I moved the truck off of her as quickly as i could, only to find that she was not hurt at all. The GRAVEL gave way for her arm and she was barely bruised!
Look up Tim Tebow’s John 3:16 story and tell me thats just a coincidence.
If the fear of God is the beginning of knowledge, and He makes himself evident to everyone in their own way we MUST be willfully ignorant to deny him


(Isaiah J. Armstrong) #7

I remember listening to a podcast of Jim Warner Wallace answering the same question. He basically said that even if there was clear scientific proof in the Bible, or more specifically, said by Jesus, skeptics would claim that that itself is proof of a later dating for the gospels, that it was either added later on (corrupted) to falsely prove the deity of Jesus. I cant remember the podcast name, but I did find a short article that he writes on the topic: