Scientific Foreknowledge in the Bible
After practically a lifetime of study, Herbert Spencer (1820–1903), a British philosopher, declared there are five fundamentals of science—time, force, action, space, and matter. Moses, however, had stated this principle centuries earlier.
In the beginning [time] God [force] created [action] the heavens [space] and the earth [matter] (Gen. 1:1).
The first verse of the Bible represents a uniqueness unknown in human literature.
Is the Bible Against Science?
There are numerous areas of scientific evidence that amazingly undergird the supernatural origin of the biblical scriptures. It hardly needs to be mentioned that an antagonism from atheism lives for no purpose but to destroy the Bible’s credibility.
The infidel Robert Ingersoll declared: “The inspiration of the Bible depends upon the ignorance of the one who reads it.” Claims of this nature are ignorant of the facts regarding our universe and the genuine testimony of scripture.
One area of investigation worthy of consideration relates to the scientific foreknowledge that so marvelously adorns the biblical record. It is a fascinating study!
First, there are only three possible views about the origin of the Bible to which one may subscribe.
(a) Either the Bible was produced by ignorant men who were honestly deluded.
(b) They were unscrupulous charlatans who foisted their ideas upon society.
(c) The Scriptures truly are from God, and they forcefully bear clear evidence of sacred inspiration.
Which of these views contains the substance that undergirds the Bible? The answer is divine inspiration. One scholar has noted:
One of the most arresting evidences of the inspiration of the Bible is the great number of scientific truths that have been hidden within its pages for thirty centuries or more, only to be discovered by man’s enterprise within the last few centuries or even years (Morris 1969, 5).
Let us consider several areas of investigation that reveal examples of scientific foreknowledge of the Scriptures.
Matthew F. Maury (1806–1873) was a naval officer and hydrographer. His wind and current charts, and especially his volume, Physical Geography of the Sea (1855), earned him the reputation as the founder of modern oceanography.
Once while he was ill, he was reading the Bible and came across Psalm 8:8, which contains the phrase “the paths of the sea.” He thought this phrase was curious and determined to investigate the matter.
He was the first to recognize that the seas were circulating systems with interaction between wind and water. In 1927 the U.S. Naval Institute issued a book surveying Maury’s labors. He became known as the pathfinder of the seas.
The inspired psalmist, of course, had noted the matter centuries earlier!
Job was asked by God, “Have you entered into the springs of the sea?” (38:16a). Are there actually submarine springs that issue from the ocean’s floor? Yes! The earliest secular reference was recorded by the Roman geographer Strabo (63 b.c.–a.d. 21).
It is now known that such springs exist off the coasts of Greece, Italy, Israel, and Syria. Off the coast of Australia, fresh water may be dipped in abundance from the sea.
In 1976 the U.S. Geological Survey discovered fresh water in the Atlantic along the seacoast from New England to Georgia (Morton, 115).
How could the patriarch Job possibly have known about springs of the sea? The narrative was generated by inspiration.
See also Job 38:16b and the expression “recesses of the deep,” along with David’s remark about the “channels of the sea” (2 Sam. 22:16). One channel near the Philippines is almost seven miles deep! Job’s knowledge was more than natural!
Moses said, "The life of the flesh is in the blood” (Lev. 17:11–14). Today we know the life of the flesh is indeed in the blood.
Each human red blood cell can carry 270 million hemoglobin molecules, which deliver oxygen to the body’s cells, making life possible. If there were less, there would not be enough residual oxygen available to sustain life after a good sneeze or a hard pat on the back.
This was unknown in George Washington’s day when bloodletting was common. Doctors removed about eighty ounces of his blood to treat breathing difficulty due to a throat infection. Washington died.
Amazingly, the ancient prophet was scientifically correct.
The term “seed” is employed in Bible vernacular for those physiological features necessary for reproduction.
In ancient times it was believed that only the male of the species produced seed. The woman, so to speak, only provided the field in which the seed was sown. She was merely a glorified incubator of man’s seed.
One writer (Democritus, a Greek) even suggested that male semen could be placed in warm mud, and the result would be the same as depositing it in the human female. How absurd!
How strange it was, then, that God, in a prophecy given to Moses, referred to the coming Savior as the seed of woman (Gen. 3:15)?
We now know it takes twenty-three chromosomes from the female ovum (egg) plus twenty-three chromosomes from the male sperm to produce a normal human. Moses was correct. He employed the precise word that modern science eventually would discover!
Physics is the science that deals with matter and motion. It includes mechanics, heat, light, electricity, and sound.
After the creation week, Moses declared that “the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them” (Gen. 2:1). One scholar has noted that this expression “implies that the created world came into being as a fully developed whole, as a finished product” (Aalders, 74).
As Morris, noted:
This one verse is itself sufficient to refute any theory which tries to accommodate the geological ages concept in the Genesis record of creation (1976, 79).
The first law of thermodynamics states that neither matter nor energy is now being created (Simpson et al., 618). Moses was correct—again!
In three texts, the Bible indicates that our earth is wearing out (Isa. 51:6; Psa. 102:26; Heb. 1:11). This is exactly what the second law of thermodynamics indicates (Simpson et al., 620).
How amazing is it that biblical writers could state scientific truths centuries before they were scientifically discovered!
Isaiah declared that God sits upon the “circle of the earth” (Isa. 40:22), emphasizing the supreme sovereignty of the Creator.
Incidentally, however, he mentions a fact unknown to the ancient world. The term “circle” derives from the Hebrew term
klug, suggesting roundness or sphericity.
In ancient times, many believed the earth was flat. Isaiah’s statement was pre-modern science, a reflection of divine knowledge.
Job spoke of the “way” to the dwelling of light (38:19). Light is depicted as a “way,” a term used for a path or road (cf. Gen. 16:7), while darkness is reflected as a “place” that stands (1:9; 28:11).
It was not until the seventeenth century that Isaac Newton discovered that light travels in a straight line at the rate of 186,000 miles per second. Light takes eight minutes to travel from the sun to the earth.
But darkness goes nowhere. It’s just there, waiting for light to leave. These small bits of biblical information reveal divine inspiration.
How did biological life arrive on earth?
The modern evolutionary explanation is that life resulted from spontaneous generation. This is a cute expression that means it wasn’t, then suddenly, it was, with no reasonable explanation.
However, even Dr. Simpson (aka “Mr. Evolution”) embarrassingly conceded that “spontaneous generation does not occur in any known case” (261, emphasis added).
Biology is the science that explores living things and life processes. Moses declared that living organisms were created “after their kind” (Gen. 1:11, 12).
Darwin’s theory of evolution suggests that all living things evolved from some nonliving source that, in some inexplicable way, produced the variated world of animated creatures—many of which evolved not after their kind.
There is not an ounce of evidence for this atheistic theory.
The foregoing items are but a sampling of the good science that occurs quite undisguised in the Bible and is in glaring contrast to the feeble and utterly foolish speculations of modern skepticism.
The annals of history are filled with noble scientists who believed in divine creation versus skeptical materialism. Men such as Bacon, Kepler, Pascal, Boyle, Faraday, Thompson (Lord Kelvin), and Carver did not bow at the altar of infidelity.
For an interesting study of such men, see the work of Dan Graves. See also Morris, 1988.
Study, learn, and teach!
- Aalders, G. Ch. 1981. Genesis. Vol. 1. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.
- Graves, Dan. 1996. Scientists of Faith. Grand Rapids: Kregel.
- Morris, Henry. 1969. The Bible and Modern Science. Chicago: Moody.
- Morris, Henry. 1976. The Genesis Record. Grand Rapids. Baker.
- Morris, Henry. 1988. Men of Science/Men of God. El Cajon, Master Books.
- Morton, J. S. 1978. Science in the Bible. Chicago: Moody.
- Simpson, G. G. et al. 1957. Life: Introduction to Biology. New York: Harcourt/Brace.