Evolutionary Creationism: A Christadelphian Perspective: No, the Bible was not “Forward of Science”

Just lately, a creationist meme trying to indicate that the Bible has all the time been forward of science by evaluating “Science Then” and “Science Now” with chosen statements from the Bible has been circulating across the extra fundamentalist components of the web.

This meme is a really a stripped-down and modified model of a meme that has been circulating for at the least 5 years now:

It’s frankly miserable that one thing this risible is taken significantly by a lot of Christians. Simply the shortage of references for any of the “Science Then” claims ought to be sufficient to destroy the credibility of this meme as there’s completely no method to confirm these references. Nonetheless, regardless of a variety of debunkings, [1-2] fundamentalists nonetheless persist in sharing the meme. That previous debunkings haven’t been in a position to put this ridiculous meme out of its distress means that one more one is hardly doubtless to achieve success, however on condition that this meme is circulating in our neighborhood and ‘in-house’ debunkings are barely extra doubtless to achieve success, there’s some justification in spending time placing this meme as soon as once more to the sword.

The primary downside with this meme is its total premise that the Bible accommodates scientifically correct data and was one way or the other ‘forward of its time’. It’s nonetheless cheap to ask why these ‘scientifically correct statements’ weren’t realised hundreds of years in the past. Given that individuals have appealed, and proceed to attraction to [3-5] the Bible to defend geocentrism and a flat Earth, it’s clear that the Bible not solely doesn’t proclaim these “scientifically correct statements” clearly and unambiguously, but when learn actually would seem to assist a pre-scientific worldview. In actuality, these ‘scientifically superior statements’ had been “found” within the Bible solely after science had already discovered them.

One would additionally anticipate a literal studying of the Bible to be constant in proclaiming “details forward of their time”. This isn’t the case, as one can readily see by Job 26:11, which follows a number of verses after the primary passage within the meme, Job 26:7 which creationists allege “show” the Bible taught the Earth ‘floats’ in area:

The pillars of heaven tremble,  and are astounded at his rebuke

This verse when learn actually teaches that heaven is suspended on pillars, a world-view analogous to the view of ‘Science Then’ with the Earth supported by elephants or divine beings. It’s undoubtedly particular pleading to claim that verse 11 is poetry whereas verse 7 is literal. In spite of everything, with out fashionable science, why would one have learn verse 7 actually and never verse 11?

There may be additionally the truth that a few of the passages that are claimed to indicate that the Bible is forward of its time really replicate a pre-modern worldview. The primary quote within the bigger meme – Isa 40:22 – removed from instructing that the Earth was a sphere arguably lends assist to a flat earth, some extent ably made by Robert Schneider:

The prophet who uttered the phrases of 40:22 is identical prophet who proclaimed that Yahweh is the Creator who “unfold out the earth” (42:5; 44:24). The Hebrew verb in each passages is raqa’, which suggests “to stretch out, unfold out or overseas, cowl over” and, in line with Theodore Gaster, “to flatten out.”37 Amongst his folks within the exile neighborhood in Babylon, searching over the big desert expanse that reached from horizon to horizon, it’s not stunning that this prophet would describe God as “flattening out” the land. These different expressions additionally militate towards the notion that the prophet was implying a spherical earth in 40:22a, they usually act as a verify towards focusing upon one verse and studying it exterior the bigger context of this prophet’s different impressed oracles of creation and salvation.

If creationists had sought any assist amongst biblical philologists, they could have discovered a nod given to them within the article on chûgh by Edwin Yamauchi within the Theological Wordbook of the Previous Testomony. “Some have held,” he states, “that Isa 40:22 implies the sphericity of the earth. It could, however it could refer solely to the Lord enthroned above the earth with its clearly round horizon.” Yamauchi presents no supporting proof for this concession to opinion, and actually there’s none that he or anybody else may give: a circle isn’t any extra a sphere in Scripture than it’s in geometry. The preponderance of philological proof and the translations of historical students and fashionable consultants alike present overwhelming testimony that Isa 40:22a doesn’t seek advice from a spherical earth. There may be merely no warrant for Eastman, Sarfati, and Morris to declare, opposite to its plain sense and in violation of its semantic area, that chûgh actually means sphericity. They’ve learn the earth’s sphericity into the textual content, not out of it. And that is the conclusion to which I’d lead my college students. [6]

Lastly,  there’s additionally the well-known undeniable fact that Genesis 1:6-8 and 14-17 clearly refers to a stable firmament [7] separating waters above from waters under, and by which had been embedded the solar, moon, and stars. One would anticipate that the primary creation narrative could be the place the place, if the Bible was ‘scientifically forward of its time’, we might anticipate to see such data, however what we really see is the Bible accommodating [8] and reflecting the pre-scientific worldview of its authentic viewers.  As John Walton notes:

By all the Bible, there’s not a single occasion by which God revealed to Israel a science past their very own tradition. No passage presents a scientific perspective that was not widespread to the Previous World science of antiquity. [9]

Given the presence of passages that unambiguously replicate the pre-scientific worldview of the unique viewers, the cherry-picking concerned in choosing verses ‘forward of their time’, and the blatant misunderstanding of verses which do not train a contemporary worldview however replicate an historical one, the truth is that we don’t and mustn’t anticipate to see the Bible ‘forward of its time’, and any verses that seem to take action are merely a case of a literal studying within the mild of recent science superficially resembling fashionable scientific statements.

By far probably the most deceptive a part of the meme is the column labelled “Science Then”, which misleadingly confuses mythology and early scientific hypothesis. Nothing that we might remotely name ‘science’ each asserted that the Earth was suspended by a Titan or 4 elephants. In reality, given {that a} heliocentric cosmology dates again to the third century BCE (Aristarchus of Samos) whereas the idea of a spherical earth was maintained by the Greeks no later than the 4th century BCE, it’s not unfair to say that on this level at the least, ‘fashionable science’ was ‘forward” of the Bible.

The references to the sanitation provisions within the Legislation of Moses are on the floor probably the most compelling of the arguments, however usually are not as compelling when examined for a variety of causes:

  • It’s ritual purity, somewhat than hygiene which is the driving power behind the rules. If the first operate of the purity legal guidelines was to take care of sanitation and hygiene somewhat than ritual purity [10], then we might not anticipate to see provisions which can be clearly cultic somewhat than scientific in origin because the 14 day / 7 day ritual impurity length for moms of child ladies and child boys, respectively. [11]
  •  Hygiene and sanitation predated the Mosaic purity legal guidelines, as proven by the superior water provide and sewerage system of town of Mohenjo Daro within the Indus Valley, relationship again to the mid-third millennium BCE. [12]
Whereas information of the microbiological reason for illness associated to poor hygiene and sanitation was not found till pretty lately, recognition of the significance of sanitation and private hygiene dates again fairly early in human historical past, nicely earlier than the emergence of the Israelites as a definite ethno-religious group in truth. As Walton stated, “no passage presents a scientific perspective that was not widespread to the Previous World science of antiquity.”

Lastly, the very fact scientific information modifications [13] just isn’t an issue. That is the nice power of the scientific methodology, by which nothing is mounted, proof against problem. Creationists typically deride the ‘shifting sands of science’. however because the unbelievable advances in drugs, utilized science, and engineering present, the ‘shifting sands of science’ are able to producing appreciable information.


2. Luke Barnes “Discovering Science within the BibleLetters to Nature March 16, 2013
3. http://www.fixedearth.com/true-science-confirms-bible-geocentrism.html
4. http://www.geocentricity.com/
5. http://galileowaswrong.com/
6.  Robert Schneider “Does the Bible Train a Spherical Earth?Views on Science and Christian Religion (2001) 53:159-169
7. Peter Enns “The Firmament of Genesis 1 is Strong however That is Not the LevelBioLogos January 14 2010
8. However not endorsing, some extent Calvin aptly made in his commentary on Genesis, “Therefore some resort to allegory, and philosophize regarding angels; however fairly beside the aim. For, to my thoughts, it is a sure precept, that nothing is right here handled of however the seen type of the world. He who would study astronomy, and different recondite arts, let him go elsewhere. Right here, the Spirit of God would train all males with out exception; and due to this fact what Gregory declares falsely and in useless respecting statues and photos is actually relevant to the historical past of the creation, particularly, that it’s the guide of the unlearned.” John Calvin and John King, Commentary on the First Ebook of Moses Referred to as Genesis, vol. 1 (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software program, 2010), 79–80.
9. John H. Walton, The Misplaced World of Genesis One: Historic Cosmology and the Origins Debate (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Educational, 2009), 17.
10. This isn’t to say that God recognised that improved sanitation and upkeep of hygiene could be a cheerful side-effect of the ritual purity legal guidelines, however it’s a mistake to assume that this was its major goal.
11. Lev 12:1-5
12. M. Jansen “Water provide and sewage disposal at Mohenjo-DaroWorld Archaeology (1989) 21:177-192
13. I’m in fact differentiating between mythology and information gained by a scientific or proto-scientific worldview.

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