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Bible scientific foreknowledge

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Biblical scientific foreknowledge is the assertion that ancient humans possessed scientific knowledge beyond that which is believed to exist at the time the Bible was written. This existence of foreknowledge is generally attributed to the creation. The first created humans (Adam and Eve) were formed fully mature with knowledge given to them by God, which they passed along to their descendants. Much of this knowledge was forgotten through time and then "rediscovered" following the scientific revolution.

The level of scientific knowledge in the Biblical text is significantly advanced over that of the various civilizations contemporary with the ancient Israelites. Furthermore, careful study of the text provides dietary and other health guidance that any individual would find highly beneficial. Bible scientific foreknowledge is seen as evidence of Biblical inerrancy.

This claim is rejected by skeptics who often state that the information was developed through the efforts of men, and was common knowledge at the time. In other cases, it is argued that what appears like scientific knowledge were simply practices performed solely for religious reasons, or the recognition of scientific facts relies on out-of-context post-hoc historical interpretations. Some skeptics of foreknowledge include both Christians or Jews (often from liberal denominations).

Contents

Historical Context

The Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament) was written in the forty years following the Exodus of Israel. That event took place in 1491 BC according to James Ussher, or 1446 BC as suggested by the work of Edwin Thiele. At this time, several ancient civilizations had cities with medical documents (for example, the Egyptian documents - Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus, Eber Papyrus and Hearst Papyrus), public sanitation systems,[1] and written legal codes such as the Hammarabi Code (although the Mosaic code was more equitable[2]). Scholars disagree on the preciseness, accuracy, and methodologies of dating these civilizations and when various events occurred in them.[3][4][5][6]

The surgical procedures given in the Egyptian Edwin Smith papyrus were quite rational given the time period,[7] although the Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus has a magical incantation against pestilence and a prescription for a wrinkle remover which will transform an old man into a youth, according to the New York Academy of Medicine.[8][9] Also, the Ebers papyrus contains various ineffective practices (incantations) along with evidence of rational medicine.

While ancient medicine had some effective practices, such as many of the surgical procedures given in the Edwin Smith papyrus, it was not without its ineffective and sometimes harmful practices. For example, Homer's Odyssey declared regarding the ancient Egyptians that "the Egyptians were skilled in medicine more than any other art".[10] However, medical historians believe that ancient Egyptian pharmacology was largely ineffective.[11] For example, Michael D. Parkins observes that 72% of 260 medical prescriptions in the Hearst Papyrus had no curative elements.[11] Furthermore, sewage pharmacology first began in ancient Egypt and was continued through the middle ages.[11] While animal dung has curative properties, it is not without risk. For example, Mamtani, Malhotra, Gupta, and Jain found in their comparative study of urban and rural tetanus in adults that practices such as applying cow dung to wounds, ear piercing and tattooing, and chronic ear infections were important factors in developing tetanus.[12] In addition, Pakistani caregivers who use topical antibiotics for their babies' circumcision wounds instead of using dung, ghee, urine etc, prevent those babies from getting neonatal tetanus.[13] Frank J. Snoek, PhD wrote that Egyptian medicine used fly specks, lizard blood, swine teeth, and other such remedies, which he believes could have been harmful.[14]

Health and Medicine in the Bible

Many of the health practices of the Mosaic code show remarkable foresight. The Mosaic code practices sound preventative medicine, but the medical documents of its neighbors, such as Egypt, reflect a mix of sound and errant medicine.[10][15]

Max Neuberger, writing in his "History of Medicine" states:

The commands concern prophylaxis and suppression of epidemics,[16] suppression of venereal disease and prostitution, care of the skin, baths,[17] food, housing and clothing, regulation of labour, sexual life, discipline of the people, etc. Many of these commands, such as Sabbath rest, circumcision,[18][19] laws concerning food (interdiction of blood and pork), measures concerning menstruating and lying-in women,[20] and those suffering from gonorrhoea, isolation of lepers, and hygiene of the camp, are, in view of the conditions of the climate, surprisingly rational.[21]

Leprosy and Skin Conditions

According to Dr. Harold Spinka and the Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia, Biblical leprosy describes a number of conditions. Dr. Spinka states that besides including the modern leprosy (Hansen's Disease), biblical leprosy can also include various skin conditions, syphilis and smallpox, and not merely the disease of leprosy as we understand it today.[22] (Experts appear divided on whether Biblical leprosy includes modern leprosy.[23][24] The Wycliffe Bible Encylopedia and the journal Perspectives in Biological Medicine states that Biblical leprosy may include mold; this will be discussed subsequently at greater length.[25])

Dr. Harold Spinka wrote regarding the Levitical law on Biblical leprosy,

A review of Leviticus of the Old Testament shows that the priests were in charge of infectious diseases, as well as of the moral and religious welfare of the nation. The differential diagnosis between infectious and non-infectious cutaneous diseases is quite modern.[22]

Similarly, Arturo Castiglioni in A History of Medicine wrote,

The laws against leprosy in Leviticus 13 may be regarded as the first model of a sanitary legislation[26]

Castiglioni also stated,

Study of Biblical texts appears to have demonstrated that the ancient Semitic peoples, in agreement with the most modern tenets of epidemiology, attributed more importance to animal transmitters of disease, like the rat and the fly, than to the contagious individual.[26]

Circumcision

In his book, None of These Diseases, S.I. McMillen, M.D. wrote that the optimal time to perform a circumcision, from the medical point of view, was on the 8th day.[27] In Genesis 17:12 God commanded Abraham to circumcise baby boys on the eighth day of their lives.

The Sababath

The Law of Moses introduced a revolutionary new principle to conserve human strength. The Law of Moses has a provision for a weekly day of rest. (Exodus 20:8-10 ) This law applied to everyone in the land including slaves. The medical historian, Karl Sudhoff, said:

Had Judaism given nothing more to mankind than the establishment of a weekly day of rest, we should still be forced to proclaim her one of the greatest benefactors of humanity.[28]

Peter Baldwin in his work Contagion and the State in Europe, 1830–1930 wrote that the day of rest given in the Pentateuch was a public hygiene measure (fatigue in a individual can make them susceptible to disease).[29] According to H. Kawato, in Japan about 10,000 worker deaths occur per year due to "death by work" (In Japan "death by work" is called karoshi).[30] The Ministry of Labor's Confidential Manual in Japan stated that overwork could be the cause of death only if the worker was engaged continuously for 24 hours just before death or worked at least 16 hours a day for seven consecutive days before death.[30][31]

Washing Hands with Running Water

A Hungarian doctor of the nineteenth century, Ignaz Semmelweis, understood the control of deadly infectious diseases through washing. Despite his great attempts to get the medical community to comply, they resisted and eventually Dr. Semmelweis had a breakdown[32] and committed suicide. Yet the ancient Israelites washed in "running water" when dealing with those afflicted with infectious discharges or coming in contact with items that they had come in contact with. For example, the Mosaic law states in the book of Leviticus the following:
And when he who has a discharge is cleansed of his discharge, then he shall count for himself seven days for his cleansing, wash his clothes, and bathe his body in running water; then he shall be clean. Leviticus 15:13 (NKJV)

In the American War Between the States, the Civil War, more than 50% of the men who died were not killed in action but simply died of camp diseases such as typhoid fever, pneumonia, dysentery, and childhood diseases like measles and chicken pox.

Thousands perished from relatively minor battle wounds that became infected. Nothing was known about how and why wounds became infected...The number of men who simply got sick and died, or who got a minor scratch or cut and then could do nothing to check the infection was appalling.[33]

Disease from Excrement

In his work A History of Medicine, Arturo Castiglioni wrote,

The regulations in Deuteronomy as to how soldiers should prevent the danger of infection coming from their excrement by covering it with earth constitute a most important document of sanitary legislation.[34]
In Deuteronomy, God tells the Israelite soldiers how to remain sanitary and healthy, despite the medicine of the time failing to realize the potential for disease excrement has.
Designate a place outside the camp where you can go to relieve yourself. As part of your equipment have something to dig with, and when you relieve yourself, dig a hole and cover up your excrement. For the Lord your God moves about in your camp to protect you and to deliver your enemies to you. Your camp must be holy, so that he will not see among you anything indecent and turn away from you. Deuteronomy 23:12-14 (NIV)

The Black Plague and other diseases of the Middle Ages were largely due to the lack of separation between drinking water and human waste. [35] As well, human excrement was thrown into the streets and rivers, attracting fleas which infected rats, which infected humans.

Indoor Air Pollution

As mentioned above, the Wycliffe Bible Encylopedia and the journal Perspectives in Biological Medicine state that Biblical leprosy can include mold.[25]

In the United States, indoor air pollution became a concern to many in the 1970's.[36] Experts such as the The Environmental Protection Agency consider mold to sometimes have very negative effects on people.[25][36][37][38]

According to Ellen McCrady, the very first mention of mold and mold cleanup is in the Bible.[39]

The book of Leviticus has a declaration regarding a plague of Biblical leprosy which could be considered another example of Bible scientific foreknowledge:
And the priest shall come again on the seventh day and look; and indeed if the plague has spread on the walls of the house, then the priest shall command that they take away the stones in which is the plague, and they shall cast them into an unclean place outside the city. And he shall cause the house to be scraped inside, all around, and the dust that they scrape off they shall pour out in an unclean place outside the city. Then they shall take other stones and put them in the place of those stones, and he shall take other mortar and plaster the house. Now if the plague comes back and breaks out in the house, after he has taken away the stones, after he has scraped the house, and after it is plastered, then the priest shall come and look; and indeed if the plague has spread in the house, it is an active leprosy in the house. It is unclean. And he shall break down the house, its stones, its timber, and all the plaster of the house, and he shall carry them outside the city to an unclean place. Moreover he who goes into the house at all while it is shut up shall be unclean until evening. And he who lies down in the house shall wash his clothes, and he who eats in the house shall wash his clothes. But if the priest comes in and examines it, and indeed the plague has not spread in the house after the house was plastered, then the priest shall pronounce the house clean, because the plague is healed. Leviticus 14:39-48

Dietary

Animal Toxicity

In 1953 Dr. David I. Macht, a Johns Hopkins researcher, conducted toxicity tests on many different kinds of animals and fish and concluded that the toxicity of Levitically "unclean" animals was higher than that of the "clean" animals, and that the correlation with the description in Leviticus was 100%.[40] Macht's study in terms of classifying kosher and non-kosher animals matched the kosher classification performed by James W. Atz, Ph.D., Curator and Dean Bibliographer in the Department of Ichthyology of the American Museum of Natural History, NY, NY and Adjunct Professor of Biology, Graduate School of Arts and Science on New York University. Dr. Atz's list of kosher and non-kosher animals was published by the Orthodox Union in Kosher Guide and in the Orthodox Union Kosher Consumer Directory.[41] According to a list of kosher and non-kosher fish published by the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, deciding what fish have scales, in the Orthodox Jewish community, appears to involve semantics as scales which are not visible to the human eye or scales that cannot be removed without tearing the skin are not considered "scales" in terms of the Torah law for determining which fish are kosher. It appears that Jewish religious authorities do appeal to well known Torah commentators.[42] Also, Dr. Macht's classification of swans as kosher is in accordance with the research done at Ohr Somayach Institutions in Jerusalem, Israel.[43] Furthermore, Dr. Macht states in the peer reviewed journal Science that the toxicology test he used was a reliable method for detecting zoological toxins as it was a toxicology test sensitive to these type of toxins, and therefore one could conclude it was also suitable for testing the toxicity levels of fish, meat, and poultry.[44] (The toxicological method that Dr. Macht used was also cited in the Journal of Laboratory and Clinical Medicine.[45] In addition, Dr. Macht was an expert in cobra venom, which is a zoological toxin. Macht's conclusions, however, were challenged by three of his science community peers in a Seventh Day Adventist publication although one partially affirmed his study.[46] This was partly due to a likely unfamiliarity with what food is kosher and non-kosher. Also, perhaps they were unfamiliar with the toxicity test Dr. Macht used, and its apparent effectiveness in testing zoological toxins.

In the short term, eating non-kosher food often appears to have no dramatic ill effects in general. For example, the Arabs, who do not eat kosher, consider camel to be a delicacy. Clearly, non-kosher Arabs do not fall dead right after eating camel meat. However, the long term optimality of eating clean versus unclean meat is an unanswered question of science. Also, eating non-kosher foods clearly has some nutritional benefit. For example, shrimp and pork contain protein. The New Testament declares,
For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. 1_Timothy 4:4-5 (NKJV)

In regard to the aforementioned verse, it could be argued that prayer does sanctify food. The Bible has plenty of verses regarding God's protection. Also, it could be argued that the benefits outweigh the costs in all foods and thus all food is good. Clearly there is some nutritional goodness in foods that the Torah declared unclean (for example, shrimp has protein). What foods are optimal from a empirically tested science viewpoint is often controversial. In short, in regard to eating strictly a kosher diet versus a non-kosher diet, science has no definitive answers at the present time. From a Christian theological point of view, it could be argued that food should not be a impediment to anyone making a decision to become a Christian. It should be noted that orthodox Christian believers in Biblical scientific foreknowledge believe that Christians can eat the food that was declared unclean in the Old Testament, and 1_Timothy 4:4-5 and Galations 2:7-16 make this very clear.

In addition to the aforementioned study testing kosher and non-kosher foods for toxicity levels, Macht developed evidence indicating that combining meat and milk tended to be more toxic than either foodstuff alone.[47] In addition, he compared conventional animal slaughtering versus kosher slaughtering and determined that kosher slaughtering produced less toxic meat.[47]

A 1985 study by Nanji and French found that there was a significant correlation between cirrhosis and pork consumption (Macht claimed that swine was more toxic than the animal meat the Bible called clean).[48] Modern pork production methods are different from ancient methods of raising pigs, so the result of this study might be hard to apply to the ancients or those who raise pigs by organic farming methods, without the use of hormones or antiobiotics.

Jane Cahill reported in Biblical Archaeological Review that the toilets of a Jewish household in Jerusalem were examined and no parasites or infectious agents were found.[49]

Today, some "alternative medicine" practitioners do not recommend pork to their patients and subscribed advisees. Their reasons include the possible content of hormones, antibiotics, and pesticides, and also the undiscriminating diet of the pig. Joseph Mercola, DO, who has a private practice in alternative general medicine, writes:

Pigs are scavenger animals and will eat just about anything. Their appetite for less-than-wholesome foods makes pigs a breeding ground for potentially dangerous infections. Even cooking pork for long periods is not enough to kill many of the retroviruses and other parasites that many of them harbor.[50]

Dr. Mercola does not even recommend pasture-raised pork, because wild boars will often infect herds of pork with Trichinella spiralis or other parasites.[50]

Vegetarianism

Vegetarianism in humans

Conventional physicians normally regard humans as obligate omnivores. Humans require a substance (Vitamin B12) that is usually available only in animal flesh or dairy sources. Without it, humans suffer from a form of anemia and a form of peripheral neuropathy.[51]

Vitamin B12 is the only essential nutrient that a strict vegetarian might be deficient in. Plants do not synthesize Vitamin B12, though they synthesize all other currently identified vitamins. But plants can obtain it from soils rich in bacteria, yeasts, fungi, and molds. Thus a human can obtain adequate amounts of Vitamin B12 from cultured and fermented beans and from seaweed.[51] The increased prevalence of Vitamin B12 deficiency disease today might therefore be due to the abandonment of traditional organic farming practices in favor of chemical agriculture, which tends to make the soil much poorer in the micro-organisms that produce Vitamin B12.

The Rev. Dr. George Malkmus has devised a dietary regimen—The Hallelujah Diet—that prescribes vegetables and fruits only, and that its practitioners eat at least 85 percent of these foods raw. In his book describing his regimen and the reasons for it, Malkmus maintains that human anatomy has more in common with herbivores than with carnivores or even with omnivores. He further shows that animal flesh of any type will move through the digestive system far more slowly than will fruit or vegetable matter. His Biblical authority for a strict-vegetarian regimen is Genesis 1:29-30 , in which God gave man fruits and vegetables for food. (God did not add meat to the human diet until after the global flood; see Genesis 9:1-3 .)[52]

Vegetarianism in Modern Carnivores

And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food; and it was so. Genesis 1:30 (NASB)

The Strong's concordance renders the Hebrew word oklah as food/meat.[53] Isaiah 11:6 and Isaiah 65:25 speaks of a time where carnivores would live peaceably with non-carnivores.

A vegetarian lion has been described. The lion, named Little Tyke, as a young lion refused to eat meat and would eat only milk, eggs, and cooked grain. Little Tyke has been cited as a case of Bible scientific foreknowledge.[54][55][56][57] Little Tyke is reported to have lived peacably with lambs and other herbivores. In addition it is reported that "she astonished the nation with appearances on television showing affection to baby chickens, kittens, and lambs."[55] A visiting zoo curator apparantly claimed that Little Tyke was the healthiest of her species he ever come across.[54][56]

The lioness Little Tyke did die at the age of 9 due to contracting the virus pneumonia while spending three weeks in Hollywood to film a show, according to a book written by the lion's owners. Some guess the sudden change in climate may have been a contributing factor, but without an autopsy the cause of the death is hard to determine. (The average lifespan of a lion in the wild is up to 16 years. In captivity, they frequently live 10 years beyond that).[58][59] Advocates of Bible scientific foreknowledge point to the curator's reported comments about the robust health of the lion and the possibility that climate change induced her illness whereas detractors of Bible scientific foreknowledge point to the animal's early death.

Housecats (Felis domestica) will typically refuse to eat bananas. But Professor Wanda Wyrwicka was able to train mother cats to do so by electrically stimulating their hypothalamus. When the kittens saw the mother eating bananas, 15 out of 18 of the kittens also began eat bananas.[60]

The creationist who authors under the pen name John Woodmorappe states: "Van der Pijl has compiled numerous cases of feline herbivory, or plant-eating, such as jaguars and wild cats eating avocado...."[61]

Scientific challenge of non-meat-eating lions: Little Tyke appears very difficult to explain. Normally adult lionesses require an average of 11 pounds of meat per day, and adult males require 15.4 lbs.[59] Without flesh Little Tyke should have developed blindness and dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), a degenerative disease that turns heart muscles flabby and limits their ability to pump blood on account of a deficiency of taurine.

Little known in the 1950's, research at UC Davis in 1976 proved that taurine is an essential nutrient for felines, the lack of which would cause degeneration of the retina. In addition, later research implicated inadequate taurine levels in dilated cardiomyopathy as well. According to a vegetarian website taurine is non-existent in natural non-animal sources. It is present in minute amounts in milk and eggs. Little Tyke could have gotten her taurine requirement from milk, if she drank 500 gallons per day, or from eggs, if she ate more than 4000 per day.[58]

A criticism of the Little Tyke account is that lions in the wild cannot get milk or eggs readily. However, creationist John Woodmorappe believes that animals will be changed although not necessarily dramatically.[61] Isaiah prophesied,
The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole, And the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den. Isaiah 11:8 (NKJV)
The Bible scholars Jamieson, Fausett & Brown thought this verse likely meant that nature would be changed and restored to a state of Eden.[62]

Animals in the Bible

How Lions Kill Their Prey

Until recently, zoologists believed that lions killed their prey by biting through the neck or by breaking the neck with a blow, or cuff, of the paw.[63] But in 1972, George B. Schaller observed lions for himself, for 2,900 man-hours over three years. He also examined their prey to determine the cause of death.

The Bible declares:
The lion is tearing parts [for] his whelps, And is strangling for his lionesses... Nahum 2:12 (YLT)

The literal translation describes the method of killing as "strangled". [63]

Schaller observed:

They [lions] creep up, rush the prey, hook a flank to bring it down, then slowly kill by strangulation. (Reader's Digest, June, 1978)

The necks of the prey were not broken.[63]. Today most zoologists understand that lions kill by strangling their prey. This was not always known—but the Bible clearly states it.[63]

The Portrayal of Ants in the Bible

The Bible suggests that “the ant” stores food during harvest for future consumption. Nineteenth-century naturalists insisted that this was wrong.[64] In fact, the ants mentioned in the Bible are harvesting ants. These ants are common in the Middle East but were not known in Europe at the time of the Renaissance. Recent careful study of ants in various regions of the world reveals many species of harvesting ants, thus vindicating the Bible.[64]

Dinosaurs

The book of Job is considered to be one of the oldest books of the Bible by many scholars. Job describes two large creatures called behemoth and leviathan. Behemoth was obviously as big as a dinosaur as it is described as having a tail like a cedar. Leviathan is an equally massive creature of the sea.

There are sound reasons to identify behemoth with a Sauropod dinosaur and leviathan with the Kronosaurus.[65]

The Throats of Whales

Jonah 1:17 states that Jonah was swallowed by a "great fish".[66][67] A sperm whale is a possible identification for the "great fish" that swallowed Jonah; sperm whales are still spotted in the Mediterranean sea.[68]

Nineteenth century critics often argued that whales have too small a gullet to admit a human and people continue to say it today. In addition, apparently even a popular version of the Bible stated this!

F.T. Bullen wrote:

Indeed, not many years ago a popular M.P., writing to one of the religious papers, allowed himself to say that "science will not hear of a whale with a gullet capable of admitting anything larger than a man’s fist."— a piece of crass ignorance, which is also perpetrated in the appendix to a very widely-distributed edition of the Authorized Version of the Bible. This opinion, strangely enough, is almost universally held....[69]

Pinney (1964) quoted the Director of a museum of natural history:

Many people asked me if the Bible story of Jonah is true. Could a man be swallowed by a whale? So I pushed my body partly down the throat of a dead sixty foot sperm whale. I could just squeeze through. A fat man couldn’t have made it.[70]

Keith Robinson, a senior marine science instructor at Seaworld, has stated that large sperm whales have esophaguses that measure as much as a foot and a half wide. Many men often measure more than a foot and a half across their shoulders, so if the great fish was a sperm whale, Jonah would have to have been of fairly slight build.[71]

Lastly, the miraculous is mentioned throughout the book of Jonah. The survival of Jonah in a "great fish" is itself a miracle, so perhaps Jonah being swallowed also is.[66]

Geoscience

The Earth is Spherical

Isaiah suggests that the earth is spherical and not flat as many people believed long ago.
It is He who sits above the circle of the earth... Isaiah 40:22 (KJV)

The word translated “circle” here is the Hebrew word chuwg which is also translated “circuit,” or “compass” (depending on the context). That is, it indicates something spherical, rounded, or arched—not something that is flat or square. The book of Isaiah was written long before Aristotle even thought of the earth being spherical. This has been cited as a further example of Bible scientific foreknowledge.[72]

Ocean Mountains and Canyons

Jonah stated the following while in the belly of a whale (great fish in the Hebrew):
The waters compassed me about, [even] to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head. I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars [was] about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God. Jonah 2:5-6 (KNJV)

Strong's concordance gives the following commentary on the word that is translated bottoms above:

qetseb (keh'-tseb) from 'qatsab' (7094); shape (as if cut out); base (as if there cut off):--bottom, size.[73]

A criticism of this example of Bible Scientific foreknowledge is that some Bible translations (NASB and RSV) translate this verse "roots of the mountains". Roots sometimes go far from the original trees although it could be said that the "roots" of these ocean mountains were close to the source.

The Bible also supports the ocean floor not being flat in order areas besides the existence of mountains under the sea. The ocean floor was thought for many years--it wasn't until more recent history where technology was able to examine the depths of the ocean. However, it is not sheer coincidence that science was the one that had to work to catch up with what God said in the Bible.
Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea or walked in the recesses of the deep? Job 38:16 (NIV)

Geologist Harold L. Levin wrote:

Eighteenth-century scientists had little knowledge of the topography of the ocean floors. They lived at a time when depth measurements were made by letting down a lead weight on the end of a rope. Not only was this method time consuming, but in the open ocean it was virtually impossible to prevent error from lateral drifting of the weight, or the ship, or both. As a result of these problems, only a limited number of soundings were made except in bays and offshore areas where such information was vital for safe navigation. Oceanographers interpreted the few measurements available as indicating that the ocean floors were monotonous flat plains. With the advent of continuous topographic profiles from echo-sounding devices, it was shown that the ocean floors are as irregular as the surface of the continents. Beneath the waves lay canyons deeper than the Grand Canyon, and mountain systems more magnificent than the Rockies.[74]

The Water Cycle

There are two verses in he Bible that seem to point to a water cycle, yet another scientific fact that ancient man knew nothing about unless God influence their lives.

If clouds are full of water, they pour rain on the earth. Ecclesiastes 11:3 (NIV)
The author of Ecclesiastes has a decent knowledge of the water cycle, at least, he knows that rain comes from clouds a long while before European scientists knew what was up. [75]
He calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out over the face of the land—the Lord is his name. Amos 9:6 (NIV)

As well, the Bible mentions that all rivers run into the sea, yet the see is not full Ecclesiastes 1:7 (NIV). This was wisdom of Solomon, the author commonly attributed to Ecclesiastes, and he didn't need a satellite.

The Creation

The Universe Has a Beginning

Aristotle (ca. 384 BC – 322 BC) thought the universe was eternal. In the 20th century, Fred Hoyle had a eternal universe model.

There are multiple lines of evidence pointing to the conclusion that the universe had a beginning and that the age of the universe is young.[76][77][78] (See also: Cosmic chronology.) One of these lines, and the strongest one at that, is the deduction from the second law of thermodynamics. Based upon this law, the universe needs to be quite young. If the universe had always existed, it would already be dead and cold according to the implications of this law.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1 (NIV)

Origin of Life

In a modern context, the Bible shows scientific foreknowledge regarding the origin of life, which it states was a miracle. Abiogenesis, the hypothesis that life occured naturally, is completely foundering. Lee Strobel, in his book A Case for Faith, quotes William Bradley as stating:

The optimism of the 1950's is gone. The mood at the 1999 International Conference on Origin of Life was described as grim—full of frustration, pessimism and desperation.

Nobel prize winning Francis Crick (co-discoverer of DNA), in his 1981 book Life Itself, insists that the probability of life's chance origin simply defies calculation. Crick, an atheist, says:

What is so frustrating for our present purpose is that it seems almost impossible to give any numerical value to the probability of what seems a rather unlikely sequence of events... An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle.

Stephen B. Meyer in his essay, DNA BY Design: An Inference To the Best Explanation for the Origin of Biological Information, shows why the naturalistic explanations for the origin of life are entirely bankrupt.[79] There are simply too many obstacles to overcome for the abiogenesis hypothesis, and the information contained in biological organisms speaks of a intelligent designer.[80][81]

God is clearly defined as the creator of everything, including life it's self, as the author of Hebrews tells us:
For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. Hebrews 3:4 (NIV)
The Bible declares God being the Creator of Life, the most logical possible science has shown us.

This is what God the Lord says—the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out, who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it Isaiah 42:5 (NIV)

The Bible Supports Young Earth Creationism

In the current science community environment, which embraces the evolutionary position, young earth creationism could be seen as Bible scientific foreknowledge. Young earth creationist scientists have a number of compelling arguments for young earth creationism,[82][83][84] as well as having a number of compelling arguments against the evolutionary view. One needs to go no further than the Dissent From Darwin list of over 600 Ph.D scientists stating skepticism over "random mutations and selection" being responsible for the biological changes required for evolution.

In the field of astronomy, one can find many examples from scientific literature indicating that the current naturalistic explanations for the planets, solar systems, stars, and universe have failed. (See: Astronomy quotes). The big bang theory has several massive errors in it. One involves antimatter and the need for more of it in our universe. Defenders of this model are not addressing it and are offering yet more speculation. The award-winning essay, Antimatter and the Big Bang, from Answers in Genesis, discusses this flaw in greater detail.

In the field of geology, catastrophism, which young earth creationists have always affirmed, is now recognized as being a normal part of earth's history and is supported by leading scientists in the field such as Dr. John Baumgardner.[85] In anthropology, the evolutionary position offers a poor quality of evidence; reasonable science measures the antiquity of man on a young earth time scale.[86][87] In addition, the fossil record speaks loudly for creationism with stasis and sudden appearances and disappearances of organisms. In fact some invertebrates were more complex and if anything have shown to be devolving from older forms of the same organism.[88] Even the evolutionist Mark Ridley stated in the science journal New Scientist:

In any case, no real evolutionist, whether gradualist or punctuationist, uses the fossil record as evidence in favour of the theory of evolution as opposed to special creation.[89]

Also, the field of genetics shows that the various kinds of animals are fixed. Fruit flies have remained fruit flies in the approximately 100 years of experimentation on them. Certain bacteria such as pseudomonas and flavobacterium, even with acquired mutations, are still identifiable by the same characteristics as when they were first discovered a hundred years prior.

Asteroids

The Apostle John in the book of Revelation prophesied,
And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed. Revelation 8:8-9 (KJV)

The idea that enormously large rocks from space occasionally hit Earth and could greatly influence its life was not widely accepted until the 1980s.[90] Catastrophism, including impacts of asteroids, was unfashionable and considered unscientific. It contradicted uniformitarianism which was made popular by Sir Charles Lyell in Principles of Geology (1830-33).

NASA, however, now has its Near Earth Object Program and it is believed that objects such as the one that hit Siberia in 1908 can have catastrophic effects.[91]

The MacArthur Study Bible states regarding the above verse, "Probably a huge meteor or asteroid... Its impact will create a tidal wave, destroying a third of the world's ships. Sea became blood. May refer to an event called red tides, caused by millions of dead micro-organisms poisoning the water - in this case the result of a meteor's collision or it may be actual blood, a clear act of eschatological judgement."[92]

Since context is important in Bible exegesis it is notable that directly preceding the "great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea" incident of Revelation 8:8-9 is a verse describing how "hail and fire mingled with blood...were cast upon the earth" (Revelation 8:7 ). Subsequent to the "great mountain burning with fire incident,"
the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters... Revelation 8:10

In short, both the preceding and subsequent verses speak of things falling from high in the sky.

Common Knowledge Argument is Contra-evidence and Implausible

Both believers and skeptics believed that ancient cultures had accumulated a significant body of medical practices based on oral traditions and written manuscripts. The same could be said of other areas in regards to the natural world. Skeptics argue that the Pentateuch is a result of such processes and that Bible scientific foreknowledge is not the result of supernatural inspiration. In addition, some critics of Bible scientific foreknowledge attempt to show that the Pentateuch is a late-written book. They also argue for the earliest possible date for various Egyptian medical documents and claim that the Hebrew medicine is merely a refinement of Egyptian medicine. Critics of Bible scientific foreknowledge point to the Edwin Smith papyrus and the Ebers papyrus, which contain a certain degree of accurate medical knowledge. For example, the Ebers Papyrus gives a surprisingly accurate description of the circulatory system and refers to such things as diabetes mellitus.[93]

Setting aside the issue of document dating for now, supporters of Bible scientific foreknowledge believe that in order to evaluate the issue of Bible scientific foreknowledge one must examine all the evidence and not exclude any evidence. For example, when considering the Edwin Smith Papyrus, Ebers Papyrus and Hearst Papyrus, the aforementioned medical errors must be included as well as the more positive aspects.

Homer's Odyssey states, as was noted above that,

[T]he Egyptians were skilled in medicine more than any other art.[10]

Also added, was that the Egyptians used sewer pharmacology and other practices which the previously mentioned medical experts said could be harmful or were ineffective. As Bruce Allen wrote in his essay, 4 Reasons Why You Should Read the Bible,

Pretty disgusting stuff today, yet you would think that if these culture's medical practices were so respected by the rest of the world, the Bible would just mimic what they taught. But it doesn't! Of all the sacred writings of every major religion in the world, only the Bible sidesteps the errors that pervaded the medical sciences of its time. In fact, scholars are nearly unanimous in attributing the world's first system of sanitary laws to the precepts laid down in the first five books of the Bible.[10]

Ancient medicine is not alone in having errant practices. For example, in 17th and 18th century medicine the practice of bleeding patients was still used.[94] Also, according to the British Medical Journal, only 15% of medical procedures have been reported to be supported by any documentation.[95][96] Given the existence of errant medicine throughout history up to the present day (medicine recalls, lack of documentation, etc.) and the apparent absence of errant medicine from the Pentateuch and an abundance of excellent, very advanced health and sanitation practices, the argument that the Bible contains common knowledge is implausible, even if one grants late dates for the Pentateuch and early dates for the Egyptians.

The Edwin Smith Surgical Papyus is thought by most scholars to date from 1600 BC. These scholars also believe that this ancient medical treatise is a copy of a work dating from c. 3000 BC.[97] Dr. Carol Reeves argued that archaic words in the Edwin Smith Papyrus point to its being copied from an earlier text around 2,500 B.C.[98] The argument from word usage to date a text has failed before according to linguist and Bible scholar Robert Dick Wilson, a scholar who learned 45 ancient languages. In his essay, What is an expert?, Dr. Wilson states that the attempts to date the Old Testament late via alleged anachronisms failed. Of course, word usage may be helpful but one must exercise due diligence and scholarly caution. With that in mind, if late dates for the Ebers Papyrus and Hearst Papyrus were granted, the Ebers Papyrus is commonly dated to about 1550 BC. and the Hearst Papyrus is to 1450 B.C.[99][100]

There are various issues and disagreements between scholars over Egyptian chronology and its reliability, as was mentioned above. The prominent 20th century Egyptologist Gardiner, noting the paucity of historical inscriptions and his apparent belief that Egyptologists have had a tendency to overstate their case, wrote,{{What is proudly advertised as Egyptian history is merely a collection of rags and tatters.[101]}} Other Egyptologists too have expressed reservations about Egyptian chronology. This may have repurcussions elsewhere, since many ancient chronologies are based on the chronolgy of Egypt.[102] With that in mind, some scholars attempt to date the Pentateuch late and deny Mosaic authorship. They argue that the documentary hypothesis is correct. On the other hand conservative scholars believe it lacks external evidence and has unsound foundations.[103][104] Biblical scholars Kenneth Kitchen (a notable Egyptologist and Bible scholar) and Gleason Archer have sharply criticized and rejected the documentary hypothesis using various lines of argument.[105][106][107][108] Dr. Yohanan Aharoni, in his work Canaanite Israel during the Period of Israeli Occupation states that archaeological discoveries show that later authors or editors could not have put together or invented these stories hundreds of years after they happened.[109] Also, Roger N. Whybray, George W. Coats, and Claus Westermann contend that the Joseph story in Genesis 37-50 was a unity.[110] In 1999, Josh McDowell wrote a work entitled New Evidence that Demands a Verdict in which he reviews the arguments of scholars who believe the Documentary hypothesis is invalid. McDowell cites the objections of early scholars such as Umberto Cassuto and cites newer scholars such as Kenneth Kitchen as well.[111] In addition, a team of Israeli and German Bible critics (reported in the Zeitschrift für die Alttestamentaliche Wissenschaft) conducted a computer analysis of the style and language of the Bible. According to the computer analysis there appears to be no question that the Pentateuch is the product of a single author.[109]

Finally, Professor Yechezkel Kaufman, a secular Bible critic, sums it up very well in A History of the Jewish Faith (Hebrew):

Biblical criticism finds itself today in a unique situation. There is a dominant theory, yet no one knows why it dominates. In the history of ideas, theories or concepts based on certain accepted principles often enjoy a disembodied existence long after those principles have been discredited. This is exactly what happened to the scientific study of the Bible in our times ... [In the nineteenth century,] Wellhausen ... based his theories on an interlocking system of proofs that seemed to complement each other, forming layers of solid intellectual foundations upon which he erected the definitive edifice of his ideas. In the meantime, however, these foundations disintegrated one by one. These proofs were refuted outright or at least seriously questioned. The scholars of the Wellhausen school were forced to admit that most of the proofs do not hold up under scrutiny. Nonetheless, they did not abandon the conclusions.[109]

Scholarly Caution

The examination of sources regarding the affirming and denying of Bible scientific foreknowledge requires scholarly caution and due dilgence. The investigation of Bible scientific foreknowledge is very much a multidisciplinary endeavor involving both science and Biblical exegesis (which involves knowledge of the Biblical languages, ancient near eastern culture, etc.). Because some sources fail to do their due diligence or fail to reveal all the relevant information a buyer beware attitude is warranted regarding individual sources. As Solomon stated,
The first to plead his case seems right, until another comes and examines him. Proverbs 18:17 (NASB)

Mary Douglas argued the Mosaic dietary laws and ceremonial laws were designed as purity laws.[112] Also, there are those who argue that some of the Mosaic laws such as the dietary laws were meant to set apart the Jewish people. The approaches are not mutually exclusive of Bible scientific foreknowledge as purity laws and laws to create separateness can have other reasons behind them such as sanitary and preventative health benefits.

Analyzing the common misunderstanding about the exact nature of science and an analysis of scientific truth would benefit all apologists.

The Origin of Languages

Several noted linguists argue that the many different language families can be traced back to a tiny group of distinct proto-languages. This is consistent with God's confusion of languages at the Tower of Babel.[113][114][115][116] Also, the origin of language is a problem for the macroevolution position,[117] and the development of different languages is nothing like biological evolution.[118]

Conservation in the Bible

The Mosaic code also had provisions concerning the conservation of natural resources which were advanced for their day and could be seen as scientific foreknowledge of the Bible. These included trees (Deuteronomy 20:19-20 and birds (Deuteronomy 22:6-7 ).

Homosexuality

Given the many diseases associated with homosexuality, the Bible prohibition against homosexuality is arguably one of the many examples where scientific foreknowledge in the Bible was exhibited.

References

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