Science and the Bible - Part 1

Scripture: Job 26:7, Genesis 2:7, Daniel 12:4
Science claims to "know", yet many scientific theories have been cast aside over the years. The Bible has come to us since 1,900 years ago and it continues to be an accurate source of true knowledge.
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Some time ago a writer in Harper's Magazine made a comparison of the moral and scientific progress in the world today. Malcolm Cowley said this: "Men have outrun themselves; their technical knowledge has increased so much more rapidly than their moral judgment and self-control, if these have increased at all, that the knowledge might destroy them as a species." There is no doubt about it in recent decades mankind has made tremendous strides in the field of science. Scientific knowledge has increased by leaps and bounds. The sad part of it is that in the realm of moral, social, and spiritual matters we have been lagging far behind.

As we view the relationship of science to the Bible in past ages, I'd like to call your attention to this one thing: if the men of the Bible had agreed with the men of science in medieval times, the men of the Bible would be in a very embarrassing situation today. Do you see what I am getting at? Science means "to know." But the things that science thought it knew a century ago, in many cases it discards today. Scientific knowledge is based on experiment and observation. Scientists are continually testing new hypotheses. Science is a continual amassing of knowledge. Men of science know so much more today than they did a thousand years ago. More than that, they know more today than they did ten years ago. They know more today than they did yesterday. As scientific knowledge unfolds it sometimes makes necessary the complete rejection of opinions previously held, and the acceptance of an opposite view. The Bible, on the other hand, claims to come to us by Divine revelation. It says today what it said 1,900 years ago. It is true that our understanding of the Bible increases with the passing of time, but its basic truths remain unchanged, and unchangeable. Now, if teachers of religion in the middle ages had agreed with science in all things, then they would not be in agreement with science today, because the science of today is a far cry from the science of the middle ages. Man's knowledge has vastly increased.

We go back through the centuries to a time when men of science believed that this world was propped up by some kind of support. And why not? Men built their houses upon foundations for support, and so men in the earlier centuries speculated that under the earth was some type of foundation. We all know that in earlier generations it was generally believed that the world was flat until it was proved to the contrary. You see, science rests upon proved evidence. Scientific theories, in order to become facts, must first be proved true. There was a day when speculation on the part of men of science brought forth such theories as this: that the earth was covered by some type of a roof or ceiling. Why not? Their homes had roofs, why shouldn't the earth have a roof? In accounting for the stars there were those who advanced the theory that beyond the roof of the world there was a great light. And there were holes in the roof. That was their explanation of the stars, holes in the roof, letting through the light from this great light which was somewhere above the roof of this world. We smile at these things today. But these were the theories developed by the thinkers of former centuries.

Even back in those days when men were speculating about the possibility of the earth having some type of props or foundation under it, the Bible said, the Lord "Hangeth the earth upon nothing." Job 26:7. This statement made in ancient times agrees with our scientific knowledge today.

Going back to Genesis, the very first book in all the Bible, we read "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." Genesis 2:7. I like to think of this account in Genesis as God's simple recipe telling how He made man in the beginning. Simple, and yet nobody has ever been able to duplicate it. The Bible says that God took the dust of the ground and shaped the physical form of man. Then God breathed into this body the life giving element, the breath of God. There have been those who have ridiculed the simplicity of this Bible account of creation. "Why," they said, "this is utterly absurd to expect intelligent people to accept this; to believe that a great God, an all-wise God would stoop to creating man out of the dust." But now, in our day, careful investigators have scooped up the dust of the earth. They have carried it into their scientific laboratories and have broken it down into its component parts and they have found that the dust of the ground is made up of hydrogen, carbon, iron, and the other elements that we find in the human body. It is scientifically possible to believe that God did make man out of the dust of the ground, just exactly as the Bible says.

Skeptics back in the day of Voltaire at the time of the French Revolution, ridiculed the account of Genesis telling how woman was created. You know the Bible says that God caused a deep sleep to come upon Adam, then God removed a rib from the side of Adam while he slept, and of the rib God made a woman. The skeptics of Voltaire's day just ridiculed this account. They ridiculed the idea of God being able to take a man's rib out while the man was sleeping. "Why," they said, "even a pin prick would cause one to awaken. But, you see, this was before the discovery of anesthesia. It was before man held within his hand the knowledge of how to remove a rib while a man was sleeping. But now in our day we wouldn't have a rib removed in any other way. We wouldn't want a rib removed unless we were asleep. Just a few centuries ago men who were wise in their own conceit ridiculed the idea of a rib being removed while a man slept.

These marvelous discoveries made by men of science are not contrary to the Bible. These are not factors that have come along and upset the teachings of the Bible, but rather, they strengthen the position of the Bible. I say this because God foresaw these developments. He saw too this very age in which we live with its great increase of knowledge. Actually, this explosion of knowledge is one of the very signs of the times in which we are living. Notice the words of Daniel, the prophet, written some 2,500 years ago: "But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, even to the time of the end ... ." Now notice what it says is going to happen. " ... Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased." Daniel 12:4. Knowledge shall be increased. When? in a time when men will be running to and fro. Modern transportation has made it possible for a man to travel across the continent in the space of a few hours. Modern transportation has made intercontinental travel available to people who, a generation ago, could never have thought of leaving their home country. Not only does this speak of travel between countries and within countries, but I believe it speaks of running to and fro through the Bible; the increase of Biblical knowledge. Notice that the book of Daniel was to be shut up and sealed until "the time of the end." But you think about it. Since 1798 virtually all of the modern conveniences that we have in the world today have come into being. The great discoveries that have mechanized industry have been made since that time. Electricity, with all the benefits and blessings that it has brought to mankind, and our modern modes of transportation and communication have come to us since 1798. You go back to 1798 and you won't recognize the world in which you would be living. I want to submit to you today this formula from the Word of God; that increased speed plus increased knowledge equals "the time of the end." This is one of the great signs that God has given us to wake us up to the fact that we are living in what the Bible calls "the time of the end", or the latter days. You will realize that I am not alone in taking this position. Billy Graham, and virtually all of the well-known evangelists in the world, believe that we are living in the time of the end. Church men of virtually all denominations who have made a study of the prophecies of the Bible agree on this one thing, that we are living in the latter days. "But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end; ... ." Daniel 12:4. Some of these things could not possibly be understood until "the time of the end;" until developments laid a foundation for our understanding. That is why we need in our day to restudy these great prophecies; the prophecies of Daniel, and the prophecies of Revelation. Now we turn to the field of history.

The Bible sets forth a basic principle used by God in His dealing with the nations. The history of the Jewish nation provides a specific demonstration of the operation of this principle. Notice the way this principle is stated in Jeremiah 18:9, 10: "And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; if it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them."

Some people believe that God has no connection with the rise and fall of nations, but the Bible teaches that God does have a direct connection with the rise and fall of empires. God promises to bless nations that honor Him, and God foretells dire circumstances to nations which reject Him. The Jewish people in the Bible are a classic example of God's dealing with the nations. God showered this people with every conceivable benefit and blessing. God committed to them a concept of truth that was so elevated that today the cultures of men all around the globe embrace these principles that God committed to the Jewish nation. But God said that His blessings were dependent upon continued obedience, God warned that if nations turned against Him that He would repent of the good wherewith He purposed to benefit them.

As I stood in Rome and viewed the arch of Titus, my mind went back to those events shortly following the death of Jesus. It was in the year 70 A.D. that the Roman general, Titus, marched his Roman legions into Palestine. They swept into Jerusalem. They conquered Jerusalem. They carried many of the Jewish people away as captives. Jesus Himself had foretold the destruction of the temple and the destruction of the holy city. Many of the Jewish people were taken across the Mediterranean to Rome as captives. Many of them were used as slaves in the building of the Coliseum in Rome. Others were loaded into ships and then were transported back across the Mediterranean to the slave markets of Egypt. A prophecy recorded in Deuteronomy, 1,450 years before the birth of Christ, foretold the fate of the Jews in these words:

"And the Lord shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the ... earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone. And among these nations shall thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest: but the Lord shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind: And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life: In the morning thou shalt say, Would God it were even! and at even thou shalt say, Would God it were morning! for the fear of thine heart wherewith thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see, And the Lord shall bring thee into Egypt again with ships. ... and there ye shall be sold unto your enemies for bondmen and bondwomen, and no man shall buy you." Deuteronomy 28:64-68.

These things flashed back into my mind as I looked at the Arch of Titus there in Rome. An arch that was built to honor the Roman general, Titus, as he came back a hero after his conquest of Palestine. The Arch that was built in his honor still stands there in Rome today. You can take the Bible and its prophetic utterances that were written 3,500 years ago; you can place these records up against the unfolding of history and they dovetail completely. You say, What about it? What does this mean? What does it add up to? It adds up to this. The Bible says, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God." II Timothy 3:16. That includes prophecy. History proves that the prophecies are true. But that embraces the whole plan of salvation. It embraces the account of how Jesus died on Calvary's cross for the sins of all people. It embraces the promise of eternal life to those who trust Jesus. Don't you see that if the prophecies of the Bible are true, then the Christ of the Bible is true also? And we are safe and secure in putting our trust in Him. That is what it means.

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