By Chuck Missler (From his Book "The Creator Beyond Time and Space")
Throughout the Bible we find statements about the origin, design and destiny of the universe. In chapter two we saw the concepts of an expanding, finite, decaying universe clearly elucidated by the biblical authors thousands of years before these facts were discovered by twentieth-century astrophysicists. Moreover, the fact that matter can neither be created nor destroyed (the First Law of Thermodynamics) and the universal law of decay (the Second Law of Thermodynamics) are also clearly taught in the Bible. Beyond this, in the biblical text we find a number of incredibly accurate scientific statements about the nature of the physical universe.
In the very first verse of the Bible we find remarkable evidence of supernatural authorship.
"In the beginning (time), God created the heavens (space) and the earth (matter)."
For thousands of years scientists and philosophers have speculated about the basic components or makeup of the universe. In the twentieth century, physicists have confirmed that the universe, at its foundation, consists of space, time and matter. In fact, space and time are so tightly linked that astrophysicists now speak of space-time. While scientific and philosophical speculations about the basic structure of the universe has varied widely, the fact that the universe consists basically of space, time and matter was clearly foreseen in the very first verse of the Bible.
At the time the Bible was penned (1,500 B.C.-100 A.D.) there were no telescopes to aid in the study of the cosmos. On a clear night, unencumbered by the light of the moon, only about 3,000-4,000 stars could be seen with the unaided eye. Yet in the eighth century B.C. God told the prophet Jeremiah that the number of stars could not be numbered:
"As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, nor the sand of the sea be measured, so will I multiply the descendants of David My servant and the Levites who minister to Me."
When Jeremiah wrote this verse there was no way he could have known that the stars were innumerable. In fact, in the eighth-century B.C., astronomers believed that it was possible to number the stars. As evidence are the many star charts that were done prior to the advent of the telescope.
Astronomers now estimate that there are at least 100 billion stars in our Milky Way galaxy and 100 billion galaxies in the universe. For anyone to number the "hosts of heaven" (the total number of stars) would be a truly impossible task. Counting at a rate of ten stars per second it would take over 100 trillion years. Surely the host of heaven cannot be numbered!
Some of the most accurate scientific statements in the Bible concern the nature of our solar system. Nearly 3000 years ago the psalmist wrote that the sun follows a circuit of circular path through the universe:
"Its (the sun's) rising is from one end of heaven, and its circuit to the other end; and there is nothing hidden from its heat."
For centuries critics argued that the psalmist was here proclaiming that the sun rotated around the earth. However, the term "sunrise" is a common phrase used by all, even astrophysicists, and is not intended to be a scientific declaration.
Secondly, since the advent of powerful telescopes astronomers have determined that the sun is part of an enormous spiral galaxy, the Milky Way. We now know that the sun moves in a "circuit" or circular course, at speeds approaching 600,000 miles per hour, within one of the spiral arms of the Milky Way galaxy. In turn, the Milky Way is hurtling through space at an estimated speed of 2,000,000 miles per hour! These facts are remarkably compatible with the psalmist's understanding of our sun's path through the cosmos! Without "inside information" from an extraterrestrial source, there is no way that the writer could have possessed such incredible knowledge.
The belief in a flat earth is often erroneously traced to the Bible. However, nowhere in its text is a flat earth proclaimed. In fact, the scientific descriptions of the earth are so accurate they could comfortably fit in the pages of a contemporary astronomy textbook.
The idea that the Bible teaches a flat earth might be traced to a verse in Revelation 7:1, where the Apostle John speaks of the "four corners" of the earth:
"After these things I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, on the sea, or on any tree."
When the King James Bible was translated in 1610, the Greek words translated to the English "four corners" were mistranslated. The literal meaning in the original Greek text is the "four quarters" of the earth. Translated correctly, the phrase is representative of the four directions (north, south, east, west) used in standard surveying and mapping today.
Christopher Columbus is often erroneously credited with proving that the earth is spherical with his voyage to North America in 1492. In fact, the Greek mathematician Pythagoras proposed that the earth was a sphere in the sixth century B.C. The Greek philosophers Hiparchus (second century B.C.) and Aristotle also came to the same conclusion. Eratosthenes (third century B.C.) was the first to prove scientifically that the earth was a sphere. At the same time he measured the size of the earth's circumference. Although his measurements were off by about fifteen percent they are impressive considering the information he had to work with. Prior to this time the belief in a flat earth was quite prevalent.
Despite contrary assertions, the fact of a spherical earth was clearly proclaimed in the Bible by the prophet Isaiah nearly twenty-eight centuries ago. In the fortieth chapter of the book of Isaiah we read:
"It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in."
When Isaiah wrote this verse he used the Hebrew word khug to describe the shape of the earth. Although this word is commonly translated into the English word "circle," the literal meaning of this word is "a sphere!"
Throughout the centuries philosophers, theologians and scientists have speculated about the resting place of planet earth. Upon what or whom the earth is resting became an important part of mythology in many ancient cultures. To the ancient Greeks the candidates were Atlas or Hercules. The Hindus believed that elephants or turtles were the pillars upon which the earth rested.
The fact of a free floating earth was apparently foreign to most ancient cultures. In a world where all objects fall rapidly to their destruction, such a suggestion must have been terrifying. However, in the book of Job, commonly believed to be the oldest book in the Bible, we find an astonishing piece of scientific foreknowledge. While speaking of the incredible power of God, Job states of the earth:
"He stretches out the north over empty space; He hangs the earth on nothing."
When we consider that twenty-eight centuries ago the prevailing view of the earth was that it was flat and resting on the back of an animal or Greek god, the biblical view of a spherical earth suspended on nothing is astonishing. A good guess? No way. In the book of Job alone there are a mere two dozen disclosures of such scientific foreknowledge.1 Far from being a scientifically inaccurate book, the Bible exhibits knowledge about the earth and the universe that appears to have come from a being with an extraterrestrial perspective.
To order this book "The Creator Beyond Time and Space" go to:
Koinonia House Product Catalog
Missler, Chuck, Eastman, Mark, M.D."The Creator Beyond Time and Space", The Word for Today 1996, p.88-91
Chuck Missler and Mark Eastman M.D. references:
-1. See "The Remarkable Record of Job", by Henry Morris, Masters Books (1988).
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