Are there Scientific Errors in the Bible?

Are there scientific errors in the bible?

Many arguments abound regarding the scientific accuracy of the bible. Biblicists like to quickly point out that the bible is not a scientific text-book. That may be true, but if the bible is the Word of God, and God is the Creator of the Universe, then surely God is the Great Scientist. That would mean then that if the Bible is inspired of God, all scientific references would be completely sound and unquestionable. There should be no scientific errors in the bible.

That leads us to the question, “Are there Scientific Errors in the Bible?”

What JW.org says…
Are there scientific errors in the Bible?

A reasonable examination of the Bible shows the answer to be no. Here are some common misconceptions about the scientific accuracy of the Bible:

Myth: The Bible says that the universe was created in six 24-hour days.

Fact: According to the Bible, God created the universe in the indefinite past. (Genesis 1:1) Also, the days of creation described in chapter 1 of Genesis were epochs whose length is not specified. In fact, the entire period during which earth and heaven were made is also called a “day.”Genesis 2:4.

Myth: The Bible says that vegetation was created before the sun existed to support photosynthesis.Genesis 1:11, 16.

Fact: The Bible shows that the sun, one of the stars that make up “the heavens,” was created before vegetation. (Genesis 1:1) Diffused light from the sun reached the earth’s surface during the first “day,” or epoch, of creation. As the atmosphere cleared, by the third “day” of creation, the light was strong enough to support photosynthesis. (Genesis 1:3-5, 12, 13) Only later did the sun become distinctly visible from the surface of the earth.Genesis 1:16.

Myth: The Bible says that the sun revolves around the earth.

Fact: Ecclesiastes 1:5 says: “The sun rises, and the sun sets; then it hurries back to the place where it rises again.” However, this statement merely describes the apparent motion of the sun as viewed from the earth. Even today, a person can use the words “sunrise” and “sunset,” yet he knows that the earth revolves around the sun.

Myth: The Bible says that the earth is flat.

Fact: The Bible uses the phrase “the ends of the earth” to mean “the most distant part of the earth”; this does not imply that the earth is flat or that it has an edge. (Acts 1:8; footnote) Likewise, the expression “the four corners of the earth” is a figure of speech referring to the entire surface of the earth; today a person might use the four points of the compass as a similar metaphor.Isaiah 11:12; Luke 13:29.

Myth: The Bible says that the circumference of a circle is exactly three times its diameter, but the correct value is pi (π), or about 3.1416.

Fact: The measurements of “the Sea of cast metal” given at 1 Kings 7:23 and 2 Chronicles 4:2 indicate that it had a diameter of 10 cubits and that “it took a measuring line 30 cubits long to encircle it.” These dimensions might have been merely the nearest round numbers. It is also possible that the circumference and diameter represented inner and outer measurements of the basin respectively.

The Sea of Cast Metal

What AvoidJW.org says…
Are there scientific errors in the Bible?

The answer should be no if the bible is the Word of God. Let’s see if the arguments against the bible are valid or are just common misconceptions.

Argument: The Bible says that the universe was created in six 24-hour days.

Fact: The Creation story in Genesis chapter 1 is very badly written and it’s fair to say that it can be interpreted in so many different ways. Genesis 1:1 could indicate that the heavens and the earth were created at an indefinite point in time prior to God considering the work he had before Him as mentioned in verse 2. However, when one considers Genesis 2:4, it might have been a generic statement referring to the 6 creative days that were to follow.

Argument: The Bible says that vegetation was created before the sun existed to support photosynthesis.Genesis 1:11, 16.

Fact: Again, the poor writing skills of the author causes the reader a lot of confusion. Genesis 1:1 makes no mention of a sun being created. Verses 3-5 talk about “light” and “darkness” something that wouldn’t have been possible without a sun. However, from reading verses 14-18, the sun and the moon were not created until the fourth day, a day after vegetation was created. The argument by JW.org is not supported in these verses.

Argument: The Bible says that the sun revolves around the earth.

Fact: Ecclesiastes 1:5 says: “The sun rises, and the sun sets; then it hurries back to the place where it rises again.” Even if this statement merely describes the apparent motion of the sun as viewed from the earth, there is no scripture in the bible to counter the argument.

Argument: The Bible says that the earth is flat.

Fact: JW.org has conveniently omitted some other scriptures that seem to indicate that the earth is flat in the bible. This scriptures include Daniel 4:11, Matthew 4:8, Luke 4:5. Quoting just Isaiah 11:12 and Luke 13:29 provides them an easy rebuttal to the argument presented. The other scriptures are much more difficult to explain away.

Argument: The Bible says that the circumference of a circle is exactly three times its diameter, but the correct value is pi (π), or about 3.1416.

Fact: If  the diameter of “the Sea of cast metal” given at 1 Kings 7:23 was 10 cubits in length, this would indicate that the circumference of the Sea should have been 31.428 cubits.  What’s extremely odd about this verse is that this item was constructed. A constructed item would be easily checked to confirm dimensions; there would be no need to round them as suggested by JW.org. What about the other suggestion that the circumference was the inner dimension and the diameter was the outer dimension? The initial thought is that it would be easier to measure the outside diameter than the inside diameter. In any case, let’s entertain the suggestion: In 1 Kings 7:26 were provided with the thickness of the material: a handbreadth. A handbreadth is somewhere between 2.5 to 4.0 inches. A cubit is about 18 inches. The outside diameter would be 180 inches and therefore the inside dimension would be as low as 176 inches. Using these measurements, the inside circumference of the Sea would still be 30.75 cubits.

Clearly, JW.org has not refuted the “myths”. Their “facts” are not common misconceptions about the bible. Instead, they are genuine concerns about the scientific accuracy of the bible. These concerns need to be considered more closely by the bible community, including Jehovah’s Witnesses. This is especially important because the bible claims to be inspired by a divine being that created the universe and all the scientific laws that govern it.

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.