Scientific Facts in the Bible (book)
(→Chapter 7: The Bible's 100% Accurate Prophecies)
(→Chapter 10: Archaeology and the Bible)
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==Chapter 10: Archaeology and the Bible==
==Chapter 10: Archaeology and the Bible==
==Chapter 11: The Bible's Historical Accuracy==
==Chapter 11: The Bible's Historical Accuracy==
Revision as of 14:34, 17 August 2011
Scientific Facts in the Bible: 100 Reasons to Believe the Bible is Supernatural in Origin is a book authored by Ray Comfort, published in 2001.
The first line of the foreword: I hope you are skeptical. Ray begins by dodging questions by demanding definitions for certain words.
Ray reminds readers that history has shown science wrong several times and what we know now may be laughed at in a hundred years.
Ray recalls his debate with a member from American Atheists. When Comfort mentioned that medical facts existed in the Bible a hundred years before they were discovered, the audience laughed at him. Ray thinks if the medical facts were accurate, then that provides proof the Bible is supernatural in origin. However, he does not check to see if these medical facts were discovered before the authors wrote about it.
Comfort says the Bible does not defend itself. Later, he says that other religions (Mormons, Muslims, Buddhists) have certain prophecies, but according to Ray none of them have been proven, nor do their sacred books contain scientific knowledge (in fact they contain things that are clearly unscientific). This is true, but the same is true for Christianity. Christianity is unscientific by the sheer fact that it says a supernatural being created the earth magically.
Before moving on, Ray tries to provide an argument in which he must use the Bible (he says this is not circular reasoning -sorry Ray, using the Bible to prove the Bible is circular).
Ray asks if the reader believes in some of the stories in the Bible. Comfort says if you are an atheist, of course you dont because God "has chosen foolish, weak, base, and despised things of the world to confound those who think they are wise."
Where is the evidence?
Instead of actually presenting proof, Ray uses an analogy. Imagine you are looking at a luxury liner moving through calm waters, and suddenly some people jump off the boat onto small life boats. The rest, including yourself, calls them foolish. Until suddenly the luxury boat sinks, then you see the fools who jumped off earlier were wise, and those who wise who stayed on were fools. Ray urges the readers to consider the proof of Christianity provided in this book.
Chapter 1: Science and the Bible
The Bible and Earth's Free-Float in Space Job 26:7 while the common belief of the time (1500 B.C.E.) was the earth sat on the back of a large animal or giant. This is due to a simple observation of the stars moving around the pole star due to the earth spinning. Anyone who watches the stars on a clear night notices this. This has been known since Antiquity. The earth is held in orbit by gravity and angular momentum. The earth does not hang upon nothing. To define nothing is to say not real or non-existent but beneath the earth (and all around it) we find empty space, cosmic dust, stars, etc. Job 38:4-6 refers to earth having a foundation and footings, in direct contradiction to the idea that it is unsupported. Job 26:11 says heaven is supported by pillars. Many verses throughout the Bible refer to a solid firmament.
The Scriptures speak of Invisible Structure Hebrews 11:3. Science has recently discovered the universe is made of atoms, whereas scripture knew of this for 2,000 years. The ancient Greeks were already discussing the natural structure of the universe, for a long time the common belief was the universe was made of four elements. If the Bible were in any way scientific, this verse would obviously not begin "by faith" but "by observation"
The Bible Reveals the Earth is Round Isaiah 40:22. The verse says the earth is a circle. Ray says the word chuwg translates to "circuit" or "compass" indicating a spherical not flat. Comfort says Isaiah was written between 740 and 680 B.C.E. and at least 300 years before Aristotle's book On the Heavens. However, Isiah and the Bible does not support a round earth. Isaiah 11:12 refers to the "four quarters of the earth." A "Compass" is indeed flat, with an arrow connected to the disk. Daniel 4:20 says "The tree you saw, which grew large and strong, with its top touching the sky, visible to the whole earth..." No matter how tall that tree is, there's no way it could be seen to the “ends of the Earth” on a spherical body!
The Bible and the Science of Oceanography Psalm 8:8. Ray tells a story about Matthew Maury (1806 - 1873) is considered the father of oceanography and discovered many things after reading this Bible verse. Maury was nowhere near the first to discover or write about currents; however, he was the first to unify all of these together into scientific writings and did make a lot of progress in the field. In 1513, Juan Ponce de Leon described the gulf stream. Benjamin Franklin produced a detailed map of the gulf stream in 1769 (37 years before Maury was born). Even though Maury may have produced many maps of ocean currents, it is clear that the currents' existence was known well before his time and it is highly unlikely Maury would not have been aware of it. Maury may have been inspired by Psalms to look for more currents, but that is hardly the same as discovering a new phenomenon based on Scripture.
The Bible and Radio Waves Job 38:35. Ray says this verse tells that light can be sent and manifest itself in speech. He says that all electromagnetic radiation (from x-rays to radio waves) travel at the speed of light. Comfort sites James Clerk Maxwell in Modern Century Illustrated Encyclopedia 1864 (3,300 years later) who discovered that electricity and light waves were the same thing. Job 38:19 says "Where is the way where light dwelleth? and as for darkness, where is the place thereof?" Notice they conveniently forget to mention that light is also mentioned as dwelling, or staying in one place. Also, they ignore the fact that the bible treats darkness like it actually exists, when really it's the absence of light. Also, it's Job, which, once again, is a very poetic part of the bible. They also ignore Job 38:20: "That thou shouldest take it to the bound thereof, and that thou shouldest know the paths to the house thereof?" Light and darkness do not have "bounds" or as the NIV translates it, places and dwellings (at least not one specific one).
The Bible and Entropy Isaiah 51:6, Psalm 102:25, 26 and Hebrews 1:11 indicate the earth is wearing out, and concludes this is about the Second Law of Thermodynamics (the law of Increase Entropy) and defines it as: that in all physical process, every ordered system over time tends to become more disordered. However, this is false. The second law of thermodynamics says no such thing that everything leads to disorder. It says that heat will not spontaneously flow from a colder body to a warmer one or, equivalently, that total entropy (a measure of useful energy) in a closed system will not decrease. This does not prevent increasing order.
The Bible and the Water Cycle Ecclesiastes 1:7. He also points out Ecclesiastes 1:3 and Amos 9:6, but he does not point out Job 38:22, for example, which says that snow and hail are kept in storehouses. Genesis 2:5-6 contradicts the water cycle. Ecclesiastes 1:7 does not describe the water cycle. It merely says that water returns to the source of streams; it does not say how
The Bible and the First Law of Thermodynamics Genesis 2:1 Once again, we have to ask: "If this knowledge is so clear cut, why did no Christians make these predictions BEFORE the laws of thermodynamics were established?" Secondly, the idea of God creating matter is a direct violation of that same law. Energy and matter are coming from nowhere.
The Bible and Ship Dimensions Comfort uses Genesis 6 to support this, that God gave Noah the dimensions (30:5:3) that was later used in 1609 at Hoorn in Holland and then massively used in the 1900s. Comforts source is "Llyod's Register of Shipping" in the World Almanac. People have been building ships for thousands of years and boats for tens of thousands of years, so it's not unreasonable to assume they figured out the best ways to do so themselves, without having to be told by God. Also, the ideal length-to-width ratio of a ship depends on the purpose of the ship. Sailing vessels are typically built with a larger ratio; war ships have a small ratio to attain the required speed; bulk carriers are built with a large ratio because load capacity is more important than speed (the cargo does not depreciate during the voyage). Even in Biblical times this would have applied: ancient warships (rowed, fast) were built slimmer than cargo ships (sailed, large loading capacity).
The Bible and Meteorological Laws Ray tries to defend the air cycles in Ecclesiastes 1:6. First of all, Ecclesiastes is all about how nothing matters and nothing changes. So it poetically refers to the wind as not really changing no matter what it does, or where it blows. Secondly, Ecclesiastes 1:5 shows a geocentric world view: "The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose." We now know that the sun does not actually rise, but the Earth's rotation makes it appear that way. So why couldn't God predict that?
The Bible and Science Ray include a quote from Richard Wurmbrand, Proof's of God's existence, that science confirms what the Bible has been saying for thousands of years. he says the Christians hold the key to the secrets of the universe, and they should be the owners of the lock and key )that is show there is no conflict between science ad religion).
However, as we have reviewed, none of the above "proofs" presented are not extraordinary or cannot be obtain with simple observation. With a bit of literacy analysis, it is easy to make a book of fables look as you want it, but if the Bible was truly a source of scientific knowledge and science confirms what is in it, then we would expect Christians to point out in their Bible several breakthroughs in physics, medicine, chemistry, etc. that are unknown to modern science. However, we do not see this. Instead, we have science making discoveries and Christians trying to create an illusion that the Bible already knew of it. Muslim do the exact same thing, such as point out the Qur'an accurately predicted the Big Bang, speed of light, reproductive systems, plat tectonics, and such but their claims are no more credible then Christians.
Chapter 2: The Incredible Book of Job
Chapter 3: Medical Science and the Bible
The Bible and the laws of Hygiene Here, Ray tries to portray Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis as the founder of the laws of hygiene and that the Bible led him to his discoveries. Ray says that Semmelweies was horrified at the terrible death rate of women who gave birth in hospitals. As many as 30 percent died after child birth. Semmelweis noted that doctors would examine the bodies of patients who died, then, without washing their hands, go straight to the next ward and examine expectant mothers. This was their normal practice, because the presence of microscopic diseases was unknown. Semmelweis insisted that doctors wash their hands before each examination, and the death rate immediately dropped to two percent. Ray tells us to "Look at the specific instructions that God gave thousands of years ago to His people for when they encountered disease: "And when he that has an issue is cleansed of his issue; then he shall number to himself seven days for his cleansing, and wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in running water, and shall be clean" (Leviticus 15:13). Until recent years, doctors washed their hands in a bowl of water, leaving invisible germs on their hands. However, the Bible says specifically to wash under "running water.""
Keep reading down Leviticus 15, it explains how to finish this sterilization process. "...and bathe his flesh in running water,and he shall be clean. On the eighth day, he shall take to turtledoves, or two pigeons, and come before the Lord unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation and give them unto the priest, and the priest shall offer them, one for suffering, one for burnt offering, and the priest shall make atonement for him before the Lord for his issue." Semmelweis did not make his discoveries based on the Bible, because washing your hands prior to chopping up dead burnt pigeons to appease some desert god is more voodoo than medicine.
Chapter 4: Science and Genesis
Scientists Admit Genesis is "Close to the Truth." Ray quotes several magazines. First one is Time from December 1976, "Most cosmologists agree that the Genesis account of creation, in imagining an initial void, may be uncannily closer to the truth." Next from Jim Holt, Wall Street Journal, "The universe suddenly exploded into being...The big bang bears an uncanny resemblance to the Genesis command." Finally, Ray quotes from U.S. News and World Report, March 31, 1997, "New scientific revelations about supernovas, black holes, quarks, and the big bang even suggest to some scientists that there is a 'grand design' to the universe."
The Bible Speaks of Specific Design Ray quotes from two more magazines. First from Readers Digest, September 1986, by John Wheeler (Princeton University prof. of physics), "Slight variations in physical laws such as gravity or electromagnetism would make life impossible...The necessity to produce life lies at the center of the universe's whole machinery and design."
Next quote from evolutionist Stephen Hawking, "the universe and the law of physics seem to have been specifically deigned for us. If any of about 40 physical qualities had more than slightly different values, life as w know if would not exist: Either atoms would not be stable, or they would not combine into molecules, or the stars would no form the heavier elements, of the universe would collapse before life could develop itself, and so on..." (Source: Austin American Statesman, October 19, 1997).
The Bible Speaks of One Common Ancestor Here, Ray takes a quote from U.S. News and World Report Dec. 14, 1995 of a scientific terminology that 99 of all scientists agree that all humans are alike because they descend from common ancestor, traced back to one male ancestor they dubbed "Y-chromosome Adam."
Chapter 5: Scientists and the Bible
Chapter 6: Biology and the Bible
Chapter 7: The Bible's 100% Accurate Prophecies
Ray argues the fulfilled prophecies in the Bible testify to its truth and validity, such as the bible predicted empires like Greece and Rome would fall in Daniel 2:39,40 and the destruction of Tyre and Sidon in Isaiah 23. None of these prophecies are significant or convincing. There are several mundane ways in which a prediction of the future can be fulfilled:
- Retrodiction. The "prophecy" can be written or modified after the events fulfilling it have already occurred.
- Vagueness. The prophecy can be worded in such a way that people can interpret any outcome as a fulfillment. Nostradomus's prophecies are all of this type. Vagueness works particularly well when people are religiously motivated to believe the prophecies.
- Inevitability. The prophecy can predict something that is almost sure to happen, such as the collapse of a city. Since nothing lasts forever, the city is sure to fall someday. If it has not, it can be said that according to prophecy, it will.
- Denial. One can claim that the fulfilling events occurred even if they have not. Or, more commonly, one can forget that the prophecy was ever made.
- Self-fulfillment. A person can act deliberately to satisfy a known prophecy.
There are no prophecies in the Bible that cannot easily fit into one or more of those categories. The prophecies from Daniel were written after the event took place, but it is inevitable that civilizations arise and fall. Finally, Ray is pleased to present that Isaiah 23 was fulfilled when Alexander t Great conquered it. The sad thing is Ezekiel 26 predicts that Nebudchadnezzar would destroy Tyre and make it "as a bare rock". Best of all, biblical scholars are in agreement that this book was written hundreds of years before Tyre was destroyed. Yet we know from history that it was Alexander the Great, not Nebudchadnezzar, who destroyed Tyre.
The Bible's Prediction of the Middle-East Conflict Ray says that in Genesis 16:12 that the descendants of Ishmael are the Arabs, and the Bible say the descendants will be will men an every man would be against them while they [the Arabs] dwell in the midst of their "brethren." Ray says the Jews are the Arab's brethren.
The Bible's Messianic Prophecies Ray quotes Micah 5:2 (born in Bethlehem), Isaiah 7:14 (born of a virgin), Zechariah 11:12,13 (betrayed for 30 pieces of silver), Psalm 22 (die of crucifixion), and Isaiah 53:9 (buried in a rich man's tomb). Let's go in order,
The gospel of Matthew (Matthew 2:5-6) claims that Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem fulfils this prophecy. But this is unlikely for two reasons.
- "Bethlehem Ephratah" in Micah 5:2 refers not to a town, but to a clan: the clan of Bethlehem, who was the son of Caleb’s second wife, Ephrathah (1 Chronicles 2:18, 2:50-52 & 4:4).
- The prophecy (if that is what it is) does not refer to the Messiah, but rather to a military leader, as can be seen from Micah 5:6. This leader is supposed to defeat the Assyrians, which, of course, Jesus never did. It should also be noted that Matthew altered the text of Micah 5:2 by saying: "And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Judah" rather than "Bethlehem Ephratah" as is said in Micah 5:2. He did this, intentionally no doubt, to make this verse appear to refer to the town of Bethlehem rather than the family clan.
Isaiah 7:14. Isiah 7:14 does not say "virgin." The Hebrew word used is almah which means "young woman." Almah does not mean virgin, virgins are called out specifically (the word is bethula). Some have argued that almah may mean virgin, but this is not the case. Almah is used about nine different times in the old Testament, each one not referring to a virgin.
Zechariah 11. Matthew says Jesus fulfilled the prophecy in Jeremiah, but Jeremiah has no verse that is even similar to the words given in Matthew. Matthew confused Jeremiah with Zechariah. Zechariah 11:12-13 –“So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prized at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD.” To make things worse, Zechariah is predicting about a false prophet.
Psalm 22:16. Fundamentalists have always claimed that the latter part of Psalm 22:16 "They pierced my hands and my feet" (which we shall designate as Psalm 22:16b) is a direct prophecy of the crucifixion; with the "piercing" referring to the nails going through Jesus' hands and feet. Although this is not the reading found in the Hebrew Masoretic text, support is claimed from the readings found in a Dead Sea Scroll fragment and in ancient versions of the Bible such as the Septuagint and the Vulgate. This claim is false, for a few reasons: The Hebrew Text Behind the King James Version Despite the claims of its accurate rendition of the original text, the Hebrew equivalent for "they pierced" was not found in the manuscripts available to the translators of the King James Version. Indeed the word rendered in those manuscripts means "like a lion". The Dead Sea Scrolls The evidence from the Dead Sea Scrolls, is ambiguous at best. The word found there, kaaru, has no known meaning and may actually be meaningless. Ancient Versions A) Before looking at the readings of the ancient versions, it is important to know some preliminary background information about them first. B) A careful analysis of the readings given in the ancient versions does not support "they pierced" as the correct translation. Indeed the analysis shows that there were two extant readings in the Hebrew text, one being kaari (like a lion) and the other kaaru. The very fact that translators did not translate the latter word consistently showed that even by that time, the meaning of that word was no longer known. Use of Psalm 22:16b by the Early Christians No early Christian writer, including the evangelists and Paul, until the time of Justin around the middle of the second century CE, made any explicit reference to the word "piercing" in Psalm 22:16b in relation to the crucifixion of Jesus although there were ample opportunities to do so. A consideration of the various internal evidence favors "like a lion" as the correct rendering of the word found in Psalm 22:16b. We can conclude with certainty that there is no reference to the crucifixion in Psalm 22:16b and with some probability that the correct reading there remains "like a lion".
Finally, Isaiah 53 is no about a suffering messiah.
The Bible Predicted the Birth of a Nation Ray argues that Isaiah 66:7,8 predicted the foundation of Israel.
Bare in mind, the Bible contains many failed prophecies, such as Isaiah 19:5 predicting that the Nile River would dry up (it never has).
Chapter 8: Astronomy and the Bible
The Bible and Lights Here, Ray uses Genesis 1:14, that says God created the "lights" in the heavens "for signs, for seasons, for days and for years." Next, he explains astronomy has calculated the length of a year, a month, and when seasons should occur. Ray says it can only be divine revelation that Moses 3,500 years ago could know that "lights" were determining factors of year's length.
The Bible and the Stars Jeremiah 33:22. Ray says this was written 2,500 years ago "when no one knew who cast the stars were, since only 1,100 of them were visible." Ray says we now know that there are billions of stars, but they cannot be numbered. Ray also says 1 Corinthians 15;41 tells us that each star is unique. Close inspection shows a difference in of light spectra.
The Bible and Outer Space Ray argues before the Hubble telescope, the Bible in Deuteronomy 10:14 talked about 'the heavens' and 'the highest heavens.' Ray says we now know how vat the universe is, which galaxies very far away.
The Bible and the Sun's Circuit Ray uses Psalm 19:6. Ray notes many people criticized this verse that it supported geocentrism. Ray says that scientists at the time (~800 BCE) thought the sun was stationary. Now, science tells us that the sun moves at great speeds. Ray argues the "circuit" in the bible verse supports this.
The Bible and the Revolving Earth Ray argues that Jesus Christ will come back (faster than the speed of light -Luke 17:24) while some are asleep at night and others awake during their daytime activities. Ray concludes this must mean that the bible knew the earth revolved, since day and night existed on earth at the same time. Ray also argues that science did not discover this until the 15th century.
The Bible and the Expanding Universe Ray says that the Bible mentions about seven times that God "stretches out the heavens like a curtain" but he only notes Psalm 104:2. Ray says only recently is science understanding that the universe is expanding.
Astronomy Confirms the Bible In 1964, Drs. Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson of Bell Labs discovered a noise coming from all directions, permeating the universe. This was hailed by physicists as "the radio echo of creation." Penzias said that the best data to go by, if he had nothing else to go on, are the five books of Moses. He also said that "the creation of the universe is supported by all the observable data astronomy has produced so far."
Chapter 9: Historical Figures and the Bible
Sir Isaac Newton Believed the Bible Ray calls Newton the father of modern science. Ray then quotes Newton claiming that he found the Bible more historically authentic than any other.
Samuel Morse Believed the Bible Morse created the telegraph, who claimed four years before his death that the closer he approached death he saw the divine origin in the Bible.
Napoleon Believed the Bible Ray provides a quote from Napoleon who finds the Bible very enjoyable and reads it daily.
Woodrow Wilson Believed the Bible
Thomas Jefferson Believed the Bible
Herbert Hoover Believed the Bible
John Quincy Adams Believed the Bible
Franklin D. Roosevelt Believed the Bible
Robert E. Lee Believed the Bible remember, Lee was the General for the Confederate Army in the American Civil War.
Ulysses S. Grant Believed the Bible
Sir Winston Churchill Believed the Bible
Charles Dickens Believed the Bible
John Adams Believed the Bible "The Bible is the best book in the world. It contains more than all the libraries I have ever seen."
Ronald Reagen Believed the Bible
George Washington Believed the Bible
Dwight Eisenhower Believed the Bible
Albert Schweitzer Believed the Bible
Calvin Coolidge Believed the Bible
Christopher Columbus Believed the Bible
Here are some important historical figures who also believed the Bible, but Ray choose not to share,
- The Nazi party.
- The Ku Klux Klan.
- George W. Bush.
- Dick Cheney.
- Fred Phelps, head of the Westboro Baptist Church, who believe the dead soldiers are god's punishment on American for its support of homosexuality.
- Henrich Kramer & James Sprenger, authors of the Malleus Maleficarum.
- Vlad the Impaler.
- Ivan the Terrible.
- Hernán Cortés and many other conquistadors.
- Kamini Debbarma of the NLFT, a Christian terrorist group in India.
- David Koresh, leader of the Branch Dividians, many who died in a shoot out with local and federal law enforcement officers.
- Jim Jones, leader of the People' Temple and initiator of the mass suicide of over 900 people in Jonestown, Guyana.
Chapter 10: Archaeology and the Bible
Archaeology and History Attest to the Bible The first section of this chapter was written by Richard Fales, PhD, who has been described as a professor of Archaeology, Greek, and Apologetics at the unaccredited, and apparently now defunct, Pacific International University. Other sites indicate his credentials are completely fictitious.
The section does make a valid point that the gap of a few decades between the events in the New Testament and when they were written down is relatively short in comparison to other works. However, Fales misdates the oldest manuscripts by upwards of half a century and the continues with the demonstrably false claim that "it can be proved, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the New Testament says exactly the same thing today as it originally did nearly 2,000 years ago." Fales also ignores the fact that all of the oldest manuscripts are fragments, typically smaller than a credit card and the first complete book of the New Testament was written no earlier than 200 AD. 
Next Fales sets up the strawman that critics claim "there are no ancient writings about Jesus outside the New Testament". While he does list a number of extra-biblical sources that refer to Jesus or simply to Christians, Fales falsely claims that these other sources confirm Jesus' "birth, ministry, death and resurrection". This is followed by an extremely vague and extremely short history of the biblical canon. Fales claims that "Each document, being accepted as it was penned in the first century, was then passed on to Christians of the next century," obviously ignoring the "documents" written by Christians in the first century that didn't make it into the canon.
The Dead See Scrolls Bear Out the Bible This section is written by archaeologist and biblical scholar William F Albright, who received his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University.  Despite the relatively harmless claims, Albright has been highly criticized with comments like "historical interpretation can make no claim to be objective, proceeding as it does from a methodology which distorts its data by selectivity which is hardly representative". In short, this section only serves to demonstrate that what we currently have in the Old Testament is likely to be the same as what was present 3000 years ago.
The following sections contains several quotes from people of varying levels of authority. These quotes and the examples provided demonstrate that the Old Testament is historical accurate only at the level Ben Hur and Cleopatra are. Although, some of the characters and a few events are considered truly historical, neither the movies nor Comforts description go beyond that. For example, Comfort points out the bible mentions the Hittite Empire and Ponitius Pilate, which archaeological evidence also show existed. Comfort naturally avoids mentioning the fact that both of these are attested to by many, many other sources.
Chapter 11: The Bible's Historical Accuracy
Chapter 12: Evolution and the Bible
Chapter 13: Science and Evolution
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