ASTRONOMY IN THE BIBLE

 

                                                                                                                          Dr. Robert C. Newman

                                                                                                               Biblical Theological Seminary

INTRODUCTION

 

Is religion, like music or food, a matter of taste?

            Each religion claims to tell us how things REALLY are

            Only Christianity offers much evidence to support claims

Here we compare Biblical statements in 4 areas of astronomy with those of ancients and modern science

 

THE SIZE OF THE UNIVERSE

 

Bible: Ps 8:3‑4: amazing to Psalmist that God cares about man; Jer 31:37: heavens immeasurable

Koran: Sura 2: earth a bed, sky a dome; Sura 22: holds sky from falling down; Sura 34: let a part fall

Anaximander, About Nature: sun most distant object, about 28x size of earth away

Modern Science: objects apparently 10 billion light years away (1 light year = 6 trillion miles); no end in sight

 

THE NUMBER OF STARS

 

Bible: Gen 15:5: large number; Jer 33:22, Gen 22:17: uncountable, like sand

Hipparchus, Ptolemy: anc. catalogues, about 1000 stars (only about 6000 visible without telescope)

Democritus: speculated an infinite no. of worlds

Modern Science: 100s of billions of stars in each of billions of galaxies; Sir James Jeans, The Stars in Their Courses, 137: no. of stars like no. of grains of sand in all oceans of earth

 

THE EARTH'S SUPPORT

 

Bible: Job 26:7: earth hangs on nothing

Hindu Vedas: earth flat & triangular; 7 stages: honey, sugar, butter, wine, etc.; supported by elephants

Greek mythology: Atlas

Greek philosophers: water (Thales); air (Anaxagoras); nothing (Anaximander, contra Aristotle)

Modern Science: support is non‑material, by balance of gravity and inertia

 

THE EARTH'S SHAPE

 

Bible: Job 26:10: boundary between light and darkness on earth's surface is a circle; Luke 17:34‑36: different times of day in different places

Greek philosophers: flat (Hecataios); pillar‑shaped (Anaximander); round (Pythagoras)

 

CONCLUSIONS

 

Have to postulate very lucky guesses to avoid Biblical evidence; contrast ancient Jewish attempts to write Scripture: 1 Enoch 72:3‑7: sun's chariot, gates, winds; 3 Baruch 3:6‑8: bore thru heaven's dome

Looks like we have real evidence of God behind the Bible writers here.