To The Point: Biblical Cosmology
The Bible is not a science book, it's a truth book. But many seem to think science books are the Bible; that is, they treat what is called science as the highest authority to which even the Bible must bow. This matters because the Bible is the inspired Word of God, so it cannot contain falsehoods. No excuses can be made for the alleged
primitive knowledge of the times, especially since the ancients could navigate long distances without compasses or electronic signals, and build impressive structures without computers or motorized machinery. God is not the author of confusion or deception, and a Bible reduced to allegory every time it says something we don't like is not worth our efforts to study, much less to obey.
What is Science?
We must first of all dispel the notion that
science is infallible or settled. In fact, the constant changes in scientific theories are considered
a feature, not a bug— and one proudly embraced by anyone defending them. Today's vigorously-defended scientific fact may be tomorrow's laughable ignorance. Yet one must wonder why ever-changing beliefs are defended with such fierce zealotry, as if one's mother has been insulted. Disagreement with today's
science is treated as damnable heresy, though tomorrow it may be hailed as the newest advance.
At this point, some may jump to the conclusion that the Bible or the Christian community is
anti-science, but the opposite is true. Genuine scientific practice, adhering to the scientific method1, is by definition observable, testable, and repeatable. If it works, it works, and we can observe this consistently. Why it works is a completely different question, and the government school system sees to it that certain questions are not asked. Fact is fact, not theory or conjecture. The Bible deals in fact/truth, so any claims that contradict it are false. No one can claim to support the Bible as inspired by God while at the same time interpreting it throught the lens of ever-changing philosophical presumptions, as is commonly mistaken for empirical science. A Christian must chose between the Bible and the religious philosophy of Scientism.
What is not Science?
Quite simply, any claim that cannot meet the standards of the scientific method. There are other
sciences, meaning topics of study such as biology or geology, which may use the scientific method as part of their work, so be careful with how that word is used in context. If something is claimed to be
scientific, it must at least require observation and testing, without jumping to unwarranted conclusions. Above all, to claim something as a scientific fact, one must rule out any other possible causes of the observed effect. This is crucial, since merely demonstrating that one theory is possible does not mean that other theories are impossible.
So would the theory of evolution qualify as scientific? Only in the very barest sense, in that some actual experimentation may be used to determine the composition of a rock or fossil. But the theory as a whole— whose definition seems to be the only thing that actually evolves— cannot qualify. Observation and analysis are not scientific proofs by themselves. Neither does the theory rule out other theories. So it should be obvious that any philosophical guesswork on how or when something came to be in its present form can never qualify as science. Knowing this, we can say with confidence that the creation account in Genesis can never be debunked by the theory of evolution— again, whatever that may mean on any given day. Every attempt to date the earth or living things begins with begging the question2 that we must calibrate the scale for millions or billions of years. It would be like using an oven thermometer to guage human body temperature.
Likewise, would modern cosmology qualify as scientific? It cannot, since observation is not a scientific proof in itself. Claims of instruments sent to distant (presumed) worlds are easy enough to make, but most of humanity is incapable of testing those claims. We must trust/have faith in those making the claims; that is, cosmology has become a kind of esoteric system whereby only the adepts (scientists) can understand the mysteries. All we can honestly observe is that there are luminaries in the sky, which move according to very consistent patterns. In fact, one only needs long and careful observation of those patterns in order to make predictions of their future movements. This is how the ancients could be so uncannily accurate in their calendars. The age, shape, or location of earth is irrelevant for the predictions of the luminaries' movements— except when we consider that the constellations have maintained their shapes for many thousands of years, which greatly questions the notion that earth has been hurtling at breakneck speed through endless (presumed) space for billions of years.
What does the Bible say?
Regarding the age of our realm, Genesis 1 is often claimed to be an allegory (
theological messaging) where the days are really long eons. But the repeated phrase
evening and morning, day ___ leaves no room for speculation or ambiguity. We also see in the 4th Commandment (Exodus 20:11) that remembering the sabbath day is in commemoration of creation week and is observed every seventh day— not every seventh eon. To object that this is symbolic is to beg the question, since scripture never indicates symbolism for creation week in any context. The only reason anyone tries to symbolize or allegorize creation week is the presupposition that
science has proved that Genesis 1 cannot be taken literally.
Regarding the structure of our realm, not once does the Bible speak of earth in terms of rotating, moving, or floating, but only/always as fixed and immovable:
- Gen. 1:14 no sun for earth to orbit until Day 4
- Gen. 1:16 sun/moon rule/dominate/begin the day/night. Since light in Gen. 1:3 is a created thing it cannot be simply God's light. Since created light predates the luminaries, then they are delegated governors of created light, and they will not last forever (Rev. 22:5).
- Joshua 10:12-13 sun and moon stood still, not that earth stopped rotating
- 1 Sam. 2:8 world on foundations
- 1 Chron. 16:30 earth not moved
- Job 26:7 northern skies spread over emptiness, earth not suspended
- Job 37:18 skies spread out hard as mirror of cast bronze
- Psalm 93:1, 104:5 world firm and secure, never moved from foundations
- Ecclesiastes 1:5 sun rises/sets and hurries back to rise
- Isaiah 40:22 circle (not ball)3 of earth, stretched heavens like canopy over a tent
There is simply no excuse for making the Bible bow, via selective (arbitrary, inconsistent) allegorization, to what is falsely called science but more accurately called pseudoscience or philosophy. We cannot obey two very diametrically-opposed masters. We must demand rigorous proof of every great claim, especially when it clearly opposes what God revealed to us. We cannot allow peer pressure or societal shaming to make cowards or compromisers out of us.
- The scientific method is as follows:
- Experiment to test/falsify the hypothesis
- Independent variable (the cause that you control)
- Dependent variable (the effect of the cause)
- Control variable (the constant)
- Experiment to test/falsify the hypothesis
- (Induction only concerns probabilities and so is not part of the scientific method.)
roll you up like a ball and throw you, and the Hebrew word there is duwr which means round or ball, something thrown. They knew and understood the difference between a circle and a sphere.