The Bible and Science

Science and the Bible

Clarifyingchristianity.com/science.html

The Bible is not a science book, yet it is scientifically accurate We are not aware of any scientific evidence that contradicts the Bible. We have listed statements on this page that are consistent with known scientific facts. Many of them were listed in the Bible hundreds or even thousands of years before being recorded elsewhere. Many concepts and notes on this page are adapted from ideas and statements that appear in The DEFENDER’S Study Bible.[1]

 Statements Consistent With Paleontology

  • Dinosaurs are referred to in several Bible books. The book of Job describes two dinosaurs. One is described in chapter 40 starting at verse 15, and the other in chapter 41 starting at verse 1. We think you will agree that 1½ chapters about dinosaurs is a lot—since most people do not even realize that they are mentioned in the Bible. (Actually reading the Bible would help, though.

 Dinosaurs and the Bible

Most of us loved reading about dinosaurs at some time in our lives. In 1993, the movie “Jurassic Park” stimulated the public interest in dinosaurs far beyond its previous level. As a result, increasing numbers of people have thought, “Since we have found all these fossils and dinosaur bones, we know dinosaurs existed. How come they are not mentioned in the Bible?”

Actually, dinosaurs are mentioned in the Bible, and we will prove it by doing the following three things:

Examining the Bible’s text and the related scientific facts.
Explaining the accuracy of the Bible.
Exploring what we are taught in school and through the media.

The Bible’s Text

The Bible refers to many the common animals we know today. The list includes lions, wolves, bears, sheep, cattle and dogs along with various kinds of birds, rodents, reptiles, and insects. What is interesting is that this extensive list includes three animals that we no longer recognize. These three are (in the original Hebrew language) tanniyn, b@hemowth (yes, it’s spelled correctly—at least as close as we can get in Roman characters), andlivyathan.

Although we alter the spelling of behemoth and Leviathan slightly, we still use those same words in bibles today. However, tanniyn is always translated into another word when we write it in English. Tanniyn occurs 28 times in the Bible and is normally translated “dragon.” It is also translated “serpent,” “sea monster,” “dinosaur,” “great creature,” and “reptile.” Behemoth and Leviathan are relatively specific creatures, perhaps each was a single kind of animal. Tanniyn is a more general term, and it can be thought of as the original version of the word “dinosaur.” The word “dinosaur” was originally coined in 1841, more than three thousand years after the Bible first referred to “Tanniyn.” To make things clearer, we constructed the following table comparing the scientific names with the Biblical names tanniyn, behemoth, and Leviathan.

“Dinosaur” Names, Then and Now
Name and date first written in the Bible Scientific Name (best estimate) and date the name appeared
tanniyn (dragon) before 1400 BC dinosaur 1841 AD
behemoth before 1400 BC brachiosaurus 1903 AD
Leviathan before 1400 BC kronosaurus 1901 AD

How we got these new names is interesting. In 1822, Mary Ann Mantell became the first person to discover and correctly identify a strange bone as part of a large, unknown reptile. Her husband, Dr. Gideon Mantell, later named this creature an “Iguanodon.” From that time forward, these forgotten animals were given names chosen by the people who rediscovered them. Of course, the Bible, written between approximately 1450 BC and 95 AD, does not include any of these names.

Reading the Bible carefully, you will realize that no living creature matches the descriptions of behemoth and Leviathan. However, if you grab your kid’s dinosaur book, you will notice several possible matches for each one. Let’s examine those.

Behemoth has the following attributes according to Job 40:15-24

  • It “eats grass like an ox.”
  • It “moves his tail like a cedar.” (In Hebrew, this literally reads, “he lets hang his tail like a cedar.”)
  • Its “bones are like beams of bronze,
    His ribs like bars of iron.”
  • “He is the first of the ways of God.”
  • “He lies under the lotus trees,
    In a covert of reeds and marsh.”

Some bibles and study bibles will translate the word “behemoth” as “elephant” or “hippopotamus.” Others will put a note at the edge or bottom of the page, stating that behemoth was probably an elephant or a hippopotamus. Although an elephant or hippopotamus can eat grass (or lie in a covert of reeds and marsh), neither an elephant or a hippopotamus has a “tail like a cedar” (that is, a tail like a large, tapered tree trunk). In your kid’s dinosaur book you will find lots of animals that have “tails like a cedar.”

We would expect behemoth to be a large land animal whose bones are like beams of bronze and so forth, so whatever a behemoth is, it is large. A key phrase is “He is the first of the ways of God.” This phrase in the original Hebrew implied that behemoth was the biggest animal created. Although an elephant or a hippopotamus are big, they are less than one-tenth the size of a Brachiosaurus, the largest (complete) dinosaur ever discovered.[1] A Brachiosaurus could therefore easily be described as “the first of the ways of God.”

Comparing all this information to the description in your kid’s dinosaur book, you may come to the conclusion that “behemoth” is not a normal animal, it is a dinosaur—the brachiosaurus. We agree with that conclusion!

Note: Some paleontologists have found fragmentary leg bones, ribs, or vertebrae which they propose belong to “new” sauropods larger than Brachiosaurus. Examples of these include Amphicoelias, Argentinasaurus, Sauroposeidon, Seismosaurus, Supersaurus and Ultrasaurus. There currently is not enough evidence to really determine the size of any of these, and some paleontologists believe that they are merely large examples of known dinosaurs like Brachiosaurus or Diplodocus. In any case, only the “modern scientific name” of behemoth would change. The point would still remain that behemoth refers to a dinosaur, not a “modern animal” like an elephant or hippopotamus.

Leviathan has the following attributes according to Job chapter 41, Psalm 104:25,26 and Isaiah 27:1. This is only a partial listing—just enough to make the point.

  • “No one is so fierce that he would dare stir him up.”
  • “Who can open the doors of his face, with his terrible teeth all around?”
  • “His rows of scales are his pride, shut up tightly as with a seal; one is so near another that no air can come between them; they are joined one to another, they stick together and cannot be parted.”
  • “His sneezings flash forth light, and his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning. Out of his mouth go burning lights; sparks of fire shoot out. Smoke goes out of his nostrils, as from a boiling pot and burning rushes. His breath kindles coals, and a flame goes out of his mouth.”
  • “Though the sword reaches him, it cannot avail; nor does spear, dart, or javelin. He regards iron as straw, and bronze as rotten wood. The arrow cannot make him flee; slingstones become like stubble to him. Darts are regarded as straw; he laughs at the threat of javelins.”
  • “On earth there is nothing like him, which is made without fear.”
  • Leviathan “played” in the “great and wide sea” (a paraphrase of Psalm 104 verses 25 and 26—get the exact sense by reading them yourself).
  • Leviathan is a “reptile [a] that is in the sea.” (Isaiah 27:1)

[a] Note: The word translated “reptile” here is the Hebrew word tanniyn. This shows that “Leviathan” was also a “tanniyn” (dragon).

Unlike behemoth, who is huge, Leviathan is ferocious and terrifying. Many references (we have not listed them all) refer to the sea, so Leviathan is probably a sea creature. Although some bibles refer to Leviathan as an alligator or crocodile (and both of these are fierce) neither of these is a sea creature. They like the water, but they spend much of their time on land. Further, the question “Who can open the doors of his face. . . .” implies that nobody can open Leviathan’s jaws. Although an alligator’s jaws cannot normally be forced open, a punch to their sensitive snout or poke in eye might startle them enough to release their grip.[2] Although this is a good description of an alligator characteristic, it does not fit perfectly with the description of Leviathan, which in the context of the Bible was supposed to describe an essentially impossible event, and we are not done yet.

The description of the scales is interesting. Several verses describe these great scales. Compared to Leviathan’s armor, iron is like straw and arrows ca not make it flee. Let’s face it, an arrow can do a lot of damage to a crocodile or alligator. This is not a description of either of them—or any living animal we are aware of.

And now for the key ingredient: fire. It is hard to read Job 41:18-21 without realizing the Bible is telling us that Leviathan breathes fire. That alone will eliminate almost every living animal. Yes, there is one animal like that in today’s world. It is called a bombardier beetle. This beetle is a native of Central America, and has a nozzle in its hind end that acts like a little flame thrower. It sprays a high-temperature jet of gas (fueled by hydroquinones and hydrogen peroxide with oxidative enzymes) for protection. Now, if a Central American beetle can do it, so could Leviathan. By the way, crocodiles and alligators are out of the picture on this one, don’t you agree?

Before we leave the topic of fire, there are two more notes you may find interesting:

  • The history of every culture is filled with stories of fire-breathing dragons. If you think about it, in all the past ages wouldn’t someonehave made up a story of a fire-breathing lion or something? Nobody did because the dragon stories are based on truth, and only “dragons” breathed fire. It is easy to imagine Leviathan as a member of the dragon (tanniyn) family. (Plus, Isaiah 27:1 strongly implies this connection.)
  • Many fossil dinosaur skulls contain unexplained, empty passages. Scientists have not been able to guess the reason for these passages. Would it make sense that some dinosaurs used these passages as “gas tanks” for the combustible mixture used to “breathe fire?” We believe it does.

Comparing all this information to the description in your kid’s dinosaur book, you may come up with the conclusion that Leviathan is a kronosaurus. We have heard (and read) other suggestions, but the kronosaurus is the best match of any known creature to the description of Leviathan.

The Accuracy of the Bible

Some people believe that the Bible is not a scientifically accurate book, and that it is only a “spiritual book,” that forgot about dinosaurs or described them incorrectly. This is not the case. Nobody has ever proven that the Bible contains any inaccurately recorded information. (If you think someone has such evidence, contact us:   and show us the evidence. We will post that evidence with our reply in our FAQ section for the world to see—literally.) You do not have to believe the Bible just because someone says you are supposed to. That is blind faith, and blind faith is something you do not need with Christianity. The Bible and Christianity have been proven to be true. There is no other religion or “holy writing” that can honestly make the same claim. You may also wish to get a copy of the book “Know Why You Believe” by Paul Little. It addresses the facts that support Christianity in clear and simple terms.

What We Are Taught (In School and Through the Media)

Since humans are in the Bible, we unconsciously think that dinosaurs were extinct—and therefore not mentioned in the Bible. As you have just seen, the Bible not only refers to dinosaurs, but has detailed information about two of them.

Unfortunately, our public school system and the media have convinced us that dinosaurs were extinct at least 60 million years before man appeared on earth. They have done such a good job in this area that we can not imagine people and dinosaurs living at the same time. The fact is that dinosaurs were created no more than one day before mankind, not many millions of years earlier—and we have evidence to support that statement.

There is a lot of quality scientific information available regarding dinosaurs in the Bible. In time, we will put together a list of links (or recommend a good list of links we find on the web). For now, we would like to recommend two excellent sources of books, video tapes, and audio cassettes on this topic. For more information, visit the web site www.clarifyingchristianity.com

Cited References

[1] U.S. Geological Survey: What was the biggest dinosaur? What was the smallest?

[2] American Alligator
Copyright © 1998, 2005 by Clarifying Christianity (SM).
Printed copies of this article may be circulated if it is reproduced in its entirety, along with this copyright notice. You may not charge for, request a donation for, or seek reimbursement from anyone for such copies. Links are OK. All rights reserved.

All Bible passages were taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

All information contained in Clarifying Christianity is a resource for questions dealing with Christian issues. It is not to be taken as Christian counseling. Seek a qualified Christian counselor for help with all such issues. If you choose to work with a Christian counselor, it is your responsibility to ask pertinent questions before you begin, to assure yourself of their qualities and abilities.

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  • Statements  Consistent With Astronomy
  • The Bible frequently refers to the great number of stars in the heavens. Here are two examples.

Genesis 22:17
Blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies.

 

Jeremiah 33:22
“As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, nor the sand of the sea measured, so will I multiply the descendants of David My servant and the Levites who minister to Me.”

Even today, scientists admit that they do not know how many stars there are. Only about 3,000 can be seen with the naked eye. We have seen estimates of 1021 stars—which is a lot of stars.[2] (The number of grains of sand on the earth’s seashores is estimated to be 1025. As scientists discover more stars, wouldn’t it be interesting to discover that these two numbers match?)

  • The Bible also says that each star is unique.

1 Corinthians 15:41
There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory.

All stars look alike to the naked eye.* Even when seen through a telescope, they seem to be just points of light. However, analysis of their light spectra reveals that each is unique and different from all others.[1] (*Note: We understand that people can perceive some slight difference in color and apparent brightness when looking at stars with the naked eye, but we would not expect a person living in the first century A.D. to claim they differ from one another.)

  • The Bible describes the precision of movement in the universe.

Jeremiah 31:35,36
Thus says the LORD,
Who gives the sun for a light by day,
The ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night,
Who disturbs the sea,
And its waves roar
(The LORD of hosts is His name):
“If those ordinances depart
From before Me, says the LORD,
Then the seed of Israel shall also cease
From being a nation before Me forever.”

 

  • The Bible describes the suspension of the Earth in space.

Job 26:7
He stretches out the north over empty space;
He hangs the earth on nothing.

 Statements Consistent With Meteorology

  • The Bible describes the circulation of the atmosphere.

Ecclesiastes 1:6
The wind goes toward the south,
And turns around to the north;
The wind whirls about continually,
And comes again on its circuit.

 

  • The Bible includes some principles of fluid dynamics.

Job 28:25
To establish a weight for the wind,
And apportion the waters by measure.

The fact that air has weight was proven scientifically only about 300 years ago. The relative weights of air and water are needed for the efficient functioning of the world’s hydrologic cycle, which in turn sustains life on the earth.[1] (If you are a physics enthusiast, please ignore our omission of the terms mass, gravity, and density from this comment.)

 Statements Consistent With Biology

  • The book of Leviticus (written prior to 1400 BC) describes the value of blood.

Leviticus 17:11
‘For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.’

The blood carries water and nourishment to every cell, maintains the body’s temperature, and removes the waste material of the body’s cells. The blood also carries oxygen from the lungs throughout the body. In 1616, William Harvey discovered that blood circulation is the key factor in physical life—confirming what the Bible revealed 3,000 years earlier.[1]

  • The Bible describes biogenesis (the development of living organisms from other living organisms) and the stability of each kind of living organism.

Genesis 1:11,12
Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, andthe fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, the herb thatyields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed isin itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

 

Genesis 1:21
So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

 

Genesis 1:25
And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

The phrase “according to its kind” occurs repeatedly, stressing the reproductive integrity of each kind of animal and plant. Today we know this occurs because all of these reproductive systems are programmed by their genetic codes.[1]

  • The Bible describes the chemical nature of flesh.

Genesis 2:7
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

 

Genesis 3:19
In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread
Till you return to the ground,
For out of it you were taken;
For dust you are,
And to dust you shall return.

 

  • It is a proven fact that a person’s mental and spiritual health is strongly correlated with physical health.[1] The Bible revealed this to us with these statements (and others) written by King Solomon about 950 BC.

Proverbs 12:4
An excellent wife is the crown of her husband,
But she who causes shame is like rottenness in his bones.

 

Proverbs 14:30
A sound heart is life to the body,
But envy is rottenness to the bones.

 

Proverbs 15:30
The light of the eyes rejoices the heart,
And a good report makes the bones healthy.

 

Proverbs 16:24
Pleasant words are like a honeycomb,
Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.

 

Proverbs 17:22
A merry heart does good, like medicine,
But a broken spirit dries the bones.

 Statements Consistent With Anthropology

  • We have cave paintings and other evidence that people inhabited caves. The Bible also describes cave men.

Job 30:5,6
They were driven out from among men,
They shouted at them as at a thief.
They had to live in the clefts of the valleys,
In caves of the earth and the rocks.

Note that these were not ape-men, but descendants of those who scattered from Babel. They were driven from the community by those tribes who competed successfully for the more desirable regions of the earth. Then for some reason they deteriorated mentally, physically, and spiritually.[1] (Go into a bad part of your town and you will see this concept in action today.)

 Statements Consistent With Hydrology

  • The bible includes reasonably complete descriptions of the hydrologic cycle.[3]

Psalm 135:7
He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth;
He makes lightning for the rain;
He brings the wind out of His treasuries.

 

Jeremiah 10:13
When He utters His voice,
There is a multitude of waters in the heavens:
“And He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth.
He makes lightning for the rain,
He brings the wind out of His treasuries.”

In these verses you can see several phases of the hydrologic cycle—the worldwide processes of evaporation, translation aloft by atmospheric circulation, condensation with electrical discharges, and precipitation.[1]

Job 36:27-29
For He draws up drops of water,
Which distill as rain from the mist,
Which the clouds drop down
And pour abundantly on man.
Indeed, can anyone understand the spreading of clouds,
The thunder from His canopy?

This simple verse has remarkable scientific insight. The drops of water which eventually pour down as rain first become vapor and then condense to tiny liquid water droplets in the clouds. These finally coalesce into drops large enough to overcome the updrafts that suspend them in the air.[1]

  • The Bible describes the recirculation of water.

Ecclesiastes 1:7
All the rivers run into the sea,
Yet the sea is not full;
To the place from which the rivers come,
There they return again.

 

Isaiah 55:10
For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven,
And do not return there,
But water the earth,
And make it bring forth and bud,
That it may give seed to the sower
And bread to the eater,

 

  • The Bible refers to the surprising amount of water that can be held as condensation in clouds.

Job 26:8
He binds up the water in His thick clouds,
Yet the clouds are not broken under it.

 

Job 37:11
Also with moisture He saturates the thick clouds;
He scatters His bright clouds.

 

  • Hydrothermal vents[4] are described in two books of the Bible written before 1400BC—more than 3,000 years before their discovery by science.

Genesis 7:11
In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.

 

Job 38:16
Have you entered the springs of the sea?
Or have you walked in search of the depths?

 Statements Consistent With Geology

  • The Bible describes the Earth’s crust (along with a comment on astronomy).

Jeremiah 31:37
Thus says the LORD:
“If heaven above can be measured,
And the foundations of the earth searched out beneath,
I will also cast off all the seed of Israel
For all that they have done, says the LORD.”

Although some scientists claim that they have now measured the size of the universe, it is interesting to note that every human attempt to drill through the earth’s crust to the plastic mantle beneath has, thus far, ended in failure.[1]

  • The Bible described the shape of the earth centuries before people thought that the earth was spherical.

Isaiah 40:22
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.

The word translated “circle” here is the Hebrew word chuwg which is also translated “circuit,” or “compass” (depending on the context). That is, it indicates something spherical, rounded, or arched—not something that is flat or square.

The book of Isaiah was written sometime between 740 and 680 BC. This is at least 300 years before Aristotle suggested that the earth might be a sphere in this book On the Heavens.

This brings up an important historical note related to this topic. Many people are aware of the conflict between Galileo and the Roman Catholic Pope, Paul V. After publishing A Dialogue on the Two Principal Systems of the World, Galileo was summoned to Rome, where he was forced to renounce his findings. (At that time, “theologians” of the Roman Catholic Church maintained that the Earth was the center of the universe, and to assert otherwise was deemed heretical.)

We could not find any place in the Bible that claims that the Earth is flat, or that it is the center of the universe. History shows that this conflict, which took place at the time of the Inquisition, was part of a power struggle. As a result, scientific and biblical knowledge became casualties—an effect we still feel to this day.

 Statements Consistent With Physics

  • The Bible suggests the presence of nuclear processes like those we associate with nuclear weaponry. This is certainly not something that could have been explained in 67 AD using known scientific principles (when Peter wrote the following verse).

2 Peter 3:10
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.

 

  • The television is a practical (if not always worthwhile   ) device that uses electromagnetic waves (which transmit its video signal). The Bible contains passages that describe something like television—something that allows everyone on earth see a single event. (Note: such passages typically refer to the end of time. It may not be long before allof us learn for sure whether the Bible is true or not.)

Matthew 24:30
Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

 

Revelation 11:9-11
Then those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies three-and-a-half days, and not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves. And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, make merry, and send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth. Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them.

Things In The Bible That Science Can Not Explain

The purpose of this page is not to explain what a great science text the Bible is, but to show that it is consistent with scientific facts. Still, the Bible mentions some things that we can not explain. Yet, if God is really God, He should have the ability to do some things we can not explain.

In the last 100 years (and especially in the last ten) scientists discovered many proofs that confirm the Bible’s accuracy. Since these proofs support the accuracy of the text we can understand scientifically, it makes sense to trust the Bible’s text that we can not yet understand. (For example, how many people knew what hydrothermal vents were 30 years ago?) If you would like to see the proof we have for the accuracy of the Bible, click on the link below.

 How Do You Know The Bible Is True?

If you like reading books, a good one that addresses the facts that support Christianity is Know Why You Believe by Paul Little. There is an advantage to a book—it does not change as a page on the Internet can. Plus, a million copies of Paul Little’s book have been printed (about 40 times the number required to be called a “best seller”) which proves it is not an isolated person’s opinion.

References

[1] The DEFENDER’S Study Bible, Word Publishing, Grand Rapids, Michigan (1995).
[2] The Number of Stars
[3] The Hydrologic Cycle
[4] Submarine Volcanic Ecosystems (An article on hydrothermal vents.)

Copyright © 1998, 1999, 2003 by Clarifying Christianity (SM).
Printed copies of this article may be circulated if it is reproduced in its entirety, along with this copyright notice. You may not charge for, request a donation for, or seek reimbursement from anyone for such copies. Links are OK. All rights reserved.

All Bible passages were taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

All information contained in Clarifying Christianity is a resource for questions dealing with Christian issues. It is not to be taken as Christian counseling. Seek a qualified Christian counselor for help with all such issues. If you choose to work with a Christian counselor, it is your responsibility to ask pertinent questions before you begin, to assure yourself of their qualities and abilities.

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