do science and the Bible compare?
3) scientific accuracy
gods are there, what gods have there been, that were not from man's imagination?"
is no such source of error as the pursuit of absolute truth."
The Bible and scientific accuracy.
WHAT IS THE CONTEXT?
The Bible does not set
itself up to be understood as a written collection of hand-me-down tales,
but to be taken as direct inspirations of the living God. If it is completely
true, its truth corroborates its claim of divine inspiration.
At the same time, the
Bible neither sets itself up as a scientific textbook. The Bible conveys
reality accurately, but within the context of its ancient audience. As such,
there is no point in combing the Bible for a periodic chart of the elements,
or checking to see if it carries all of its figures out to sixteen decimal
-- ANSWERING THE MOST CITED EXAMPLE OF INACCURACY
The verse nearly every
skeptic on the internet uses in trying to disprove the scientific accuracy
of the Bible is found in 1 Kings 7:23:
He made the Sea
of cast metal, circular in shape, measuring ten cubits from rim to rim
and five cubits high. It took a line of thirty cubits to measure around
The charge is that the
relationship between the circumference and diameter indicated in this passage
is thirty to ten (three); not the actual figure of pi. The conclusion
is that this constitutes a mistake in the Bible which, in turn, proves its
unreliability. The response to this is two-fold.
First, the actual figure
of pi (3.14159...) is a transcendental figure that continues beyond
the decimal point to no end. Therefore, any real number with which the Bible
responds, or even the skeptic, will be incomplete.
who believe that this passage proves the Bible's inaccuracy have jumped
to the conclusion that it is the outside of the ring that is being measured.
A careful reading of the entire passage reveals that verse twenty-six
of the same chapter gives the thickness of the circle as one handbreadth.
Thus when two four-inch
handbreadths are subtracted from the exterior diameter of the circle (one
from each side), the relationship being given is revealed to be for the
inside of the circle. This works out to 3.14 - a very reasonable
rounding of pi.
- Circumference = 30
cubits (1 cubit=18") or 30 x 18 = 540"
- Diameter = 10 cubits
(180") less one handbreadth per side (2 x 4") = 172"
= 540/172 = 3.1395
If the four-inch width
assumed for a single handbreadth is increased as little as one-sixteenth
inch, then the rounding is even closer.
The biblical authors'
presentation of figures such as pi does not suggest incompetency
any more than hearing the weather report in only whole numbers, or using
the word "sunrise", or Dr. Sagan's writings that declare the surface
of the sun to be 6,000 degrees (Cosmos, Random House, 1980, p. 225).
Instead of questioning if the sun is 6,000 degrees exactly, everywhere,
and always, it is sufficient to understand the context in which the figure
is being presented.
It is the context
that determines the proper rounding of the figures in question. In the
context of the Old Testament's description of the beauty of the furnishings
in the temple of the Most High God, two decimal places are quite sufficient.
One additional observation
here: because understanding the two verses quoted at the beginning involves
reading a third verse which is less than a paragraph away, the reasoning
ability of the skeptics who circulate this so-called error is in question.
They are passing judgment on an 800,000+ word collection of writings based
on reading not much more than two verses, if they indeed read the Bible
If they are finding
the popular list of 100 or so Bible errors found on countless atheism sites,
and gleefully assuming them to be valid, their assumption is demonstrating
the blindest of faiths. To such freethinkers, I say read the Bible for yourself.
Look for truth in facts and evidences, and in logic and study. Think for
What is chance?
critics discredited the early manuscripts?
200,000 errors in