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The Bible and Science

Isn’t that an oxymoron? The Bible and science going together?

Well I’m here to say that they do INDEED go together. Hi, geophysicist (Ph.D.) here to share my thoughts, and my heart with anyone who would care to listen.

But hey, isn’t the Bible just a bunch of old stories that have been put together, probably during the middle ages? Isn’t the God of the Bible a hateful God, so why believe in Him anyways?

Well, I’m here to say confidently that the Bible is indeed more than a bunch of old stories concocted during the time of the Catholic Church. How do I know? Well, I am a scientist. I don’t just believe things people tell me, I look for the evidence. I search it out. There were times when I wanted to disbelieve the Bible… and was even disappointed when I researched things and found out it was true after all. There were times when I did believe it was true, but became worried that maybe if I researched too much, I would find out it was wrong. Even then I never found anything that made me think the Bible is anything less than the very old, very real, word of the true God.

Why am I starting this blog page?

Well for starters, there is a lot of misinformation on the Bible. There’s a lot of misinformation about what “science” conclusions should be, and our purpose in life. And coming from a (recent) past of being inside the world of scientific academia, I am here to declare loudly, THE BIBLE IS TRUE, GOD IS REAL. Secondarily I’m here to tell you, STOP BELIEVING SCIENTISTS, LOOK AT THE EVIDENCE AND RESEARCH THINGS YOURSELF!

I actually AM a scientist. So yeah, don’t believe me. Instead, look at the evidence I will be presenting and discussing on this blog page, and look things up yourself. YOU decide if it makes rational sense. Decide whether or not it COULD be true. Determine whether or not you disbelieve because there is clear evidence against what I’m saying, or if you just don’t WANT to believe it because of personal bias or opinion.

What is my point? What am I getting at?

This is my point. The Bible has scientific proof that shows it to be unchanged. There are more complete, consistent manuscripts of the Biblical books than of any other ancient books, and versions that are almost if not exactly identical to the oldest manuscripts… some written within only decades of the original writing (for a list of many of the proofs, see the book “Evidence that Demands a Verdict” by Josh McDowell). The Bible books can be trusted, and the books that are included in our current Bible version are NOT something assembled by the church hundreds of years later, leaving things out that they shouldn’t have or putting the wrong things in. This is a common narrative I hear often that has no basis in fact, and I am not sure why so many people think it is a fact. Rather, the Old Testament canon has existed in its form since before the beginning of the Common Era. The New Testament books that are included are only the Gospels written by those who had first-hand interactions with Jesus Christ Himself, or were in the inner circle of those who did (i.e. Mark’s gospel and Luke’s gospel). The rest of the New Testament books were written by either one of the 12 disciples of Jesus, or the Apostle Paul (whose books are included due to the nature of his conversion where he met Jesus in a vision. You can find this story in the book of Acts, which was also written by Luke). For more clear evidence that supports what I am saying, I cannot recommend enough Josh McDowell’s book Evidence that Demands a Verdict.

The Bible tells an amazing, consistent story. It is written by various authors, but you hear the voice of God in the writing when you read it (this I say from my own and other’s personal experiences, it is not necessarily a scientific proof). Don’t believe me? Read the Bible and study it ALL THE WAY THROUGH. Many people claim they’ve read the Bible, but they didn’t actually read the whole thing. Or (in rare cases) maybe they read the whole thing, but didn’t attempt to understand it or look up things they didn’t understand. The Bible is an OLD book and needs to be read with a bit of a scholarly attitude. You wouldn’t be able to fully understand the Epic of Gilgamesh, or Homer’s Odyssey, without researching some historical background. I mean, yes you could get the gist of what the story is about, but you will more fully understand the meaning behind some of the narratives when you understand the context. For example, in the Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh spends considerable time trying to get a large tree. It’s a huge part of the story where he fights a battle over getting a tree. Historically, Gilgamesh is set in Mesopotamia, and in this region during his time there was a lack of natural resources such as minerals, stone, and hardwood. Thus, the significance of Gilgamesh wasting so much energy on getting a tree for building his empire is illuminated by the geographical and historical setting of the story.

The same can be said of the Bible. However, you don’t need to be a scholar to read into the basic themes of the Bible, and to read stories about how people in the Biblical times repeatedly messed up and did awful things, but God continued to pursue a relationship with these messed-up humans He loves. God continued to try and right His relationship with people, and to fix everything we messed up in this world when we sinned in the first place. When you read the Biblical narrative, you see stories about flawed people. Some trying to seek God, and some not. But always you see God, loving people and trying to show us the path to Him, so we can know Him. He is a God unlike any other god, who came to us on earth through Jesus. Who does not depend on humans, but also does not force us to love Him. When we don’t want God in our life, He steps aside. But as soon as we turn to Him, He is ready to show Himself and to love and guide us.

My hope with this blog is to shed some light on the context of the Bible, the scientific proofs of various Biblical histories. All of it is so that YOU the reader can know that you are more than just a human existing and waiting to die. You are important because you were made in the image of God. You have a purpose, you matter.

Don’t believe me? Read the Bible. Yes, all the way through. It will be worth your time.

On Critical Thinking and the Media

One of the dearly lost practices in America today seems to be that of critical thinking when evaluating news articles, social media posts, and other sources of information. Bias is everywhere, yet many of us don’t see it when we are reading. I find particularly that people don’t notice bias if it aligns with their own viewpoints. I found it particularly troublesome when evaluating writings and assignments from college-level students as a teacher. Even in upper-level science classes, many science students didn’t seem to be able to clearly recognize bias or misinformation in either news posts or science articles.

Bias is everywhere. I am biased. You are biased. We all have opinions and world-views that clash with each other. There’s nothing wrong with being biased in and of itself. But what I would like to see is a greater attempt at recognizing bias and determining whether a claim (whether scientific or media claim) is backed by data. Has the author of the claim considered all of the facts and all of the possibilities? What are their biases that I should be aware of? Is it possible to look at the same set of facts that the author is looking at, yet come to a plausible alternate conclusion?

Let me give an example. In my last post, I spoke of the Epic of Gilgamesh, and during my research I came across an article (see here) that discusses the development of this very old Sumerian text. Within the Epic of Gilgamesh, there is a flood story that is quite similar to the Biblical Noah’s Flood (with the exception of character names, and the reference to multiple gods as opposed to one God). Read the author of this article’s analysis of this:

“The Akkadian version of the text was discovered at Nineveh, in the ruins of the library of Ashurbanipal, in 1849 CE by the archaeologist Austin Henry Layard. Layard’s expedition was part of a mid-19th century CE initiative of European institutions and governments to fund expeditions to Mesopotamia to find physical evidence to corroborate events described in the Bible. What these explorers found instead, however, was that the Bible – previously thought to be the oldest book in the world and comprised of original stories – actually drew upon much older Sumerian myths. The Epic of Gilgamesh did likewise as it is a compilation of tales, no doubt originally passed down orally, which was finally written down 700-1000 years after the historical king’s reign.”

So to summarize, this old version of the Epic of Gilgamesh was found by archaeologist’s who were attempting to find physical evidence to corroborate events described in the Bible. And they found an old text that references a global flood. However, the author of this article claims the logical conclusion to the similarity of Gilgamesh’s flood to that of the Bible is one of two things:

  1. The Biblical Flood account is actually a re-telling of Gilgamesh’s story and came directly from it. Gilgamesh’s Flood is the original flood story.
  2. Both stories are re-tellings of an older story, and both have been changed over time.

However, these aren’t the only two options as the author of the article insists. Logically, there is a third option. The Bible is an accurate telling of a global flood that really happened. The significance of this flood to all peoples post-flood was such that they also recorded and re-told versions of the flood story. If you google “flood myths” or “flood stories” you will see that many cultures have a flood story around the world. But you cannot logically conclude that the Bible version cannot be the accurate telling of the story. This claim by the author is biased, and comes from a point of view that all these old stories must be myths, the flood probably didn’t happen. OR that if the flood happened, there is no way that the Bible could be an accurate telling of the flood account.

Well, I disagree. I think the Bible is consistently corroborated by archeology and a host of other scientific evidence. I am biased… because I have a different worldview. But I know that my third option that in opposition to the author of the Gilgamesh article can’t necessarily be dismissed. It is also a logical option, and I acknowledge that it fits my own bias and worldview. But there is no direct evidence that can prove that the Biblical account of the global flood isn’t the true and accurate one. If anything, the fact that the oldest existing story/text discusses an event that is ALSO discussed in the Bible seems like further proof that the Bible could be true. The account of the flood is corroborated by these other accounts, not the other way around.

These types of misinterpretations of information are everywhere, and I think I may just have to write more posts that illuminate them. It is so important to think critically when we read information, and to use our critical thinking skills to determine what is true.

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