There are many apologists who say that scientific knowledge can be found in the Scriptures, although they are not really explicit. [The only fact I can see clearly stated is that the Universe had a beginning (Genesis 1:1; John 1:3, 17:24; Romans 1:20).] Here are a few examples of scientific foreknowledge in the Bible:

  • The universe is expanding (Isaiah 45:12, 40:22, 42:5; Job 9:8; Psalms 104:2)
  • The correct description of the stars (Job 38:31-32)
  • The water cycle (Genesis 8:22; Job 36:27-28; Psalms 135:7; Ecclesiastes 1:7; Amos 9:6)
  • The Earth is round (Job 26:7; Isaiah 40:22)
  • Ocean currents (Psalms 8:8)
  • First law of thermodynamics (Genesis 2:1)
  • Second law of thermodynamics (Psalms 102:25-26)
  • And many more

Are theses intances of a later development to accommodate Scripture to modern science or were they understood like that by Christians in different eras?

  • Matthew's (2:15) use of Hosea (11:1): exegesis or eisegesis ? Christ's use of (the sign of) Jonah: exegesis or eisegesis ? Paul's use of Genesis (Galatians 4:22-31): exegesis or eisegesis ? Etc.
    – Lucian
    Sep 3 '20 at 15:11
  • @NigelJ * 'Many apologists say' has no substantiation* If some says "Jesus is the Son of God, created by God", it is not necessary to ask if that was said by Arius or someone else, as if the refutation depended on the person who said it. Sep 3 '20 at 15:52
  • 1
    @NigelJ I think the question itself is fine. But instead of being framed as exegesis vs. eisegesis maybe the Q should be framed in terms of whether God intends to communicate scientific truth through His inspiring of the Biblical writer. This article can supply some substantiation on the apologist's side of the debate. Sep 3 '20 at 17:09
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    Dr Anna Flynn, a Roman Catholic doctor with expertise in female fertility and Natural Family Planning (on learning when a woman can conceive and when she cannot from her bodies natural signals) has written an excellent piece in her book on NFP: she compares the Bible's knowledge of the monthly female fertility cycle with that of modern medical science and shows the instructions given to Moses on female ritual cleanness show much greater knowledge of this cycle than modern medical science understood until about the 1930s. Manual of NFP - co author Melissa Brooks Sep 3 '20 at 19:33
  • This is backwards, since when does modern “science” validate the Scriptures? Science is ever evolving and changing. And if science were honest given enough time it ends up agreeing with what the Bible was saying all along.
    – Autodidact
    Sep 5 '20 at 4:28

As Galileo once famously said,

the Bible tells you how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go.

The cases you mention require a rather liberal interpretation of the text, and for some it would be quite a stretch to assume that bronze age humans would be able to interpret these as Christians do today, as they were unaware of phenomena like entropy and thermodynamics.

Isaiah 45:12, 40:22, 42:5; Job 9:8; Psalms 104:2

The Hebrew שָׁמָ֑יִם (šā·mā·yim) generally means "heaven" or "sky", not "universe". The Hebrew word is constructed of two parts: sham (שָׁמַ) derived from Akkadian samu meaning "sky" or "lofty", and Hebrew mayim (מַיִם) meaning "water". It is a reference to clouds (the water) in the sky, not the universe. We know this because the sun is called shemesh. It follows the same construction, where shem or sham (Akkadian: samu) means "sky" and esh (Akkadian: ish) means "fire", i.e., "sky-fire".

It also contradicts Genesis 1:6-8, in which The "firmament" is claimed to be a solid "roof" over the world.

We should also mention that according to Genesis, the Earth & sky were formed before the Sun. Aside from bio-mechanical problems, this flatly contradicts the nebular hypothesis of stellar formation, in which planets form in the accretion disk created by a young star.

Job 38:31-32

Can you fasten the chains of the Pleiades or loosen the belt of Orion? Can you bring out the constellations  in  their  season and lead the Bear  and  her  cubs? 

This is not a correct description of the stars - it just alludes to constellations, patterns humans see where there are just random star positions. Furthermore, the Bible also incorrectly defines stars as objects that fall from heaven:

And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters - Revelation 8:10

Job 26:7

during all days of the earth, seed-time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night, do not cease

There is no indication here that the earth is "round" (it is actually spherical). The seasonal facts stated here are not foreknowledge, but demonstrably based on the experience of previous generations from before mankind became sedentary.

Psalms 8:8

Bird of the heavens, and fish of the sea, Passing through the paths of the seas!

This is not what scientists would describe as the water cycle.

Genesis 2:1 & Psalms 102:25-26

And the heavens and the earth are completed, and all their host;

Beforetime the earth Thou didst found, And the work of Thy hands are the heavens. They -- They perish, and Thou remainest, And all of them as a garment become old, As clothing Thou changest them, And they are changed.

This is a classical misapplication of the 1st and 2nd Law Of Thermodynamics, which refer to closed systems. Our planet is an open system constantly receiving thermodynamic energy from an external source. The Earth is definitely not a closed system: the planet loses about 50.000 metric tons of its atmosphere each year.

  • I think some of the quotes are wrong, like Psalm 8:8 referring to the water cycle while in my questions refers to ocean currents Sep 3 '20 at 16:09
  • I've used the Literal Translation
    – Codosaur
    Sep 3 '20 at 16:11
  • Not the quotes per se, but the use of the quotes in the answer Sep 3 '20 at 16:14
  • The scientific definition of the water cycle includes ocean currents if you look at the Wikipedia text.
    – Codosaur
    Sep 3 '20 at 16:17
  • Here is an article about a US Navy man who was inspired by the passage about the "paths of the sea" to look for them. He found them. answersingenesis.org/creation-scientists/profiles/… Sep 3 '20 at 20:59

No. It's not science - go speak to a scientist to find out. Or better still, actually study some science.

If a text mentions a tree am I suddenly a botanist?

The Bible mentions what it does because it is also about the world. Because humans live in a world and its presenting a certain cosmogony about the relationship of humans to the world around them.


@curiousdanii: Whilst God knows more about trees than we will ever do; reading the Bible doesn't make us into God - to think so is, in the Christian dispensation - blasphemy. Which is why we still have to study trees and much else to become a botanist. So what's your point?


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