Science and Revelation

I noticed a trend in the bible that there is no revelation of science foreign to the audience. This also makes sense theology as introduction of advanced science to Israel would not be in line with God’s method of faith and reliance upon Him (not becoming a technological superpower etc).

I know there are apologetic arguments that unknowable science can be directly or indirectly extracted from various verses. These always seemed fairly malleable and definitely exceed their own grammatical historical requirement (especially as multiple advanced civilizations surrounded them and the literary elite could well have heard of Egyptian, Greek, Babylonian etc ideas).

From this I thought, if the Bible does not reveal unknown science beyond the garden story, why should Eden and Creation teach scientific principles? This would be alien in purpose to the text, to the culture, and to the rest of the Specific Revelation.

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I’ve seen similarly doubtful “advanced science in the text” arguments made for the Quran.


We appear to be smart enough to figure out a lot of the science stuff on our own. However, deeper questions of philosophy and morality still stump us to this day. I think it is more fitting that Genesis focused on the harder questions and left the science stuff up to us.


The revelations and messages given by God do not aim to increase ‘nice to know’ knowledge about our universe. There have been much more important goals in the messages.

When telling an important message, it is a basic rule not to ‘hide’ the message among other interesting stuff. If the important part of the heavenly message would have been told to ancient listeners embedded within a modern scientific worldview, the focus of interest would probably have remained in the ‘novel’ worldview. Many would have rejected the spiritual message because of ‘strange’ claims about the natural world. Others would have argued about the details of the ‘novel’ worldview. The heavenly key message would have been forgotten or got less attention than everything else.

And by the way, is it essential that people have ‘correct’ :copyright: opinions about the universe? I exchanged recently messages with a believer that supports the flat earth hypothesis. Weird ideas in my opinion but we are both followers of Jesus. Her interpretations were even somewhat informative as I understood better how our worldview affects the way we interpret observations. For example, she claimed that when flying high above ground, the horizon is straight but the windows of an airplane distort the picture so that the horizon seems to curve - an optical illusion caused by poor-quality windows and our limited ability to see distant objects [sic].


This argument is ignoring the real questions.

The real questions are where did we come from? why are we here?, and where are we going (what comes next)?

These are philosophical questions.

Given Christianity is a philosophy and not a science, it is bogus to think that science defines or even explains the philosophy, or is authoritative…it simply is not.

Then the argument becomes, oh the philosphical writings must be interpreted incorrectly. That has been proven false so now its, oh they are written for a different genre (different audience whatever).

The problem with the genre argument…language is universal (no matter what language the same is true). If a passage 5,000 years ago uses words that we know today have the same meaning, its ridiculous to try to claim they mean something different…its obvious they do not. So that argument is irrational, ignores standard communication principles worldwide… that are thousands of years old, and is therefore totally bogus.

Then theres the apparent scientific diassgreement…the trouble is, despite the claims here, there is plenty of scientific evidence that also supports the literal reading of the philosophy itself…the bible!

So in reality, a literal reading is more consistent than teisting interpretations in order to try to match secular naturalism and uniformitarianism. The bible clearly claims the opposite of uniformitarianism…it claims sin has ruined this world and that Christ died on the cross for sin and thrle eventual outcome/goal will be Gods restoration of the world back to its former glory.

Oh i forgot…

Please remember, the writers of the bible recorded Gods own words…the interpretation is already done for us. The bible is already written in human language. Those writers tell us on numerous occasions all throughout the bible that God created Adam a fully functioning man who was intelligent enough to be given the ability to name animals, tend the garden, interract with God…Adam already understood and could communicate…thats the point really.

Hi Adam,

Christianity is not a philosophy (1 Cor 2:4-5).

It is a relationship with the Living God through revelation and expressed through all of life.

Your proven false claim is unsubstantiated. Your genre claim is the same.

Your assumption that those words have the same meaning is not true. Meaning is not a simple dictionary definition. Communication principles existing 5000 years ago that are worldwide is also unsubstantiated.

The bible is not scientific evidence. Nor is there a lot of supporting evidence for YEC.

Some people may try to force concordism. Others may even simply ask, am I interpreting this correctly and go back to the text and the author.

While there are some direct suggestions of dictation largely with Moses, the main biblical thrust of Scripture is that it is spirit-breathed, according to His purposes, will not return void, and is essentially spiritual.

There is also a meta narrative that must be revealed as it was not clear (Peter even mentions that the untaught distort, Paul the naturalnman does not understand). Your literalism is a social construct as well.


That is largely the tack that the current Pope has taken.

He seems to take a more Dualistic approach where evolution explains how the physical body of humans developed and Genesis as the description of how the human spirit developed.

Jesus spoke in parables, and we have no problem understanding them as they have been translated into modern English.

Yes, it would go against major Catholic belief to suggest humanity is purely physical/material. That means the Church believes science can never explain the totality of man as there is a spiritual component to humans beyond its purview. But the church is very accepting of biological evolution, just not with some of the baggage some popular atheists scientists accompany it with.


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Superb point.

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The thing is, the set of “words that have the same meaning” between two different languages is nowhere near the whole of either language. Just for one example, the concept of time varies widely between languages.

Thinking of Genesis 1:1, out of seven words in Hebrew none of them have an exact match in English. In verse two, out of fourteen words three have a match (and one of those is questionable).

Any student in first year linguistics would laugh at this, it is so wrong – and so would any student in a university literature sequence! Go back half a millennium in English and genre becomes essential for understanding; with ancient languages it is even moreso.

The naive assumption that reading something in translation tells you what kind of literature it is is not merely ignorant but arrogant.

No, it’s ignorant and arrogant because when you say “literal meaning” what you really just said is “what it looks like to me in translation without needing to bother with actually learning”. A big problem with that is one I learned when working in Miami and speaking Spanish most of the time: what a verse says in English and what it says in Spanish when read “literally” can be two very, very different things.

No, and no. God did not dictate the Bible, He inspired it, and the two are not at all the same. My favorite illustration of how it actually works comes from when I was at a conference and during worship someone stood up and spoke in tongues: the pastor didn’t miss a beat, he stood and asked for an interpretation. One person was bolder than several others of us and spoke up first, and chillingly to me was the fact that the interpretation given had the same sense as words that had come into my mind, but didn’t use the same vocabulary – and two others had received interpretations that had the same sense but the words they used didn’t match, either.

God does not ride rough-shod over people’s consciences; that’s what demons do. Just as Jesus was God and human, so also scripture is fully human – and fully human writing has to be read as whatever literary type the writer chose.


Try the first three verses in Genesis. Verse 2 grandfathers in the prior pagan cosmogony - why cloud the Creator with details of the Creation? Verses 1 and 3 herald I AM as the inventor of time, space, matter, and light. Today Creation isn’t shy about its age of 13.78 billion years. Noting that God is the (sentient!!) uncaused first cause is “folly to the Greek (atheist) and stumbling block to the Jew (YEC)” but when the Spirit wants us to know that God created science itself, well, there you are.

This seems most certainly true. Lists like these are not the Bible catching up with science:

No, Modern Scienxe is not Catching up with the Bible

The Bible largely assumes the background knowledge of the day. It would have been unintelligible had it not and as one of the Popes said, the Bible does not tell us how the heavens were built. It tells us how to go to heaven.

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It also hurts my heart to see multiple civilization’s perspective with many individual views of learned person’s being condensed into “science then”.

Or how those verses are used, or even their understanding of “science now”

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Heck, Hebrew doesn’t even have the same concept of time that English does, or of verb tenses!

Quite so – and it does that not in material terms but in relational terms.

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Not quite: that “prior cosmogony” held that “the deep” and a formless world pre-existed the gods.

Yeah, a bunch of the claims about those verses are sheer wishful thinking, for example Isaiah 40, Job 38, II Samuel 22, and Jonah 2. For that matter, I’m not convinced that the “science then” column is all that correct.
And as the linked article notes, even the ones that match modern science aren’t talking about science at all – making them do so is mangling the scriptures.

Why that is so hard for some to understand I can’t fathom.

BTW, gotta love this from that article:

For Christians, the purpose of the entire Bible is first and foremost to reveal Christ. Therefore, it ultimately draws its authority from the fact that it truly speaks of God and his Son.


You got that backwards in a fun and interesting way. It was Galileo Galilei who said, “The Bible tells us how to go to to heaven, not how the heavens go.” He was put under house arrest by the Inquisition for daring to go against Geocentrism, a doctrine that was supported (in part) by specific interpretations of the Bible. The Pope at the time would probably have been on the “the Bible tells us how the heavens go” side of the debate.

But to get to the meat of your post . . .

Agreed. The Bible describes the Sun moving about the Earth because that was how it was viewed at the time. It wouldn’t have made much sense to the people of the time if the Earth was described as the object that was moving. Also, the Bible was trying to get across ideas that were much more important than describing the relationship between the Earth and Sun in a scientifically accurate manner.


Odds are it would have said the same even if they had known differently: we still talk about the sun coming up and going down, and we’ve known different for centuries. The Bible isn’t interested in science at all and will use the common expressions everyone uses – it is in that respect incarnational.


Thanks for the update on what “the deep” meant.
And, yes, when your five year old mind is fresh wax, the pictures Genesis paints etch themselves deeply. “I know what I learned at my mother’s knee, and your contrary silliness just bounces off.”

Humorous. As far as I am aware, Galileo was quoting a private conversation with Cardinal Baronius. But yeah, John Paul II (the Pope I referenced) was repeating something Galileo also repeated.

It also has a solid dome in the sky and the idea that thoughts originate in our kidneys.

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