Terrestrial view of the scientific facts in the bible

There are some arguments that just don’t go away, regardless of how many times they have been refuted. The new generation of atheists have a way of recycling arguments that are centuries old, and present them as fact while ignoring the explanations given. One of those arguments is that the bible said things that have been scientifically proven to be wrong. For instance:

  • The bible says the “the world is firmly established, it cannot be moved.” (Psalm 93:1, 96:10, 1 Chronicles 16:30)

People use this biblical statement to suggest that the bible means the earth doesn’t orbit around the sun, and it is the sun that orbits around the earth. They suggest that the bible presents the earth as the centre of the universe, when science is clear that the earth is not the centre of the universe. The bible also says “the sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises” (Ecclesiastes 1:5). To atheists this is a clear statement that the bible suggests that the sun orbits from east to west around the earth.

Galileo, who came up with Heliocentrism theory, had to face the religious people of his time and tell them that the earth orbits around the sun and not the other way around. He told them that the sun doesn’t rise and sets, it is in fact the earth that rises on the sun. To the religious people this sounded like a contradiction of the bible, and so they persecuted Galileo. However Galileo explained that Heliocentrism theory doesn’t contradict the bible, because of a different view that he took in his theory. He explained that the bible was written from a terrestrial view, while Heliocentrism theory is from an extra-terrestrial view.

  • The bible says the moon gives light (Genesis 1:14-19)

In the creation account in Genesis, we are told about how both the sun and the moon were created for the purpose of providing light to earth. The bible says “God made two lights – the greater light to govern the day (sun) and the lesser light to govern the night (moon)” (emphasis added). This looks like the bible says the moon produces its own light, even though it is scientifically known that the moon doesn’t have light of its own but rather reflects the light from the sun.  To atheists this is a clear example of how the bible contradicts science, and they use this to prove that the bible couldn’t have been written by God, after all God should have all scientific facts correct in the bible.

However, the bible was written from a terrestrial view, for the people who live on this earth, not for those who live in space. From a terrestrial view, the moon does give light to the earth, regardless of the fact that the light is a reflection from the sun. At night we don’t see the sun, but we see the moon. As such it would have been unreasonable for the bible to give us a view of the light as though we were from another planet and we had an extra terrestrial view. But rather from a terrestrial view we know that the light that we see is from the moon, although those from extra terrestrial view will notice that the light is actually from the sun.

When taking into account scientific proclamations contained in the bible, we need to always acknowledge that the bible wasn’t written for aliens living in a galaxy 14 billion light years away, but rather it was for people who live in this world. Using extra terrestrial view to judge the bible is senseless, and it’s taking out of context the biblical message.

Others would ask why the bible doesn’t give a thorough explanation of some scientific questions we have. Reality is that the bible is meant to help people find meaning and God in this life on this planet, not to turn their attention to what’s happening in other planets. As helpful as cosmology is in bringing people to God, the reality is that it doesn’t answer the basic questions people have. People want to know why there is suffering, and you can’t answer them by relaying how the earth orbits around the sun or give them the number of galaxies on the universe. So the bible gets into the thick of things and tells us all we need to know while we are still on this planet. God didn’t have an obligation to tell us about things that are happening in space, because we are not in space, but rather He told us about everything we need to know on earth because we are on earth. However, we will be in space (third heaven) one day, and God has promised to bring to our knowledge all we need to know about space.

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