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Last week in our study of the inspiration of the Bible, we introduced the topic of scientific foreknowledge. Like predictive prophecy, it is one of the strongest arguments for the divine origin of the Bible. In that study we examined some of the writings of Moses that contained foreknowledge of scientific principles that were not discovered by man for centuries. This article will continue our study by examining other Biblical examples of scientific foreknowledge.
This portion of the article was found to be inaccurate and is being revised. (7/20/2008)
We are all aware of the water cycle that exists in our world, but even though middle school children now study this topic, mankind has not always possessed such knowledge. In fact, it was not until the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries that this idea became commonly accepted. Among others, the astronomer Edmund Halley supplied useful information toward a greater understanding of this concept.
But almost 2000 years earlier, Solomon wrote, “All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again” (Ecclesiastes 1:7). For example, the Mississippi River dumps 6,052,500 gallons per second into the Gulf of Mexico, and yet obviously, the Gulf of Mexico does not “get filled up.” Further, Amos wrote, “...he that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD is his name.“ (Amos 9:6). This passage, along with the statement by Solomon, give a complete picture of the water cycle. But how did a king and a farmer turned prophet know this, especially when it took the scientific world so long to develop this knowledge? This is but another example of scientific foreknowledge that supports the belief that the Bible is inspired of God.
Four of the last five chapters of the book of Job are filled with questions from god to Job in order to cause Job to realize his mistake. Two of those questions, found in Job 38:16 deal with the ocean. The first raises this question: “Hast thou entered into the springs of the seas?” We know today that fresh water springs are located in the Mediterranean Sea, the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans. The first secular reference to these springs was made around the time of Christ’s birth. As recently as 1976 fresh water was discovered along the eastern coast of the United States. How can we account for this knowledge on the part of the writer of the book of Job apart from divine revelation?
The second half of that verse raises this question: “Or hast thou walked in the search of the depth?” The American Standard Version (1901) translates this part of the verse as, “Hast thou walked in the recesses of the deep?” Again, it was not until recent times (late 1800’s) that it was discovered that the ocean floor contains crevasses and valleys that range from 5 to 7 miles deep. Before this mankind was of the opinion that the ocean floor was relatively flat and a sandy extension of the seashore. Again, how did the writer of the book of Job know about this secret of the deep?
How could the biblical writers have anticipated these statements and others that denote scientific knowledge which was not discovered for centuries? In short, they could not have known-- that is, without divine help. Such statements can only be explained by divine revelation. Truly, scientific foreknowledge is a powerful argument for the truthfulness of Paul’s statement, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God...” (2 Timothy 3:16).