While the Bible is certainly not a science book, occasionally it does touch on matters scientific. While I am not a trained scientist, I have always loved science, and make a serious effort to read science books, magazines, and journal articles regularly.
Science and the Bible
The scientific issues I have wrestled most with are those surrounding the creation and evolution debate. After twenty years of study, I finally released a book dealing with, among other things, the scientific aspects of Genesis 1-11. It is God, Science and History (DPI, 2004). In it you will find a discussion of such issues as creation, the first humans, and the flood. In the next few weeks, however, we will bring to light some of the amazing scientific insights from the Bible.
Floating or tumbling?
We begin with a detail so minor it nearly escapes our attention. Consider the following passage:
So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high (Genesis 6:14-15).
Take the dimensions of Noah's ark and divide by 15, all around. The dimensions then reduce to 30 x 5 x 3. Yet contemporary pagan accounts render the dimensions of a three-story boat 30 x 30 x 30 - a perfect cube! Which one would float? Not a difficult question to answer. The pagan vessel would have tumbled wildly -- the inhabitants thrown together as in a blender! Noah's craft, on the other hand, would experience smooth sailing (though without the sails, of course). Moreover, 30 x 5 x 3 are (astoundingly) completely satisfactory dimensions for an ocean-going vessel, even today. Admittedly, the ark seems to have been shaped more like a barge than an ocean liner, but still these dimensions would have worked.
If the Hebrews concocted, or unthinkingly recycled, the story of the Flood, as critics allege, how is it that they "got it right"'while the pagans' dimensions are laughable? Remember, they were not a seafaring people! Don't we see here a remarkable instance of God's providence, giving his people "wisdom from above"? While no major biblical doctrine hinges on the dimensions of the ark, we do see here traces of divine wisdom -- just the sort of thing we would expect to find in a book inspired by the God of the universe!
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