Re:Relationship of Christian belief and science.
Paleontology Statements Consistent With Paleontology
Dinosaurs are referred to in several Bible books. The book of Job describes two dinosaurs. One is described in chapter 40 starting at verse 15, and the other in chapter 41 starting at verse 1. We think you will agree that 1½ chapters about dinosaurs is a lot—since most people do not even realize that they are mentioned in the Bible. (Actually reading the Bible would help, though. smile ) Click this sentence to see our Dinosaurs page if you would like more information in this subject area.
Job 40:15 (ESV)
15 “Behold, Behemoth, which I made as I made you; he eats grass like an ox.
In Jewish apocrypha and pseudepigrapha such as the 2nd century BCE Book of Enoch, Behemoth is the primal unconquerable monster of the land, as Leviathan is the primal monster of the waters of the sea and Ziz the primordial monster of the sky. In the 2nd century BCE 1 Enoch Leviathan lives in "the Abyss", while Behemoth the land-monster lives in an invisible desert east of the garden of Eden (1 Enoch 60:7-8). A Jewish rabbinic legend describes a great battle which will take place between them at the end of time: "...they will interlock with one another and engage in combat, with his horns the Behemoth will gore with strength, the fish [Leviathan] will leap to meet him with his fins, with power. Their Creator will approach them with his mighty sword [and slay them both]." Then, "from the beautiful skin of the Leviathan, God will construct canopies to shelter the righteous, who will eat the meat of the Behemoth and the Leviathan amid great joy and merriment." (Artscroll siddur, p. 719).
The Young Earth Creationist opinion is that Leviathan and Behemoth are names given to dinosaurs which lived in Biblical times. [They allege that no other animal but a sauropod dinosaur has a tail that "moves like a cedar" (Job 40:17).
Astronomy Statements Consistent With Astronomy
The Bible frequently refers to the great number of stars in the heavens. Here are two examples.
Blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies.
“As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, nor the sand of the sea measured, so will I multiply the descendants of David My servant and the Levites who minister to Me.”
Even today, scientists admit that they do not know how many stars there are. Only about 3,000 can be seen with the naked eye. We have seen estimates of 1021 stars—which is a lot of stars. (The number of grains of sand on the earth’s seashores is estimated to be 1025. As scientists discover more stars, wouldn’t it be interesting to discover that these two numbers match?)
The Bible also says that each star is unique.
1 Corinthians 15:41
There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory.
All stars look alike to the naked eye.* Even when seen through a telescope, they seem to be just points of light. However, analysis of their light spectra reveals that each is unique and different from all others. (*Note: We understand that people can perceive some slight difference in color and apparent brightness when looking at stars with the naked eye, but we would not expect a person living in the first century A.D. to claim they differ from one another.)
The Bible describes the precision of movement in the universe.
Thus says the LORD,
Who gives the sun for a light by day,
The ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night,
Who disturbs the sea,
And its waves roar
(The LORD of hosts is His name):
“If those ordinances depart
From before Me, says the LORD,
Then the seed of Israel shall also cease
From being a nation before Me forever.”
The Bible describes the suspension of the Earth in space.
He stretches out the north over empty space;
He hangs the earth on nothing.
For further reading
I think the main problem is that many don't read the bible and really understand what is being said but engage in Eisegesis and love to read into scripture which is not there.
Interpretation of scientific references in the Bible
Astronaut Jeffrey Williams, a Christian who grew up near our home and whose pastor is a friend of ours, spent nearly a full year on three trips in space. He wrote a book entitled "The Work of His Hands: A View of God's Creation from Space". Of this passage he notes that on earth the dividing line between light and darkness is not noticed, but from space it is very sharply delineated. Astronauts call this dividing line the terminator. Williams notes: "How could the author of Job possibly describe the planet in that way several thousand years ago apart from supernatural inspiration?"
I've heard also that the behemoth may represent a large elephant-like beast such as the now extinct mastodon or mammorth.
One of my reflections on passages such as these is that the mind of man has a recall of things no longer present probably from word of mouth transmission. I don't believe it is an accident that mythologies speak of things like dragons. We create vivid word pictures to describe that which we know but have not seen. That does not mean that there is no reality behind the images of our oral memory. Those who seek to deny God are determined to claim that we imagine what we want to believe. We as believers should be just as sure that these things are in our minds, not because they are pulled by our minds out of thin air, but because they reflect the reality of the Creator God's existence, presence, and acts throughout human history. See Ecclesiastes 3:11 for example. These verses of Scripture along with such nearly universal human memories of a flood, for example, should strengthen our faith, I would think.
Regarding the variety of stars, not to counter your interpretation of I Corinthians 15:41 regarding the unique light signature of each star, but to confirm the wisdom of 1st Century watchers of the sky: It might be noted that in that age people watched the sky very intently for various signs and so fourth. The Bethlehem star is an example. Anything unusual was noted. Also noted were the locations and associations of the stars. Each was unique in its place and movements as well as in its light. So part was known and part was not.
Whenever we watch a show about evolutionary science regarding early men on NGEO for example, who the arrogant modernists are so convinced were stupid beyond belief and could not accomplish certain things, my wife frequently makes the following observation: The arrogant scientists are suddenly forced to confess that they were "surprised" to discover unexpected intelligence in some former human being. Part is known and part is not. We are amused at the chagrin of scientists who suddenly discover that what they thought they knew--they did not. We are amused at the chagrin of scientists who suddenly discover that what they believed could not be true--is. And we are amused at the chagrin of scientists who discover that what they could not imagine, actually is the case. And we are deeply grieved that in their hardness of heart these scientists continue to shut God, who is everywhere evident (Psalm 19:1-6 for example), out of the picture and to look for atheistic explanations for their wonder that excludes Him.