Science and the Bible: 1

 

‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.’ Genesis 1:1 NKJV

Do science and the Bible contradict each other? That’s a harder question to answer than it seems. The Bible of course doesn’t change. But what was ‘good’ science a decade ago is often discarded entirely as new discoveries are made. But if that so-called ‘good’ science got into a textbook, it can often be taught as accurate half a century later.

The more science advances, the more it’s evident the Bible is true. Who could have imagined, before the 20th century, that it would be possible for the sequence of creation in Genesis—where plants are created before the sun—to be correct? But when scientists realised photosynthesis needs light, not the sun, it made sense.

Here are some other seemingly impossible Bible statements now supported by science:

(1) The earth floats in space. People once believed it sat on a large animal or giant. Seriously! But fifteen hundred years before Christ, the patriarch Job said, ‘He… hangs the earth on nothing.’ (Job 26:7 ESV) Think about that: you can’t even hang a hat on nothing! Yet science didn’t discover that the earth hangs upon nothing until the year 1650.

(2) The earth is composed of atoms. ‘By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen are not made of things which are visible.’ (Hebrews 11:3 NKJV) Only in recent years has science discovered that everything we see is composed of things we can’t see—namely, invisible atoms. Yet the Bible, written more than two thousand years ago, said it was so. Now, the Bible doesn’t need science to prove that it’s true—it just so happens that it does.

SoulFood: Num 22–24, Mt 12:38–50, Ps 108, Prov 3:31–32

word4today an adaptation of The Word For Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2018

Today’s Readings

Numbers 22–24 (Listen)

22:1 Then the people of Israel set out and camped in the plains of Moab beyond the Jordan at Jericho. And Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. And Moab was in great dread of the people, because they were many. Moab was overcome with fear of the people of Israel. And Moab said to the elders of Midian, “This horde will now lick up all that is around us, as the ox licks up the grass of the field.” So Balak the son of Zippor, who was king of Moab at that time, sent messengers to Balaam the son of Beor at Pethor, which is near the River in the land of the people of Amaw, to call him, saying, “Behold, a people has come out of Egypt. They cover the face of the earth, and they are dwelling opposite me. Come now, curse this people for me, since they are too mighty for me. Perhaps I shall be able to defeat them and drive them from the land, for I know that he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed.”

So the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the fees for divination in their hand. And they came to Balaam and gave him Balak's message. And he said to them, “Lodge here tonight, and I will bring back word to you, as the LORD speaks to me.” So the princes of Moab stayed with Balaam. And God came to Balaam and said, “Who are these men with you?” 10 And Balaam said to God, “Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, has sent to me, saying, 11 ‘Behold, a people has come out of Egypt, and it covers the face of the earth. Now come, curse them for me. Perhaps I shall be able to fight against them and drive them out.’” 12 God said to Balaam, “You shall not go with them. You shall not curse the people, for they are blessed.” 13 So Balaam rose in the morning and said to the princes of Balak, “Go to your own land, for the LORD has refused to let me go with you.” 14 So the princes of Moab rose and went to Balak and said, “Balaam refuses to come with us.”

15 Once again Balak sent princes, more in number and more honorable than these. 16 And they came to Balaam and said to him, “Thus says Balak the son of Zippor: ‘Let nothing hinder you from coming to me, 17 for I will surely do you great honor, and whatever you say to me I will do. Come, curse this people for me.’” 18 But Balaam answered and said to the servants of Balak, “Though Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the command of the LORD my God to do less or more. 19 So you, too, please stay here tonight, that I may know what more the LORD will say to me.” 20 And God came to Balaam at night and said to him, “If the men have come to call you, rise, go with them; but only do what I tell you.” 21 So Balaam rose in the morning and saddled his donkey and went with the princes of Moab.

22 But God's anger was kindled because he went, and the angel of the LORD took his stand in the way as his adversary. Now he was riding on the donkey, and his two servants were with him. 23 And the donkey saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road, with a drawn sword in his hand. And the donkey turned aside out of the road and went into the field. And Balaam struck the donkey, to turn her into the road. 24 Then the angel of the LORD stood in a narrow path between the vineyards, with a wall on either side. 25 And when the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she pushed against the wall and pressed Balaam's foot against the wall. So he struck her again. 26 Then the angel of the LORD went ahead and stood in a narrow place, where there was no way to turn either to the right or to the left. 27 When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she lay down under Balaam. And Balaam's anger was kindled, and he struck the donkey with his staff. 28 Then the LORD opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?” 29 And Balaam said to the donkey, “Because you have made a fool of me. I wish I had a sword in my hand, for then I would kill you.” 30 And the donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your donkey, on which you have ridden all your life long to this day? Is it my habit to treat you this way?” And he said, “No.”

31 Then the LORD opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, with his drawn sword in his hand. And he bowed down and fell on his face. 32 And the angel of the LORD said to him, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out to oppose you because your way is perverse before me. 33 The donkey saw me and turned aside before me these three times. If she had not turned aside from me, surely just now I would have killed you and let her live.” 34 Then Balaam said to the angel of the LORD, “I have sinned, for I did not know that you stood in the road against me. Now therefore, if it is evil in your sight, I will turn back.” 35 And the angel of the LORD said to Balaam, “Go with the men, but speak only the word that I tell you.” So Balaam went on with the princes of Balak.

36 When Balak heard that Balaam had come, he went out to meet him at the city of Moab, on the border formed by the Arnon, at the extremity of the border. 37 And Balak said to Balaam, “Did I not send to you to call you? Why did you not come to me? Am I not able to honor you?” 38 Balaam said to Balak, “Behold, I have come to you! Have I now any power of my own to speak anything? The word that God puts in my mouth, that must I speak.” 39 Then Balaam went with Balak, and they came to Kiriath-huzoth. 40 And Balak sacrificed oxen and sheep, and sent for Balaam and for the princes who were with him.

41 And in the morning Balak took Balaam and brought him up to Bamoth-baal, and from there he saw a fraction of the people.

23:1 And Balaam said to Balak, “Build for me here seven altars, and prepare for me here seven bulls and seven rams.” Balak did as Balaam had said. And Balak and Balaam offered on each altar a bull and a ram. And Balaam said to Balak, “Stand beside your burnt offering, and I will go. Perhaps the LORD will come to meet me, and whatever he shows me I will tell you.” And he went to a bare height, and God met Balaam. And Balaam said to him, “I have arranged the seven altars and I have offered on each altar a bull and a ram.” And the LORD put a word in Balaam's mouth and said, “Return to Balak, and thus you shall speak.” And he returned to him, and behold, he and all the princes of Moab were standing beside his burnt offering. And Balaam took up his discourse and said,

  “From Aram Balak has brought me,
    the king of Moab from the eastern mountains:
  ‘Come, curse Jacob for me,
    and come, denounce Israel!’
  How can I curse whom God has not cursed?
    How can I denounce whom the LORD has not denounced?
  For from the top of the crags I see him,
    from the hills I behold him;
  behold, a people dwelling alone,
    and not counting itself among the nations!
10   Who can count the dust of Jacob
    or number the fourth part of Israel?
  Let me die the death of the upright,
    and let my end be like his!”

11 And Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? I took you to curse my enemies, and behold, you have done nothing but bless them.” 12 And he answered and said, “Must I not take care to speak what the LORD puts in my mouth?”

13 And Balak said to him, “Please come with me to another place, from which you may see them. You shall see only a fraction of them and shall not see them all. Then curse them for me from there.” 14 And he took him to the field of Zophim, to the top of Pisgah, and built seven altars and offered a bull and a ram on each altar. 15 Balaam said to Balak, “Stand here beside your burnt offering, while I meet the LORD over there.” 16 And the LORD met Balaam and put a word in his mouth and said, “Return to Balak, and thus shall you speak.” 17 And he came to him, and behold, he was standing beside his burnt offering, and the princes of Moab with him. And Balak said to him, “What has the LORD spoken?” 18 And Balaam took up his discourse and said,

  “Rise, Balak, and hear;
    give ear to me, O son of Zippor:
19   God is not man, that he should lie,
    or a son of man, that he should change his mind.
  Has he said, and will he not do it?
    Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?
20   Behold, I received a command to bless:
    he has blessed, and I cannot revoke it.
21   He has not beheld misfortune in Jacob,
    nor has he seen trouble in Israel.
  The LORD their God is with them,
    and the shout of a king is among them.
22   God brings them out of Egypt
    and is for them like the horns of the wild ox.
23   For there is no enchantment against Jacob,
    no divination against Israel;
  now it shall be said of Jacob and Israel,
    ‘What has God wrought!’
24   Behold, a people! As a lioness it rises up
    and as a lion it lifts itself;
  it does not lie down until it has devoured the prey
    and drunk the blood of the slain.”

25 And Balak said to Balaam, “Do not curse them at all, and do not bless them at all.” 26 But Balaam answered Balak, “Did I not tell you, ‘All that the LORD says, that I must do’?” 27 And Balak said to Balaam, “Come now, I will take you to another place. Perhaps it will please God that you may curse them for me from there.” 28 So Balak took Balaam to the top of Peor, which overlooks the desert. 29 And Balaam said to Balak, “Build for me here seven altars and prepare for me here seven bulls and seven rams.” 30 And Balak did as Balaam had said, and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.

24:1 When Balaam saw that it pleased the LORD to bless Israel, he did not go, as at other times, to look for omens, but set his face toward the wilderness. And Balaam lifted up his eyes and saw Israel camping tribe by tribe. And the Spirit of God came upon him, and he took up his discourse and said,

  “The oracle of Balaam the son of Beor,
    the oracle of the man whose eye is opened,
  the oracle of him who hears the words of God,
    who sees the vision of the Almighty,
    falling down with his eyes uncovered:
  How lovely are your tents, O Jacob,
    your encampments, O Israel!
  Like palm groves that stretch afar,
    like gardens beside a river,
  like aloes that the LORD has planted,
    like cedar trees beside the waters.
  Water shall flow from his buckets,
    and his seed shall be in many waters;
  his king shall be higher than Agag,
    and his kingdom shall be exalted.
  God brings him out of Egypt
    and is for him like the horns of the wild ox;
  he shall eat up the nations, his adversaries,
    and shall break their bones in pieces
    and pierce them through with his arrows.
  He crouched, he lay down like a lion
    and like a lioness; who will rouse him up?
  Blessed are those who bless you,
    and cursed are those who curse you.”

10 And Balak's anger was kindled against Balaam, and he struck his hands together. And Balak said to Balaam, “I called you to curse my enemies, and behold, you have blessed them these three times. 11 Therefore now flee to your own place. I said, ‘I will certainly honor you,’ but the LORD has held you back from honor.” 12 And Balaam said to Balak, “Did I not tell your messengers whom you sent to me, 13 ‘If Balak should give me his house full of silver and gold, I would not be able to go beyond the word of the LORD, to do either good or bad of my own will. What the LORD speaks, that will I speak’? 14 And now, behold, I am going to my people. Come, I will let you know what this people will do to your people in the latter days.”

15 And he took up his discourse and said,

  “The oracle of Balaam the son of Beor,
    the oracle of the man whose eye is opened,
16   the oracle of him who hears the words of God,
    and knows the knowledge of the Most High,
  who sees the vision of the Almighty,
    falling down with his eyes uncovered:
17   I see him, but not now;
    I behold him, but not near:
  a star shall come out of Jacob,
    and a scepter shall rise out of Israel;
  it shall crush the forehead of Moab
    and break down all the sons of Sheth.
18   Edom shall be dispossessed;
    Seir also, his enemies, shall be dispossessed.
    Israel is doing valiantly.
19   And one from Jacob shall exercise dominion
    and destroy the survivors of cities!”

20 Then he looked on Amalek and took up his discourse and said,

  “Amalek was the first among the nations,
    but its end is utter destruction.”

21 And he looked on the Kenite, and took up his discourse and said,

  “Enduring is your dwelling place,
    and your nest is set in the rock.
22   Nevertheless, Kain shall be burned
    when Asshur takes you away captive.”

23 And he took up his discourse and said,

  “Alas, who shall live when God does this?
24     But ships shall come from Kittim
  and shall afflict Asshur and Eber;
    and he too shall come to utter destruction.”

25 Then Balaam rose and went back to his place. And Balak also went his way.

Matthew 12:38–50 (Listen)

38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” 39 But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. 42 The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.

43 “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. 45 Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So also will it be with this evil generation.”

46 While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. 48 But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

Psalm 108 (Listen)

A Song. A Psalm of David.

108:1   My heart is steadfast, O God!
    I will sing and make melody with all my being!
  Awake, O harp and lyre!
    I will awake the dawn!
  I will give thanks to you, O LORD, among the peoples;
    I will sing praises to you among the nations.
  For your steadfast love is great above the heavens;
    your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
  Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
    Let your glory be over all the earth!
  That your beloved ones may be delivered,
    give salvation by your right hand and answer me!
  God has promised in his holiness:
    “With exultation I will divide up Shechem
    and portion out the Valley of Succoth.
  Gilead is mine; Manasseh is mine;
    Ephraim is my helmet,
    Judah my scepter.
  Moab is my washbasin;
    upon Edom I cast my shoe;
    over Philistia I shout in triumph.”
10   Who will bring me to the fortified city?
    Who will lead me to Edom?
11   Have you not rejected us, O God?
    You do not go out, O God, with our armies.
12   Oh grant us help against the foe,
    for vain is the salvation of man!
13   With God we shall do valiantly;
    it is he who will tread down our foes.

Proverbs 3:31–32 (Listen)

31   Do not envy a man of violence
    and do not choose any of his ways,
32   for the devious person is an abomination to the LORD,
    but the upright are in his confidence.

Tue 06 February, 2018


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