We are all aware of the ideas, opinions, and theories of some scientists which contradict portions of Scripture, but if we are careful to separate that which is established fact from that which is merely theory, we find that there are no contradictions between the facts of science and the Bible. We must be careful, of course, that our interpretation both of the Scriptures and of nature is correct.
First, let us consider the science of thermodynamics: In Psalm 102:25,26, we read, "Of old hast Thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of Thy hands. They shall perish, but Thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt Thou change them, and they shall be changed."
In verse 25, we find, restated, the fact that God is the Creator of all that exists. Verse 26 then tells us something highly significant, not about the initial, created state of the universe, but about the present state of the universe. According to this Scripture, written three thousand years before the dawn of modern science, we learn that the universe is like a suit of clothes that is wearing out. In other words, the universe is running down, deteriorating, constantly becoming less and less orderly.
That is not what most people believed when this Scripture was recorded. According to human observations, the universe was unchangeable. The statement that the universe is constantly becoming more random, less orderly, is a scientifically testable statement. The fact that the universe, in its present state is deteriorating, has been fully verified by modern science. Everywhere we look, from the scale of the galaxies down to the scale of the atom, we find a universal, natural tendency of all systems to go from order to disorder; from complexity to simplicity. Thus, clusters of galaxies are dispersing as the galaxies move away from one another.
The rotation of the earth is slowing; the magnetic field of the earth is decaying. Erosion constantly wears down the features of the earth. Our bodies wear out; we die and decay to a pile of dust. Our houses, our machines wear out and are finally abandoned and replaced. Many atoms decay to simpler products, and it is even being postulated that sub-atomic particles, such as the proton, decay, though ever so slowly, into energy.
Each star, including our own sun, is constantly burning up billions of tons of fuel every second. Eventually, every star in the universe, unless God intervenes (which we are certain He will), will exhaust its fuel and become dark and cold. The universe would then be cold and dead, and, of course, all life would have ceased long before the last death throes of the universe. Even now, every so often a nova or supernova occurs, and a star very rapidly becomes less orderly, in a gigantic explosion.
This natural tendency towards disorder is so all-pervasive and unfailing that it has been formalized as a natural law - the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Isaac Asimov has stated it this way (Smithsonian Institute Journal, June 1970, p.6): "Another way of stating the second law then is: 'The universe is constantly getting more disorderly!' Viewed that way, we can see the Second Law all about us. We have to work hard to straighten a room, but left to itself, it becomes a mess again very quickly and very easily. Even if we never enter it, it becomes dusty and musty. How difficult to maintain houses, and machinery, and our own bodies in perfect working order; how easy to let them deteriorate. In fact, all we have to do is nothing, and everything deteriorates, collapses, breaks down, wears out - all by itself - and that is what the Second Law is all about."
There is certainly no doubt, then, that modern scientific research has verified the truths expressed in Psalm 102:26. Many years of careful measurements by scientists, repeated many thousands of times, established beyond doubt the scientific truths expressed in that verse of Scripture.
Furthermore, the fact that the universe is deteriorating establishes beyond doubt that it hasn't been here forever, because if it had, it would have run down a long time ago! This confirms another scientifically testable statement found in the very first verse of the Bible: "In the beginning God created...." This verse of Scripture states that the universe has not been here forever; that it had a beginning sometime in the past. Again, let us remember that this is not what most people believed when the Bible was written. They believed that the universe had been here forever, and would continue to be here forever. The Bible says, not so! The universe had a beginning - when God created it - and it is now running down. Thus, modern science has established the fact that what most people believed about the universe being eternal was wrong, and that the Biblical statements on the subject were precisely correct.
If there is a second law of thermodynamics, there must be a first law, of course. Indeed there is, and this natural law confirms another scientifically testable statement found in the Bible. The First Law of Thermodynamics states that the total quantity of energy and matter in the universe is a constant. One form of energy may be converted into another, energy may be converted into matter, and matter may be converted into energy, but the total quantity always remains the same. You can't get something from nothing, and you can't take something and make nothing out of it.
The First Law of Thermodynamics, the most firmly established natural law in science, confirms the Biblical statement concerning a finished creation, as found in Genesis 2:1,2: "Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made."
If it could be shown that somewhere in this universe matter or energy was coming into being from nothing, then this Biblical statement of a finished creation would be falsified. The opposite is true. It has been precisely verified. Once again, a Biblical statement has withstood scientific test.
Matthew Maury undertook a research project based on Scripture, and once again confirmed the scientific accuracy of the Bible. Maury was in charge of the Depot of Charts and Instruments in the Hydrographic Office of the United States Navy from 1841-1861. He was a Christian who loved and respected the Word of God. One day in the 8th Psalm, he read the following words (vv. 3-8): " When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained; what is man, that Thou art mindful of him, and the son of man, that Thou visitest him? For Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of Thy hands: Thou hast put all things under his feet: all sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas."
You and I probably could read that many times, and although we would understand much about the great truths expressed in this psalm, we might miss something highly significant, but which did not escape Maury's attention. Being one who was familiar with some of the problems that beset the sailing industry of that day, Maury immediately recognized the significance of verse 8. That verse tells us that, among other things, God has given man dominion over the beasts of the field, the fowl of the air, the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passes through the paths of the sea. "The Bible says there are paths in the sea," Maury thought, "and if the Bible says it, I believe it." He was also aware of Ecclesiastes 1:6, which states: "The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits."
Maury, on the basis of the Bible, concluded that there are well-established wind circuits, and that there are literally "paths in the sea" - that is, definite currents in the ocean. He reasoned that if these wind currents and ocean currents could be located and plotted, this information would be of great value to marine navigators. Utilizing this information, the sailing vessels could be directed along routes that would take advantage of these sea and air currents, reducing by many days the time required to traverse the seas. Many of Maury's contemporaries, of course, would have scoffed at Maury. They would have said, "Maury, do you really mean that you are going to spend hour after hour on some wild goose chase searching through those dusty old logs and charts you have in your office just because the Bible says there are paths in the sea?"
That is precisely what Maury did, however, and the Biblical statements were precisely verified. Maury found and plotted the wind circuits and the ocean currents. The ocean currents include, for example, the great Gulf Current - a "path in the sea" forty miles wide and 2000 feet deep flowing from the Gulf of Mexico up through the Atlantic. This current has a tremendous influence on the climate of England, Ireland, Europe, and the Scandinavian countries. The average winter temperature on the west coast of Norway, for example, is about two degrees centigrade, or two degrees above freezing. Ordinarily, of course, we would expect far lower temperatures for a country that far north.
Other paths of the seas that come to mind are the California and the Japanese currents. The California current brings cold water from Alaska down along the California coast. As a result, even those of us living in the San Diego area do not have warm ocean water to swim in as they do, for example, in the Hawaiian Islands. This cool water, furthermore, dissipates tropical storms that would otherwise push their way out of the south Pacific into the southern California area. As a result, California rarely receives rain in the summer months.
Maury's native state, the State of Virginia, has acknowledged the great debt navigation owes him, having erected monuments to his memory. On these monuments may be found a plaque that reads as follows: "Matthew Fontaine Maury, Pathfinder of the Seas, the Genius Who First Snatched from the Ocean and Atmosphere the Secret of Their Laws. His Inspiration, Holy Writ, Psalm 8:8, Psalm 107:23,24, and Ecclesiastes 1:6."
Was Matthew Maury really a genius, or was he simply one who trusted the Bible as the inerrant Word of God? Whether he was a genius or not, it was not his genius, but his faith in the Bible that directed his efforts into a scientific research project, the results of which fully vindicated that faith.
There are numerous other instances in which scientific discoveries have been foreshadowed by Biblical statements. The few cited do, however, reflect the fact that although the Bible may not be a book of science, in all instances where scientifically testable statements are found in the Bible, they have proven to be scientifically accurate.
* At time of publication, Dr. Gish was Vice-President of the Institute for Creation Research
Cite this article: Gish, D. 1991. Modern Scientific Discoveries Verify the Scriptures. Acts & Facts. 20 (9).