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The Scientific Basis for the Bible, Part 3

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The Scientific Basis for the Bible, Part 3

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The Scientific Basis for the Bible, Part 3

MP3 Audio (17.6 MB)

This message covers God's questions to Job from chapters 38-41. In a series of questions on cosmology, oceanography, meteorology, astronomy and zoology, God challenged Job’s competence to judge His control of the world. God used irony to point up Job’s ignorance.

Sermon Notes

(Slide 1) Book of Job – Job struck by Satan with God’s permission. He complains he is innocent. Unique situation: the God of the universe talking to Job about Creation.


What has science found out? Good proofs – still very limited answers

In a series of questions on cosmology, oceanography, meteorology, astronomy and zoology, God challenged Job’s competence to judge His control of the world. God used irony to point up Job’s ignorance.

Job 31:35; 32:1

Job 35:1-2 More righteous than God


(Slide 2) Job 38 The Lord Challenges Job  1 Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind: 2 “Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words? 3 Brace yourself like a man, because I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.

(1) Asks questions about Cosmology -- the earth science (38:4-21). – origins, formation, place

 (Slide 3) 4 “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much.

How was the earth established where it is at? 5 Who determined its dimensions and stretched out the surveying line?  6 What supports its foundations, and who laid its cornerstone7 as the morning stars sang together and all the angels[a] shouted for joy?  12 “Have you ever commanded the morning to appear and caused the dawn to rise in the east? 13 Have you made daylight spread to the ends of the earth, to bring an end to the night’s wickedness?  14 As the light approaches, the earth takes shape like clay pressed beneath a seal; it is robed in brilliant colors. 15 The light disturbs the wicked and stops the arm that is raised in violence. 18 Do you realize the extent of the earth? Tell me about it if you know!  19 “Where does light come from, and where does darkness go?  20 Can you take each to its home? Do you know how to get there?

21 But of course you know all this! For you were born before it was all created, and you are so very experienced!


Creating the earth is compared to constructing a building.  a foundation – what was it laid upon?

(slide 4) Job 26:7 He hangs it on nothing – how could that be known?

Dimensions: just right – “The mass and size of the earth are just right. If the earth were 9,500 miles in diameter instead of the 8,000 that it is, it would double the weight of the air. With twice as much oxygen, the amount of water would be greatly increased; so much so that the entire surface of the planet would be covered with an ocean [covering the entire earth]… If the earth were much lighter that it is, its gravitational pull would be less, so that it would not be able to hold as much air as we now have…Conditions on earth would approximate those on the moon.  (Plumb line)

(Slide 5) The earth is just the right distance from the sun. If the earth were much closer, it would be too hot; if it were much farther away, it would be too cold.

(Slide 6) (Rotation) The earth’s axis, which now points toward the North Star, is tilted just right—23.5 degrees. Because of this tilt we have four seasons in the temperate zone. For the same reason, there is ‘twice as much of the land area of the earth that can be cultivated and inhabited as there would be if the sun were always over the equator, with no change of seasons.’ If the earth had been tilted as much as 45 degrees, temperate zones would be intolerably hot in the summer and horribly cold in the winter. If the axis is 90  degrees it would be a crazy jumble of fierce heat and deadly cold with prolonged nights on half the earth and prolonged days on the other. The earth rotates as just the right speed, the result is the earth’s crust is evenly heated like a chicken on a turning spit.”


(Slide 7) Oceans – Ps. 95:5 “The sea is His and He made it.”    8 “Who kept the sea inside its boundaries as it burst from the womb,  and as I clothed it with clouds and wrapped it in thick darkness?  For I locked it behind barred gates, limiting its shores. 11 I said, ‘This far and no farther will you come. Here your proud waves must stop!’ vs. 16: Have you explored the springs from which the seas come? Have you explored their depths?

Wikipedia: The question of the origin of water on Earth, or more accurately put, the question of why there is clearly more water on the Earth than on the other planets of the Solar System, has not been clarified. Theory after theory has been dismissed – volcanoes, comets, etc. “In the universe as a whole, liquid water of any kind—sweet or salt—is an exotic rarity. Contrary to common belief, the liquid state is exceptional in nature, most matter in the universe seems to consist either of flaming gases, as in stars, or frozen solids. Only with a hairline band of the immense temperature spectrum of the universe, ranging through millions of degrees—can water become liquid.  We know that life on earth would be utterly impossible without an abundance of water. No oceans, nor rain; no rain, no life. Nearly 3/4th of the earth’s surface is covered with water that has an average depth of two miles! The first miracle, in light of what the rest of the universe is like, is that there is an ocean here! The second miracle, is view of the vast quantity of water there is on our earth, it that there is any land area at all! Were we to level off completely the earth’s present land surfaces, including the bottom of the oceans, the present continental masses would be about 1 ½ miles under water! Remember, only 29% of earth is above water level. Although the oceans average 2 miles in depth, the land area above water averages on ½ mile in height. How can we account for this? The only possible explanation is the miracle of creative design. God made it so!


(Slides 8-9)One authority says, “Every ocean bed has long, narrow chasms where the bottom falls away as though some titanic force had sucked the curst inward toward the earth’s core. Curiously, those great oceanic trenches appear near the continental slopes or along the edge of island areas rather than in mid-ocean.”


(Slide 10) How about the “springs” of the deep? The circulation of the currents is the result of the wind, the rotation of the earth, and the tides. Both the Atlantic and the Pacific currents for clockwise and counterclockwise patterns. These show evidence that to keep the oceans in proper temperature balance and to keep the minerals, especially phosphates and oxygen in good supply.


(Slide 11) If the moon were half as far away or twice its present diameter, great tides would our harbors. If the moon were smaller and farther away, it would not have sufficient pull on our tides to cleanse our harbors or adequately rejuvenate with oxygen the waters of our oceans. 


(Slide 12)  17 Do you know where the gates of death are located? Have you seen the gates of utter gloom?
Do you know what happens after death? Still an unknown to science—a mystery.


(Slide 13) Meteorology  22 “Have you visited the storehouses of the snow or seen the storehouses of hail?  23 (I have reserved them as weapons for the time of trouble, for the day of battle and war.) 24 Where is the path to the source of light? Where is the home of the east wind?  25 “Who created a channel for the torrents of rain? 26 Who makes the rain fall on barren land, in a desert where no one lives?  27 Who sends rain to satisfy the parched ground and make the tender grass spring up?  28 “Does the rain have a father? Who gives birth to the dew?  29 Who is the mother of the ice? Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens?  30 For the water turns to ice as hard as rock, and the surface of the water freezes.

A snowflake is one of God’s most beautiful architectural marvels. Snowflakes are infinite in variety and beauty—the great majority being six-sided crystals, each geometrically perfect and differing from all others in design.” Who can watch the myriads of snowflakes filter down through the winter skies, pile up in fleckless beauty, and not know this is God’s world. Such miracles as snow could not ‘just happen.’ No one but an infinite God could create trillions upon trillions of delicate snowflakes each winter, with no two of them identical! Of the earth’s total water budget, not much more than 1% is in the solid form of ice or snow, and far less than that is in the form of water vapor in the atmosphere. Yet these proportions make up a delicate balance which is immensely important to life on the earth…The ice piled in glaciers exercise a vital control over sea levels, climate and the continent’s water supply.


(Slide 14) Astronomy  31 “Can you direct the movement of the stars—binding the cluster of the Pleiades or loosening the cords of Orion?  32 Can you direct the sequence of the seasons or guide the Bear with her cubs across the heavens? The 19th century poet Alfred Lord Tennyson in his poem Locksley Hall, the rising Pleiades: Many a night I saw the Pleiads, rising thro' the mellow shade, glitter like a swarm of fireflies tangled in a silver braid. Poetic and apt – recent telescope observations have revealed that this most famous of open clusters is comprised of some four hundred stars wreathed in complex nebulæ of dust and gas. When studies were first made of the stars' proper motions, it was found that they are all moving in the same direction across the sky, at the same rate, further demonstrating that they were related. the Pleiades appear about the middle of April, and hence are associated with the return of spring, the season of warmth and life. Pleiades and Orion are easily recognized groupings of stars seen in the night sky. Pleiades is well known as the Seven Sisters, and

(Slide 15) Orion as the Great Hunter. Many people recognize the three stars known as Orion’s Belt, which are pictured in fig. 4 in the centre of the Orion Constellation. The naturalistic formation of bound star clusters is a major unsolved problem in observational and theoretical astrophysics.

(Slide 16) The Bear refers to the Big Dipper or Ursa Major.


(Slide 17) 33 Do you know the laws of the universe? Can you use them to regulate the earth?  

Astronomer Dr. Hugh Ross has summarized work done by him and others analyzing this phenomena. He has produced a list of 35 characteristics that must be “set” to the exact value in order to support a sustainable universe. These factors include many of the constants that we recognize from formulas in our science class: the gravitational force constant, electromagnetic force constant, the charge of electrons, velocity of light, etc.

(Slide 18) 34 “Can you shout to the clouds and make it rain? 35 Can you make lightning appear and cause it to strike as you direct?   37 Who is wise enough to count all the clouds? Who can tilt the water jars of heaven 38 when the parched ground is dry and the soil has hardened into clods?

“The miracle of the lightning-nitrogen cycle. There are about 16,000,000 thunderstorms over the world every year. These thuderstors, with the accompanying lightning produce about 100,000 tons of nitrogen compounds annually, dropped into the soil, thereby helping greatly to fertilize.” Our world has clouds, but not too many…it averages one half open sky where no clouds interfere with our sun’s work.”


(Slide 19) 36 Who gives intuition to the heart and instinct to the mind? Intelligence, consciousness, instinct.


Zoology –The 12 animals described here—six beasts, five birds, and an insect—all exhibit the creative genius and providential care of God. Fittingly the list begins with the lion, the king of the beasts, and ends with the word for eagle, the king of the birds


(Slide 20) 1. vs 39 “Can you stalk prey for a lioness and satisfy the young lions’ appetites 40 as they lie in their dens or crouch in the thicket?

(Slide 21) 2.  41 Who provides food for the ravens when their young cry out to God
      and wander about in hunger?

(Slide 22) 3-4. Job 39 1 “Do you know when the wild goats give birth? Have you watched as deer are born in the wild? 2 Do you know how many months they carry their young? Are you aware of the time of their delivery?  3 They crouch down to give birth to their young and deliver their offspring.
 4 Their young grow up in the open fields, then leave home and never return.

Mountain goats: The goats have a leader who keeps watch, and on any suspicious smell, sound, or object, makes a noise, which is a signal to the flock to make their escape. The word hinds denotes the deer, the fawn, the most timid and defenseless, perhaps, of all animals.The idea seems to be, that they do this without any of the care and attention which shepherds are obliged to show to their flocks at such season

(Slide 23) 5. 5 “Who gives the wild donkey its freedom? Who untied its ropes? 6 I have placed it in the wilderness; its home is the wasteland.  7 It hates the noise of the city and has no driver to shout at it.
 8 The mountains are its pastureland, where it searches for every blade of grass.

(Slide 24) 6. 9 “Will the wild ox consent to being tamed? Will it spend the night in your stall?
 10 Can you hitch a wild ox to a plow? Will it plow a field for you? 11 Given its strength, can you trust it? Can you leave and trust the ox to do your work? 12 Can you rely on it to bring home your grain and deliver it to your threshing floor?

 (Slide 25) 7. 13 “The ostrich flaps her wings grandly, but they are no match for the feathers of the stork.  14 She lays her eggs on top of the earth, letting them be warmed in the dust.  15 She doesn’t worry that a foot might crush them or a wild animal might destroy them.  16 She is harsh toward her young, as if they were not her own. She doesn’t care if they die.  17 For God has deprived her of wisdom. He has given her no understanding.  18 But whenever she jumps up to run, she passes the swiftest horse with its rider.  

Hens may desert the nest if they are overfed, or if impatient they may leave the nest before all the chicks are hatched. If a human disturbs a nest, an ostrich may trample the eggs. Or a hen may sit on eggs in another nest, forgetting her own. (For these and other examples of ostrich stupidity see George F. Howe, “Job and the Ostrich: A Case Study in Biblical Accuracy,” Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation 15. December 1963:107-10.) Yet in spite of its stupidity, an ostrich can run 40 miles an hour, faster than a horse. Would Job even think of making such a peculiar bird?

(Slide 26) 8. 19 “Have you given the horse its strength or clothed its neck with a flowing mane?  20 Did you give it the ability to leap like a locust? Its majestic snorting is terrifying!  21 It paws the earth and rejoices in its strength when it charges out to battle.  22 It laughs at fear and is unafraid. It does not run from the sword.
 23 The arrows rattle against it, and the spear and javelin flash.  24 It paws the ground fiercely and rushes forward into battle when the ram’s horn blows.  25 It snorts at the sound of the horn. It senses the battle in the distance. It quivers at the captain’s commands and the noise of battle.

(Slide 27) 9. 26 “Is it your wisdom that makes the hawk soar and spread its wings toward the south?  27 (

The hawk’s annual migration toward the south occurred without Job’s wisdom.  The appeal here is to the hawk, because it is among the most rapid of the birds in its flight. The particuIar thing specified is its flying, and it is supposed that there was something special in that which distinguished it from other birds.The Duck Hawk or peregrine falcon  is the fastest living creature, reaching speeds of at least 124 mph and possibly as much as 168 mph when swooping from great heights during territorial displays or while catching pry birds in midair.

Slide 28) Is it at your command that the eagle rises to the heights to make its nest?  10. 28 It lives on the cliffs, making its home on a distant, rocky crag. 29 From there it hunts its prey, keeping watch with piercing eyes.  30 Its young gulp down blood. Where there’s a carcass, there you’ll find it.” On the other hand the eagle soars and builds its nest at high altitudes, on a cliff or rocky crag, where with keen vision he (cf. 28:7) spies food at great distances below.

Job 40 1 Then the Lord said to Job, 2 “Do you still want to argue with the Almighty? You are God’s critic, but do you have the answers?” 3 Then Job replied to the Lord, 4 “I am nothing—how could I ever find the answers? I will cover my mouth with my hand.  5 I have said too much already. I have nothing more to say.”  6 Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind:  7 “Brace yourself like a man, because I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.  8 “Will you discredit my justice  and condemn me just to prove you are right?  9 Are you as strong as God? Can you thunder with a voice like his?  10 All right, put on your glory and splendor, your honor and majesty.  11 Give vent to your anger. Let it overflow against the proud.  12 Humiliate the proud with a glance; walk on the wicked where they stand. 13 Bury them in the dust.  Imprison them in the world of the dead.  14 Then even I would praise you, for your own strength would save you.

 11. 15 “Take a look at Behemoth, which I made, just as I made you. The word behemoth is the plural of “beast.” Since one animal is described in verses 15-24, the plural probably points up the animal’s greatness. Scholars differ in their views as to who these creatures were. Against the view that the behemoth (40:15-24) and Leviathan (chap. 41) are mythological, as some suggest, are these facts: (1) God told Job to “look at” the behemoth, (40:15). (2) God said He “made” the behemoth, as He had made Job (40:15). (3) The detailed descriptions of both animals’ anatomies befits real not mythological beasts. (4) Animals in myths were based on real creatures, but were given exaggerated features. (5) The 12 animals in 38:39-39:30 were real, which would cause one to expect these 2 to be real also. (6) Though sometimes elsewhere in Scripture the Leviathan may be mythological (e.g., 3:8; Ps. 74:14; Isa. 27:1), it is also spoken of elsewhere as a created being (Ps. 104:24, 26). And the plural Hebrew word for behemoth is used in Joel 1:20, where it is rendered “wild animals.”


(Slide 29) The common view that this huge creature is the hippopotamus is supported by several observations: (1) The hippo is herbivorous (it feeds on grass like an ox, v. 15). Therefore wild animals do not fear being attacked by it (v. 20). (2) It has massive strength in its loins, stomach muscles . . . tail . . . thighs, metallike bones and limbs (vv. 16-18). Unlike the elephant, a hippopotamus’ stomach muscles are particularly strong and thick. The rendering that his tail sways like a cedar (possibly meaning a cedar branch, not a cedar trunk) suggests to some that “tail” means the trunk of an elephant. However, Ugaritic parallels indicate that the verb “sways” (which occurs only here in the OT) means “stiffens.” In that case the hippopotamus’ tail, though small, was referred to. The tail stiffens when the animal is frightened or is running. (3) The hippopotamus was the largest of the animals known in the ancient Near East (he ranks first among the works of God, v. 19). The adult hippo of today weighs up to 8,000 pounds. (4) The hippo is difficult if not impossible to kill with a mere hand sword. The words His Maker can approach him with His sword (v. 19) suggest that only God dare approach the beast for hand combat. Nor can he be captured or harpooned when only his eyes or nose show above the water (v. 24). (5) As a hippopotamus lies hidden . . . in the marsh. . . . the stream, and the river (vv. 21-23), its sustenance (perhaps vegetation) floats down from the hills (v. 20). This huge creature is undisturbed by river turbulence for the rivers are his habitat (v. 23). An elephant or brontosaurus would hardly be described this way. A surging river would hardly reach the depth of a brontosaurus’ mouth.


Hippos also have a reputation as man killers. Along with hippos and lions, crocodiles account for perhaps a few hundred deaths and disappearances each year, although exact figures are very hard to verify. Nile crocodiles will also often scavenge from carcasses, together with a number of other animals, all of which seem to tolerate each others' presence. The adult hippopotamus, capable of biting a crocodile in half, was and is its only enemy besides humans. The hippo is extremely aggressive, unpredictable and unafraid of humans, upsetting boats sometimes without provocation and chomping the occupants with its huge canine teeth and sharp incisors. Most human deaths occur when the victim gets between the hippo and deep water or between a mother and her calf. I've read descriptions of their ground-rumbling charges--bellowing loudly, swinging their heads like giant sledgehammers, the massive open mouth with slashing teeth From "The Dangerous Hippo  Nearly all of the famous African explorers and hunters--Livingstone, Stanley, Burton, Selous, Speke, DuChaillu--had boating mishaps with hippos. All considered the hippo to be a wantonly malicious beast. Not long ago Spencer Tyron, a white hunter, was killed while hunting near the shores of Lake Rukwa, Tanzania. A bull hippo turned over the dugout canoe from which Tyron was shooting, and bit off his head and shoulders.

Job 41 12.  1“Can you catch Leviathan with a hook or put a noose around its jaw?...The tremendous strength in Leviathan’s neck strikes terror wherever it goes.  23 Its flesh is hard and firm and cannot be penetrated.  24 Its heart is hard as rock, hard as a millstone.  25 When it rises, the mighty are afraid, gripped by terror.  26 No sword can stop it, no spear, dart, or javelin.  27 Iron is nothing but straw to that creature, and bronze is like rotten wood.  28 Arrows cannot make it flee. Stones shot from a sling are like bits of grass.  29 Clubs are like a blade of grass, and it laughs at the swish of javelins.  30 Its belly is covered with scales as sharp as glass. It plows up the ground as it drags through the mud.  31 “Leviathan makes the water boil with its commotion. It stirs the depths like a pot of ointment.  32 The water glistens in its wake, making the sea look white.  33 Nothing on earth is its equal, no other creature so fearless.  34 Of all the creatures, it is the proudest. It is the king of beasts.”


(Slide 30) The movements of a crocodile’s nose, eyes, and mouth also put people in panic. A crocodile can stay completely submerged underwater for about five minutes. When it comes up for air and sneezes the water out from its nostrils, the spray looks like flashes of light in the sun. When this reptile emerges from the water, its small eyes, with slits for pupils like a cat’s eyes, are seen first, like the dawn’s rays. Interestingly in Egyptian hieroglyphs, the crocodile’s eye represents the dawn. Do the firebrands from its mouth and the smoke and flames from its nostrils (vv. 19-21) mean this is a mythical dragon, after all? No. These may be explained as the way God spoke of the crocodile’s breath and water, which when emitted from its mouth, look in the sunlight like a stream of fire. This poetic language, probably spoken in hyperbole, accentuates this beast’s frightful nature. The hide of this animal’s undersides is so jagged that when he walks in the mud he leaves marks that look like a threshing sledge (with its sharp points) has been pulled through the mud. Swimming in a river, a crocodile so stirs the water that it looks as if it were boiling. Saying that his agitating the water is like a pot of ointment means that it looks like foam caused by an apothecary when he boils ointment. Another terrifying aspect of the leviathan is its speed. It moves through the water so fast that it leaves a shiny wake, whitecaps of waves that appear like white hair. “Considerable variation exists throughout the range of the Nile crocodile. Generally, it is a large crocodilian, in fact the largest of the African crocodilian, averaging five meters in length but reportedly reaching six meters in rare instances.

(Slides 31-32) Job 42  1 Then Job replied to the Lord:  2 “I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you.  3 You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’ It is I—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me.  4 You said, ‘Listen and I will speak! I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.’  5 I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes.  6 I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.”   7 After the Lord had finished speaking to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite: “I am angry with you and your two friends, for you have not spoken accurately about me, as my servant Job has. 8 So take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and offer a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer on your behalf. I will not treat you as you deserve, for you have not spoken accurately about me, as my servant Job has.” 9 So Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite did as the Lord commanded them, and the Lord accepted Job’s prayer.  10 When Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes. In fact, the Lord gave him twice as much as before! 11 Then all his brothers, sisters, and former friends came and feasted with him in his home. And they consoled him and comforted him because of all the trials the Lord had brought against him. And each of them brought him a gift of money[a] and a gold ring.  12 So the Lord blessed Job in the second half of his life even more than in the beginning. For now he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 teams of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. 13 He also gave Job seven more sons and three more daughters. 14 He named his first daughter Jemimah, the second Keziah, and the third Keren-happuch. 15 In all the land no women were as lovely as the daughters of Job. And their father put them into his will along with their brothers. 16 Job lived 140 years after that, living to see four generations of his children and grandchildren. 17 Then he died, an old man who had lived a long, full life.


Lesson – Marvel -- Humility – Look in long term – God had more purposes than we can imagine

James 5:11 “Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.