Discovering God's Fingerprints Dr. Robert C. Newman
Hershey Ev Free Ch, 20 Sept 97 Biblical Theol Seminary
WORKSHOP ON ASTRONOMY IN THE BIBLE
Is religion, like music or food, a matter of taste?
Each religion claims to tell us how things really are.
Only Christianity offers much evidence to support its claims.
Here we compare Biblical statements in several areas of astronomy with those of various ancient writers and with modern science.
THE UNIVERSE HAD A BEGINNING
Genesis 1; Ps 19:1-4; Rom 1:18-20; Col 1:15-16; Heb 11:3
Other Ancient Sources:
Nearly all see the universe with a beginning (except some Greek philosophers).
But nearly all see matter as having always existed.
The history of cosmology in the past century has been a struggle to avoid the mounting evidence that the universe had a beginning.
How did the Bible get it right, and why do so many scientists want to avoid this conclusion?
THE UNIVERSE IS DESIGNED
Genesis 1-2; Job 38; Proverbs 8; Jer 10:12
Some have personal beings involved in some aspects of creation, but for others creation seems to be just there.
Some of the Greek philosophers saw a Designer behind nature; others thought our Cosmos was an accidental product of Chaos.
The phenomena related to the recent discussions of the "anthropic principle" point strongly to a Designer behind nature.
The natural reading of the data is that there is a Designer responsible for the "fine tuning" in nature.
THE UNIVERSE IS RUNNING DOWN
Psa 102:25-27; Hebrew 1; poss 2 Pet 3:10-13
Various views: universe degrading (mythical ages of mankind), recycling (Hindu), eternal (Aristotle)
Entropy, etc., point to running down universe.
Disagreement on whether it will end with a bang or a whimper.
THE SIZE OF THE UNIVERSE
Ps 8:3‑4: amazing to Psalmist that God cares about man
Jer 31:37: heavens immeasurable
Sura 2: earth a bed, sky a dome
Sura 22: holds sky from falling down
Sura 34: let a part fall
Anaximander, About Nature:
sun most distant object, about 28x size of earth away
so universe about 28x size of earth
objects apparently 10 billion light years away
(1 light year = 6 trillion miles)
no end in sight
THE NUMBER OF STARS
Gen 15:5: large number
Jer 33:22, Gen 22:17: uncountable, like sand
ancient catalogues, about 1000 stars
(only about 6000 visible without telescope)
speculated there are an infinite number of worlds
100s of billions of stars in each of billions of galaxies
Sir James Jeans, The Stars in Their Courses, 137:
no. of stars like no. of grains of sand in all oceans of earth
THE EARTH'S SUPPORT
Job 26:7: earth hangs on nothing
earth flat & triangular
7 stages: honey, sugar, butter, wine, etc.
supported by elephants
Atlas holds the earth up
Greek philosophers: earth supported by
nothing (Anaximander, contra Aristotle)
support is by non‑material, invisible forces
a balance of gravity and inertia
THE EARTH'S SHAPE
Job 26:10: boundary between light and darkness on earth's surface is a circle
Luke 17:34‑36: different times of day in different places
Have to postulate very lucky guesses to avoid Biblical evidence
Did the Jews have some innate ability to pre-know science?
Hardly! Consider ancient Jewish attempts to write Scripture:
1 Enoch 72:3‑7: sun's chariot, gates, winds
3 Baruch 3:6‑8: bore thru heaven's dome
Barfield, Kenny. Why the Bible is Number 1: The World's Sacred Writings in the Light of Science. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1988. This is the most detailed book I have seen on this subject. Consists of three parts: (1) The Body Inside: Sacred Revelations and Medicine; (2) The Sky Above: Sacred Revelations and Astronomy; (3) The Earth Beneath: Sacred Revelations and Earth Science. Each part has a parallel scheme of treatment: 1st chapter sketches ancient "secular science"; 2nd chapter gives extra-biblical religious views; 3rd and following chapters give biblical materials. Total of 25 chapters.
Bossard, David C. "Sharp Points: God's Conspiracy to Evangelize the Inquiring Mind." IBRI Research Report 46 (1997). A survey of some of the "goad hard to kick against" placed by God in the way of "progress" to remind a doggedly secular world of his presence, his active interest in his Creation, and the truth of biblical claims about humanity and the Creation order.
Campbell, William. The Qur'an and the Bible in the Light of History and Science. Middle East Resources, 1992. Best book to date comparting the relative merits of the Qur'an and the Bible to be revelation from God. A response to Maurice Bucaille's book in favor of the Qur'an.
Heeren, Fred. Show Me God: What the Message from Space Is Telling Us About God. Wheeling, IL: Searchlight Publications, 1995. Evidence for God from cosmology. Very readable; interviews with major researchers.
Morton, Jean S. Science in the Bible. Chicago: Moody Press, 1980. A large collection of short pieces that are easy to understand.
Newman, Robert C. "A Critical Examination of Modern Cosmological Theories." IBRI Research Report 15 (1982). The basic scientific data relevant to the nature of the universe indicates that it is created.
Newman, Robert C. and Herman J. Eckelmann, Jr. Genesis One and the Origin of the Earth. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1977; reprint Hatfield, PA: IBRI, 1991. A suggested harmonization between the Genesis account and the best current model for the origin of the sun, earth and solar system.
Newman, Robert C. "Scientific Problems for Scientism." Presbyterion 21 (1995): 73-88; reprinted as chapter 11 in Evangelical Apologetics ed. by Michael Bauman, David Hall and Robert Newman (Camp Hill, PA: Christian Publications, 1996), 245-268.
Ross, Hugh. The Fingerprint of God: Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator. 2nd ed. Orange, CA: Promise Press, 1991. The best available tour of modern cosmology from an evangelical perspective. Part three covers biblical cosmology.
Ross, Hugh. The Creator and the Cosmos: How the Greatest Scientific Discoveries of the Century Reveal God. 2nd ed. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 1995. Evidence for a Creator who carefully designed the Cosmos.
Ross, Hugh. Beyond the Cosmos: What Recent Discoveries in Astronomy and Physics Reveal About the Nature of God. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 1996. How recent evidences of extra-dimensionality in the universe can help us understand a number of theological puzzles about God's nature.
Waller, Lynn. How Do We Know the Bible is True? Reasons a Kid Can Believe It. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1991. A nice treatment of Christian evidences for kids (upper elementary and junior high, I would judge), with a chapter on science in the Bible.