The collab’ you didn’t see coming: science and the Bible

Science has stepped in to prove biblical events happened – not for the first time either.
Alice Cooke
Science and the Bible

Science and the Bible.

  • Science has confirmed the biblical accounts of military campaigns

  • NASA has also in the past stepped in to confirm biblical happenings

  • Sir Isaac Newton is quoted as saying that his discoveries were inspired by the Bible

This story first appeared in our subscriber-only weekly Blueprint newsletter. Receive exclusive interviews and analyses like this, direct to your inbox every Sunday, by subscribing to IE+.

Science and the Bible aren’t natural bedfellows, but they’re not on opposite teams either. Far from it, in fact

Science runs into all sorts of interesting questions about the physical and biological processes that produced the world we see today, but it has its limitations. Scientists will always be limited to observing, testing, and experimenting with present processes and technologies. And similarly, the Bible was written long after the events that it recounts, and relies on accurate recollections.

So both, you could argue, are fallible. 

But recently, researchers confirmed the biblical accounts of the Egyptian, Aramean, Assyrian, and Babylonian military campaigns against the kingdoms of Israel and Judah using Earth's magnetic field data. 

The study, which was conducted by Tel Aviv University (TAU) and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU), involved 20 international scientists and researchers.

How did they get proof?

Well, since you ask… Reconstructing biblical military campaigns using geomagnetic field data, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) reconstructed changes in the magnetic field of the Earth as recorded in 21 destruction layers in 17 archeological sites throughout Israel, constructing a variation curve of field intensity over time that can be used as a scientific dating tool.

They did this by reconstructing magnetic fields recorded by hundreds of archeological items. The researchers involved in the study could then cross-check the magnetic field recorded by these destruction layers with the magnetic fields of archeological items that had been dated alongside historical information from ancient inscriptions and biblical accounts.

Essentially, based on the similarity or difference in intensity and direction of the magnetic field, hypotheses regarding dating can be either corroborated or disproved.

What did they find?

As just one example of many, the study found that the army of Hazael, King of Aram-Damascus, (who is first mentioned in the Book of Kings), was responsible for the destruction of several cities, including Tel Rehov, Tel Zayit, and Horvat Tevet, in addition to Gath of the Philistines, whose destruction is noted in the Hebrew Bible. The study was also able to give these battles a likely date of circa 830 BCE.

However, as well as proving the events occured, the study also refutes some – such as the prevailing theory that Hazael was the conqueror who destroyed Tel Beth-Shean.

But they’re not the only ones…

This study is far from an isolated incident. In fact, NASA’s been in on the act too.

According to data gathered from a proto-planetary disc surrounding the star system CoKu Tau 4 in the Taurus constellation, planets like Earth form from the leftover waste and debris from their central star. This aligns with the description in Genesis’ of Earth being “formless and waste” in its early stages of development.

Moreover, when you compare NASA's data on this to the account in Genesis (albeit brief) of how Earth was formed, the Bible's description is pretty accurate, if you take into account the fact that the Hebrew word translated 'day' (yom) can mean an unspecified period of time, not just a 24-hour period. 

And NASA hasn’t stopped there. It reported findings that revealed that as a planet matures inside its dusty cocoon it gradually sucks up more of the dust between it and the Sun. The early stages of this process correspond to the statement in Genesis 1:3 for day one, “Let there be light.” 

Only in the later stages of planet formation would direct light from the (already existing) Sun, Moon, and stars be visible from the Earth.

This data corresponds to Genesis 1:16 for day four when viewed in the context of the Hebrew language. “And God proceeded to make ('a-sah') the two great luminaries…., and also the stars." 

The Hebrew word 'a-sah' doesn’t mean to create, it translates as ‘accomplish’, or ‘bring to completion’.

NASA's data shows that earth formed from waste and debris from the sun, and that light emerged slowly in stages, in a very similar way as is described in Genesis.

And, to go further back, it is well reported that Sir Isaac Newton believed that he lived in an era that had been predicted by the Book of Daniel of the Old Testament, (a time when knowledge was expected to grow beyond recognition.)

In fact, Newton tested biblical knowledge against the physical truths of experimental and theoretical science throughout his life, and he wrote that he never observed a contradiction. You could even argue that the Bible study led Newton to make his scientific discoveries. 

I say this because astronomical calculations helped him to synchronize events described in the Old and New Testaments with what he knew about ancient, medieval and modern history.

As Austrian scientist Erwin Heberle-Bors puts it: “The order that he found in nature through experiment and calculation — later to be called the mechanistic worldview — was for him God's work, and proof of God's work in history, which he extracted from the Bible.” 

We’re all in this together 

See, we’re all playing for the same team really. Because essentially, science and religion are two sides of the same human impulse to understand the world – to know our place in it, and to marvel at the wonder of life and the infinite cosmos we are surrounded by. They just come at it from very different angles. 


Five times science and the Bible aligned

Stars are innumerable (Genesis 22:17; Jeremiah 33:22)

Stars differ in glory (1 Corinthians 15:41)

Stars follow a predictable pattern (Jeremiah 31:35)

Earth is round, not flat (Isaiah 40:22; Psalm 103:12)

Earth hangs on nothing (not built on pillars) (Job 26:7)


Back to the unique dating tool (no, not Tinder)

Ok, back to where we started with this – namely the dating tool that recently helped scientists prove events in the Bible actually happened. Because it has wider implications. 

Those being that beyond confirming at least some biblical history, the new form of geomagnetic testing used by scientists in Tel Aviv could be used to date the age of other ancient sites. It could also be used to predict how the magnetic field will change and behave in the future. This is of importance as small changes in the Earth's magnetic field can have far-reaching repercussions for the planet's surface.


This story first appeared in our subscriber-only weekly Blueprint newsletter. Receive exclusive interviews and analyses like this, direct to your inbox every Sunday, by subscribing to IE+.

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