Free Courses: Science in Job

Ancient books that discuss history, geography, or science contain many errors. Current editions of many medical books become totally useless in less than a decade. In the light of this it would be quite illuminating to examine the scientific passages the very ancient book of Job.

Of all the books in Bible, scholars regard Job as the oldest. This book has been put almost in the middle of the Old Testament — instead of being placed according to chronology — because all the poetic books have been grouped into one in the middle of Old Testament. The story in the book has taken place somewhat at, or even before, the time of Abraham. This means that the narratives recorded in this books are perhaps more than four thousand years old.

Today researchers have in their collection a good amount of literature produced in ancient times. Archeologists have unearthed thousands of clay tablets and other written material that gives us a fairly good idea of the cultural and scientific development attained by people of old. This can then be compared with the information recorded in the book of Job to see whether the divine inspiration of this book has left any special mark on it or not.
One of the best and easiest things to do in this matter is to examine the scientific content of the ancient literature. We all know that people who lived in these ancient societies maintained many erroneous ideas regarding the natural world, and these ideas are often carried into their writings — preserved now for our study. However, when one compares the ancient literature with the book of Job, which is equally ancient, we will find a striking difference.

Whenever ancient writers wrote about the natural world, they affirmed many things that were wrong, foolish, or even silly. This was not always their fault, but rather the consequence of their ignorance. Logically, if the book of Job is a product of only human writers, then it should exhibit a similar pattern of errors. This would be an enlightening experiment because the book of Job is full of comments about the natural world. Even a cursory reading will reveal over one hundred references to the natural world.
However, what strikes a careful reader is the sanity of these comments. The ancients had very bizarre ideas about the world, its origin and its day-to-day happenings. For example, people of many ancient civilizations considered the solar and lunar eclipse as the result of giants swallowing up the sun and the moon, respectively. In fact, without exception, almost all comments which the ancient people made regarding the natural world were ridiculous. However, the book of Job shows an unusual balance of thought and a restraint from wild imaginations. And, even more than the restraint, many of the statements have turned out to be highly accurate assessments of the physical world and its natural processes. Just a few of these examples are cited below.
Air is felt by all of us when a breeze moves past our faces. However, it is an entity that can neither be seen nor touched. It is difficult to imagine that it would have any weight, and for thousands of years people did not know that air has any weight. In fact a few hundred years ago, a person venturing to suggest that air has weight would have been laughed out of court even by the most scholarly people of his times.

It is only in the recent centuries that scientists who study air demonstrated that it has a significant amount of weight. Even today people are amazed when we tell them that air has a measurable weight — and it requires some effort to convince them. However, the book of Job says about God’s activity, "When He imparted weight to the air" (Job 28:25). Had the scientists taken this statement seriously, they could have discovered this fact much before the time when they actually discovered this property of air.

The study of moon is another example. For thousands of years moon has been considered a SOURCE of pure, soft, and undefiled light. Similar to the sun and stars, moon was also understood as emitting its own light. It is only after the invention of telescopes that people understood the real nature of moonlight — it is the light of sun, reflected from the dusty surface of moon. But in the four thousand year old discourse with Job, Bildad says that "If even the moon has no brightness" then how much is the glory of man (Job 25:5-6).

If the Bible were a book written merely by human authors using their human intelligence alone, then this books should not have been any different from the rest of the ancient writings. In these ancient writings, even when produced by the wisest men of that generation, we find scores of scientific errors. This is a rule of this world that even the best of the brains cannot escape the scientific fallacies of his age. This is such a universal fact that even medical books written merely a hundred years ago are full of scientific blunders. About 160 different organs in the body were considered — and declared — vestigial and useless; today almost all of these have been discovered to be vital for the functioning of the human body.

Whenever human authors comment upon the natural world, they are bound to repeat the erroneous beliefs of their generation. However, when it comes to the speakers in the book of Job they do not make a single mistake, even though they make hundreds of references to the natural world. On the contrary, many of their observations were scientifically so advanced that scientists discovered those truths only in the recent times. Surely one has to look to the Divine Hand behind the writing of Bible to explain this.

 

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