A Question I Was Asked:

Is the Bible Just Ignorant and Not Scientific?

What do you think of people who say that the Bible is not "scientific" but only intended for an ancient and ignorant people? Those ancients, it is claimed, had no understanding of the principles of science and were simply following ancient and spurious creation myths when, for example, they wrote the Genesis creation story?

UK Apologetics Reply:

If we claim to be Christian believers we must remember that the Bible is inspired by God, it is not - I repeat not - just the naive ramblings and writings of some ancient, superstitious and ignorant people who were groping around in the dark for some kind of primiitve understanding.

Regarding Genesis, it is true that Genesis did not set out to be a scientific document, nevertheless, where it touches on real, actual, and yes, scientific matters it is fully accurate. The position you are outlining is pretty much the position of liberal theology. Liberal theology always rejects very large parts of Genesis, including the days of Creation, it insists that the days of Creation are simply poetic, maybe a teaching device for a very simple people. We will come to that matter later.

The Bible Uses a Literal, But Also a Poetic/Figurative Narrative According to the Context

When the Bible gives us a historical record it is indeed a historical record, although certain things might be emphasised at times. When the Bible uses proverbs, parables and colourful illustrations (which it obviously sometimes does) it is usually very clear when it is doing that; we might find this in parts of Isaiah, the Book of Proverbs and, of course, the parables of Jesus. Also, there is the apocalyptic style, mostly (but not exclusively) found in Daniel and Revelation; where we note this, it is usually clear and obvious. We are helped in this by how people like the Apostles Peter and Paul refer to certain apocalyptic-type prophecies. They usually did not understand them literally, but symbolically. In his Pentecost sermon, for example, Peter refers to a prophecy of Joel as being fulfilled in that first Christian Pentecost. Let us look at this:

17. "In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. 18. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. 19. I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 20. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. 21. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Acts 2:17-21).

That - according to Peter the Apostle - was fulfilled back in the first century AD, yet it may not be clear and obvious to us exactly how that was fulfilled, I mean, in every detail. However, without question, certain spectacular signs did indeed accompany the ministry of Jesus and the Apostles which are not necessarily carefully recorded in secular history. But the language which Joel used was apocalyptic, not necessarily fully literalistic, yet Peter - filled with the Holy Spirit - had complete understanding as to it's full meaning.

The Genesis Creation Account is not 'Poetic' - It is Literal!

Liberals go on insisting that the days of creation are just poetic, something made simple for a primitive people but that - in my opinion - is just not so. When the Bible uses poetry, proverb and symbolism it is clear to us but here the creation narrative is very careful to stress literalism. How do we know this? Genesis 1:5 states:

God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night." And there was evening, and there was morning - the first day.

This very careful description of time permeates the Creation narrative, for example, in verse 13 we have this:

And there was evening, and there was morning - the third day.

This meticulous description of what happened on the first 7 days of creation is very clear and very precise - every day is carefully marked off so the reader is left in no doubt that these are actual days. Why would these things be recorded in such a manner if the whole thing is merely poetic, or symbolic, or some sort of parable? It would be pointless!

Liberals and atheists who say things like "the Bible only represents an ancient and ignorant people groping around in the darkness for some sort of meaning to life" are actually the ignorant ones. They like to come out with sweeping statements like, "Of course, we know now that those things are not literally true" - but we don't know! This is the revelation of God to man, and Genesis starts off with an absolute respect for truth in it's creation account.

Robin A. Brace. September 28th, 2016.