In this series on Science and the Bible we are taking different branches or fields of science and comparing what it has stated over the centuries and published and what the Bible has always stated about objectives in the fields. In this lesson, we are examining the science of Geology. Now the Bible does not have copious amounts of geologic facts in it; but as we have learned in this series, what science (in this case Geology) is contained in it will ring true. This is because God created everything and, on a few occasions, He spoke to us concerning geologic facts. The Bible is not a science textbook by any means, but the science contained in it will always be true, unlike the field of science which is ever finding out it is wrong and having to make corrections.
Molten Rock under the Earth’s Crust
Take a walk on any continent, not on man-made materials, and observe what you walk on. Mostly you are walking on dirt or rock. For centuries, people have wondered what lies beneath.
Below the Surface May Seem Cooler: Wells were dug into the earth to obtain water and what people found refreshing is that the water usually is cooler than water on the surface. This makes sense since we are out of the sun’s direct rays.
People also discovered in most caves in the earth that the temperatures are cooler. If one visits Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky, the temperature deep in the cave is a constant 54°F (12°C). Thus, it seemed to many people that the deeper you go into the earth’s crust, the cooler the temperature was. But this is not always the case.
Below the Surface Can Seem Hotter: In some locations around the world, hot water is found on the surface of the crust and as one tests temperatures in these places, the temperature rises to the point of boiling water. Yellowstone National Park, Hot Springs Arkansas, and Deception Island off Antarctica have pools of very hot water and are tourist destinations.
Why are some areas cool and others very hot in the earth’s crust?
The earth is believed to be composed of distinct layers. The outermost, the one we see and live on, is the crust. This varies in thickness all over the earth, but the general range of thickness averages from less than 1 to over 80 kilometers (49.5 miles). It is believed to be thinner under the oceans than under mountainous continents.
Under the crust is the thickest layer scientists call the mantle and at certain places it comes nearly to the surface. The mantle is hot! In fact, it is molten rock called magma, composed mostly of iron, silicon, and magnesium.
At certain areas on the earth, the crust is very thin and the ground water or rocks themselves are hot, like in Yellowstone or Hot Springs. This makes the pools of waters or streams contain very hot water. In some cases, the water is scalding to human flesh. On occasions, the mantel can seep into the crust in channels called dikes or sills and reach up to the surface. What comes out is molten rock now called lava. This is commonly seen with volcanoes. Thus, the material under the crust of the earth is hot enough to melt rock into magma.
What does the Bible state about this scientific fact?
The Bible gives us the fact that under the crust of the surface of the earth it is fiery hot. It is so hot, that iron is in a molten state called magma. Even the ancients knew if you dig down into the earth, you can find cool water or cooler conditions. Yet, the Bible makes it very clear that under the earth it’s extremely hot.
Job 28:5 (ESV)
As for the earth, out of it comes bread, but underneath it is turned up as by fire.
There is no science error here. The Bible is correct on this scientific matter.
The theory of Isostasy has to do with the crust of the earth floating on the molten rock or magma under it. But the crust of the earth is not uniform in thickness.
- In places such as the Himalayas, the Alps, or the Rocky Mountains, the crust is thicker.
- In places such as the floor of the ocean or the Midwest, the crust is thinner.
- Under the oceans it is the thinnest.
Scientists believe that this is due to buoyancy and balancing the crust. Where it is higher, it must be thicker to support the weight and mass of the crust. Where it is lower, it must be thinner, not needing as much thickness to support the thin crust.
In Isostasy, the key is balance. To float on the liquid mantle, the crust must be balanced. This is accomplished by the higher parts having a deeper penetrating base into the mantle. The lower and thinner crust does not need to have a deep base. Thus, isostasy deals with balancing the crust on the mantle.
The Theory was first theorized in the mid-1800s by Sir George Biddell Airy and John Henry Pratt.
Today, scientists do not know for certain how the crust exactly floats on the mantle, and many theories exist on it. There is still a debate on how the balances and measure of the earth’s crust float on the mantle. But nearly all scientists agree that isostasy does exist.
What does the Bible state concerning this idea of weighing and balancing the
earth’s crust on a fluid mantle?
Isaiah 40:12 (ESV)
Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand
and marked off the heavens with a span,
enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure
and weighed the mountains in scales
and the hills in a balance?
Noticed the key words in this verse:
- Measured דַדָמ madad which is a verb to measure or survey something.
- Measure שׁיִלָׁש shaliysh which is a noun and means to name a measure.
- Weighed לַקָׁש shaqal which is a verb meaning to suspend on a balance.
- Scales סֶלֶפ peles which is a noun for a balance or weighing device.
- Balance ןֵזאֹמ mo’zen which is another noun for a pair of scales or a balance.
It appears that Isaiah was writing on this very theory. In 2005, Bible scholar John MacArthur wrote:
“God alone has power to create the physical universe and the earth in perfect balance, weighing mountains and seas perfectly, so that the earth moves perfectly in space. This matter of the amazing balance of our planet is called the science of Isostasy.” (from The MacArthur Bible Commentary)
Flat Earth or Sphere
Many critics and nonbelievers of the Bible often claim that the Bible makes a serious science error in declaring that the Earth is flat. Some critics even use the Bible as their source for supporting a flat Earth belief by citing Psalm 75:3, Psalm 104:5, and Revelation 7:1. Let’s examine these verses and see if the Bible really teaches a Flat Earth Theory.
Psalm 75:3 (KJV)
The earth and all the inhabitants thereof are dissolved:
I bear up the pillars of it.
The primary support critics gain from this verse the word pillars. They assume that the Bible is confirming a literal earth being suspended on pillars. But this is incorrect.
Bible Study Hint: When one examines any verse of Scripture, one must examine the paragraph that contains it, the beginning sentence of that paragraph, or the thesis sentence, which indicates the subject area. All following verses in that paragraph pertain directly to the thesis.
In this case, the thesis is about giving thanks to God for he is in control of the world. The word pillars used here is a common metaphor for boundaries of the Earth, and not literal pillars. This verse is actually stating that the Lord is in control shoring up the moral order, preventing the world physical features and civilizations from collapsing.
Psalm 104:5 (KJV)
You who laid the foundations of the earth, so that it should not be moved forever.
In Psalm 104, verse 5 is the beginning of a paragraph in the ancient manuscripts and thus is the thesis sentence. It is a song, but what is this song about?
This is a song about God’s greatness and His control over His creation. Here the word in question is foundations. This paragraph is referring to the Genesis account of God creating the world when the waters moved over the face of the Earth. Underneath this would be rock and a solid foundation. The foundations were waiting for God to separate them from the water. It is not meaning a flat Earth at all.
Revelation 7:1 (KJV)
And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.
Revelation 7:1 is the thesis sentence of a paragraph. Here the words in question are the four corners of the earth.
This too is an ancient metaphor for describing the four points of a compass for north, south, east and west. This passage is in no way referring to a literal four corner flat earth.
These three passages do not have the Bible teaching a pseudoscience. In fact, the Bible teaches that the Earth is not flat! In two specific books, there are references as to the Earth being a sphere.
Proverbs 8:27 (ESV)
When he established the heavens, I was there;
when he drew a circle on the face of the deep.
Isaiah 40:22 (ESV)
It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in.
Notice that in both verses, the earth is described as a circle. The Hebrew word used in both verses here is the word גוּח chug which literally means circle.
John MacArthur and numerous other Bible scholars point out in their commentaries, “The word ‘circle’ is applicable to the spherical form of the earth.” In other words, the Bible is scientifically correct.
Most geology textbooks state that fossils are the plants and animals that lived millions of years ago. They also state that fossils take millions of years to develop. Here we have an apparent conflict between Science and the Bible.
According to the Bible in Genesis chapters 1 and 2, Exodus 20, and numerous other passages found in the Old and New Testaments the earth is not millions of years old. The Bible constantly contains information about an aged Earth in the creation process. For instance:
- Adam and Eve were not infants when they were created.
- Rivers existed.
- Trees and plants were fully developed.
- The stars were already shining.
- Constellations were in place.
- Death entered the cosmos because of mankind’s sin. (No prior predator/prey
God created an aged earth for our habitation. He didn’t place Adam and Eve in a barren field and tell them that they were going on a diet until the seeds He planted sprouted and made food. He placed them in an already functioning garden.
Many critics of the Bible state that the Bible is completely wrong here because the Earth is billions of years old. They also state that they know this because of the fossils.
How do you make a fossil? Does it take billions or millions of years?
According to most Science textbooks, most fossils form from an organism dying and then being covered by wet sediment for millions of years. Slowly, the tissues decay and are replaced by minerals dissolved in the water. After a long period of time, the imprint or remains are part of sedimentary rock.
But is this true?
No one has ever seen these formed over billions of years, because no one lives that long. But the fact remains that fossils are found on every continent at hundreds of locations. Thus, it appears that the organisms that died were all subjected to water.
Doesn’t this suggest that the continents were covered by water at some time?
The Bible explains this easily with Noah’s catastrophic flood. But Noah’s flood was not millions of years ago.
Do fossils really need that much time to form? And when they died, why didn’t scavengers dispose of the remains?
Today, if an animal dies in the forest, it does not become a fossil. There seems to be something wrong with this fossil theory.
Modern science has discovered that fossils do not need millions of years to form. There are hundreds of scientists who have published peer reviewed articles on this fact in many secular scholarly publications such as Science, Journal of the Geological Society, Sedimentary Geology, and more.
Science correctly states that fossils are found on all continents and at various elevations, but since most fossils basically need water to form, doesn’t that dictate that these organisms were covered with water?
Does not this fit the biblical account perfectly?
Water covered the Earth and quickly buried millions of organisms with wet sediment that changed them into fossils.
Remove the time barrier (as scientists have shown that millions of years is not necessary for fossil formation) and this makes sense.
Science and the Bible are in agreement.
Some fossils show death happening instantaneously.
Being fossils require wet sediment and a quick death where they are rapidly buried in wet sediment is easily explained with Noah’s flood.
The Bible records many earthquakes. They are often used for judgement, and they show God’s power over His creation. Earthquakes are movements of the earth’s crust, and strong ones can be felt or even be deadly.
Jesus mentioned earthquakes while sitting on the Mt. of Olives, across from Jerusalem, teaching His disciples.
Matthew 24:3-8 (ESV)
As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.
Jesus specifically mentions that towards the time when He returns to earth the earth will experience more frequent earthquakes than was common in ancient history. As the Jesus’ return nears, the world will experience more and more earthquakes.
Research of the number of major earthquakes over a 5.0 on the Richter Scale in world history and you’ll find amazing data. Scientists today even estimate past earthquakes by studying history, the geologic faults and deformities in the earth’s crust in various lands. What follows are the estimated number of 5.0+ earthquakes worldwide starting around the establishment of the Roman Republic about 500 B.C.
From this data, it appears that Jesus could return very soon. His prediction of an increase of earthquakes, not to mention famines, is remarkably accurate. This geological aspect is amazingly accurate with the Bible.
In concluding Geology and Bible, we do not see any provable scientific errors in the Bible concerning geology. There is not a lot of information on geology contained in the Bible, but what is present is accurate! No conflict here!