Is the Bible a Science Textbook?

by Ken Ham on May 23, 2023
Featured in Ken Ham Blog

During a radio talk show, a caller once asked me, “Is the Bible a science textbook?” Of course, secularists would say the Bible is not a science textbook. They would claim it’s a book of mythology. So, how did I answer?

I said, “Well, I’m glad the Bible is not a science textbook like the ones they use in school, because those textbooks basically change each year. But the Bible doesn’t change. The Bible itself states, “Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens” (Psalm 119:89).

In fact, there are many verses of Scripture to tell us that God’s infallible Word, unlike man’s fallible word, lasts forever.

“But the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you. (1 Peter 1:25)
The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. (Isaiah 40:8)

So, is the Bible a science textbook?

Well, first of all, we need to understand what the word science means. It is derived from the classical Latin scientia, meaning “to know.” The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines it as “the state of knowing: knowledge as distinguished from ignorance or misunderstanding.”

In other words, the actual meaning of the word science is knowledge.

Now, words can be used in different ways. For instance, when people talk about doing chemistry experiments or studying cells under a microscope in biology, they will say they are studying science. But then, secular scientists studying the supposed evolution of life—when they weren’t there to see it happen—also call that “science.”

That’s why when I debated Bill Nye “the Science Guy” in 2014 at the Creation Museum (you can see that debate on the Answers in Genesis YouTube channel or on Answers TV), I said the first thing we needed to do was define our terms. I made sure people understood that science meant “knowledge.”

To help people understand the different ways the word science is used, I wanted to make sure I taught them how to think—and not just what to think—about this topic. That’s rather radical for education these days! I explained that being able to observe and repeat experiments in the present is very different from discussing the topic of origins when humans weren’t there to observe what was happening.

Doing repeatable experiments in the present to gain knowledge is “observational” or “operational” science. But talking about the origins issue is a very different type of knowledge. We call that “historical science,” as we are talking about the past—trying to understand history. That’s a very different type of knowledge indeed.

Sadly, the same word science is used by secularists and others for observational science as well as historical science. So most students are brainwashed to think that because studying science put man on the moon, a marvelous technological feat, then we have to believe scientists when they say science proves evolution. They don’t realize there’s been a type of “bait and switch” to use the same word (science) to mean very different things.

When students use science textbooks in public school, these books usually cover biology, chemistry, physics, and so on. But they usually also cover topics about evolution and millions of years. The problem is that evolution and millions of years involve historical science, whereas studying biology, chemistry, and physics (providing it’s not being applied to the origins issue) involves observational science.

Students aren’t being taught how to think correctly about science. It’s one of the reasons they get easily brainwashed to believe evolution and millions of years are true (as have many church leaders and Christian academics for the same reason)—because they think science (and really scientists) have clearly shown this.

When I debated Bill Nye, I explained that if he and I were at the Grand Canyon, we would agree that we could observe layers of sandstone and limestone and we could agree on how thick those layers were as we could measure them—that’s observational science. But we wouldn’t agree on how old the layers are and how long they took to be laid down, as that’s historical science. He believes in millions of years of slow processes to explain the layers, but I believe they were formed during Noah’s flood a few thousand years ago.

When it comes to the Bible, we need to understand that it is primarily a book of history and spiritual and moral matters. It’s God’s history book to us. In a way, we could say it’s God’s textbook of historical science.

When it comes to the Bible, we need to understand that it is primarily a book of history and spiritual and moral matters. It’s God’s history book to us.

The Bible also deals with geology, biology, astronomy, and so on. When it deals with these topics, we can trust it because it’s God’s Word. Unlike “science” textbooks in public schools, it never changes. What we can do is use observational science to see if experiments and observations done in the present confirm (or otherwise) the history God reveals in these areas. And the Bible’s history is confirmed over and over again as we’ve shown in many articles on our websites, in our magazines, in public presentations, in books, etc.

For example, the science of genetics confirms animals exist in kinds that never change into another totally different kind. Or consider the science of geology, which confirms that catastrophic processes formed the fossil record found all over the earth, confirming the flood of Noah’s day. There are so many confirmations like this.

The exhibits at the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum attractions give lots more confirming evidence for the truth of God’s Word in many different areas. And there are thousands of articles on the Answers in Genesis website that also give such answers.

Because the historical science (the “earthly things”) in the Bible is true, the moral and spiritual teachings based in that history are true. Christianity is based on real history, the history God recorded for us in his Word—the Bible. Evolution and millions of years are false history.

If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? (John 3:12)

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,

This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.

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