Archives for category: Bible Questions Answered

www.jw.org

The Bible’s answer

Yes, for although the Bible is not a science textbook, it is accurate when it mentions matters of science. Consider some examples showing that science and the Bible agree and that the Bible contains scientific facts that differed greatly from the beliefs of many people living at the time it was written.

  • The universe had a beginning. (Genesis 1:1) In contrast, many ancient myths describe the universe, not as being created, but as being organized from existing chaos. The Babylonians believed that the gods that gave birth to the universe came from two oceans. Other legends say that the universe came from a giant egg.

  • The universe is governed day-to-day by rational natural laws, not by the whims of deities. (Job 38:33; Jeremiah 33:25) Myths from around the world teach that humans are helpless before the unpredictable and sometimes merciless acts of the gods.

  • The earth is suspended in empty space. (Job 26:7) Many ancient peoples believed that the world was a flat disk supported by a giant or an animal, such as a buffalo or a turtle.

  • Rivers and springs are fed by water that has evaporated from the oceans and other sources and then has fallen back to earth as rain, snow, or hail. (Job 36:27, 28; Ecclesiastes 1:7;Isaiah 55:10; Amos 9:6) The ancient Greeks thought that rivers were fed by underground ocean water, and this idea persisted into the 18th century.

  • The mountains rise and fall, and today’s mountains were once under the ocean. (Psalm 104:6, 8) In contrast, several myths say that the mountains were created in their current form by the gods.

  • Sanitary practices protect health. The Law given to the nation of Israel included regulations for washing after touching a dead body, quarantining those with infectious disease, and disposing of human waste safely. (Leviticus 11:28; 13:1-5; Deuteronomy 23:13) By contrast, one of the Egyptian remedies in use when these commands were given called for applying to an open wound a mixture that included human excrement.

Are there scientific errors in the Bible?

A reasonable examination of the Bible shows the answer to be no. Here are some common misconceptions about the scientific accuracy of the Bible:

Myth: The Bible says that the universe was created in six 24-hour days.

Fact: According to the Bible, God created the universe in the indefinite past. (Genesis 1:1) Also, the days of creation described in chapter 1 of Genesis were epochs whose length is not specified. In fact, the entire period during which earth and heaven were made is also called a “day.”—Genesis 2:4.

Myth: The Bible says that vegetation was created before the sun existed to support photosynthesis.—Genesis 1:11, 16.

Fact: The Bible shows that the sun, one of the stars that make up “the heavens,” was created before vegetation. (Genesis 1:1) Diffused light from the sun reached the earth’s surface during the first “day,” or epoch, of creation. As the atmosphere cleared, by the third “day” of creation, the light was strong enough to support photosynthesis. (Genesis 1:3-5, 12, 13) Only later did the sun become distinctly visible from the surface of the earth.—Genesis 1:16.

Myth: The Bible says that the sun revolves around the earth.

Fact: Ecclesiastes 1:5 says: “The sun rises, and the sun sets; then it hurries back to the place where it rises again.” However, this statement merely describes the apparent motion of the sun as viewed from the earth. Even today, a person can use the words “sunrise” and “sunset,” yet he knows that the earth revolves around the sun.

Myth: The Bible says that the earth is flat.

Fact: The Bible uses the phrase “the ends of the earth” to mean “the most distant part of the earth”; this does not imply that the earth is flat or that it has an edge. (Acts 1:8; footnote) Likewise, the expression “the four corners of the earth” is a figure of speech referring to the entire surface of the earth; today a person might use the four points of the compass as a similar metaphor.—Isaiah 11:12; Luke 13:29.

Myth: The Bible says that the circumference of a circle is exactly three times its diameter, but the correct value is pi (π), or about 3.1416.

Fact: The measurements of “the Sea of cast metal” given at 1 Kings 7:23 and 2 Chronicles 4:2indicate that it had a diameter of 10 cubits and that “it took a measuring line 30 cubits long to encircle it.” These dimensions might have been merely the nearest round numbers. It is also possible that the circumference and diameter represented inner and outer measurements of the basin respectively.

Advertisements

www.jw.org 

Our planet is ideally suited to host life. It has abundant water, which isessential for life. The earth’s tilt, rotation, and orbit are all just right to prevent the oceans from freezing over or boiling away. And the earth’s atmosphere and magnetic field protect it from deadly radiation. The interdependent web of plant and animal life on earth is simply amazing. Consequently, many people have concluded that our planet was designed for a purpose.—Read Isaiah 45:18.

But you may wonder, ‘Is suffering and injustice part of that purpose?’—Read Deuteronomy 32:4, 5.

Will earth’s purpose be accomplished?

The earth was designed to be a happy home for people who respect one another and love their Creator. Thus, human life has a higher purpose than plant or animal life. We can understand who our Creator is and admire and imitate his love and justice.—Read Ecclesiastes 12:13; Micah 6:8.

Our Maker can accomplish all that he purposes to do. So we can be sure that he will do away with suffering and injustice and make our planet a perfectly happy home for mankind.—Read Psalm 37:11, 29;Isaiah 55:11.

 


http://www.jw.org

Bible Questions Answered

What sort of person is God?

God is an invisible spirit person. He created the heavens, the earth, and all living things. No one created God—he had no beginning. (Psalm 90:2) God wants people to seek him and to know the truth about him.—Read Acts 17:24-27.

God is a person whom we can know by name. We can discern some of his qualities by contemplating the things he has made. (Romans 1:20) But to know God well, we need to study his Word, the Bible. It acquaints us with God’s loving personality.—ReadPsalm 103:7-10.

How does God feel about injustice?

Our Creator, Jehovah, hates injustice. And he created humans in his image. (Deuteronomy 25:16) That is why most of us hate injustice. The injustice around us is not God’s doing. God granted man free will. Sadly, many people misuse their free will and practice injustice. Jehovah’s heart is saddened.—Read Genesis 6:5, 6; Deuteronomy 32:4, 5.

Jehovah loves justice, and he will not forever tolerate injustice. (Psalm 37:28, 29) The Bible promises that soon God will bring all injustice to an end.—Read 2 Peter 3:7-9, 13.

_____________________________________________________

The Bible promises that God will soon provide justice for all

_____________________________________________________


www.jw.org

BIBLE QUESTIONS ANSWERED

What is the purpose of Christ’s return?

Before Jesus Christ ascended to heaven in 33 C.E., he promised to return. He likened himself to a nobleman who went away for a long time and returned with power to rule as king. The purpose of Jesus’ return is to provide mankind with good government.—ReadLuke 19:11, 12.

Jesus will bring good government to mankind

In what form does Christ return? He was resurrected as an invisible spirit person. (1 Peter 3:18) Then, he went to heaven and sat at God’s right hand. (Psalm 110:1) Much later, Jesus was brought before Jehovah God, “the Ancient of Days,” who granted Jesus power to rule over mankind. So Jesus returns, not as a human, but as an invisible King.—Read Daniel 7:13, 14.

What will Jesus do when he arrives?

When Jesus arrives invisibly with his angels, he will judge mankind. He will destroy wicked people but grant everlasting life to those who accept him as King.—Read Matthew 25:31-33, 46.

Jesus’ rule as King will transform the earth into a paradise. He will resurrect the dead so that they can enjoy life in that earthly Paradise.—Read Luke 23:42, 43.


In ancient times, a man writing Bible verses

www.jw.org

The Bible’s answer

No, the entire Bible is harmonious. While some passages might seem to show the Bible contradicting itself, they can usually be understood correctly by applying one or more of the following principles:

  1. Consider the context. Any author can appear to contradict himself if his words are taken out of context.

  2. Consider the writer’s viewpoint. Eyewitnesses might describe an event accurately but not use the exact same wording or include the same details.

  3. Take into account historical facts and customs.

  4. Distinguish between the figurative and the literal uses of a word.

  5. Recognize that an action may be attributed to someone—even if he did not personally carry it out. *

  6. Use an accurate Bible translation.

  7. Avoid trying to reconcile what the Bible says with mistaken religious ideas or dogma.

The following examples show how these principles can explain some seeming inconsistencies in the Bible.

Principle 1: Context

If God rested on the seventh day, how has he continued working? The context of the Genesis creation account shows that the statement that God “began to rest on the seventh day from all his work that he had been doing” refers specifically to his work of physical creation respecting the earth. (Genesis 2:2-4) Jesus did not contradict this, however, when he said that God “has kept working until now,” because he was talking about other works of God. (John 5:17) God’s works include the inspiration of the Bible and his guidance and care of mankind.—Psalm 20:6; 105:5;2 Peter 1:21.

Principles 2 and 3: Viewpoint and history

Jesus heals the blind man

Where did Jesus heal the blind man? The book of Luke says that Jesus healed a blind man as Jesus “was getting near to Jericho,” while the parallel account in Matthew mentions two blind men and says that the incident occurred when Jesus was “going out of Jericho.” (Luke 18:35-43; Matthew 20:29-34) These two accounts, written from different viewpoints, actually complement each other. Regarding the number of men, Matthew is more specific as to there being two, while Luke focuses on the one man to whom Jesus directed his remarks. As for the location, archaeologists have found that in Jesus’ time Jericho was a double city, with the old Jewish city situated about one and a half kilometers (1 mi) away from the newer Roman city. Jesus may have been between the two cities when he performed this miracle.

Principle 4: Figurative and literal terms

Will the earth be destroyed? At Ecclesiastes 1:4, the Bible says that “the earth remains forever,” which to some apparently conflicts with its statement that “the elements will be destroyed by heat—with the earth.” (2 Peter 3:10Beck) In the Bible, however, the word “earth” is used both literally, referring to our planet, and figuratively, referring to the people who live on it. (Genesis 1:1;11:1) The destruction of the “earth” described at 2 Peter 3:10refers, not to the burning up of our planet, but to the “destruction of the ungodly people.”—2 Peter 3:7.

Principle 5: Attribution

In Capernaum, who brought the centurion’s request to Jesus? Matthew 8:5, 6 says that the centurion (army officer) himself came to Jesus, while Luke 7:3 says that the centurion sent older men of the Jews to make his request. This apparent Bible contradiction can be understood in that the army officer initiated the request, but he sent the older men as his representatives.

Principle 6: Accurate translation

Do we all sin? The Bible teaches that we all inherit sin from the first man, Adam. (Romans 5:12) Some translations seem to contradict this by saying that a good person “does no sin” or “sinneth not.” (1 John 3:6The Bible in Basic English; King James Version) In the original language, though, the Greek verb for “sin” at 1 John 3:6 is in the present tense, which in that language normally indicates a continuous action. There is a difference between inherited sin, which we cannot avoid, and the deliberate, continuous practice of disobeying God’s laws. Thus, some translations clear up this seeming contradiction by accurately using phrases such as “does not practice sin” or “does not habitually sin.”—New World Translation; Phillips.

Principle 7: The Bible, not dogma

Is Jesus equal to God or lesser than God? Jesus once said: “I and the Father are one,” which seems to contradict his statement that “the Father is greater than I am.” (John 10:30; 14:28) To understand those verses correctly, we must examine what the Bible really says about Jehovah and Jesus rather than try to harmonize the verses with the Trinity dogma, which is not based on the Bible. The Bible shows that Jehovah is not only Jesus’ Father but also Jesus’ God, the One whom even Jesus worships. (Matthew 4:10; Mark 15:34; John 17:3; 20:17; 2 Corinthians 1:3) Jesus is not equal to God.

The context of Jesus’ statement “I and the Father are one” shows that he was talking about the oneness of purpose that he shared with his Father, Jehovah God. Jesus later said: “The Father is in union with me and I am in union with the Father.” (John 10:38) Jesus shared this unity of purpose with his followers as well, for he prayed to God about them: “I have given them the glory that you have given me, in order that they may be one just as we are one. I in union with them and you in union with me.”—John 17:22, 23.

 

 

 

 


www.jw.org

BIBLE QUESTIONS ANSWERED

 

Is there hope for the dead?

Death is like sleep in that the dead are unconscious and cannot do anything. However, the Creator of life can bring the dead back by means of a resurrection. In proof of that, God empowered Jesus to raise several dead people to life.—Read Ecclesiastes 9:5; John 11:11, 43, 44.

In what sense is death like sleep?

God has promised that the dead who are in his memory will be resurrected to life in a righteous new world. Those who will be resurrected must remain in death until God gives them life again. Almighty God yearns to use his power to restore life to the dead.—Read Job 14:14, 15.

What will the resurrection be like?

When God resurrects people, they will be able to recognize themselves, their friends, and their family. Even though a person’s body decomposes, God can resurrect that same person with a new body.—Read 1 Corinthians 15:35, 38.

Relatively few individuals are raised to life in heaven. (Revelation 20:6) Most resurrected ones will return to life in a restored paradise on earth. These will be given a fresh start, with the prospect of living forever.—Read Psalm 37:29; Acts 24:15.


www.jw.org

BIBLE QUESTIONS ANSWERED

 

Does God listen to all prayers?

God listens to people from all nations. (Psalm 145:18, 19) His Word, the Bible, encourages us to speak to him about any matter that concerns us. (Philippians 4:6, 7) Yet, some prayers displease God. For example, repeating memorized prayers does not please him.—Read Matthew 6:7.

Also, Jehovah dislikes the prayers of people who willfully disregard his law. (Proverbs 28:9) For example, in Bible times, God refused to listen to Israelites who were guilty of murder. Clearly, we must meet certain requirements to be heard by God.—Read Isaiah 1:15.

What must we do to be heard by God?

We cannot approach God in prayer without faith. (James 1:5, 6) We must be convinced that he exists and cares about us. We can strengthen our faith by studying the Bible because true faith is based on the evidence and assurances found in God’s Word.—Read Hebrews 11:1, 6.

We should pray sincerely and humbly. Even God’s Son, Jesus, was humble when he prayed. (Luke 22:41, 42) So, rather than tell God what to do, we should try to understand his requirements by reading the Bible. Then we can pray in harmony with God’s will.—Read 1 John 5:14.