"The Bible Scientific" is my current blog series. Each post will examine a verse or two directly from Scripture and try to explain that Biblical quote from a scientific perspective.
It is often stated that the Bible and Science are not compatible, that the Bible is not a scientific text and that you can not believe the Bible and also believe science. I think this is short sighted as there are a number of places in Scripture where scientific facts were stated even before man understood them. The Bible is not a scientific text in that it is not meant to be the full explanation of scientific fact, but it does direct us to understand the nature of God scientifically as well as spiritually. It complements science. God uses His Word to help us understand Him and His creation with our mind, soul and spirit.
Galileo Galilei said:
In this blog we will take a look at this verse from Psalms:
Psalm 104 is an elaboration of the physical creation events. Each section of verses detail another small part of creation - the Earth covered with water, the separation and formation of the land, the water cycle, plants and animals, food for all creatures, man works in the day and the animals hunt by night, the vastness of the oceans teeming with life and God's Sovereignty over ALL of His creation!
- Verses 1-4 - God and the majesty of the heavens
- Verses 5-9 - Creation of the sea and dry land
- Verses 10-18 - Provisions for the feeding and maintenance of all the creatures according to their nature
- Verses 19-24 - The Regular Course of the Sun and Moon (day & night) and the seasons
- Verses 25-26 - The vastness of the sea and all that dwells in it
- Verses 27-30 - God's Sovereignty over the Creatures and His creation
- Verses 31-35 - May the glory of the LORD endure for ever, may the LORD rejoice in his works
Specifically, Psalm 104:2 can be divided into two parts - "The LORD wraps himself in light as with a garment" - pointing to His invisible nature, and "He stretches out the heavens like a tent" explaining how He formed the universe.
Taking part one we find that God, by nature, is invisible and He is so majestic that He can use the light of the universe as His garment. This part of the verse also points to how we can see God in His creation when we look to the heavens (see Psalm 19:1 and Romans 1:20).
The second part points to the heavens as being "stretched out" (expanded) like a tent. As we see in the Big Bang Theory, the universe expanded from a singularity and science currently afirms that the universe is still expanding.
His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen,
being understood from what has been made,
so that people are without excuse. - Romans 1:20
The Hebrew word used here for tent is "yĕriy`ah." It means a tent, curtain, drape, or veil - a fabric that can be hung up as in the tent of the tabernacle in the desert during the 40 years of wandering. This could be God's dwelling place (the heavens) or it could be indicating the shape of the universe as flat like a curtain but being a place where creation can exist.
Einstein's theory of General Relativity says if the critical density is equal to the actual density of the universe, it is flat, as opposed to curved like a sphere (more dense - closed) or a saddle (less dense - open).
Scientists think that the actual density of the universe is equal to the critical density, and thus think the universe will extend forever like a flat piece of paper. Currently the universe is still stretching out but the expansion rate will slow down gradually, over an infinite amount of time. Thus, the universe is considered flat and infinite in size.
NASA's Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) measured background fluctuations in an effort to determine whether the universe is open or closed. In 2013, scientists announced that the universe was known to be flat with only a 0.4 percent margin of error.
Therefore this verse (Psalm 104:2) matches with what science has found based on the Theory of Relativity, that the universe is stretching out (expanding) and is like a tent or curtain (flat).
The speed of light limits us to viewing the volume of the universe visible since the Big Bang; because the universe is approximately 13.8 billion years old, scientists can only see 13.8 billion light-years from Earth.
The universe will continue to grow until it all burns out (entropy - second law of thermodynamics). We will look at this idea next time in Hebrews.