“Major Scientific Discoveries foreshadowed in Old Testament”
Author: Terry Leon Dashner of Broken Arrow, OK
The bubonic plague killed one half of population of England. Some entire villages were destroyed by disease. However, it was evident for all to see that Jewish people were escaping plaque. Why did they escape? Because some 3000 years before bacteria was discovered, Creator gave instructions which are recorded in Old Testament book of Leviticus that prevent spread of communicable disease. Those instructions require strict cleanliness and quarantines, and cleansing following contact with sick or dead. The Jews followed those instructions, and their lives were spared.
Ignaz Semmelweiss lived from 1818 until 1865. He was a Hungarian obstetrician and was connected with Vienna General Hospital where he taught obstetrics to medical students. One day he was walking through lobby of hospital when he noticed a near-term pregnant woman weeping inconsolably. When he asked why, he was informed that distraught expectant mother had been assigned to obstetrics ward served by medical students rather than to midwives. To her, that was a death sentence. She preferred midwives because medical student ward had a terrible reputation for postpartum infection. The reputation was justly earned. One out of every six women delivered by medical students died.
Dr. Semmelweiss wondered what difference was between medical students and midwives. Suddenly, he realized difference possibly was anatomy lab. In that day it was common for medical students to dissect cadavers in anatomy lab while expectant mothers labored in a nearby ward. Every now and then students would leave lab to check progress of their patients by doing an internal exam. Dr. Semmelweiss wondered if there was a connection between medical students who handled dead corpses in lab, and then without washing, used their hands to do internal exams on laboring women. He decided to order his students to rinse their hands in limewater before doing exams on women. Within one month death rate of women dropped from one in six to one in eighty-four! The results were indicative of benefits of following Bible's teaching about dead bodies and cleanliness.
Today we know about transmission of bacteria that was taking place from cadavers to women. They did not know in Dr. Semmelweiss' time. Many more lives would have been saved, and much suffering avoided, if only people had by faith accepted Old Testament's teaching about cleanliness and practiced it (The Word on Health, Dr. Michael D. Jacobson, Moody Press, 2000).
When studying science of ancient world, one is more apt to be impressed with its ignorance than to admire its accuracy. However, Bible offers a definite exception to this rule. The scriptures are replete with statements suggesting scientific knowledge which predates corresponding discoveries of secular science. Given that Bible writers were not scientists, and given that scientific information at their disposal was generally misleading, accuracy of Bible can only be attributed to inspiration of God (“Examples of Scientific Accuracy in bible” David Pyles). Let me begin by listing a few of these Biblical foreshadows.
For one, Genesis 10:25 speaks of one Peleg whose name means division. The text then explains that he was so named because in his days earth was divided. It is now commonly believed that all continents of earth were once combined into a single continent called Pangaea. This belief is based upon fact that present continents appear somewhat as pieces out of a puzzle. There are also other evidences, including several geological similarities on matching continental edges (“Examples of Scientific Accuracy in Bible” David Pyles).