Bible, Quran And Science. Creation. Age of the Earth. The Flood. The Pharaoh. Introduction. On the 9th of November, , an unusual lecture was given at the. So it is not surprising to find reflections on the mountains in certain passages of the Qur'an, such as the following: Sura 79, verse “And the mountains (God). Book The Bible The Quran And Science Dr Maurice Bucaille PDF. 1. The Bible, The Qur'an and Science “La Bible, le Coran et la Science” The.
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The Quran and kienf:e. "La Bible, Ie Coran et la Science". THE HOLY SCRIPTURES. EXAMINED IN THE LIGHT. OF MODERN KNOWLEDGE. Translated from. The Qur'an and Science. “La Bible, le Coran et la Science”. The Holy Scriptures Examined. In The Light Of Modern Knowledge. By. Dr. Maurice Bucaille. The Holy Scriptures Examined in the Light of Modern Knowledge. A great book by homeranking.infoce Bucaille.
The Sacerdotal text was added to it later on, but one may ask if it was originally so brief. When one refers however to works written by clergymen, not meant for mass publication, one realizes that the question concerning the authenticity of the books in the Bible is much more complex than one might suppose a priori. The author then quotes other critics who refuse to ascribe to Moses a part, at least, of the Pentateuch. The latter have naturally had a tendency to minimize the importance of such errors. The explanation is elementary.
It leads us to meditate upon those factors which, in our day, should spiritually unite rather than divide Jews, Christians and Muslims. As a surgeon, Maurice Bucaille had often been in a situation where he was able to examine not only people's bodies, but their souls. This is how he was struck by the existence of Muslim piety and by aspects of Islam which remain unknown to the vast majority of non-Muslims. In his search for explanations which are otherwise difficult to obtain, he learnt Arabic and studied the Qur'an.
In it, he was surprised to find statements on natural phenomena whose meaning can only be understood through modern scientific knowledge. He then turned to the question of the authenticity of the writings that constitute the Holy Scriptures of the monotheistic religions. Finally, in the case of the Bible, he proceeded to a confrontation between these writings and scientific data.
The results of his research into the Judeo-Christian Revelation and the Qur'an are set out in this book. Skip to main content. View this page in our App. View View. Table of Contents. It must be stressed that when scientific data are discussed here, what is meant is data definitely established. This consideration rules out any explanatory theories, once useful in illuminating a phenomenon and easily dispensed with to make way for further explanations more in keeping with scientific progress.
What I intend to consider here are incontrovertible facts and even if science can only provide incomplete data, they will nevertheless be sufficiently well established to be used without fear of error.
Scientists do not, for example, have even an approximate date for man's appearance on Earth. They have however discovered remains of human works which we can situate beyond a shadow of a doubt at before the tenth millennium B. Hence we cannot consider the Biblical reality on this subject to be compatible with science.
In the Biblical text of Genesis, the dates and genealogies given would place man's origins i. In the future, science may be able to provide us with data that are more precise than our present calculations, but we may rest assured that it will never tell us that man first appeared on Earth 5, years ago, as does the Hebraic calendar for The Biblical data concerning the antiquity of man are therefore inaccurate.
This confrontation with science excludes all religious problems in the true sense of the word. Science does not, for example, have any explanation of the process whereby God manifested Himself to Moses. The same may be said for the mystery surrounding the manner in which Jesus was born in the absence of a biological father. The Scriptures moreover give no material explanation of such data.
This present study is concerned With what the Scriptures tell us about extremely varied natural phenomena, which they surround to a lesser or greater extent with commentaries and explanations. With this in mind, we must note the contrast between the rich abundance of information on a given subject in the Qur'anic Revelation and the modesty of the other two revelations on the same subject.
It was in a totally objective spirit, and without any preconceived ideas that I first examined the Qur'anic Revelation. I was looking for the degree of compatibility between the Qur'anic text and the data of modern science.
I knew from translations that the Qur'an often 8 9. It was only when I examined the text very closely in Arabic that I kept a list of them at the end of which I had to acknowledge the evidence in front of me: I repeated the same test for the Old Testament and the Gospels, always preserving the same objective outlook. In the former I did not even have to go beyond the first book, Genesis, to find statements totally out of keeping With the cast-iron facts of modern science.
On opening the Gospels, one is immediately confronted with a serious problem. On the first page we find the genealogy of Jesus, but Matthew's text is in evident contradiction to Luke's on the same question. There is a further problem in that the latter's data on the antiquity of man on Earth are incompatible with modern knowledge.
The existence of these contradictions, improbabilities and incompatibilities does not seem to me to detract from the belief in God. They involve only man's responsibility. No one can say what the original texts might have been, or identify imaginative editing, deliberate manipulations of them by men, or unintentional modification of the Scriptures. What strikes us today. When we come to the Gospels according to Matthew and John, I shall provide examples of this brilliant use of apologetical turns of phrase by eminent experts in exegesis.
Often the attempt to camouflage an improbability or a contradiction, prudishly called a 'difficulty', is successful. This explains why so many Christians are unaware of the serious defects contained in the Old Testament and the Gospels. The reader will find precise examples of these in the first and second parts of this work. In the third part, there is the illustration of an unusual application of science to a holy Scripture, the contribution of modern secular knowledge to a better understanding of certain verses in the Qur'an which until now have remained enigmatic, if not incomprehensible.
Why should we be surprised at this when we know that, for Islam, religion and science have always been considered twin sisters? From the very beginning, Islam directed people to cultivate science; the application of this precept brought with it the prodigious strides in science taken during the great era of Islamic civilization, from which, before the Renaissance, the West itself benefited.
In the confrontation between the Scriptures and science a high point of understanding has been reached owing to the light thrown on Qur'anic passages by modern scientific knowledge. Previously these passages were obscure owning to the non- availability of knowledge which could help interpret them. One wonders how many readers of the Old Testament, if asked the above question, would reply by repeating what they had read in the introduction to their Bible.
They might answer that, even though it was written by men inspired by the Holy Ghost, the author was God. W Sometimes, the author of the Bible's presentation confines himself to informing his reader of this succinct observation which puts an end to all further questions. The Church Authorities answer for it, being the only body, With the assistance of the Holy Ghost, able to enlighten the faithful on such points. Since the Councils held in the Fourth century, it was the Church that issued the list of Holy Books, ratified by the Councils of Florence , Trent , and the First Vatican Council , to form what today is known as the Canon.
Just recently, after so many encyclicals, the Second Vatican Council published a text concerning the Revelation which is extremely important. It took three years of strenuous effort to produce.
The vast majority of the Bible's readers who find this highly reassuring information at the head of a modern edition have been quite satisfied with the guarantees of authenticity made over past centuries and have hardly thought it possible to debate them.
When one refers however to works written by clergymen, not meant for mass publication, one realizes that the question concerning the authenticity of the books in the Bible is much more complex than one might suppose a priori. For example, when one consults the modern publication in separate installments of the Bible in French translated under the guidance of the Biblical School of Jerusalem, the tone appears to be very different.
One realizes that the Old Testament, like the New Testament, raises problems with controversial elements that, for the most part, the authors of commentaries have not concealed. We also find highly precise data in more condensed studies of a very objective nature, such as Professor Edmond Jacob's study.
This book gives an excellent general view. Many people are unaware, and Edmond Jacob points this out, that there were originally a number of texts and not just one. Around the Third century B. In the First century B. If we had had the three forms of the text, comparison would have been possible, and we could have reached an opinion concerning what the original might have been.
Unfortunately, we do not have the slightest idea. The Septuagint was probably the first translation in Greek. It dates from the Third century B. It Was on this text that the New Testament was based. It remained authoritative until the Seventh century A. They date from the Fourth century A. At the beginning of the Fifth century A.
It was later to be called the Vulgate on account of its universal distribution after the Seventh century A. For the record, we shall mention the Aramaic version and the Syriac Peshitta version, but these are incomplete.
All of these versions have enabled specialists to piece together so-called 'middle-of the- road' texts, a sort of compromise between the different versions. Multi-lingual collections have also been produced which juxtapose the Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Syriac, Aramaic and even Arabic versions. This is the case of the famous Walton Bible London, For the sake of completeness, let us mention that diverging Biblical conceptions are responsible for the fact that the various Christian churches do not all accept exactly the same books and have not until now had identical ideas on translation into the same language.
The Ecumenical Translation of the Old Testament is a work of unification written by numerous Catholic and Protestant experts now nearing completion and should result in a work of synthesis. Thus the human element in the Old Testament is seen to be quite considerable. It is not difficult to understand why from version to version, and translation to translation, with all the corrections inevitably resulting, it was possible for the original text to have been transformed during the course of more than two thousand years.
Origins Of The Bible Before it became a collection of books, it was a folk tradition that relied entirely upon human memory, originally the only means of passing on ideas.
This tradition was sung. Jacob, every people sings; in Israel, as elsewhere, poetry preceded prose. They sang for the most diverse reasons and E. Jacob mentions a number of them to which we find the accompanying songs in the Bible: In the Bible there are numerous songs of war and among these we find the Song of Deborah Judges 5, exalting Israel's victory 11 There are also the Maxims and Proverbs Book of Proverbs, Proverbs and Maxims of the Historic Books , words of blessing and curse, and the laws decreed to man by the Prophets on reception of their Divine mandate.
Jacobs notes that these words were either passed down from family to family or channelled through the sanctuaries in the form of an account of the history of God's chosen people. There is good reason to believe that after the Jewish people settled in Canaan, at the end of the Thirteenth century B. There was not however complete accuracy, even in what to men seems to demand the greatest durability, i. Among these, the laws which are supposed to have been written by God's own hand, the Ten Commandments, were transmitted in the Old Testament in two versions; Exodus 20, and Deuteronomy 5, They are the same in spirit, but the variations are obvious.
There is also a concern to keep a large written record of contracts, letters, lists of personalities Judges, high city officials, genealogical tables , lists of offerings and plunder. In this way, archives were created which provided documentation for the later editing of definitive works resulting in the books we have today. Thus in each book there is a mixture of different literary genres: The Old Testament is a disparate whole based upon an initially oral tradition. It is interesting therefore to compare the process by which it was constituted with what could happen in another period and another place at the time when a primitive literature was born.
Let us take, for example, the birth of French literature at the time of the Frankish Royalty. The same oral tradition presided over the preservation of important deeds: In this way, from the Eleventh century A. The most famous of all is the Song of Roland La Chanson de Roland a biographical chant about a feat of arms in which Roland was the commander of 12 Emperor Charlemagne's rearguard on its way home from an expedition in Spain.
The sacrifice of Roland is not just an episode invented to meet the needs of the story. It took place on 15th August, In actual fact it was an attack by Basques living in the mountains.
This literary work is not just legend ; it has a historical basis, but no historian would take it literally. This parallel between the birth of the Bible and a secular literature seems to correspond exactly with reality.
It is in no way meant to relegate the whole Biblical text as we know it today to the store of mythological collections, as do so many of those who systematically negate the idea of God.
It is perfectly possible to believe in the reality of the Creation, God's transmission to Moses of the Ten Commandments, Divine intercession in human affairs, e. This does not stop us, at the same time, from considering that what has been conveyed to us is the gist of these facts, and that the detail in the description should be subjected to rigorous criticism, the reason for this being that the element of human participation in the transcription of originally oral traditions is so great II.
They were written in several languages over a period of more than nine hundred years, based on oral traditions.
Many of these works were corrected and completed in accordance with events or special requirements, often at periods that were very distant from one another.
T This copious literature probably flowered at the beginning of the Israelite Monarchy, around the Eleventh century B. It was at this period that a body of scribes appeared among the members of the royal household. They were cultivated men whose role was not limited to writing. The first incomplete writings, mentioned in the preceding chapter, may date from this period.
There was a special reason for writing these works down; there were a certain number of songs mentioned earlier , the prophetic oracles of Jacob and Moses, the Ten Commandments and, on a more general level, the legislative texts which established a religious tradition before the formation of the law. All these texts constitute fragments scattered here and there throughout the various collections of the Old Testament.
It was not until a little later, possibly during the Tenth century B. This text was to form the backbone of the first five books ascribed to Moses. Later, the so-called 'Elohist' text was to be added, and also the so-called 'Sacerdotal' version. The initial Yahvist text deals with the origins of the world up to the death of Jacob.
This text comes from the southern kingdom, Judah. At the end of the Ninth century and in the middle of the Eighth century B. We have their books today. This is also the time of the Elohist text of the Pentateuch which covers a much smaller period than the Yahvist text because it limits itself to facts relating to Abraham, Jacob and Joseph.
The books of Joshua and Judges date from this time. The Eighth century B. Amos and Hosea in Israel, and Michah in Judah. In B. The Kingdom of Judah took over its religious heritage. The collection of Proverbs dates from this period, distinguished in particular by the fusion into a single book of the Yahvist and Elohist texts of the Pentateuch; in this way the Torah was constituted.
Deuteronomy was written at this time. In the second half of the Seventh century B. Before the first deportation to Babylon in B. Ezekiel was already prophesying during this first deportation. The fall of Jerusalem in B. The Book of Ezekiel, the last great prophet and the prophet of exile, was not arranged into its present form until after his death by the scribes that were to become his spiritual inheritors.
These same scribes were to resume Genesis in a third version, the so-called 'Sacerdotal' version, for the section going from the Creation to the death of Jacob.
In this way a third text was to be inserted into the central fabric of the Yahvist and Elohist texts of the Torah. We shall see later on, in the books written roughly two and four centuries earlier, an aspect of the intricacies of this third text. It was at this time that the Lamentations appeared.
On the order of Cyrus, the deportation to Babylon came to an end in B. The Jews returned to Palestine and the Temple at Jerusalem was rebuilt. The prophets' activities began again, resulting in the books of Haggai, Zechariah, the third book of Isaiah, Malachi, Daniel and Baruch the last being in Greek.
The period following the deportation is also the period of the Books of Wisdom: Proverbs was written definitively around B. The Books of Ruth, Esther and Jonah are not easily datable. The same is true for Tobit and Judith. All these dates are given on the understanding that there may have been subsequent adaptations, since it was only circa one century before Christ that form was first given to the writings of the Old Testament.
For many this did not become definitive until one century after Christ. Thus the Old Testament appears as a literary monument to the Jewish people, from its origins to the coming of Christianity. The books it consists of were written, completed and revised between the Tenth and the First centuries B. This is in no way a personal point of view on the history of its composition. The essential data for this historical survey were taken from the entry The Bible in the Encyclopedia Universalis  by J.
Sandroz, a professor at the Dominican Faculties, Saulchoir. To understand what the Old Testament represents, it is important to retain this information, correctly established today by highly qualified specialists. A Revelation is mingled in all these writings, but all we possess today is what men have seen fit to leave us. These men manipulated the texts to please themselves, according to the circumstances they were in and the necessities they had to meet.
When these objective data are compared with those found in various prefaces to Bibles destined today for mass publication, one realizes that facts are presented in them in quite a different way. Fundamental facts concerning the writing of the books are passed over in silence, ambiguities which mislead the reader are maintained, facts are minimalised to such an extent that a false idea of reality is conveyed.
A large number of prefaces or introductions to the Bible misrepresent reality in this way. In the case of books that were adapted several times like the Pentateuch , it is said that certain details may have been added later on. A discussion of an unimportant passage of a book is introduced, but crucial facts warranting lengthy expositions are passed over in silence. It is distressing to see such inaccurate information on the Bible maintained for mass publication. These were to form the five primary elements of the collection of thirty-nine volumes that makes up the Old Testament.
This group of texts deals with the origins of the world up to the entry of the Jewish people into Canaan, the land promised to them after their exile in Egypt, more precisely until the death of Moses. The narration of these facts serves however as a general framework for a description of the provisions made for the religious and social life of the Jewish people, hence the name Law or Torah.
Judaism and Christianity for many centuries considered that the author was Moses himself. Perhaps this affirmation was based on the fact that God said to Moses Exodus 17, From the First century B. Today, this theory has been completely abandoned; everybody is in agreement on this point.
The New Testament nevertheless ascribes the authorship to Moses. John, in his Gospel 5, , makes Jesus say the following: But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words? He prefaced his French translation of Genesis in with a 15 General Introduction to the Pentateuch which contained valuable arguments.
These ran contrary to the affirmations of the Evangelists on the authorship of the work in question. The only person to contest this theory was Abenezra in the Twelfth century. It was in the Sixteenth century that Calstadt noted that Moses could not have written the account of his own death in Deuteronomy 34, The author then quotes other critics who refuse to ascribe to Moses a part, at least, of the Pentateuch. It was above all the work of Richard Simon, father of the Oratory, Critical History of the Old Testament Histoire critique du Vieux Testament , that underlined the chronological difficulties, the repetitions, the confusion of the stories and stylistic differences in the Pentateuch.
The book caused a scandal. Simon's line of argument was barely followed in history books at the beginning of the Eighteenth century. One can easily imagine how difficult it was to combat a legend strengthened by Jesus himself who, as we have seen, supported it in the New Testament. He was probably not the first to have noticed it, but he did however have the courage to make public an observation of prime importance: The latter therefore contained two juxtaposed texts.
Eichorn made the same discovery for the other four books; then Ilgen noticed that one of the texts isolated by Astruc, the one where God is named Elohim, was itself divided into two. The Pentateuch literally fell apart. The Nineteenth century saw an even more minute search into the sources.
In , four sources were recognised. They were called the Yahvist version, the Elohist version, Deuteronomy, and the Sacerdotal version. It was even possible to date them: Jacob , and from the time of Josiah for others Father de Vaux 4 The Sacerdotal version came from the period of exile or after the exile: Sixth century B.
It can be seen that the arrangement of the text of the Pentateuch spans at least three centuries. The problem is, however, even more complex. In , A. The problem then appears so complicated that nobody knows where he is anymore. The multiplicity of sources brings with it numerous disagreements and repetitions. Father de Vaux gives examples of this overlapping of traditions in the case of the Flood, the kidnapping of Joseph, his adventures in Egypt, disagreement of names relating to the same character, differing descriptions of important events.
Thus the Pentateuch is shown to be formed from various traditions brought together more or less skillfully by its authors. The latter sometimes juxtaposed their compilations and sometimes adapted the stories for the sake of synthesis. They allowed improbabilities and disagreements to appear in the texts, however, which have led modern man to the objective study of the sources.
As far as textual criticism is concerned, the Pentateuch provides what is probably the most obvious example of adaptations made by the hand of man. These were made at different times in the history of the Jewish people, taken from oral traditions and texts handed down from preceding generations.
It was begun in the Tenth or Ninth century B. It was concluded in the Sixth century B. We must bear in mind that the Sacerdotal tradition dates from the time of the deportation to Babylon and the return to Palestine starting in B.
There is therefore a mixture of religious and purely political problems. For Genesis alone, the division of the Book into three sources has been firmly established: Father de Vaux in the commentary to his translation lists for each source the passages in the present text of Genesis that rely on them. On the evidence of these data it is possible to pinpoint the contribution made by the various sources to any one of the chapters.
For example, in the case of the Creation, the Flood and the period that goes from the Flood to Abraham, occupying as it does the first eleven chapters of Genesis, we can see alternating in the Biblical text a section of the Yahvist and a section of the Sacerdotal texts.
The Elohist text is not present in the first eleven chapters. The overlapping of Yahvist and Sacerdotal contributions is here quite clear. For the Creation and up to Noah first five chapter's , the arrangement is simple: For the Flood and especially chapters 7 and 8 moreover, the cutting of the text according to its source is narrowed down to very short passages and even to a single sentence. In the space of little more than a hundred lines of English text, the text changes seventeen times.
It is from this that the improbabilities and contradictions arise when we read the present-day text. The Historical Books In these books we enter into the history of the Jewish people, from the time they came to the Promised Land which is most likely to have been at the end of the Thirteenth century B. Here stress is laid upon what one might call the 'national event' which is presented as the fulfillment of Divine word.
In the narration however, historical accuracy has rather been brushed aside: With this in mind, E. Jacob underlines the obvious contradiction between archaeology and the texts in the case of the supposed destruction of Jericho and Ay.
The Book of Judges is centered on the defense of the chosen people against surrounding enemies and on the support given to them by God. The Book was adapted several times, as Father A. The story of Ruth is attached to the narrations contained in Judges. The second figure in brackets indicates the number of phrases, sometimes divided into two parts indicated by the letters a and b.
Y indicates Yahvist text, S indicates Sacerdotal text. The first line of the table indicates: Their historic worth is the subject of debate. From this point of view E. Jacob finds numerous errors in it, because there are sometimes two and even three versions of the same event. The prophets Elias, Elisha and Isaiah also figure here, mixing elements of history and legend.
For other commentators, such as Father A. He resumes the whole history of the Creation up to this period, although his genealogical tables only go up to David. Jacob , but he nevertheless adds precise facts that have been confirmed by archaeology. In these works care is taken to adapt history to the needs of theology. The Book of Ezra and the Book of Nehemiah have been severely criticised because they are full of obscure points, and because the period they deal with the Fourth century B.
In them very big liberties are taken with history. They are in fact stories designed to serve a moral end, peppered with historical improbabilities and inaccuracies. The Books of Maccabees are of quite a different order. They provide a version of events that took place in the Second century B.
It is for this reason that they constitute accounts of great value. The collection of books under the heading 'historical' is therefore highly disparate. History is treated in both a scientific and a whimsical fashion. The Prophetic Books Under this heading we find the preachings of various prophets who in the Old Testament have been classed separately from the first great prophets such as Moses, Samuel, Elias and Elisha, whose teachings are referred to in other books.
The prophetic books cover the period from the Eighth to the Second century B. In the Eighth century B. The first of these is famous for his condemnation of social injustice, the second for his religious corruption which leads him to bodily suffering for being forced to marry a sacred harlot of a pagan cult , like God suffering for the degradation of His people but still granting them His love.
Isaiah is a figure of political history. In addition to his personal works, his oracles are published by his disciples right up until the Third century B. It is certain that in the case of the second and third Isaiah, the prophetic intention is paralleled by political considerations that are as clear as daylight. The preaching of Michah, a contemporary of Isaiah, follows the same general ideas.
In the Seventh century B. Jeremiah became a martyr. His oracles were collected by Baruch who is also perhaps the author of Lamentations. The period of exile in Babylon at the beginning of the Sixth century B. Ezekiel figures importantly as the consoler of his brothers, inspiring hope among them. His visions are famous.
The Book of Obadiah deals with the misery of a conquered Jerusalem. After the exile, which came to an end in B.
When it was completed, writings going under the name of Malachi appeared. They contain various oracles of a spiritual nature. One wonders why the Book of Jonah is included in the prophetic books when the Old Testament does not give it any real text to speak of.
Jonah is a story from which one principle fact emerges: Daniel was written in three languages Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. According to Christian commentators, it is a , disconcerting' Apocalypse from an historical point of view. It is probably a work from the Maccabaean period, Second century B.
Its author wished to maintain the faith of his countrymen, at the time of the 'abomination of desolation', by convincing them that the moment of deliverance was at hand. Jacob 20 The Books of Poetry and Wisdom These form collections of unquestionable literary unity. Foremost among them are the Psalms, the greatest monument to Hebrew poetry. A large number were composed by David and the others by priests and levites.
Their themes are praises, supplications and meditations, and they served a liturgical function. The book of Job, the book of wisdom and piety par excellence, probably dates from B. The author of 'Lamentations' on the fall of Jerusalem at the beginning of the Sixth century B. We must once again mention the Song of Songs, allegorical chants mostly about Divine love, the Book of Proverbs, a collection of the words of Solomon and other wise men of the court, and Ecclesiastes or Koheleth, where earthly happiness and wisdom are debated.
We have, therefore, a collection of works with highly disparate contents written over at least seven centuries, using extremely varied sources before being amalgamated inside a single work.
How was this collection able, over the centuries, to constitute an inseparable whole and-with a few variations according to community-become the book containing the Judeo-Christian Revelation? This book was called in Greek the 'canon' because of the idea of intangibility it conveys.
The amalgam does not date from the Christian period, but from Judaism itself, probably with a primary stage in the Seventh century B. It is to be noted however that the first five books, forming the Torah or Pentateuch, have always been given pride of place. Once the proclamations of the prophets the prediction of a chastisement commensurate with misdemeanour had been fulfilled, there was no difficulty in adding their texts to the books that had already been admitted.
The same was true for the assurances of hope given by these prophets. By the Second century B. Other books, e. Psalms, on account of their liturgical function, were integrated along with further writings, such as Lamentations, the Book of Wisdom and the Book of Job.
Before it was transformed under Paul's influence, Christianity accepted the heritage of the Old Testament without difficulty.
The authors of the Gospels adhered very strictly to the latter, but whereas a 'purge' has been made of the Gospels by ruling out the 'Apocrypha', the same selection has not been deemed necessary for the Old Testament. Everything, or nearly everything, has been accepted.
Who would have dared dispute any aspects of this disparate amalgam before the end of the Middle Ages-in the West at least? The answer is nobody, or almost nobody. From the end of the Middle Ages up to the beginning of modern times, one or two critics began to appear; but, as we have already seen, the Church Authorities have always succeeded in having their own way.
Nowadays, there is without doubt a genuine body of textual criticism, 21 They hardly seem disposed to study them in the light of modern knowledge. They may well establish parallels with history-principally when history and Biblical narration appear to be in agreement-but so far they have not committed themselves to be a frank and thorough comparison with scientific ideas. They realize that this would lead people to contest notions about the truth of Judeo-Christian Scriptures, which have so far remained undisputed.
The Old Testament and Science Findings ew of the subjects dealt within the Old Testament, and likewise the Gospels, give rise to a confrontation with the data of modern knowledge. When an incompatibility does occur between the Biblical text and science, however, it is on extremely important points.
F As we have already seen in the preceding chapter, historical errors were found in the Bible and we have quoted several of these pinpointed by Jewish and Christian experts in exegesis.
The latter have naturally had a tendency to minimize the importance of such errors. They find it quite natural for a sacred author to present historical fact in accordance with theology and to write history to suit certain needs. We shall see further on, in the case of the Gospel according to Matthew, the same liberties taken with reality and the same commentaries aimed at making admissible as reality what is in contradiction to it. A logical and objective mind cannot be content with this procedure.
From a logical angle, it is possible to single out a large number of contradictions and improbabilities. The existence of different sources that might have been used in the writing of a description may be at the origin of two different presentations of the same fact. This is not all; different adaptations, later additions to the text itself, like the commentaries added a posteriori, then included in the text later on when a new copy was made-these are perfectly recognized by specialists in textual criticism and very frankly underlined by some of them.
In the case of the Pentateuch alone, for example, Father de Vaux in the General Introduction preceding his translation of Genesis pages 13 and 14 , has drawn attention to numerous disagreements. We shall not quote them here since we shall be quoting several of them later on in this study. The general impression one gains is that one must not follow the text to the letter.
Here is a very typical example: Further on however, we note in Genesis 11, that the ten descendants of Noah had lifespans that range from to years see table in this chapter showing Noah's descendants down to Abraham. The contradiction between these two passages is quite obvious.
The explanation is elementary. The first passage Genesis 6, 3 is a Yahvist text, probably dating as we have already seen from the Tenth century B. The second passage in Genesis 11, is a much more recent text Sixth century B.
This version is at the origin of these genealogies, which are as precise in their information on life spans as they are improbable when taken en masse.
It is in Genesis that we find the most evident incompatibilities with modern science. These concern three essential points: When examining them from the point of view of their compatibility with modern scientific data, we must look at each one separately. First Description of the Creation The first description occupies the first chapter and the very first verses of the second chapter.
It is a masterpiece of inaccuracy from a scientific point of view. It must be examined one paragraph at a time. The text reproduced here is from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible.
The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters. To mention the existence of water at this period is however quite simply pure imagination.
We shall see in the third part of this book how there is every indication that at the initial stage of the formation of the universe a gaseous mass existed. It is an error to place water in it. Verses 3 to 5: And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.
We shall come back to them in the third part of this work. At this stage in the Creation, however, according to the Bible, the stars were not yet formed. It is illogical, however, to mention the result light on the first day, when the cause of this light was created three days later.
The fact that the existence of evening and morning is placed on the first day is moreover, purely imaginary; the existence of evening and morning as elements of a single day is only conceivable after the creation of the earth and its rotation under the light of its own star, the Sun! Verses 6 to 8: And it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day. This image of the division of the waters into two masses is scientifically unacceptable.
Verses 9 to God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind.
And there was evening and there was morning, a third day. What is totally untenable is that a highly organized vegetable kingdom with reproduction by seed could have appeared before the existence of the sun in Genesis it does not appear until the fourth day , and likewise the establishment of alternating nights and days. Verses 14 to And God made the two great lights, the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; he made the stars also.
And God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light upon earth, to rule over.
And there was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.