Christians and Muslims love to trumpet what they think is the amazing scientific accuracy of their respective holy books (while of course denying that the other is). I have already produced another article which exposes the general problems with such claims, which you can see here.
So instead of just refuting Christian claims, this article will focus on showing some of the scientific inaccuracies of the Bible, thus demonstrating that it is not “divinely inspired”.
Clouds are bags that contain water
The Bible describes clouds as being some sort of bag or containers which contain water, rather than being water vapor themselves. Job 26:8 states that “He [God] bindeth up the waters in his thick clouds; and the cloud is not rent under them.” And speaking of God’s powers in Proverbs 30:4, the author writes, “Who has wrapped up the waters in a cloak?”
The sky is a solid barrier
Genesis 1:6-8 says that God created “a firmament in the midst of the waters” and that he “called the firmament Heaven.” The passage refers to the firmament using the Hebrew word raqiya. Strong’s Lexicon (a source largely used by Christians themselves) defines it as an “extended surface (solid), expanse, firmament.” Raqiya is a noun derived from the root verb raqa meaning “hammered out” and which is translated as such in Numbers 16:39, for example. The noun raqiya, used for the firmament, thus means a “hammered sheet” like a plate of metal that a blacksmith might produce.
Job 37:18 says, “Can you join him in spreading out the skies, hard as a mirror of cast bronze?” This verse describes the solid firmament of Hebrew cosmology created in Genesis 1:6-8:
“And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.”
Also note that in Isaiah 34:4 we read, “and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll” thus implying they are physical barriers that on a large scale are analogous to paper that can be rolled up.
Moon emits its own light
According to the Bible, the moon is an entity which emits its own light. Genesis 1:16 declares, “God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night.”
Then in Isaiah 13:10 we read, “the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.”
And Isaiah 30:26 says, “Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that the LORD bindeth up the breach of his people, and healeth the stroke of their wound.”
Darkness is a substance
Darkness is absence of light, not a substance. But you might not know that if you look to the Bible for scientific information. Exodus 10:21 describes one of the plagues put upon Egypt:
“And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt.”
Stars are little lamps
The authors of the Bible did not know what stars were. From their vantage point, stars merely appeared to be small lights, like lamps or magical crystals, suspended in the sky (I have also heard the view that the stars literally are angels). This belief is reflected in the Bible in several places.
Daniel 8:10 describes a vision wherein the horn a great goat “grew until it reached the host of the heavens, and it threw some of the starry host down to the earth and trampled on them.”
And in Isaiah 34:4 we read, “And all the host of heaven [referring to stars] shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree.” (Matthew 24:29 also refers to this prophecy when it says,“the stars will fall from the sky”)
Revelation 6:13 tries to fulfill that prophecy in Isaiah 34 by declaring, “the stars in the sky fell to earth, as figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind.”
The world is flat
There is a great deal of evidence that the Bible believed the Earth was flat, rather than a sphere.
The creation account in Genesis describes a top-and-bottom cosmology with a flat earth. Genesis 1:6-8 tells us, “And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.”
The waters are split into two parts, one “under” the heaven (also translated as “sky”) and the other “above“. If this were a spherical concept, it would make much more sense to describe it as “within” and “beyond” instead.
2) Isaiah 40:22
Isaiah 40:22 says of God, “It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in.”
The “circle of the earth” uses the Hebrew word chuwg which means “circle”, as opposed to a sphere, which would be described with the word duwr. Earlier in Isaiah, this word duwr is even used in 22:18 to describe a ball that is tossed:
“He will surely violently turn and toss thee like a ball [duwr] into a large country: there shalt thou die”
So we can be sure that they knew the different words and made that distinction between a flat circle and a sphere.
Also, this verse describes the heavens being spread out like a tent. So the author makes an analogy to a barrier or covering over flat ground. Had the author chosen, they could have used imagery relating to an egg or cloak instead to describe a spherical cosmology. The fact they did not do so is noteworthy.
3) Daniel 4:10-11
Daniel 4:10-11 speaks of a vision: “Thus were the visions of mine head in my bed; I saw, and behold a tree in the midst of the earth, and the height thereof was great. The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth.”
This passage not only mentions that the earth “end” in the sense of having a physical boundary (as do other verses like Job 37:3), but it also declares that the tree in this vision was in the middle (Hebrew gav) of the earth, and was so tall that it could be seen from anywhere out to that “end”.
This description can only apply to the concept of a flat earth. With a spherical planet, there is no “end” of the earth – the concept simply doesn’t apply because the surface bends in on itself thus producing no boundary where it stops – and it is impossible for any object to be seen from anywhere on it at one time no matter how tall it is.
Christians try to dismiss this passage as not mattering since it is “just a vision”. But it is a vision in their holy book and it must be explained. The focus of the vision is the great tree and its height – not the shape of the earth. The earth is used as a reference for describing the characteristics of the tree. Thus the implications about the earth itself reflect the actual Israelite conceptualization of the world.
4) Job 26:10
Job 26:10 describes part of God’s work in creating the world, saying this: “He has inscribed a circle on the surface of the waters at the boundary of light and darkness.”
This passage also only makes sense with a flat earth. Like Isaiah 40:22, it also uses the Hebrew word chuwg to describe a boundary between light and darkness (day and night).
This would make perfect sense if they thought the earth was flat since it could easily fit the perception of the sun falling below the horizon while night takes over. This can even fit the description of the circle being inscribed on the waters only since a flat earth can be a land mass completely surrounded by water (and this can certainly match the creation of earth in Genesis 1:9 where it is said to just appear among the water).
However, the only way to make sense of it with a spherical planet is to say that it refers to the general boundary where the Earth’s curvature causes one side of the planet to be dark. But this boundary isn’t fixed. It not only exists on water but also over land masses. And it’s always moving – not only throughout the day, but also throughout the year due to the planet’s axis.
If we look at this verse without bias, we must conclude that the most likely explanation is that the Bible’s author were thinking of a flat earth, just like many other civilizations of the same time in history.