How Did They Know?
Vol: 20 Issue: 12 Saturday, March 12, 2016
Nobody would classify the Bible as a work of science or a medical textbook, but the Bible does make certain scientific and medical statements.
Assuming that the Bible is Divinely inspired, and given that it claims a 100% accuracy rate, 100% of the time, it is only reasonable to conclude that it should be completely accurate in every scientific and medical detail.
Taking it another step further, if the Bible is Divinely inspired, then the scientific and medical errors found in the pages of other ancient, non-inspired texts should be entirely absent from its pages.
The bulk of the medical information in Scripture is found among its first five Books, the Pentateuch, and are generally accepted as being written by Moses.
Moses, according to Scripture, was educated with “all the wisdom of the Egyptians” (Acts 7:22) so it would be entirely natural for the Pentateuch to reflect some of that Egyptian ‘wisdom’ — if Moses were writing according to his own knowledge.
While some medical practices in the Pentateuch are similar to those found in ancient Egyptian documents, the Pentateuch exhibits a conspicuous absence of those harmful malpractices that plague the writings of the Egyptians.
Moses penned the most advanced, flawless medical prescriptions that had ever been recorded. Moses taught the Israelites to practice sanitation to prevent the spread of disease.
(The Egyptian prescriptions generally involved rubbing oneself with, ahem, camel poop.)
Every statement that pertained to the health and medical well-being of the Israelite nation recorded by Moses could theoretically still be implemented and be completely in accord with every fact modern medicine has learned in regard to germ spreading, epidemic disease control, communal sanitation, and a host of other medical and scientific discoveries.
In 1872, a German Egyptologist named Georg Ebers discovered an ancient Egyptian papyrus (the Ebers Papyrus) that outlined what constituted the Web MD of the ancient world.
Altogether, the papyrus contains 811 prescriptions for what ails you, including “salves, plasters, and poultices; snuffs, inhalations, and gargles; draughts, confections, and pills; fumigations, suppositories, and enemata,” wrote Cyril Bryan of the Ebers Papyrus in “The Ancient Egyptian,” published in 1930.
The ancient Egyptians were renowned in the ancient world for their progress in the field of medicine.
During the days of in the Medo-Persian Empire, the ancient historian Herodotus recorded that it was king Darius’ practice “to keep in attendance certain Egyptian doctors, who had a reputation for the highest eminence in their profession.”
Could the amazingly advanced medical knowledge reflected by the Pentateuch have come from Moses’ Egyptian education?
In ancient Egypt, if you went to the doctor for a splinter, he would write you out a prescription for a poultice consisting of “worm blood, mole and donkey dung.”
Of course, if you followed that prescription, the tetanus spores in the donkey poop would probably result in an agonizing death from lockjaw.
Got pimples? The Egyptian free clinic prescribes a poultice made of “a hog’s tooth, cat dung, dog dung, eau-of-samu-oil, berries-of-the-xet-plant,” which the patient is to “pound and apply as a poultice” to their skin.
Various other ingredients recorded by “The Ancient Egyptian” for the plethora of remedies concocted included “dried excrement of a child” (p. 98), “hog dung” (p. 115), and “a farmer’s urine” (p. 131).
One recipe to prevent hair growth included lizard dung and the blood from a cow, donkey, pig, dog, and stag (p. 102).
Let’s face it. The active ingredient in most of these Egyptian prescriptions is animal poop. And ancient Egypt is reputed to have had the most advanced medical knowledge in the world at that time.
For three thousand years, when medical ‘science’ wasn’t advocating better living through the liberal application of poop, it recommended blood-letting as a way to allow diseases to leave the body.
Blood-letting was considered a legitimate medical treatment until the early 20th century.
An eyewitness account of George Washington’s death relates that he came down with a chill, and in an effort to cure him, those who attended him resorted to bloodletting; “a vein was opened, but no relief afforded.” (“The Death of George Washington,” 2001).
We know now that bloodletting was exactly the wrong treatment, regardless of the malady. Victims of a traumatic injury are given glucose IV’s to strengthen the blood and prevent the patient from going into shock.
Thousands of years before the lethality of blood-letting was discovered, mankind had been informed by God that blood was the key to life. In Leviticus 17:11, Moses wrote: “For the life of the flesh is in the blood.”
How could Moses have known almost 3,500 years ago that life was in the blood, something it took the rest of the scientific and medical community thousands of years to discover?
In 1847, a German doctor, seeking to reduce the mortality rate among pregnant mothers, noted that medical students would perform autopsies in the morning, then go directly from the morgue to the hospital wards without washing their hands.
He ordered everyone in his ward to wash his or her hands thoroughly in a chlorine solution after every examination. In three months, the death rate fell from 18% to 1%.
Had Dr. Semmeliweis simply read the Pentateuch, he could have learned what the ancient Israelites knew three thousand years before;
“He who touches the dead body of anyone shall be unclean seven days. He shall purify himself with the water on the third day and on the seventh day; then he will be clean. But if he does not purify himself on the third day and on the seventh day, he will not be clean.” (Numbers 19:13)
Moses also gave instructions for the mixing of the ‘water of separation’ [or ‘purification’.] Numbers 19:17‘s ingredient list sounds like a typical ancient superstition.
It calls for the combination of the ashes of a red heifer, hyssop, cedar wood and scarlet.
In point of fact, this combination of ingredients produces what amounts to an antibacterial soap. Lye soap is made by pouring water through ashes.
Hyssop’s medicinal properties include expectorant, carminative, relaxes peripheral blood vessels, promotes sweating, anti-inflammatory, anti-catarrhal, antispasmodic. Its active constituents arevolatile oil, flavonoids, tannins and bitter substance (marrubin).
A strong tea made from the hyssop leaves and flowering tops is used in lung, nose and throat congestion, and externally it can be applied to bruises, to reduce the swelling and discoloration.
Cedar has long been favored for use in storage cabinets because of its ability to repel insects and slow decay. In oil form, applied to humans, it is an antiseptic, astringent, expectorant (removes mucus from respiratory system), anti-fungal, sedative and insecticide” (“Spa Essential Oils,” 2005).
Cedar leaves and twigs are rich in vitamin C, and it was their effectiveness in preventing or treating scurvy that led to the tree’s being called ‘arbor vitae’ or’ tree of life’.
Lastly, Moses called for the inclusion of ‘scarlet’ — mostly probably scarlet wool. (Hebrews 9:19) Adding wool fibers to the ‘water of purification’ would make it gritty, like Lava soap.
The education Moses received in Egypt taught him to treat open sores with animal dung, but Moses taught the Israelites how to make lye soap.
The book of Leviticus lists a number of diseases and outlines ways by which an Israelite would come in contact with germs. Those with such diseases as leprosy were instructed to “dwell alone” “outside the camp” (Leviticus 13:46).
If and when a diseased individual did get close to those who were not diseased, he was instructed to “cover his mustache, and cry, ‘Unclean! Unclean!” (13:45).
Here’s another seeming superstition; the ‘covering of one’s mustache’ to prevent disease. Until you give it about three seconds thought — what do you do when you cough — and why?
We are taught to ‘cover our mustaches’ to keep from spreading germs!
So, Moses, having been educated in the finest schools in Egypt in the many uses of poop in the treatment of disease, prescribed the use of soap and water to prevent disease and instituted the practice of quarantine to prevent its spread — three thousand years ago in the middle of the Sinai desert!
The ancient Israelites were instructed in peculiar dietary habits such as avoiding certain animals, birds and fish as sources of food. (Leviticus 11:1-3)
In 1953, a researcher with the Johns Hopkins Institute of Medicine did a test in which he planted a certain seedling in the fresh muscle juices of various ‘clean’ and ‘unclean’ animals as cited by Leviticus.
He would then record the percent of seeds that grew in the meat juices as compared to those that grew under normal circumstances. Seeds grown in the juices of ‘clean’ animals, like the ox, sheep, calf, goat or deer, grew 90% of the time.
Those nurtured in the juices of an ‘unclean’ animal; swine, rabbits, camels and horses failed to grow more than half the time, due to their natural toxicity. Similar tests between ‘clean’ and ‘unclean’ birds yielded similar results.
The same experiment was conducted with fish, both those with fins and scales [clean] and those without [unclean].
Clean fish had almost zero toxicity while unclean fish were exceeding toxic to the seedlings. How could Moses know all that?
Lastly, let’s look at the Bible’s instructions for circumcision. For centuries, Western medicine considered it to be a barbaric practice of no medical value.
Modern research proves that circumcision virtually eliminates any risk of penile cancer. Circumcised infants suffer 20 times fewer urinary tract infections than uncircumcised infants.
Circumcision reduces the risk of getting or transmitting many sexually transmitted diseases. Again, how could Moses have known all this in the Sinai desert three thousand years ago?
But wait! As long as we’re on the subject, there’s more!
The 1953 edition of Holt Pediatrics contains a section titled, “Hemorrhagic Disease of the Newborn.” The section deals with the occurrence of occasional spontaneous bleeding among newborns that can sometimes cause severe damage to major organs such as the brain, and even death.
In the discussion pertaining to the reasons for such bleeding, the authors note that the excessive bleeding is primarily caused by a decreased level of prothrombin, which in turn is caused by insufficient levels of vitamin K.
A chart outlines the levels of available prothrombin in a newborn. It dips from about 90% of normal on its day of birth to about 35% on its third day of life outside the womb.
After the third day, the available prothrombin begins to climb. By the eighth day of the child’s life, the available prothrombin level is approximately 110% of normal, about 20% higher than it was on the first day, and about 10% more than it will be during the rest of the child’s life.
That means that the best possible time to perform such a procedure is on the eighth day after birth.
Genesis 17:12-14 specifies that circumcision be performed on the eighth day after birth — even if the eighth day fell on a Sabbath.
There is simply no explanation for the advanced medical knowledge outlined by Moses in the middle of the Sinai desert three thousand years ago.
Moses couldn’t have learned it in Egypt. What Moses learned about medicine in Egypt would kill more often than it would cure.
He couldn’t have learned it while tending Jethro’s herds. He couldn’t have learned it while leading the Exodus out of Egypt.
But there it is. Medical knowledge so advanced that most of it was unknown to Western medicine for another thirty centuries!
The Bible contains more than just amazing medical knowledge. Let’s briefly consider a few other examples of Divine inspiration.
Paul notes that each star in the heavens is unique. (1st Corinthians 15:41) It wasn’t until man invented advanced telescopes in the 20th century that it was learned the light spectra of every star is different with no two stars being alike.
Jeremiah 31:35-36 details the precision with which the universe is governed. Job 26:7 reveals that the earth is suspended in outer space.
Ecclesiates 1:6 reveals the movement of the wind — something not discovered by secular science until the early 20th century, when meteorologists discovered that the wind circulates in cyclonic patterns, rather than a straight line.
Job 28:25 includes principles of fluid dynamics, AND it reveals that air has weight, (something only learned by science in the last 300 years.)
Psalms 135:7, Jeremiah 10:13 and Job 36:27-29 offer a complete description of the earth’s hydrological cycle.
Ecclesiastes 1:7 and Isaiah 55:10 describe the recirculation of the world’s water supplies. Job reveals that it is condensed water vapor in clouds that is responsible for rain. Isaiah 40:22 reveals that the earth is round.
The Apostle Peter describes the eventual destruction of the current universe using precise scientific terms unknown to secular for another fifteen centuries.
“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.”
It wasn’t until the mid 1940’s than man discovered nuclear fission, wherein splitting the atom causes the elements of that atom to ‘melt with fervent heat’ — heat so fervent that splitting the atom of a single element triggers a nuclear explosion that can vaporize a city.
Over 20,000 known manuscripts document the New Testament text. This makes the New Testament the most reliable document of antiquity (a document written before the printing press).
These manuscripts vary in size from a part of a page to an entire Bible (Old and New Testaments).
The earliest New Testament manuscripts date from the second century (100-199) AD.
These manuscript copies were written in different languages by people of different nationalities, cultures, and backgrounds.
In spite of all those differences between the authors, each book of the Bible melds seamlessly into the entire work, as if penned by a single individual. Because, in the final analysis, it was.
“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. (2nd Peter 1:20-21)
You can trust the Bible. We have God’s Word on it.