“Like the Stars of the Heavens”
“I shall surely multiply your seed like the stars of the heavens and like the grains of sand that are on the seashore.” (Genesis 22:17) Thus God promised the patriarch Abraham. A recent issue of the publication Bible Review, however, points to a seeming problem with this text.
The Bible is scientifically correct in comparing the number of stars in the heavens to the billions of grains of sand on the seashore. However, that stars number into the billions was apparently unknown in ancient times. Explains Bible Review: “There really aren’t that many stars in heaven that can be seen with the unaided eye. Astronomers tell us that without some form of telescope, we can see only between 2,000 and 4,000 stars, even on a good night.” The World Book Encyclopedia states that “about 6,000 stars shine bright enough to be seen without a telescope.”
How, then, does one explain the Bible’s remarkable accuracy in making this comparison? One explanation would be that the Bible is “inspired of God.” (2 Timothy 3:16) The article in Bible Review, however, goes to great lengths to circumvent this conclusion by suggesting that perhaps Abraham was an astronomer! This rather astounding conjecture was followed by the question: “Could the ancients have had telescopes that revealed stars the naked eye could not see?” To back this theory, the article cited evidence that crystals discovered in Nineveh and other ancient sites could have served as primitive lenses.
However, evidence that the ancients used such lenses for stargazing is nonexistent. And even if ancient telescopes existed, what evidence is there that Abraham or the writer of Genesis had access to one? Actually, God’s promise to Abraham is just one of many examples of the Bible’s scientific accuracy. It was apparently without the aid of a telescope that the prophet Jeremiah reported a similarly accurate observation: ‘The army of the heavens cannot be counted, neither can the sand of the sea be measured.’—Jeremiah 33:22.
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