I have a question regarding science and religion. I know that there can be some scientific conclusions drawn from the Bible. I wonder though are there any other religions that come close to the Bible in its scientific reliability or that make the same claims. I know in particular that Islam is very vocal about claiming that there are many scientific miracles in the Quran but I am highly skeptical. For instance I think that they claim the universe was formed from smoke and they say this talks about the big bang since the elements formed in the big bang were hydrogen and helium which are gases. Could this interpretation of the Quran be true? How should a Christian view claims by other religions about science?
I have already posted a lot on this topic at the site. I am not sure I have a lot to add to those other posts. I have looked into all of these claims that the Qur’an is scientifically accurate and therefore inspired and found such arguments to be completely unfounded. These arguments only work if Muslims are talking to Muslims and if no scientists are in the room. I deal with some of the supposed scientific evince in the Bible below. My general conclusion is as follows:
Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism and other Eastern philosophies/religions generally do not even make scientifically verifiable claims. Their cosmologies imply that the universe is eternal and that the current universe was created out of pre-existent stuff. Obviously, this cosmology is false and cannot be justified with science and the evidence for the big bang, whereas Christian cosmology has the universe created out of nothing by a pre-existent God (Genesis 1:1 and Hebrews 11:2-3).
As for Islam, Muslim apologists do not succeed in poking holes in the scientific reliability of the Bible, but their attempts to show inspiration of the Qur’an from science is a total failure in my opinion as a scientist. In fairness to the Qur’an, it, like the Bible, supports the idea of creation of the universe out of nothing, so the Qur’an is less obviously in conflict with science than the eastern religions.
As for the specific claim you found, here is the relevant passage in the Qur’an: Sura 41:11Then he turned to the heaven when it was smoke.
This is evidence of inspiration of the Qur’an? Really? Let us look at this sura in its context: 41:10-12
And He placed on the earth firmly set mountains over its surface, and He blessed it and determined therein its [creatures’] sustenance in four days without distinction – for [the information] of those who ask. Then He directed Himself to the heaven while it was smoke and said to it and to the earth, “Come [into being], willingly or by compulsion.” They said, “We have come willingly.” And He completed them as seven heavens within two days and inspired in each heaven its command. And We adorned the nearest heaven with lamps and as protection. That is the determination of the Exalted in Might, the Knowing.
So, what are these seven heavens? When were they created? Where are they? What are these two days when the seven heavens were created? When did this happen? Are there really seven layers of the heavens? (a common misconception of of the ancients, which is, fortunately, not repeated in the Bible). What is this “smoke” in heaven? Is the Qur’an claiming, as the web site you saw stating, that the universe was created out of smoke? Really? No, it is not! In fact, this passage has the smoke in the heaven in place after the earth and the mountains were already created. Like I said, this kind of claim only works when Muslims talk to Muslims and scientists are not in the room.
Also, I am copying and pasting some material on scientific errors in the Qur’an below the Q & As, including the claim in the Qur’an that a piece of the sky fell and hit someone.
I’ve heard Muslims saying that the Qur’an is the word of God since it contains a lot of scientific miracles in the sense that it gives information about the scientific facts that were discovered after the creation of Islam. For instance, in Sura 39:6 it is mentioned that in a mother’s womb there are threefold darknesses. Muslims interpret this as the embryonic stages of an infant. In Sura 21:33, the orbit of planets in space is mentioned. In 2:29, the fact that God had arranged everything that he created into to “seven heavens” is mentioned, which could be viewed as the seven layers of the atmosphere. There are many more examples if you check out this website- http://www.missionislam.com.
I have a reason to object the to Muslims’ claim that the Qur’an is the word of God despite the scientific facts. Let me tell you my reason. In 2 Corinthians 11:14, it is mentioned that Satan himself disguises himself as an angel of light, and it is mentioned in Ezekiel 28:12 that Satan is full of wisdom. Now Islam is a religion that distorts Jesus’s accomplishments in order to save us from our bondage to sin. His accomplishment is something that drives Satan crazy! So, perhaps Satan himself was the one who came as the angel Jibrael/Gabriel (an angel of light) and started giving revelations to Muhammed. And if it is so, we can conclude that the Qur’an contains such scientific facts because Satan himself is full of wisdom. Maybe Satan knew that giving out so much knowledge would help him get many people to believe in a false religion. I would like to know what you think of this.
Whether the Qur’an is the result of Satan speaking to Muhammad or whether it is Muhammad’s own imagination, or the invention of a religious genius, or even if it is a schizophrenic illusion I simply cannot say.
What I can say is that there is no legitimate sign of scientific wisdom in the Qu’ran, so there is also no need to propose that Satan gave Muhammad real scientific knowledge. The examples Muslim apologists use are a HUGE stretch of the imagination. These are ad hoc biased interpretations of vague statements whose meaning is wholly unclear.
Is the statement that a woman’s womb has a threefold darkness evidence of scientific wisdom? I simply do not see this at all in this passage. Here is the passage in translation: He created you from one soul. Then He made from it its mate, and He produced for you from the grazing livestock eight mates. He creates you in the wombs of your mothers, creation after creation, within three darknesses. That is Allah , your Lord; to Him belongs dominion. There is no deity except Him, so how are you averted? Is this evidence for inspiration? Hmmm…. It says here that Allah produced us from the grazing of eight livestock mates. Interesting. What are these three darknesses? Are these a reference to some actual physical reality? I suppose so in the imagination of Muslim apologists. Which is darkness #1? Does this passage help us out? If this is the best “evidence” for the inspiration of the Qur’an, it is fantastically weak evidence, in my opinion. It is a highly speculative, biased, convenient ad hoc interpretation of the passage.
As for Sura 21:33, here it is in translation: And it is He who created the night and the day and the sun and the moon; all [heavenly bodies] in an orbit are swimming. I DEFINITELY do not see scientific wisdom here. It contains a clear statement that the sun and the moon orbit the earth. This is false. In fact, the earth revolves around the sun, not vice versa. Notice, that the Bible does not contain such obvious scientific errors. It is odd that Muslims would try to use this as evidence of scientific reliability of the Qur’an!
And what about Sura 2:29. Here it is in translation: It is He who created for you all of that which is on the earth. Then He directed Himself to the heaven, [His being above all creation], and made them seven heavens, and He is Knowing of all things. In what world is this evidence for inspiration of the Qur’an? This reflects the false cosmology of the time, with its seven levels of heaven, which is clearly NOT true. Probably some Muslim apologist somewhere finds a book on atmospheric sciences that divide the atmosphere arbitrarily into seven layers. Of course, another author divides it into five and still another into four or eight. Is this evidence of inspiration or is it evidence that Muhammad believed in the false cosmology of his day? Notice, there is nothing like this in the Bible. This supposed “evidence” for the inspiration of the Qur’an is in fact evidence that it is not inspired.
Therefore, my conclusion is that we do not need to seek an explanation for this supposed evidence for scientific truth in the Qur’an because there is NO EVIDENCE here of inspired scientific knowledge. In fact, the verses quoted are strong evidence that the Qur’an is not inspired, but that, unlike the Bible, it reflects the false cosmology Muhammad learned from his culture.
I`m no scholar but to say that the Bible has no scientific errors is totally false. One huge mistake occurs on the first page when God says let there be light and the sun was not yet created. Also the Bible claims that the earth is only 6000 years old and that man and dinosuars existed together we know this is not correct. Abrogations occur in the Quran because of the
way it was revealed.The Quran was not written by numerous greek scribes edited and compiled the way the bible was.It is not always a structured narrative but a stream of cousuisness. The quran is not the inspired word of God it is the verbatims words of God which was revealed to prophet Muhammad by god over a period of 23 years.When a situation arose a revealation would occur.Such as drinking alcohol.Originally the revalation sent down limited the amount of alcohol you could drink then later a new revelation came that did away with it all together.As Muslims we believe in all of the scriptures reavealed before the Quran. We love and respect all of the prophets from Adam to Jesus.The Quran is God’s last revalation to mankind and it was sent to clarify and correct the scriptures that came before it that were tainted by the hands of men.
I will stick by my claim. I have a PhD in chemistry and physics and still have not found a science error in the scripture, including your supposed error which is, in fact, not an error. Let me explain. Scientists believe that in the early history of the earth, the atmosphere was extremely different than it is today. The early earth atmosphere had very little nitrogen and oxygen, but instead lots more water, methane, ammonia and organic molecules. Almost certainly it was not possible at that time to see the heavens from the earth. On the first “day” there was already night and day, but from the point of view of the earth, the sun, moon and stars could not be seen. Once God created life, it gradually changed the chemistry of the atmosphere. Eventually, the amount of ammonia, carbon dioxice and methane in the atmosphere reduced, while the amount of nitrogen and oxygen increased. Finally, on the fourth day, the stars, sun and moon appeared in the sky. We can see that in this case, the writer of Genesis one gets it right. The Bible does NOT say that that the earth is 6000 years old. This is simply not the case. The “days” of Genesis represents the periods over which God created the earth as it is today. The Bible definitely does not say that dinosaurs and humans lived together. This is simply not found anywhere in the Bible. You have seen some false ideas about the Bible. I stick by my claim that there are no bona fide science errors in the Bible and I challenge anyone who likes to find one.
I do not claim to be an expert on the Koran, although I have read the entire Koran and studied Islam quite carefully. If you are comfortable with the idea of abrogation: that God has to change what he revealed earlier, then that is up to you. For me, I am uncomfortable with this idea. If what God said is inspired, then there would be no reason to change it. The Bible has never been abrogated. How you feel about this is up to you. I understand how the Koran was formed. It is true that God used various writers to produce the Old and New Testament, and also that the Koran says that the Jews and the Christians should follow those scriptures.
I disagree that Muhammed is a legitimate prophet of God because he denied what Jesus said about himself. He denies that Jesus is the Son of God and that he was crucified for forgiveness of sins. I understand and respect that you do not agree, but that is my conviction. If Jesus is a prophet, as Muhammed says, then his words are from God, and Jesus clearly said that he is God and that he came to die for our sins. You should believe what Jesus said and he said that he was God.
Thanks for your letter.
Scientific Errors in the Qur’an The following Qur’an references are apparent scientific errors.
23:14—Creation from the clot of blood
“Then we made the sperm into a clot of congealed blood; then from that clot we made a lump; and we made out of that lump bones and clothed the bones with flesh.”
36:4, 23:14 Man deposits child into the mother
“… till, when he reached the setting-place of the sun, he found it setting in a muddy spring.”
Muslim authors quoted this as authoritative well into the Middle Ages.
21:32-33—Sun and stars orbit the earth “Each one is travelling in an orbit with its own motion” (Qur’an 21:33; 36:40).
34:9, 52:44—Piece of sky falls and kills someone