Scientific Predictions and the Bible: A Dual Fulfillment Proposal
by Dr. Michael G. Strauss
It is often stated by Christians that the Bible contains amazing and accurate scientific predictions that have only been recently discovered by modern science. However, skeptics will claim that these supposed scientific facts were not really recognized in the Bible until after they were discovered by the scientific community. In my previous blog post I began a discussion that addresses the issue of scientific predictions in the Bible. I asked the question of what kind of scientific predictions we should expect to find in the Bible if it is the inspired word from an omniscient God. The only answer we can be sure of is that any scientific predictions should be consistent with God’s character so they should at least be (1) accurate, (2) culturally relevant and (3) instrumental in God’s primary goal of redeeming individual people so that they can have a relationship with him.
In regards to the third point above, I stated that the Old Testament made accurate predictions about the coming of the Messiah that were fulfilled by Jesus of Nazareth. By observing one of those Messianic predictions in some detail, we might be able to get an idea of what to expect when dealing with scientific predictions. Consider the words of the prophet Isaiah who wrote, “The Lord himself will give you a sign. The virgin is going to have a baby. She will give birth to a son. And he will be called Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14, NIV). The gospel of Matthew quotes this prophecy as being fulfilled when Mary gave birth to Jesus when she was still a virgin. Matthew writes, “All this took place to bring about what the Lord had said would happen. He had said through the prophet, ‘The virgin is going to have a baby. She will give birth to a son. And he will be called Immanuel.’ The name Immanuel means ‘God with us'” (Matthew 1:22-23, NIV).
Scholars have pointed out that when Isaiah wrote his prophecy, he was most likely not referring to an actual virgin birth within his time, but rather a young woman who was currently a virgin, but would marry, and conceive a child in the usual way. After all, this was to be a sign to Isaiah’s generation. But there are indications within the prophecy that there is more going on than simply a sign to Isaiah’s generation through a usual birth…
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