Genesis 15:17; cf. 19:23—Why does the Bible use unscientific terms such as “the sun going down”?
Problem: Evangelical Christians claim that the Bible is the inspired and inerrant word of God. However, if the Bible is inerrant in all that it affirms, including historical and scientific facts, why do we find such unscientific terms as “the sun going down” or “the rising of the sun”?
Solution: The Bible is not claiming that the sun actually sets or rises. Rather, it is simply employing the same kind of observational language that we employ even today. It is a regular part of any weather forecast to announce the time of “sunrise” and “sunset.” To claim that the Bible is “unscientific,” or that there are scientific errors because of the use of such phrases, is a feeble argument. Such a charge would have to be equally leveled against virtually everyone today, including modern scientists who employ this type of language in normal conversation (see comments on Josh. 10:12–14).
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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.