This movie requires Flash Player 8. Download Flash Player 8

 
Issue Features
  
View this issue online as it looks in print
Discovery Magazine 10/1/2000

Bats and the Bible

by  Trevor Major, M.Sc., M.A.

Does the Bible have ''bats in the belfry" when it comes to bats? Some critics of the Bible think so.

In the Old Testament, we find lists of clean and unclean animals. The unclean kinds could not be eaten, and were not fit for sacrifice. Camels, hares, mice, and lizards are just some of the four-legged varieties mentioned by name. Feathered no-no's included eagles, vultures, ostriches, and owls. At the very end of the list we find bats (Leviticus 11:13- 19). Yes, that's right, bats! What are bats doing in a list of birds? Everyone knows that bats are mammals, not birds. For a start, bats have fur, not feathers. And instead of laying eggs, bats give birth to live young.

How could the Bible have gotten it so wrong?

This must be a mistake, and if it is a mistake, then the Bible cannot be trusted to get its facts right. An all-knowing God wouldn't have made such a simple mistake, so the Bible must be the shoddy work of ignorant men, right?

Wrong! The fact is, scientists classify living things by a system invented barely three hundred years ago. Moses received the laws on clean and unclean animals over three thousand years ago.

Leviticus chapter 11, for instance, lists creatures by the way they move: first four-legged animals, then swimming animals, then animals with wings and, finally, animals that crawl or creep. Is there some­ thing wrong with this classification scheme? No, it's just a different way of doing it.

In fact, many times we don't follow the modern scientific way of classifying plants and animals. If you go into the grocery store, you will find tomatoes in the vegetable section but, scientifically speaking, a tomato is a fruit. Should we jump up and down and complain to the produce manager that the tomatoes are in the wrong place? No, because we tend to use tomatoes differently from apples and oranges.

One last point. Most of our English Bibles use the word ''bird" in Leviticus 11:13. This is not the best translation. In the original Hebrew language, Moses used a word that meant any kind of creature with wings. So, you see, the Bible's not so batty after all.



Copyright © 2000 Apologetics Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

*Please keep in mind that Discovery articles are written for 3rd-6th graders.

This document may be copied, on the condition that it will not be republished in print unless otherwise stated below, and will not be used for any commercial purpose, as long as the following stipulations are observed: (1) Apologetics Press must be designated as the original publisher; (2) the specific Apologetics Press Web site URL must be noted; (3) any references, footnotes, or endnotes that accompany the article must be included with any written reproduction of the article; (4) textual alterations of any kind are strictly forbidden; (5) Some illustrations (e.g., photographs, charts, graphics, etc.) are not the intellectual property of Apologetics Press and as such cannot be reproduced from our site without consent from the person or organization that maintains those intellectual rights; (6) serialization of written material (e.g., running an article in several parts) is permitted, as long as the whole of the material is made available, without editing, in a reasonable length of time; (7) articles, in whole or in part, may not be offered for sale or included in items offered for sale; and (8) articles may be reproduced in electronic form for posting on Web sites pending they are not edited or altered from their original written content and that credit is given to Apologetics Press, including the web location from which the articles were taken. Further, documents may not be copied without source statements (title, author, journal title), and the address of the publisher and owner of rights, as listed below.

For catalog, samples, or further information, contact:

Apologetics Press
230 Landmark Drive
Montgomery, Alabama 36117
U.S.A.
Phone (334) 272-8558

http://www.apologeticspress.org

Web Store

Discovery Bound Volume 2013

A year's worth of Discovery articles

Featured Audio

Listen

Click the following link to visit our Multimedia section.

Featured Audio