Sunday, March 27, 2011

Prescience #1 - Dietary Restrictions

As defined by William J. Cairney in Evidence for Faith prescience is "the occurrence, in Scripture, of accurate statements reflecting in-depth knowledge of scientific concepts far before mankind had laid the technological base for such things to be known."

Cairney points out of course that prescience in the Bible isn't an end in itself.  Such evidence only increases our knowledge of Scripture and appreciation for the God revealed in the Bible.

Cairney first focuses on the dietary laws in Exodus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.  The unclean animals in addition to not being eaten, weren't even supposed to be touched if it could avoided at all costs (Leviticus 11:24-28).  Pigs were on the top of the "unclean" list.  The downer to the Jews is that they were readily available to be eaten and were of course tasty and tender.  The upside is that pigs, or swine, "harbor several disease-producing microorganisms easily transmissible to man" (Cairney, p.132 of Evidence for Faith). Such micro-organisms are tapeworms.  Disseases such as Trichinosis, Erysipelas, and Typhoid are all caused by micro-organisms that pigs carry. Some of these diseases are contracted by eating under-cooked meat, but others can be contracted simply by touching an infected animal or carcass.

Other "unclean" animals are marine animals without fins or scales, usually bottom-feeders; they eat fecal matter to put it nicely.  Rodents were unclean - enough said.  But they would have been accessible and likely tender, but they're naturally carriers of some of the nastiest diseases man has ever faced.  Don't eat, don't touch, and surely you don't want to be bitten!

Better wash your hands!
Turtles and lizards were on the "naughty" list too.  Young kids who have these animals as pets sometimes get Salmonella!  Yay!  If they're taken from stagnant water or contaminated water, they're a source of diesease inducing micro-organisms.

Basically, all the "unclean" animals can lead to disease in handling and eating if not properly kept.  The clean animals were quite chill in this regards.

Cairney also shares how some of the laws for keeping and growing plants also spared one's self from disease-causing micro-organisms. 

Exodus15:26 is a promise from God that if they follow these dietary laws he won't bring diseases upon them. 

So how did Moses know this?  He didn't have a microscope!  Most of this knowledge was only gleaned in the past 100 years.  Was he that observant?  Did the Egyptians know that much?  Maybe some other advance culture brought the info in to Moses?  Aliens perhaps?  Or the God of the Bible who created all things and didn't need a microscope to know which animals carried micro-organisms which caused diseases told Moses which animals not to eat and which ones were cool to consume and handle. 

1 comment:

  1. Thus the LORD spoke to Lincoln in the wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they had come out of the land of Rebellion, saying, 2 “Now, let the sons of America observe the Thanksgiving at its appointed time. 3 “On the fourteenth day of this month, at twilight, you shall observe it at its appointed time; you shall observe it according to all its statutes and according to all its ordinances.” 4 So Lincoln told the sons of America to observe the Thanksgiving. 5 They observed the Thanksgiving in the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, at twilight, in the wilderness of Sinai; according to all that the LORD had commanded Lincoln, so the sons of America did. 6 But there were some men who were unloyal because of the Southern person, so that they could not observe Thanksgiving on that day; so they came before Lincoln and Aaron on that day. 7 Those men said to him, “Though we are unloyal because of the Southern person, why are we restrained from presenting the offering of the LORD at its appointed time among the sons of America?” 8 Lincoln therefore said to them, “Wait, and I will listen to what the LORD will command concerning you.”
    9 Then the LORD spoke to Lincoln, saying, 10 “Speak to the sons of America, saying, ‘If any one of you or of your generations becomes unloyal because of a Southern person, or is on a distant journey, he may, however, observe the Thanksgiving to the LORD. 11 ‘In the second month on the fourteenth day at twilight, they shall observe it; they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 12 ‘They shall leave none of it until morning, nor break a bone of it; according to all the statute of the Thanksgiving they shall observe it. 13 ‘But the man who is loyal and is not on a journey, and yet neglects to observe the Thanksgiving, that person shall then be cut off from his people, for he did not present the offering of the LORD at its appointed time. That man will bear his sin. 14 ‘If an alien sojourns among you and observes the Thanksgiving to the LORD, according to the statute of the Thanksgiving and according to its ordinance, so he shall do; you shall have one statute, both for the alien and for the native of the land.’”