Question of the week: You have said that the Bible is unique in that it possesses predictive power. Can you give a couple of examples?
My answer: There are hundreds of examples in the Bible where it predicts either future events in human affairs/civilization or it predicts future scientific discoveries. Most of these predictions have since been fulfilled. The Bible has never been proven wrong in its predictions.
The Book of Daniel gives many specific predictions about the rise and fall of future empires. For example, Daniel 8 records a vision Daniel received while in Babylon during the third year of King Belshazzar’s reign. The recorded interpretation of the vision that Daniel receives states that an alliance of Media (base of the Medes) and Persia will establish an empire that will replace the Babylonian empire and become much larger. Later, a powerful king from the west, in Greece, will conquer the Median-Persian empire. However, at the height of his power his empire will be divided into four kingdoms. History reveals that these events were fulfilled exactly as predicted in the Book of Daniel. Skeptics of the Bible do not deny any of this but try to claim that Daniel was written in the fifth or sixth century AD and not during the sixth century BC reign of the Babylonian king, Belshazzar. However, the words and style of writing in Daniel 8 are the same as that of sixth century Babylonian literature and radically different from fifth or sixth century AD literature. Furthermore, portions of the Book of Daniel appear in the Dead Sea Scrolls and all of Daniel is present in the Septuagint, affirming that the Book of Daniel must predate the second century BC by several centuries.
An example of the Bible correctly predicting future scientific discoveries are its repeated statements about the fundamental features of big bang cosmology. Different Bible authors state that the universe has a beginning, that it expands from its cosmic beginning, that the physical laws governing the universe have not changed, and that one of those laws is a pervasive law of ongoing decay. I and Old Testament scholar John Rea cite the Bible passages and provide an exposition of them in the context of the word definitions and grammar of the original languages in this article.1
Another example of the Bible correctly predicting future scientific discoveries is the stated order and description of creation events in Genesis 1. I have written an entire book documenting the Bible’s predictive power in describing future scientific discoveries in the first few chapters of Genesis. That book is Navigating Genesis.2 Anyone can get a free chapter of the book at reasons.org/ross. I also have since written two blogs, here and here, describing new scientific discoveries that provide additional evidence for the Bible’s predictive success in describing future scientific discoveries.3
Years ago, I debated the religion editor for Skeptic magazine, Tim Callahan, on the subject, Does the Bible Have Predictive Powers? You can listen to an unabridged recording of the debate here: https://support.reasons.org/purchase/does-the-bible-have-predictive-powers-downloadable-mp3.
- Hugh Ross and John Rea, “Big Bang—the Bible Taught It First!” Facts for Faith, quarter 3, 2000: 26–32, /explore/publications/facts-for-faith/read/facts-for-faith/2000/07/01/big-bang-the-bible-taught-it-first!
- Hugh Ross, Navigating Genesis (Covina, CA: RTB Press, 2014), https://support.reasons.org/purchase/navigating-genesis.
- Hugh Ross, “Rapid Landmass Emergence Affirms Creation Day 3,” Today’s New Reason To Believe (blog), June 11, 2018, /todays-new-reason-to-believe/read/todays-new-reason-to-believe/2018/06/11/rapid-landmass-emergence-affirms-creation-day-3; Hugh Ross, “Hazy Early Earth: More Affirmation of Creation Day 4,” Today’s New Reason To Believe (blog), June 18, 2018, /todays-new-reason-to-believe/read/todays-new-reason-to-believe/2018/06/18/hazy-early-earth-more-affirmation-of-creation-day-4.