And it came to pass that your Curmudgeon decided to see what the bible has to say about the speed of light. After all, the speed of light is one of the most fundamental features of the universe, so — inspired by the teaching of creation scientists — we figured that the Good Book would surely provide some information about it.
The result of our exhaustive search is that we found nothing — nothing at all — which was disappointing. Well, there’s the implication that it’s instantaneous, as the light of the newly created stars was immediately visible on earth. But we’ve already discussed that, so we won’t deal with it here. If you missed those posts, one of the last of them, with loads of comments, was Lisle’s “Instant Starlight” Paper: Jupiter’s Moons.
Aside from that, we did find a few interesting passages — out of 235 which mention the word “light.” Most are obviously poetic, or metaphorical (e.g., a substitute for glory or righteousness or understanding), or the word may appear in reference to lamps and candles and such, so we’re ignoring those. We were looking for passages that had scientific implications, and we found only three. Here they are, in the King James version, of course:
[From Genesis 1:3]
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
Very nice, but somehow it seems to lack detail. Moving along:
[From 2 Kings 20:9-11]
And Isaiah said, This sign shalt thou have of the LORD, that the LORD will do the thing that he hath spoken: shall the shadow go forward ten degrees, or go back ten degrees?
And Hezekiah answered, It is a light thing for the shadow to go down ten degrees: nay, but let the shadow return backward ten degrees.
And Isaiah the prophet cried unto the LORD: and he brought the shadow ten degrees backward, by which it had gone down in the dial of Ahaz.
Neat! The Earth rotated backwards! What else did we find? Here you go:
[From Job 38:18-20]
Hast thou perceived the breadth of the earth? declare if thou knowest it all.
Where is the way where light dwelleth? and as for darkness, where is the place thereof,
That thou shouldest take it to the bound thereof, and that thou shouldest know the paths to the house thereof?
Also neat — light and dark have separate dwelling places! Science hasn’t discovered them yet, but we’ve hardly been looking.
Anyway, that’s all we were able to find. We admit that we have no theological training, so our crude research certainly isn’t authoritative — except that we went to the source and searched it thoroughly. Perhaps someone more steeped in such things than your humble Curmudgeon can … ah, shed some light on the subject.
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