Home  |  Search  |  Contact  
Order Book   |  Read Book Online  |  Testimonials  
 You are in / Foolish Faith / Read Book Online / Chapter 4 / Ancient Medical Practices
"It is often little realized that the Bible does, in fact, seem to contain remarkably accurate scientific information."
»  Chapter Introduction
»  Ancient Medical Practices
»  Advanced Science

Chapter 4:
The Bible as Pre-Scientific
Does the Bible support, or contradict, science?

Ancient Medical Practices

  • To gain an understanding of the primitive level of medical and sanitary knowledge possessed by the ancient Egyptians of the Mid-East region about 3,500 years ago, the Ebers Papyrus is valuable and important. One of the oldest known medical works, this compilation of medical texts dates to about 1550 B.C.[3]

  • Despite their advanced knowledge of astronomy and engineering, as evidenced by the world-famous pyramids, much of the Egyptians’ medical understanding was extremely primitive and sometimes even dangerous.[4] Consider, for example, the Egyptian doctor’s suggestion for healing an infected splinter wound, involving the application of an ointment mixture composed of the blood of worms mixed with the dung of a donkey. Other prescriptions included lizards’ blood, swines’ teeth, putrid meat, stinking fat, moisture from pigs’ ears, milk, goose grease, asses’ hooves, animal fats from various sources, excreta from animals, including humans, donkeys, antelopes, dogs, cats, and even flies.[5]

  • In contrast to such hazardous practices, the Bible’s instructions on certain medical procedures and basic sanitation rules during the same time period prove much more advanced. For example, with regard to the use of things like cooking tools, the Old Testament gives detailed orders that would have prevented the spread of germs from animal carcasses.[6] This is surprising because, until the 19th century, even medical researchers and doctors did not know that disease could be transmitted by microscopic germs or viruses.[7] Another passage in the Bible instructs that “the fat of a beast that dies naturally and the fat of what is torn by wild animals, may be used in any other way; but you shall by no means eat it” (Lev. 7:24). It is now known that any animal carcass found after natural death would be dangerous to eat because it would likely contain the infectious germs that would develop within hours of an animal’s death.

  • The biblical Book of Numbers specifies incredible instructions on cleansing and purifying someone who had become defiled due to touching a dead body (Num. 19). The water of purification described in this biblical narrative actually had the ability to destroy germs and infection. This water of purification solution contained ashes from a red heifer sacrifice combined with cedar, hyssop, and scarlet. The “cedar” oil came from a kind of juniper tree that grew in both Israel and in the Sinai. Cedar wood is an astringent for oily and congested skin conditions, acne, and dandruff. It relieves dermatitis, insect bites, and itching. Cedar oil contains thujene, which eliminates warts, and irritates the skin,[8] encouraging the person to vigorously rub the solution into his or her hands. More importantly, the hyssop plant used in the solution would produce hyssop oil.[9]This oil is actually a very effective antiseptic and antibacterial agent, containing carvacrol, which is still used as a fungicide and disinfectant today.[10]

  • One of the more notable medical details in the Bible is found in the specific instructions regarding the process of circumcising every Hebrew male child at the age of eight days old (Gen. 17:12). Interestingly, the two specific factors necessary to facilitate blood clotting and thus prevent fatal hemorrhaging, vitamin K and prothrombin, are at their highest levels (110 percent of normal) on the eighth day of life. Scientists have discovered that vitamin K is formed in the blood of a baby between day five to day seven of the baby’s life. Thus, of all the days of a baby’s life, the eighth day is the optimum day for an operation.[11]

  • The Encyclopedia Britannica’s conclusion regarding the Bible’s instructions on sanitary and medical practices is fitting: “The Old Testament is a mine of information on social and personal hygiene. The Jews were indeed pioneers in matters of public health.”[12]


 Back  |  Next