Continued Evidence of ‘A More Sure Word’
By Jack Kinsella
A controlled research trial conducted among 3,000 young African men found that the rate of AIDS infection was three times lower among circumcised men than it was among the general population.
The dramatic result prompted some medical experts to call for routine circumcision of young males to be promoted in the drive against the deadly disease, although U.N. agencies, while calling the research “promising,” cautioned that such a step would be premature.
Anti-circumcision groups (yes, there ARE anti-circumcision groups) expressed ‘alarm’ that the research may encourage a greater acceptance of a procedure that they consider ‘mutilation’.
Several have joined together in calling for the U.N. “to classify circumcision of male children as a human rights crime.”
Marilyn Milos, director of the California-based National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers (NOCIRC), noted that the U.N. convention on the rights of the child says member states “shall take all effective and appropriate measures with a view to abolishing traditional practices prejudicial to the health of children.
“This terminology is fully applicable to male circumcision,” she said.
Another campaigner, Dr. George Denniston of Doctors Opposing Circumcision in Seattle, said circumcision “removes erogenous tissue and leaves the genitals with significantly diminished sexual capacity.
“The best way to prevent HIV transmission is by using condoms, not by cutting off part of the genitals,” he argued.
Really? Research conducted in the United States by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory revealed that the HIV virus is 60 times smaller than a syphilis bacterium and 450 times smaller than a human sperm.
Analyzing test results conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control which tested leakage rates of latex condoms, doctors discovered a 78 percent HIV-leakage rate. As one US surgeon put it, “The HIV virus can go through a condom like a bullet through a tennis net.”
Another crusader, Matthew Hess of something called “MGMbill.org” is currently looking for a legislative sponsor in Congress for the Male Genital Mutilation Bill, which seeks to make it an offense to circumcise, or help or facilitate circumcision, of a child or a “non-consenting” adult, punishable by a maximum 14-year prison term. It would also prohibit Americans from arranging circumcisions abroad.
Circumcision was mandated by God for all Abraham’s descendants as a sign of the covenant between the Lord and His people.
“And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.” (Genesis 17:9-10)
Personally, I always thought it a somewhat odd method of self-identification with God. But it was a big deal to God.
“And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed.” (Genesis 17:12)
But what we have learned in this generation from science helps put the practice into perspective. Science has determined that circumcision’s health benefits are legion; it helps to prevent male urinary tract infections in men and cervical cancer in their wives. And in this generation, we discover it also helps to prevent the transmission of AIDS.
Moreover, the Biblical mandate to perform the procedure on the eighth day is rooted in solid medical research that indicates that the eighth day of a male infant’s life is when his blood clotting components in the blood are at a peak.
On the eighth day, a male infant’s prothrobim (a blood clotting enzyme) skyrockets to 110% of the adult level, making it the perfect time to perform the procedure.
The more we learn about science, the more science confirms the Bible’s accuracy. The larger context of Leviticus and Deuteronomy includes many issues of health and hygiene.
Consider the prohibition God gave the Jews forbidding them to eat ‘unclean’ animals or even to touch their carcasses. The four chapters of Leviticus that follow the listing of clean and unclean meats deal with precautions after childbirth and the means to identify and eliminate the spread of communicable diseases.
The animals God designated as ‘unclean’ are those animals who were designed by Him to keep things clean. Pigs eat garbage. Shellfish filter large volumes of chemicals, toxins and harmful bacteria, helping to purify the water.
Commenting on Leviticus 11-15, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary states:
“In general it can be said that the laws protected Israel from bad diet, dangerous vermin, and communicable diseases. Only in recent days have better laws of health been possible with the advance of medicine. These were rule-of-thumb laws that God gave in his wisdom to a people who could not know the reason for the provision.”
“The Hebrew was not only to avoid eating unclean animals; he was not to touch their dead carcasses. Thus the laws automatically helped control vermin. Common unclean animals would be spiders, flies, bugs, rats, and mice. A dead rat in a Hebrew house was not overlooked. It was carefully taken out and buried. In an effort to avoid such problems, the Hebrew housewife would normally keep a clean house.”
“It is, of course, true that some cultures have adopted similar rules out of sad experience. The [Old Testament] did not get its taboos from surrounding cultures, but some other cultures in later times adopted by experience some of these taboos…The laws were wonderfully fashioned by God for the general health of the nation.” (R. Laird Harris, Vol. 2, 1990, p. 569).
“Thus Moses could be called the father of modern infection control. Even today we are still benefiting from God’s 3,500-year-old instructions” (None of These Diseases: The Bible’s Health Secrets for the 21st Century, 2000, p. 11).
“As we look at modern science and nutrition, we will find that…there is an amazing overlap between God’s original laws of clean and unclean and solid hygienic principles…Scripture and medical research agree that modern lifestyles lived without reference to God’s laws and design shorten life and hasten death” (What the Bible Says About Healthy Living, 1999, pp. 14, 16).
“We’ve only discovered that animal fat is bad for us in the last 50 years. To the Christian a century ago, the directive in Leviticus 3:17 to avoid animal fat made no sense at all. Yet it’s clear to us today. What if there’s something in lobster that’s harmful to our health? What if we don’t discover what it is until 50 years from now? Do we require scientific proof before we give the Bible the benefit of the doubt?” (Eating by the Book, 1999, p. 226).
In researching this column, I ran across a site whose author earnestly attempted to ‘prove’ the Bible had no advanced scientific knowledge by pointing out references like ‘the four corners of the earth’ as evidence the Bible’s authors believed in a ‘flat earth’ like everybody else did.
Interestingly, he selected as one of his ‘proof texts’ Isaiah 40:22 –
“It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.”
He focused on the ‘tent’ metaphor as evidence that the Bible’s writers believed in a flat earth, completely ignoring the reference to the earth as a ‘circle’.
Other scientific knowledge contained in Scripture include Genesis 22:17 and Jeremiah 33:22 description of the stars as being equal in number to the sands of the seashore. Although we can only see about 3000 stars with the naked eye, scientists estimate the number of stars to be 10 to the 21st power.
Interestingly, the number of grains of sand on the earth’s seashores was estimated by scientists (with too much time on their hands) at 10 to the 25th power.
Those are estimates. The Bible says they are equal. (The estimates come pretty close — and they are just estimates).
Jeremiah 31:35,36 describe the precision of the movement in the universe. Job 26:7 described the suspension of the earth in space (at a time when ‘science’ believed it was carried on the back of a giant cosmic turtle).
Ecclesiastes 1:6 describes the circulation of the atmosphere, thousands of years before we discovered that winds move in cyclonic patterns, rather than in a straight line.
Job 28:25 accurately expresses the principle of fluid dynamics, noting that air has weight (science learned that 300 years ago) and that air contains water.
(“To establish a weight for the wind, And apportion the waters by measure.”)
The relative weights of air and water are needed for the efficient functioning of the world’s hydrologic cycle, which in turn sustains life on the earth.
“He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; He makes lightning for the rain; He brings the wind out of His treasuries.”
“When He utters His voice, There is a multitude of waters in the heavens: “And He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth. He makes lightning for the rain, He brings the wind out of His treasuries.”
Job describes several phases of the hydrologic cycle — the worldwide processes of evaporation, translation aloft by atmospheric circulation, condensation with electrical discharges, and precipitation.
“For He draws up drops of water, Which distill as rain from the mist, Which the clouds drop down And pour abundantly on man. Indeed, can anyone understand the spreading of clouds, The thunder from His canopy?”
Genesis 2:7 and 3:19 both describe the chemical nature of flesh, which, as we now know, is 96% water and the rest composed of the elements of the ‘dust of the earth’.
These are only a few examples of the amazing scientific knowledge contained in the Bible. But the ancient Hebrews weren’t renowned for their great scientific knowledge; they simply took what God said at face value and were widely ridiculed for their beliefs.
It just so happens that we know that what God told them was scientifically accurate — something we continue to learn with each new scientific breakthrough.
For centuries, the Bible has been the repository of the secrets of God — the more we learn, the more of those secrets become manifest. This is one of the most telling signs of the approaching 70th Week of Daniel. When Daniel was given his vision of the last days, he was floored by what he saw.
“And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.” (Daniel 12:8-9)
The more we learn, the more evidence there is to both establish the Bible evidentially as the inspired Word of God, and to validate the fulfillment of Bible prophecy in this generation.
“But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, EVEN TO THE TIME OF THE END: many shall run to and fro, and KNOWLEDGE SHALL BE INCREASED.” (Daniel 12:4)
“For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His Majesty,” writes the Apostle Peter (2nd Peter 1:16)
In this generation, we share, to some extent, the same blessing granted the Apostle Peter. Science reconfirms, on an almost daily basis, that we are not following ‘cunningly devised fables’ either. Moreover, through the evidence of science, this generation also shares with Peter the privilege of being ‘eyewitnesses to His Majesty’.
Even in little details like learning a practice instituted by God 3000 years ago prevents AIDS in the year 2005.
“We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:” (2nd Peter 1:19)