Has anything in the Bible been proven false?

…and is still false?

Levitcus 11:5 And the coney, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.
Leviticus 11:6 And the hare, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.

Hares and coneys do not chew cud.

Of course, they may have chewed cud in Biblical times and have since evolved away from that…

I never understood why dividething the hoof was needed for chewething the cud.

Or, as Rabbi Slifkin suggests, it does something enough like “chewing its cud” to be seen as the same thing.

IIRC, wasn’t there a passage in the bible that made an incorrect claim in how to calculate the circumference of a circle? Something like used 3.0 for the value of Pi (or maybe it was C=(3)x(D)). I don’t remember exactly…but it was clearly wrong, and since math didn’t also evolve, it stays wrong.

Unless I’m wrong of course and misremembering, which wouldn’t be the first time. :slight_smile:


stpauler, where are you going with your question?

There are numerous errors of fact that can be found in the bible, and they do not revert to being true at later dates. There are numerous claims made in the bible that people believe are either in error or are contradictory. We have this sort of discussion all the time, around here. It would be nice to know before the thread turns into a complete mess just what you intended with your question.

Are you about to argue about Creationism?
Are you looking to prove or disprove basic Christian (or Jewish) theology?
Are you looking to compare/contrast the Bible and the Qur’an?

Are you looking for a historical debate, and naturalist debate, a theological debate, a semantic debate?

Well, to play angelic advocate here, bth the hare and the coney chew “pellets” (recent droppings) that still have a lot of nourishment in them (rabbit digestive systems, like ours, aren’t 100% efficient), in much the same manner that cows and other ruminants bring up partially digested food fronm their stomaches (the “cud”) and rechew it. There’s a pretty good parallel there, and it’s a testimeny to ancient powers of observation. you could make a case that what’s been translated as “chewing the cud” could be a mistranslation of , say, “rechewing”. It’s not necessarily a mistake at all.
The authors of Leviticus were trying to get a consistent classification sceme going, as well. The real reasons may not have been their perceived reasons. see the relevant chapters in Marvin Harris’ book Good to Eat (AKA The Sacred Cow and the Abominable Pig).

as for finding something that’s demonstrably wrong in the Bible – that opens a Big can of worms, since this is a “live” issue for a lot of people. I’d take issue with a literal six-day creation, A worldwide flood (especially when part of it comes from “the waters of the deep”), the origin of the rainbow after the Flood, the origin of languages at a Tower of Babel, and so on.

I find it hard to believe in the Bible’s views on inheritance of ringstraked cattle, too. And of honeybees building a hive in a lion’s carcass.

The Hebrew words “Shafan” and “Arneves” do not mean hare and coney. There have been numerous attempts to identify the animals that those words refer to, but there has never been precise agreement on it, even if some non-Jewish translators have decided to be so bold as to offer an identified species as such.


It’s not needed for it. It’s just two distinct signs of a Kosher land animal. They tend to mostly overlap…no doubt due to a common evolutionary ancestor…but not entirely (e.g., camel, pig).

Is that the feces-eating that CalMeacham refers to?

I bet if you had the choice between chewing something you regurgitated, and chewing your own shit, you might consider the two to be different enough to NOT be seen as the same thing!

Is it because they are referred to as chewing cud that some think they do not mean hare and coney, or are there other reasons?

So did God create the animals before He created man or did He create the animals after He created man?


It’s because of it.

Obviously, there are no known cud-chewers which do not have genuine split hooves outside of the camel family, so the general answer to “what are the Shafan and Arneves” falls into three categories:

  1. Don’t know…must have been an animal known to the ancients that went extinct or we’re unfamiliar with
  2. Not genuine cud-chewers (ruminants) but animals that chew their food twice in some other way. This is what leads to the common translation of hare or rabbit for “Arneves” (and in fact in modern Israeli Hebrew that’s the accepted word for hare/rabbit), and to the various attempts to identify “Shafan” with rock badger, hyrax, coney, and possibly other species.
  3. Sub-species of camel - some have offered that one of them refers to the llama, for example.

Bottom line, though, is we just can’t say for certain what species those Hebrew animal names refer to, and whatever translations exist - even from Judaic sources - are merely guesses.

I was posed with the challenge (off board) that nothing in the Bible has been proven false. Where I’m going to would be to find the answer to that question or at least find out if there are verses in the Bible that have been proven are not true. I’m looking more for things like “The Bible said that the Earth was at the center of the universe and all things revolve around it in verse XXX but we’ve now proven that to be untrue” or just like Revtim’s example in the 2nd post.

I hope that helps.

Little Nemo:

Before he created man. The verse you quoted at 2:19 is more accurately translated that G-d HAD CREATED the animals, past perfect tense (and is now offering the man the chance to name them).

You are undoubtedly thinking of 2 Chronicles 4:2, in which a molten sea is constructed with a diameter of ten cubits and a circumference of thirty cubits.

However, this does not really prove that “the Bible says that pi equals three”, because the wording and context do not suggest that the measurements given are necessarily exact. Maybe the circumference was actually 30.4 cubits, and the diameter was closer to 9.7, and the Biblical author decided to just round to the nearest integer.

And anyway, just because King Solomon has the ability, when instructed to do so by God, to construct circles which violate the laws of geometrics, that does not mean that all circles share the same property. :slight_smile:

1Kings7:23 “And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one brim to another… and a line of 30 cubits did encompass it round about”.

However, that’s not a bad estimation. I mean , if the Bible said it was “ten leagues” from one city to another, but it was really 10 and a bit, I don’t think dudes would be getting excited about it.

The Bible makes some references to the Sun rising, where we know that the Earth rotates- but since we still use that term “sunrise” today, even in a fairly scientific context, I don’t think you can say that’s “wrong” either.

Pre-David, most of the Archeology/History is doubtful, but still disputed. Few Archeologists think that the Exodus and prior is literal.

Some of the “birth of Jesus” history in the Gospels is highly disputed.

They include Whales as a 'fish", which is an incorrect definition now, but pre-Linnaus wasn’t wrong.

So- nothing that can’t be explained or argued, AFAIK.

If you’re referring to the Book of Joanh, then I don’t think it ever calls the creature a “Whale”. That’s a modern interpretation. But read “Moby Dick”, or other whaling books from the 19th century – whalers called whales “fish”, and if that’s their particular terminology, then so be it. It doesn’t mean that they’re ignorant and don’t know the proper classification. (I’ve heard that you shouldn’t call your “rifle” a “gun” in the Army – even though it’s perfectly OK as a civilian to do that, or you get to put on an interesting performance. But I’ll bet that’s not true anymore.)

The author here clearly believes that the blue color of the sky is actually “water” — as though there were a second sea in the sky and a huge dome of glass beneath it, keeping it from crashing down on us.

That would be incorrect.

It comes up in this Cecil column.