Science and the Eagle’s Wings

By Wayne Jackson

The term “science” derives from the Latin, scientia, which means “knowledge.” Science, then, generally is believed to be knowledge that is based upon observations of nature, together with the testing of certain data with reference to those observations.

Frankly, some scientists are arrogant. They believe that because they have discovered some explanations (seemingly) for some of the phenomena in the Universe, they also have the answers to most of life’s important issues. The fact is, however, the history of science is a history cluttered with egregious mistakes. Some years ago Professor George McCready Price authored an entertaining book, the title of which is, A History of Some Scientific Blunders (New York: Fleming Revell, 1930). It carefully catalogued some of the foot-in-mouth blunders that “scientists” have made across the centuries.

Reputable scholars within the scientific community have long acknowledged that there are serious limitations to the “scientific method.” Dr. Louis T. More, who was not at all sympathetic to Christianity, confessed: “Science does not embrace all phenomena and it has not, for its use, all the criteria for truth” (The Dogma of Evolution, Princeton University Press, 1925, p. 374).

Sometimes investigators find truth for which they have been searching; at other times, they accidentally stumble onto thrilling discoveries. Occasionally they even conclude that the evidence points to truths of an even higher order. Consider the following example.

As the citizens of ancient Judah languished in Babylonian captivity (prophetically described by Isaiah), they apparently complained that God was not actively watching over them. They appear to have suggested that the Lord had grown tired while on duty, so to speak.

In response to this foolish charge, the prophet Isaiah declared that Jehovah, being the all-powerful Sovereign (Genesis 17:1), does not grow weary nor does he faint. Moreover, he is watching over his people, and those who “wait for Jehovah” (i.e., surrender to his Word) will have their strength renewed.

In an absolutely beautiful description, the prophet declares that these obedient ones “shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” (Isa. 40:28-31).

In addition to the obvious spiritual truth conveyed in this context, science has determined that this passage was rather ahead of its time in terms of aerodynamic information.

Dr. Edward F. Blick, who served as a professor in the School of Aerospace at the University of Oklahoma, did extensive wind-tunnel studies at the university with eagles. In doing research in 1971, Dr. Blick and his colleagues discovered that the eagle’s six-slotted feathers (at the end of each wing) curve upward in gliding flight. Wind tunnel measurements demonstrated that this design reduced the size of the vortex (whirling current) that emanates from each wing tip. This, in turn, reduces drag on the wings and allows the eagle to soar great distances on the air currents —without even having to beat its wings.

Professor Blick, impressed with the accuracy of the Bible in this regard, stated: “Thus 2,700 years after the scripture in Isaiah was written, science has stumbled onto the same truth.”

Sometimes “science” manifests a tendency to “catch up” with the Scriptures; most of the time, it lags behind!

Note: For further consideration of the scientific accuracy of the Bible, see our book, The Bible & Science.

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About the Author

Wayne Jackson has written for and edited the Christian Courier since its inception in 1965. He has also written several books on a variety of biblical topics including The Bible and Science, Creation, Evolution, and the Age of the Earth, The Bible on Trial, and a number of commentaries. He lives in Stockton, California with his dear wife, and life-long partner, Betty.