What is a Bat?

It’s not a plane and it’s not Superman, but is it really the other option? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

A friend of mine on Facebook alerted me to a debate going on on his page over a picture he had put up that I had shared on my page. In the thread, he had an atheist listing numerous errors in the Bible and had as his example of a most blatant one, that bats are identified as a bird.

Today, we know bats are mammals and mammals are not birds, therefore, it would follow from this that a bat is not a bird. Since that is the case, then we must obviously admit that Scripture has a gaping error in it and that we can no longer treat it as a reliable source.

Or maybe not.

A number of problems arise here immediately. First off, we today often expect the Bible to speak in modern scientific terminology. It doesn’t. In fact, there is no harm in thinking there are times that God does speak to people in ways they understand rather than teach them science. We use some of the terminology today. We tell people they should listen to their hearts and we love our spouses with all our hearts, when our hearts merely pump the blood. They do not control love or thinking. We talk about going to the ends of the Earth. We have weather reports that talk about the sunrise and when it will be. Before we criticize the Bible, we should ask if it is really meaning to teach us scientific truths. This is not to say it has scientific errors, but is it meant to be read scientifically?

Secondly, let’s suppose worse came to worse and there was an error in it. Does this mean that Jesus did not rise from the dead? Not at all. I have an increasing concern today with Christians who seem to think that if there is one error in the Bible, then the case is done. It is as if you could not demonstrate that Jesus rose from the dead unless the Bible was Inerrant. Do we really think the historical case is that weak?

When the apostles went forth with the message that Jesus was risen and gave their account of seeing Him, they did not have the gospels. They had their own testimony. They could point to the OT as further confirmation, but that would be an addition to the reality they already had. They didn’t even have the epistles for awhile! Are we to think that if an error showed up later in their accounts of what happened and in the epistles that that meant everything they said was false?

The biggest problem with all of this is that technically, the Bible does not list the bad as a bird. The Hebrew word used is “‘owph”. In the same passage it even refers to insects. What does something have to have to qualify as an “‘owph”? Wings. Is there anyone who is going to dispute that bats have wings? All this would take to figure out is some basic checking. You could go to various websites that can link you to the original Greek and Hebrew of biblical passages and see what the words mean. Unfortunately, few will take the necessary five minutes to do this.

Instead, all we have is another argument that’s for the birds.

In Christ,
Nick Peters