Prescience in the Bible – Dietary Restrictions

As defined by William J. Cairney in Evidence for Faith prescience is “the occurrence, in Scripture, of accurate statements reflecting in-depth knowledge of scientific concepts far before mankind had laid the technological base for such things to be known.”

Cairney points out of course that prescience in the Bible isn’t an end in itself.  Such evidence only increases our knowledge of Scripture and appreciation for the God revealed in the Bible.

Cairney first focuses on the dietary laws in Exodus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.  The unclean animals in addition to not being eaten, weren’t even supposed to be touched if it could avoided at all costs (Leviticus 11:24-28).  Pigs were on the top of the “unclean” list.  The downer to the Jews is that they were readily available to be eaten and were of course tasty and tender.  The upside is that pigs, or swine, “harbor several disease-producing microorganisms easily transmissible to man” (Cairney, p.132 of Evidence for Faith). Such micro-organisms are tapeworms.  Diseases such as Trichinosis, Erysipelas, and Typhoid are all caused by micro-organisms that pigs carry. Some of these diseases are contracted by eating under-cooked meat, but others can be contracted simply by touching an infected animal or carcass.

Other “unclean” animals are marine animals without fins or scales, usually bottom-feeders; they eat fecal matter to put it nicely.  Rodents were unclean – enough said.  But they would have been accessible and likely tender, but they’re naturally carriers of some of the nastiest diseases man has ever faced.  Don’t eat, don’t touch, and surely you don’t want to be bitten!

Turtles and lizards were on the “naughty” list too.  Young kids who have these animals as pets sometimes get Salmonella!  Yay!  If they’re taken from stagnant water or contaminated water, they’re a source of disease inducing micro-organisms.

Basically, all the “unclean” animals can lead to disease in handling and eating if not properly kept.  The clean animals were quite chill in this regards.

Cairney also shares how some of the laws for keeping and growing plants also spared one’s self from disease-causing micro-organisms.

Exodus15:26 is a promise from God that if they follow these dietary laws he won’t bring diseases upon them. 
So how did Moses know this?  He didn’t have a microscope!  Most of this knowledge was only gleaned in the past 100 years.  Was he that observant?  Did the Egyptians know that much?  Maybe some other advance culture brought the info in to Moses?  Aliens perhaps?  Or the God of the Bible who created all things and didn’t need a microscope to know which animals carried micro-organisms which caused diseases told Moses which animals not to eat and which ones were cool to consume and handle.

Published by

Andy Wrasman

I live in Lilburn, GA, with my wife and two young kids. I am a pastor at Oak Road Lutheran Church. I've written a book called, Contradict - They Can't All Be True. Be sure to visit my other website:

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