The Bible vs. Simple Physics
About two years ago, I posted a note on Facebook which explained why the laws of physics (and really, common sense) prohibit the construction of the temple as described in 1 Kings 6 and 1 Chronicles 22. A brief discussion ensued afterward in which a pastor (and good friend) attempted to defend what the Bible said. However, the situation continually worsened for the Bible, as what it describes in physical terms (i.e., without hiding behind miracles) was revealed to be all the more physically impossible.
Because this example plainly shows the absurdity of the Bible, I’m republishing it here for your consideration, and I welcome any and all feedback on it. What follows is “The Bible vs. Simple Physics” as originally published May 18, 02011.
1 Kings 6:2 says that the temple of Solomon had a volume of 4,500 yards cubed.
The accepted conversion is 18 inches per cubit. Maximum volume of temple (if a perfect cube) = 60 * 18in * 30 * 18in * 20 * 18in = 209,952,000 inches cubed (or about 4,500 cubic yards).
1 Chronicles 22:14 says that the temple would make use of 100,000 talents of gold & 1,000,000 talents of silver, more bronze and iron than could be measured, an unknown quantity of wood and stone, as well as whatever else the builders wanted to add. (The ESV says that they *must* add to these quantities.)
Let’s look only at the silver: 1,000,000 talents is 66,000,000 pounds. That’s a lot of silver. It occupies a volume of 3,728 cubic yards. That’s nearly 83% of the volume of the temple, assuming the temple was occupying the largest possible space (a smooth cuboid) given its dimensions.
Think about that. The temple wasn’t a smooth cuboid. It’s volume would have been much less. This means that the builders used more silver than they would have had room to use!
Keep in mind that is without including the vast amount of gold. That is without including the even greater amount of bronze & iron.
So the Bible says that to build a temple, more materials were crammed into a local area than would even be possible. And to make things even more ridiculous, it took over 153,000 workers (1 Kings 5:15–16) seven years (1 Kings 6:38) to build it.
Makes perfect sense.
Hypothesis: The builders were told God allowed them to use so much material… Upon realizing that they didn’t have enough physical space to use that much material, they each stole quite a bit. The daily “missing materials” delayed the building process, pushing the process back further & further. Churches have been trying to get the wealth back ever sense, and that would be the reason behind tithing…
Alt. hypothesis: The builders tapped into hammerspace. The additional mass of the temple which would not fit within the allotted dimensions resided in the same alternate dimension from which Bugs Bunny could always produce a mallet or in which Optimus Prime stowed his trailer when not in truck form.
Note: The ESV‘s note on the 1 Chronicles passage says that a talent was about 75 pounds. My calculations were made using Wolfram Alpha’s more conservative conversion of 66 pounds. If the ESV‘s conversion is accurate, then the problem is only exacerbated.