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Science Meets Theology In David And Goliath

The story of David and Goliath found in the Bible is probably one of the most well-known and often-told stories from the Old Testament. It carries with it a wonderful lesson – that no problem is too big in the eyes of God. If we see everything in the same perspective as God, huge problems and situations that seem impossible can be seen more clearly. We can deal with them more effectively, especially with God on our side.

According to the Bible, Goliath was a member of the Philistine army that was waging war against the Israelites. He was over 9 feet tall and was clad in armor from head to foot. The Israelites were terrified of Goliath and none would fight him. Meanwhile he continued to mock Saul, the King of Israel, and his men, daring them to fight him.

While no “man” would fight Goliath, a young shepherd named David shook off his fear and doubt. With only a sling, a bag full of stones, and his faith in God, David confronted Goliath while shouting, “I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty.” Before Goliath could strike a blow, David pulled out his sling and struck Goliath in the forehead through the smallest of openings in his armor. Goliath dropped to the ground and was dead.

Tales from the bible are often the source of interest to scientists seeking to find the truth or fiction in them. This story is one that has fascinated them for years. Physicians have suggested that Goliath was actually a man afflicted with a disease called acromelagy or “gigantism”. The pituitary gland in people who suffer from this disease releases excess amounts of growth hormones, causing them to become unusually tall. If this theory were true, Goliath would probably have succumbed to this disease at any time.

But why was David so easily able to sneak up on the giant in order to kill him? Scientists explain this by saying that a side effect of gigantism is partial blindness or tunnel vision. The secretion of excess growth hormones by the pituitary gland is normally caused by the formation of a tumor. This tumor could have compressed the giant’s optic chiasm, the part of the brain where the optic nerves cross. With impaired sight and no peripheral vision, David could easily have gotten close enough to Goliath to get off the fatal shot.

Skeptics also question how one small stone could cause the death of the huge man. They suggest that David’s stone hit directly on the tumor, bursting it and causing it bleed enough for the blow to be deadly.

Even if Goliath’s size was a direct result of gigantism, this should not take away from the David’s bravery and faith in the face of danger. Neither the Philistines, the Israelites, nor the young shepherd David understood why Goliath was such a giant. The lesson still holds that God can make anything possible if you have faith.

Robert Mann is a published poet and author residing in California. Mr. Mann is also Executive Editor of the Christian news site http://www.FreeChristianPress.com. This article, Science Meets Theology In David And Goliath has free reprint rights.

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