Literature and the Bible

often use figures of speech 

to explain difficult things.


So does science.


Here’s a simile astrophysicist Hugh Ross offers

to help think about the universe:


The universe is like a car in 7 ways.


For more use the DOOR.




   “Like an automobile, the universe:

(1)  has a mass density that can be measured,

(2)  appears to have been manufactured to certain specifications,

(3)  carries passengers,

(4)  burns fuel and emits exhaust,

(5)  moves forward (though it can’t go in reverse),

(6)  is capable of slowing down and speeding up (though not of standing still),

(7)  won’t run forever.”¹


   This is a way Hugh Ross starts off describing certain facts we’ve learned about the universe–the whole world of what’s “out there” and under our feet. Similes compare things (Mary’s lamb was white as snow; he ran like² greased lightning); Metaphors simply declare things (“God is my fortress”; “the trees clap their hands in praise”).

   These figures of speech (there are others) are not to be considered in the same way as literal description. They are not true in every detail. That’s assumed. They’re used for several reasons. (1) They help clarify facts and help us remember them. (2) In some cases, words may not exist, as in certain biblical prophecies to describe what a prophet sees, so he uses what words are available. (3) And, in some cases, the poet will argue that it’s just the best way to say something..

   Here it’s the first reason.

   We recommend Ross’s extensive description of what we know about the universe.


   ¹Hugh Ross, Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Baker, 2008. ch. 2).

   ² The words “as” and “like” signal the presence of a simile. Here, though we didn’t state it directly in the discussion, “The universe is like a car” in not just one way but seven.