Skip links

The Life is in the Blood

The physical and spiritual importance of blood.

One of the most powerful evidences that the Bible is divinely inspired is its scientific accuracy. As Dr. Henry Morris wrote, “There are many unexpected scientific truths that have lain hidden within its pages for thousands of years, only to be recognized and appreciated in recent times. These principles are not expressed in modern technical jargon, of course, but nevertheless are presented accurately and beautifully, indicating remarkable understanding of nature by these ancient authors far in advance of their ‘discovery’ by modern scientists.”[1]

One example of this foreknowledge is regarding the importance of blood. Blood is mentioned some four hundred times in the Bible and some of these passages teach the critical role of blood in biological organisms, including humans. Leviticus 17:11, for example, declares that “the life of the flesh is in the blood…” Interestingly, it wasn’t until the 15th century when science began to finally catch up with the Bible and started to understand the crucial role which blood plays. And it wasn’t until 1616 that the English physician William Harvey fully described the properties of blood and how it circulates through the body.[2],[3] Before this, many dangerous medical procedures such as bloodletting were common. Sadly, if only medical experts of the time had heeded the Bible, then perhaps this could have been discovered sooner, and many lives could have been preserved.[4]

“For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.”

Leviticus 17:11

Modern science now acknowledges and understands that the life of the flesh quite literally is in the blood as it “transmits the very ‘breath of life,’ [by] carrying the oxygen from the lungs throughout the body to all its cells.”[5] The blood also carries food and water and defends us against disease producing organisms as well as repairing injured tissues. And rather than bloodletting, doctors now prescribe blood transfusions to help with blood loss and to fight sickness and disease.

The fact that the Bible revealed the importance of blood many millennia before scientists fully described and elaborated on it truly is a wonderful testimony that it is not the mere product of men but is inspired by the Creator God Himself. However, God’s primary concern is not to give us a biology lesson but rather to teach a more important spiritual truth. As Leviticus 17:11 (and similar passages) goes on to explain, without the shedding of blood there can be no forgiveness of sins. Because, as Romans 6:23 explains, “the wages (I.e., cost/price) of sin is death.” And since “the life is in the blood” (Leviticus 17:11a) then “without shedding of [the life] blood there is no remission” of sin (Hebrews 9:22, Leviticus 17:11b). So the cost for sin (even just one sin) is nothing short of our life. However, not wanting us to perish, God in His love instituted substitutionary sacrifice in which he would accept one life in place of another. This began with animal sacrifices in the Old Testament but was ultimately fulfilled by God Himself who gave His own lifeblood in place of ours on the cross through the God-man Jesus Christ — the sinless “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29) for “whoever believes” (John 3:16).

Jesus Christ is the only solution to our sin problem, which the Bible describes as a spiritual and terminal disease. And just as I began by quoting Dr. Henry Morris, so do I want to conclude because this important spiritual truth is again paralleled by a physical biological truth. As Morris points out, “The blood, which is the channel of life, becomes also the carrier of disease and infection through the body when they gain the upper hand in the system. Physical life and death symbolize spiritual life and death, just as physical disease and injury symbolize the spiritual disease of sin. As the infection of sin spreads throughout the soul, it will eventually, “when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (James 1:15), and this is spiritual death, eternal separation from God in hell. If spiritual life is to be created and maintained, it must come from outside. It must be life untainted with sin and containing the power to combat the sin-disease in the spiritually dying soul. Figuratively speaking, a blood transfusion is essential from a qualified donor whose blood possesses the purity and efficacy required for the cleansing and healing of the mortally sin-sick soul.”[6] And that qualified doner is none other than Christ Jesus!

Ryan Hembree is a daily co-host, speaker, and writer of Bible Discovery. He also hosts a YouTube channel that shows the unity of the Bible and how science and Scripture fit together. Ryan also has an honorary Masters of Ministry in Creation Science from Phoenix University of Theology.

[1] Henry Morris, Science and the Bible, P.11.
[2] Henry Morris, Science and the Bible, P.15-16.
[4] It could be argued that bloodletting is not necessarily contradictory with the Bible. For example, a doctor of times past might reason that if “the life of the flesh is in the blood” and his patient’s blood is infected then that blood must be removed. But arguing that these doctors were consulting the Bible on such issues is hard to maintain in light of the fact that bloodletting was connected to astrology (a practice strictly forbidden in the Bible). As professor of astronomy and physics Dr. Danny Faulkner documents in his book The Created Cosmos, P.109-10, “the practice of bloodletting was abandoned just two centuries ago (George Washington probably died from this practice in 1799). The principle behind the practice of bloodletting was the doctrine of humors. According to this doctrine, the body contains four fluids, or humors: black bile, yellow bile, phlegm, and blood. An imbalance due to an excess or deficit in one of the humors was thought to be the cause of illness. Therefore, the remedy was to rid the body of one of the excess fluids by strategically letting fluid (blood) out of the body by way of an incision. How did one determine what the excess fluid was and hence precisely where on the body to let blood? This was determined by consulting a horoscope.”
[5] Henry Morris, The Henry Morris Study Bible, Note on Leviticus 17:11, P.217-218.
[6] Henry Morris, Science and the Bible, P.16.

Leave a comment