Is a bat a bird?

Leviticus 11:13-19

(Leviticus 11:13-19)--"These, moreover, you shall detest among the birds; they are abhorrent, not to be eaten: the eagle and the vulture and the buzzard, 14and the kite and the falcon in its kind, 15every raven in its kind, 16 and the ostrich and the owl and the sea gull and the hawk in its kind, 17and the little owl and the cormorant and the great owl, 18and the white owl and the pelican and the carrion vulture, 19 and the stork, the heron in its kinds, and the hoopoe, and the bat."

In verse 13 Moses tells us about the birds, and then he lists them out. In verse 19 we see the bat is included in this list. We know that a bat is not a bird. Does this not mean that the Bible is incorrect?

The Bible is not meant to be a scientific description of modern biological categories. Instead, it is often written from the perspective of what we see. In other words, it makes generic categorizations. In this case, the bat is categorized as a bird because like birds, it flies and is similar in size to most birds. If we did not know that it was a mammal, it would be natural to call it a bird. To the Hebrew of ancient times, calling it a bird was perfectly logical. But, in modern times we categorize animal species more specifically and have categorized the bat as a mammal and not a bird.

Also, we must be aware that it is modern science that has a different classification system than ancient times. To the ancients, creatures such as a bat were considered birds since they categorized all flying animals as birds. If that is the category that they used, then they were correct. It is not an error. It is a difference of categorization procedures. The critic has imposed upon the ancient text a modern system of categorization and then said that the Bible is wrong.  This is a big error in thinking.


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About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.