Science and the Bible Part 8—Antiseptic and Chloroform

In 1860 Louis Pasteur’s theory that invisible germs are the cause of numerous infections inspired an English doctor named Joseph Lister.

Five years later Dr. Lister became the first surgeon to perform an operation in a chamber sterilized by pulverizing antiseptic in the air. Mortality rates began to fall.

In 1876 Dr. Lister publicly recognized the work of two men working to modernize surgical practices: Dr. Joseph Lawrence and Robert Wood Johnson, founder of Johnson & Johnson.

Inspired by Lister, Lawrence creates a unique antiseptic for use in surgeries and bathing wounds—and also works fabulously to kill germs in the mouth. In 1881 the Lambert Pharmaceutical Co bought the rights to the LISTERINE® formula and begins to produce and market it. [1]

“Now you know the rest of the story,” as Paul Harvey used to say. Yet, actually there is more. Lister was more than a doctor, “I am a believer in the fundamental doctrines of Christianity,” he said.

There are scores of highly recognizable names that are identified as scientists AND creationists, Newton in physics and Galileo in astronomy, just to name two.

Yet there are many others who were more than creationists, but Christians. Dr. James Simpson is one in particular. In 1811 he discovered chloroforms anesthetic qualities leading to its medical value worldwide. “Christianity works,” he said, “because it is supremely true and therefore supremely livable. There is nothing incompatible between religion and science.”

When asked what his greatest discovery was, Dr. Simpson replied, “It was not chloroform. It was to know I am a sinner and that I could be saved by the grace of God. A man has missed the whole meaning of life if he has not entered into an active, living relationship with God through Christ.” [2]


[1] – accessed June 25, 2016

[2] Ray Comfort, Scientific Facts in the Bible (Bridge-Logos, 2001), 35-36.

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