Problem: Is a bat actually a bird, according to the Bible?
Solution: 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, 14 and the kite and the falcon in its kind, 15 every raven in its kind, 16 and the ostrich and the owl and the seagull and the hawk in its kind, 17 and the little owl and the cormorant and the great owl, 18 and 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 gener
ic 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 Hebrews 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 modern science has a different classification system than in 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 in categorization procedures. The critic has imposed a modern system of categorization upon the ancient text and then said that the Bible is wrong. This is a big error in thinking.