The Bible and Cosmology
Bible passages about cosmology:
More quotes from the
to Job in the Hebrew Scriptures
(a.k.a. Old Testament).
References to cosmology from Genesis and the rest of the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament):
The following quotations are taken from the King James Version of the
Bible. It is not the easiest translation to read. However, it does help us
avoid copyright problems. We will give only the literal interpretations of
"Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah
brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven." This is
translated in the New International Version of the Bible as "burning
As noted in our description of Genesis 7:11-12, the Hebrews
believed that there were actual floodgates in the solid vault over the
earth that supernatural beings could opened so that water could be poured through
-- landing in
the form of rain or snow. In this passage, it was brimstone (sulphur) and fire that was
believed to have been poured down to the earth over the cities of Sodom
This event may well have happened, but perhaps not as the author(s)
of Genesis described. The burning sulfur may have come from below rather than
An article in BibleBelievers.org states:
"Geologists inform us that the southern Dead Sea is a
burnt-out oil field....an earthquake caused a section of [the] earth's
crust to slip along [two]...fault [lines]. A drop of just one inch would
wreck a large city. The tremendous pressure exerted by the dislodged
mass forced the underlying oil and gas up along the fault lines into the
atmosphere where they ignited to form a continuous liquid fire." 4
Memory of this cataclysmic event may have been preserved for centuries
until it eventually made it into the biblical record, after having been
associated with acts of immorality by the inhabitants in the area.
Religious conservatives often attribute the destruction to
God's anger at homosexual behavior by the citizens of the two cities. See "The story of Sodom and Gomorra." Many religious liberals associated the destruction with attempts by men in the city to rape a group of visiting angels. Some references to Sodom in the the Bible refer to other factors as the
actual cause of God's hatred:
sins of the Sodomites, Ezekiel lists pride, fullness of bread, abundance
of idleness, haughtiness, and being unwilling to strengthen the hand of
the poor and needy." 5
A passage in Jude has been interpreted as associating the punishment with an attempt of men in Sodom to commit bestiality. Although angels in the Bible are described as human-like in appearance, they are in reality a different species.
would attribute the event to purely natural causes.
Was it a random event caused by a random earthquake in an oil and gas
or was it the result of an intentional mass murder of all the seniors, other adults, youths, children, and babies in the area resulting from God's
hatred of the moral failures of some of the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah? The question
appears to be unanswerable.
"And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set
up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the
angels of God ascending and descending on it. And, behold, the LORD
stood above it...."
This passage describes a dream experienced by
Jacob. He had a vision of a ladder whose base was on the earth and whose
top reached Heaven. Angels were using the
ladder to travel from Heaven to earth and back. God appeared above the
top of the ladder, and talked to Joseph. As in the account of the Tower of Babel, heaven is here portrayed as being only a short
distance above the earth -- a location reachable by ladder that was so short that a conversation could be held between its top and bottom.
- Joshua 10:12-13:
"Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day
when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel,
and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon;
and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. And the sun stood still, and
the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their
Here, the sun was believed to have stopped moving. This
speaks again of a stationary earth and a sun revolving around it. The moon was also described as having stopped
- 1 Chronicles 16:30:
"...the world also shall be stable,
that it be not moved."
This is one of many passages in the Bible
which describe the earth as firm, stable, and immovable.
- Job 26:7:7:
"He stretcheth out the north over the empty
place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing."
In the Hebrew cosmology,
the earth is supported by columns. The next logical question is what
bears the weight of the column, earth and firmament? Job seems to imply
that there is nothing to support the earth. God hung the world, its
columns, the firmament and heaven on nothing.
- Job 28:23-24:
"God understandeth the way thereof, and he
knoweth the place thereof. For he looketh to the ends of the earth, and
seeth under the whole heaven."
The earth is viewed as having ends,
unlike a sphere which has no end and no beginning. From Heaven, the passage implies that one can view the entire expanse of Earth.
- J.D. Douglas, et. al, "Old Testament Volume: New Commentary on the Whole
Bible, Tyndale House, (1990), Page 7. This is a conservative commentary.
John Marks, "The Book of Genesis." Part of Charles Laymon, Ed., "The
Interpreter's One-Volume Commentary on the Bible," Abingdon Press, (1971),
Page 3 & 4. This is a liberal commentary.
Gregory Riley, "The River of God," HarperSanFrancisco, (2001). Page
reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store
"The true location of the Red Sea crossing," at:
"Sodom and Gomorrah: The Cities of the Plain," PAX Television,
Robert J. Schadewald, "The Flat-Earth Bible," at:
Copyright © 2002 to 2016 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally written: 2002-APR-22
Latest update: 2016-JUN-27
Author: B.A. Robinson