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The Bible and Cosmology

Bible passages about cosmology:
More quotes from the book of Psalms,
and the rest of the Bible.
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This topic is continued from the previous essay.

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  • Psalms: The Psalms contain numerous references to:
    • God being in heaven.
    • Heaven being directly above the earth.
    • God seeing people below him, and hearing their prayers.
    • The earth being fixed, stable and immovable.

Some examples:

  • Psalms 14:2: "The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God."
  • Psalms 19:1-6: "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork...Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof."

    This passage refers to a housing of some type in which the sun rests during the night time. It emerges in the morning and passes each day overhead to the other end of the firmament, heating the entire world. The author is here referring again to the sun moving over a flat earth.

  • Psalms 20:6: "Now know I that the LORD saveth his anointed; he will hear him from his holy heaven with the saving strength of his right hand."
  • Psalms 20:6: "Now know I that the LORD saveth his anointed; he will hear him from his holy heaven with the saving strength of his right hand."

  • Psalms 33:13-14: "The LORD looketh from heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men. From the place of his habitation he looketh upon all the inhabitants of the earth."

  • Psalms 53:2: "God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God."

  • Psalms 78:23-24: "Though he had commanded the clouds from above, and opened the doors of heaven, And had rained down manna upon them to eat, and had given them of the corn of heaven."

  • Psalms 80:14: "Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine."

  • Psalms 85:11: "Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven."

  • Psalms 93:1: "...the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved."
  • Psalms 96:10: "...the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved..."

  • Psalms 102:19: "For he hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary; from heaven did the LORD behold the earth."

  • Psalms 103:11: "For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him."

  • Psalms 104:1-2: "Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain."

    Here, the solid vault above the earth is likened to a curtain.
  • Psalms 104:5: "Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever."

    This implies that the earth is permanently fixed in place, does not move, and is positioned on top of foundations.
  • Psalms 104:13: "He watereth the hills from his chambers...".

    Water in the form of rain is seen as being poured from heaven to earth through floodgates in the firmament.
  • Psalms 139:8: "If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there."

    Heaven is upwards from earth; Hell (actually a mistranslation of the Hebrew place name Sheol) is downwards from earth.

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  • Ecclesiastes 1:4-7: "One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever."

Other English translations state that: "the earth standeth fast forever." This may imply a permanently immovable earth.

  • Isaiah 40:22: "It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in." (KJV).

    Most Bible translations use the word "circle" to describe the shape of the earth. A circle is normally considered to be a two-dimensional shape. The earth is not shaped as a circle; it is roughly a sphere. More accurately, it is an oblate spheroid (slightly pear shaped). Many conservative Christians point out that the Hebrew word generally translated as "circle" can also mean a sphere. More details

  • Daniel 4:10-11: "Thus were the visions of mine head in my bed; I saw, and behold a tree in the midst of the earth, and the height thereof was great. The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth."

    Conceivably, with no atmospheric pollution, a flat earth, and a very tall and wide tree, people all over the earth could see it. But with a spherical earth, the tree could not be seen by people on the far side of the world.

  • Daniel 8:10: "And [a goat]...waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them."

    Stars were viewed by ancient people as tiny objects that a goat could stamp upon. In reality, stars are generally many times the size of earth. The world and all of the life on it would be burned to a crisp if a star landed on it.

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References to cosmology in the Christian Scriptures (New Testament):

  • Matthew 24:29: "Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken." See Daniel 8 above.

  • Luke 17:29: "But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all."

Here we have another picture of those floodgates above Sodom in the firmament of the sky -- the dome over the earth -- being opened. Fire and brimstone were said to have been literally dumped down onto the earth.

  • Luke 17:34-36: "I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left."

The passage is ambiguous:

    • One interpretation is that people will be taken up to heaven in one instant. Since some are sleeping (presumably at night) and others are working (presumably in the day time), then the passage would imply that there are people on both sides of the earth. Thus, the earth must be two-sided; even spherical in shape.

    • It could mean that the process of taking people up to heaven might occupy many hours. Thus it might interrupt some people during the afternoon while they are at work, and others at night time when they were sleeping. That would be compatible with a flat earth.

    • The phrase "two men in one bed" might refer to a gay couple engaging in some sexual activity in the afternoon -- or merely enjoying a siesta -- while other people are working in the mill or field. That would also be compatible with a flat earth.

  • Hebrews 8:1-2: "...we have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man."

    The author of the book of Hebrews refers to God pitching heaven like a tent over the stationary earth.

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References:

  1. J.D. Douglas, et. al, "Old Testament Volume: New Commentary on the Whole Bible, Tyndale House, (1990), Page 7. This is a conservative commentary.
  2. 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.
  3. Gregory Riley, "The River of God," HarperSanFrancisco, (2001). Page 27-28. Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store
  4. "The true location of the Red Sea crossing," at: http://www.biblebelievers.org.au/
  5. "Sodom and Gomorrah: The Cities of the Plain," PAX Television, 2001-OCT-19, at: http://www.arkdiscovery.com/sodom_&_gomorrah.htm
  6. Robert J. Schadewald, "The Flat-Earth Bible," at: http://www.positiveatheism.org/

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Copyright © 2002 to 2016 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2002-APR-22
Latest update: 2016-JUN-25
Author: B.A. Robinson

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