Job 26:1-14 NIV
1Then Job replied:
2“How you have helped the powerless!
How you have saved the arm that is feeble!
3What advice you have offered to one without wisdom!
And what great insight you have displayed!
4Who has helped you utter these words?
And whose spirit spoke from your mouth?
5“The dead are in deep anguish,
those beneath the waters and all that live in them.
6The realm of the dead is naked before God;
Destructiona lies uncovered.
7He spreads out the northern skies over empty space;
He suspends the earth over nothing.
8He wraps up the waters in His clouds,
yet the clouds do not burst under their weight.
9He covers the face of the full moon,
spreading His clouds over it.
10He marks out the horizon on the face of the waters
for a boundary between light and darkness.
11The pillars of the heavens quake,
aghast at His rebuke.
12By His power He churned up the sea;
by His wisdom He cut Rahab to pieces.
13By His breath the skies became fair;
His hand pierced the gliding serpent.
14And these are but the outer fringe of His works;
how faint the whisper we hear of Him!
Who then can understand the thunder of His power?”
“He spreads out the northern skies over empty space;
He suspends the earth over nothing.”
Over the empty place - על־תהוּ ‛al-tôhû, "Upon emptiness, or nothing." That is, without anything to support it. The word used here (תהוּ tôhû) is one of those employed Genesis 1:2, "And the earth was wlthout form and void." But it seems here to mean emptiness, nothing. The north is stretched out and sustained by the mere power of God. He hangs the earth upon nothing. - It has nothing to support it.
There is no certain evidence here that Job was acquainted with the globular form of the earth, and with its diurnal and annual revolutions. But it is clear that he regarded it as not resting on any foundation or support; as lying on the empty air, and kept there by the power of God. The sentiment here expressed by Job was probably the common opinion and knowledge of astronomy of his time.
Galileo and the Church
© Copyright 2002, Jim Loy
Galileo Galilei was one of the truly greatest of scientists of all time. His discoveries and inventions place him up at the top, with Newton, Archimedes, Einstein, Leonardo, and a few more. He made telescopes becoming the first person to study the heavens with one. He discovered sun spots, the craters of the moon, the phases of Venus, the moons of Jupiter, the rings of Saturn. He had a famous conflict with the Catholic Church, and of course the Church won, until recently.
Nicholas Copernicus deduced the Sun-centered view of the universe. Before him, the entire universe was believed to move around an unmoving Earth. The Sun appears to go around the Earth, not the other way around. If the Earth moves, why aren't we all flung off into space? Copernicus' idea simplified the entire solar system. But, it conflicted with the Catholic Church.
Because the Bible actually implies, in several places, that the Earth does not move. And so, in order to publish without having to fight the Church and lose, Copernicus modified his book to say that his theory was only a trick to make the calculations simpler, that he was not claiming that the Earth actually moved around the sun.
Well, several of Galileo's astronomical discoveries showed or suggested that the Earth actually goes around the Sun. He thought that he could convince the Church to change its view on this, as truth surely will win over superstition.
So he wrote a book, Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems. He presented his case in the form of a dialogue. One character (Simplicio) defended the Church's view, and another (Salviati) defended Copernicus' view.
In 1633, he was found guilty of heresy; his book was banned; he was forced to claim that he had been wrong, that the Earth did not move; and he was placed under house arrest for the rest of his life. It is sometimes reported that after admitting that the Earth did not move, he said under his breath, “But it does move.” In 1835, Galileo's book was removed from the famous Index of banned books. And in 1979, Pope John Paul admitted that the Catholic Church had erred in its treatment of Galileo.
Bible passages which say the Earth does not move:
1 Chronicles 16:30
“Fear before Him, all the earth: the world also shall be stable, that it be not moved.”
“Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed forever.”
1 Samuel 2:8
“For the pillars of the earth are the LORD's, and He hath set the world upon them.”
Also, Joshua commanding the sun to stand still (Joshua 10:13) implied that the earth was already standing still.