Ancient peoples believed in a World Turtle or World Elephant or World Serpent that upheld the earth.
American Indians and Chinese believed the earth rested on the back of a giant turtle. Hindus of India believed the earth was supported by elephants standing on the back of a giant turtle.
Other ancient peoples believed that the earth was a flat disk resting on the back of a giant turtle that floated in a huge ocean. Others believed in “turtles all the way down,” with each supporting turtle standing on the back of a larger one.
The Mayans of Mexico believed the earth and sky were supported by four jaguars, a white one in the north, red in the east, yellow in the south, and black in the west.
In Norse mythology, a gigantic tree, called the World Tree or Yggdrasil, supported the earth.
None of the post-Flood ancients believed the earth hung in space without support. That was clearly an insane idea. Something had to hold up the earth.
Except for the Hebrews — they believed Yahweh hung the earth floating in space without a visible means of support.
The book of Job in the Bible dates to around 2000 BC. It records this truth about the earth:
He stretches out the north over empty space
And hangs the earth on nothing. (Job 26:7)
Hanging the earth on nothing in empty space was inconceivable 4,000 years ago. But today we know the Bible was right.
Throughout the Old Testament, Yahweh repeatedly identifies Himself as the Creator, the One Who made heaven and earth. He is the One Who hung the earth in space on nothing, the One Who stretched out the heavens, and the One Who created the stars to shine. He is worthy of every man’s allegiance and worship.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)
The Lord by wisdom founded the earth,
By understanding He established the heavens. (Proverbs 3:19)
Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand,
And marked off the heavens by the span,
And calculated the dust of the earth by the measure,
And weighed the mountains in a balance
And the hills in a pair of scales?
Do you not know? Have you not heard?
Has it not been declared to you from the beginning?
Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
It is He who sits above the circle of the earth,
And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers,
Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain
And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. (Isaiah 40:12, 21-22)
Thus says God the Lord,
He Who created the heavens and stretched them out,
He Who spread out the earth and that which comes out of it,
He Who gives breath to the people on it
And spirit to those who walk in it. (Isaiah 42:5)
Science Catches Up to the Bible
The Bible reports that the Creator God hung the earth in space; it’s not based on a turtle or on an elephant or on anything else. Long before today’s scientists learned Earth is a globe hanging in space, some men knew this because the Bible taught it. Although the Bible is not primarily a science textbook, it does hint at many scientific truths like this one and like those mentioned in this Science in the Bible series, truths that long pre-date their discovery by today’s scientists. This is strong evidence of divine authorship of the Bible.
Questions to Ponder
- How do you think the various fanciful legends about the earth got started?
- How will you think differently about your life, knowing Yahweh’s hand continuously sustains earth’s position? (Colossians 1:17)
Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.
Soli Deo Gloria.
This is the ninth in the Science in the Bible series of blog posts. While there is much science connected with Creation and Noah’s Flood, this series will focus on lesser known scientific truths that were alluded to in the Bible long before they were known to scientists.
Read the prequels:
1. Science in the Bible – Blood
2. Science in the Bible – Ocean Currents
3. Science in the Bible – Undersea Mountains
4. Science in the Bible – Ocean Reservoirs
5. Science in the Bible – Good Medicine
6. Science in the Bible – Round Earth
7. Science in the Bible – Don’t Marry Kin
8. Science in the Bible – Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
Read the sequel:
10. Science in the Bible – ??? coming soon…
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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday April 5, 2017 A.D.
Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105)