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The OT View of the Earth

Any modern Christian thinks that planets, stars, and galaxies are all in outer space – beyond the earth’s atmosphere.  They don’t think of heaven as a real, physical place in the physical world, but rather that it’s in another dimension, or some other construct. But it's clear that the authors of the Bible thought that heaven was a very real place.

 

The Bible starts by talking about the creation of the firmament, and then calls it heaven, and then only refers to "heaven", or "heavens", after that:

 

Genesis 1:6  And God said, "Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters."

 ~ So, whatever the firmament is, there is water on both sides of it.

 

Genesis 1:7  And God made the firmament and separated the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament….

~ So more accurately, there are waters above and below the firmament.

 

Genesis 1:8 And God called the firmament Heaven…

~ Oh, so the firmament is Heaven, and Heaven has water on both sides of it?

 

Genesis 1:9, 10  And God said, "Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear… 10 God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas…

~  So heaven is above the earth.

 

Genesis 1:15 ... and let them be lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light upon the earth."…

~ So Heaven is where the sun moon and stars are (and galaxies, too, although they were unknown to the Biblical writers), but that must mean that water is on the other side of the universe.  

 

Genesis 7:11, 12 … on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened. 12 And rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights.

~  So heaven has windows in it?  Heaven is where the stars are, but then heaven must start in the atmosphere just above the clouds.  Actually, this is where it starts to be clear that they just believed that it was a big skydome above the clouds.  The water is immediately on the other side of the big dome (and that's why the sky is blue), so opening windows in it would cause water to come out as rain.

 

Genesis 8:2 the fountains of the deep and the windows of the heavens were closed, the rain from the heavens was restrained,

~ There seems to be a direct connection between the “windows of heaven” and rain. 

 

Genesis 11:4 Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens,…

~ Maybe they wanted to build a tower to outer space, but more likely, we can see where the myth has people building a tower up to Gods’ house in the clouds.  But if heaven is not in the physical world, then how could they build a tower to it?  And why would God care if they attempted to build a tower to outer space.  Surely it would end in disaster, and it would accomplish what God wanted, but it seems that God in the Bible was actually worried that they could build a tower to heaven, so He had to stop them.

 

Genesis 19:24 Then the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomor'rah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven

~ God keeps fire and brimstone in heaven?

 

Genesis 21:17 And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, …

~ Besides God, angels also live there. 

 

Exodus 20:22 And the LORD said to Moses, "Thus you shall say to the people of Israel: `You have seen for yourselves that I have talked with you from heaven. 

~ God talked to Moses from heaven, but Moses did have to go up on a mountain top.  If heaven were invisible, and in another dimension,  that would not be necessary.

 

Deuteronomy 4:32 "For ask now of the days that are past, which were before you, since the day that God created man upon the earth, and ask from one end of heaven to the other, …

~ Heaven CAN’T be outer space or the sky, because they have no ends (a big skydome does)

 

Deuteronomy 4:39 know therefore this day, and lay it to your heart, that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath;…

~ Yes, we know that God lives in heaven, it’s a real place, and it’s UP.  And of course, that would only make sense in a flat world.

 

Joshua 10:11  And as they fled before Israel, while they were going down the ascent of Beth-hor'on, the LORD threw down great stones from heaven upon them as far as Aze'kah, and they died; there were more who died because of the hailstones than the men of Israel killed with the sword.

~ God, from his home in the clouds, turns out to be a pretty good thrower with hailstones. What about Zeus throwing lightning bolts?

 

Job 37:3  He unleashes his lightning beneath the whole heaven, and sends it to the ends of the earth.

~ So lightning comes from heaven also, but maybe they really used the word "heaven" or "heavens", when they should have just used “sky”?  But still, does God and the angels physically live in the sky?

 

2 Samuel 22:8
 "Then the earth reeled and rocked; the foundations of the heavens trembled and quaked, because he was angry.

~ So if you believe in an invisible modern heaven, what are the foundations of heaven? And why would an earthquake shake them?

 

Job 38:37 Who can number the clouds by wisdom? Or who can tilt the waterskins of the heavens,

~ Waterskins of the heavens?

 

Psalm 33:7 He gathered the waters of the sea as in a bottle; he put the deeps in storehouses.

~ Uh?

 

Psalm 78:23 Yet he commanded the skies above, and opened the doors of heaven;

~  Besides windows, there are doors to heaven?  And it continues on…

 

Psalm 78:24,25  and he rained down upon them manna to eat,
and gave them the grain of heaven. 25 Man ate of the bread of the angels…

~  Angels eat food?  Did you know that?  Then they really must be physical.

 

Psalm 135:7 He it is who makes the clouds rise at the end of the earth, who makes lightnings for the rain and brings forth the wind from his storehouses.. (also see  Jeremiah 10:13, Jeremiah 51:16)

~  In a spherical earth, where exactly is the end?  And God also has storehouses for wind?

 

Job 38:22 "Have you entered the storehouses of the snow, 
or have you seen the storehouses of the hail,

~  And storehouses for snow and hail in heaven also?  

 

Proverbs 30:4 Who has ascended to heaven and come down?
Who has gathered the wind in his fists? Who has wrapped up the waters in a garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth?

~ Odd questions.  Notice that a spherical earth has no “ends”.

 

Isaiah 34:4 All the host of heaven shall rot away, and the skies roll up like a scroll.
All their host shall fall, as leaves fall from the vine, like leaves falling from the fig tree.

>>> This describes the heavenly hosts (sun, moon, and stars) as rotting away and all falling to earth.  That isn’t exactly compatible with modern science.  Stars cannot rot away.

 

Isaiah 40:22 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 like a tent to dwell in;

~ This is a good description of a round, flat earth covered by a big skydome.  

 

So, in the Bible, heaven was a very real physical place where God and the angels lived, and it was up.  Of the three people in the Bible that went to heaven (Enoch, Elijah, and Jesus), they were all still alive.  God took Enoch; Elijah went up in a whirlwind; and in one of the gospels (and only one) Jesus was “carried up to heaven”. 

 

All these scriptures and more show that the Biblical authors  belived in ancient near east cosmology, as it was understood by the cultures around them, including a very real physical place for God and the angels living in the sky ("heaven"). 

 

Contributed by Phil Doberenz, edited by Biomed.

 

 

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