Atheist's Attacks

Answering Humanist's Accusations Against the Bible

Christian Resources

Is Science Superior to the Bible?

Does the Bible teach the earth is stationary and at the center of the universe?

THE HUMANIST'S CLAIM: Other passages demonstrating that the earth remains stationary include Psalm 93:1 (“The world is [e]stablished, that it cannot be moved.”); I Chronicles 16:30 (“[T]he world also shall be stable, that it be not moved.”); and Psalm 104:5 (The Lord “laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed forever.”).

Because of Galileo’s support for the Copernican doctrine, the Inquisition threatened him with torture, forced him to recant, and subjected him to imprisonment. Additionally, for nearly 200 years the Catholic Church’s Index of Forbidden Books condemned all writings that affirmed the double motion of the earth. [Again referencing the discredited Andrew White.]

Protestants weren’t much better. For generations the major branches of Protestantism – Lutheran, Calvinist, and Anglican – denounced the Copernican doctrine as contrary to scripture.

Let's look at each of the referenced verses:

Psalm 93:1-2 (verse 2 included to provide context):

1 - The Lord reigns, He is clothed with majesty;
The Lord has clothed and girded Himself with strength;
Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved.
2 - Your throne is established from of old;
You are from everlasting.

The topic of these verses is not science. Psalm 93 celebrates God's sovereign kingship over the world -- meaning the contents of the earth (people). The point of this verse (and Psalm) is that, God is in control, and the people will not stray from the path God has set for us.

For example, in Psalm 9:8 the same Hebrew word translated as "world" is used:

And He will judge the world in righteousness;
He will execute judgment for the peoples with equity.

Does God judge the physical planet (the dirt, rocks, etc.), or does He judge the people? "World" refers to people. Psalm 93 is not about the planet, it is about people, and God's sovereign rule.

1 Chronicles 16:30 (verses 29 and 31 included for context):

29 - Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name;
Bring an offering, and come before Him;
Worship the Lord in holy array.
30 - Tremble before Him, all the earth;
Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved.
31 - Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
And let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.”

I've only included a little of the context, but even from that you can see this Psalm (a Psalm of thanksgiving included within 1 Chronicles) is about people thanking God and proclaiming God's glory. Why would there be a line about the earth being stationary in the center of the universe, totally out of context in the middle of a section of scripture about people, all people (all the earth) praising and glorifying God. That makes no sense at all.

And once again, the Hebrew word translated as "world" is "tebel," the same word used in Psalm 93 and Psalm 9 to refer to all people.

Psalm 104:5

He established the earth upon its foundations,
So that it will not totter forever and ever.

This Psalm is referring back to the book of Job, and specifically Job 38:4 (verses 3 & 5 included for context):

3 - “Now gird up your loins like a man,
And I will ask you, and you instruct Me!
4 - “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell Me, if you have understanding,
5 - Who set its measurements? Since you know.
Or who stretched the line on it?

Free Atheist's Answers Book

Job is being asked to make known his knowledge of the initial stages of the creation of the world as though he were the primordial man who had witnessed the laying of the earth's foundation[1]. What God is talking about is FULLY KNOWING the inner structure of the created order[2].

What is this ("inner structure") referring to? The establishment of time (God created time) and what we refer to as the Laws of Nature, the Laws of Logic, and other foundational "laws." You might call these the principles of how things function. They are the foundations (notice it is plural) the earth was established on when it was created.

Psalm 104 is saying nothing about the earth not physically moving through space. It says nothing about the earth being at the center of the universe. To use any of these verses to support egocentricity is misuse and to take scripture out of context.

Because of Galileo’s support for the Copernican doctrine...

I covered this in the previous page. This is a common myth that has no basis in reality. The following is from the previous page:

The Galileo affair cannot serve as an argument for any position on the relation of religion and science. Contrary to legend, both Galileo and the Copernican system were well regarded by church officials. Galileo was the victim of his own arrogance, the envy of his colleagues and the politics of Pope Urban VIII. He was not accused of criticizing the Bible, but disobeying a papal decree. - The Galileo Affair: History or Heroic Hagiography? by Thomas Schirrmacher on April 2000

Protestants were not much better...

This certainly was true. Possibly even more than Catholics, major Protestant leaders resisted a heliocentric solar system. However, that does not change what the Bible teaches. They were wrong, and their belief in a geocentric universe was wrong. Anyone can be wrong, no matter how famous they are, or how accurate and correct they are in other areas.

This is also true in science. Scientists believed the geocentric model of the universe proposed by Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) and refined by Claudius Ptolemy (A.D. 90–168) up until the time of Copernicus... and after. They fiercely fought the Copernican heliocentric model until overwhelmed with evidence.

Conclusion: The reference Bible verses are not about geocentricity. There is nothing in the Bible that supports geocentricism. This is a strawman argument.

The next humanist claim the Bible supports: A Flat Earth Resting on Pillars

The Bible supports the primitive notion of a flat earth. In the sixth century, a Christian monk named Cosmas wrote a book, titled Topographia Christiana, describing the structure of the physical world. Basing his views on the Bible, Cosmas said the earth is flat and surrounded by four seas.

The prophecy at Revelation 1:7 was a basis for his conclusion. It states that when Christ returns, “every eye shall see him.” Cosmas reasoned that if the earth were round, people on the other side would not see Christ’s second coming.

Another strawman from the humanists, who are continuing to misrepresent what the Bible teaches. BTW, by using terms such as "primitive" the humanist is using a propaganda technique called "demonizing the enemy." It involves associating your opposition with a people group (primitive in this case) that brings up negative images. Don't fall for it. It's an attempt to get you to change your mind, without any reasonable reasons for changing your mind. We'll take a look at this one on the next page... click here.

[1] - New International Commentary on the Old Testament, The Book of Job, John E. Hartley, Eerdman's, 1988, pages 494 & 495
[2] - Hartley, page 494