Earth not moving

I already put this in the “popular media” section, but thought it fit more “Sacred Scripture”

I’m reading The Earth is not Moving by Marshall Hall. Has anybody read this book?

He lays out Biblical, mathematical and scientific arguments for why the Earth really isn’t moving.

I’m only really interested in this subject because the Bible being God’s Book of Truth seems to state the Earth’s immobility pretty clearly…

“yea, the world stands firm, never to be moved.”
1 Chronicles 16:30

“Yea, the world is established; it shall never be moved.”
Psalms 93:1

Genesis 1:1-19—The Earth was created on the first day, the sun not until the fourth. What would the earth revolve around?

“He stretches out the north over the void, and hangs the earth upon nothing.”
Job 26: 7

“Who hast founded the earth upon its own bases: it shall not be moved for ever and ever.”
Psalm 103:5 (Psalm 104:5 in King James Version)

"The sun riseth and goeth down and returneth to his place: and there rising again, maketh his round by the south, and turneth again to the north”
Ecclesiastes 1:5, 6

“…Sun, stand thou still…and the sun stood still…” (notice he didn’t tell the earth to stand still, but the sun)
Joshua 10:12,13

Any thoughts? I’m wondering what any Popes have said or if there’s an official teaching.

I would certainly hope that there’s no official teaching. Officially teaching something that’s demonstrably false would be a good way for the church to lose all credibility…

Furthermore, other bible passages describe the earth as being flat and covered by a sky-dome (see Genesis 1 among others).

If you believe that the Bible teaches a geocentric cosmology, than you must also concede that the Earth is flat.

I’ve read where the Bible speaks of the earth being flat, and I don’t think that the writers actually thought that. As one writer put it, it’s the “language of appearance”. Job 26:17 reads “He hangs the earth on nothing.” This wouldn’t be a flat earth on any means, but circular. In addition, Aristotle among others made arguements of a spherical earth. I’m not sure about the sky dome part-would you mind messaging me about it? I just want this post to stay on track with the geocentrism, not other subjects.

I had this discussion with my Non-denominational preacher friend a while back. Though we both thought this was a strech we came to the same conclusion. If an angel appeared on CNN today and said that God wanted us to know this, I could accept it as an act of faith and move on. However, until then, I came up with this argument and we both agreed on it.

Let’s parallel this by using an analog watch (one with moving hands on it). Is the second hand moving, or is the watch turning around it causing the appearance that it is moving. If it is still, then that means that the building around me is moving about this hand’s fixed position in space-time. Therefore, all of the block we are on, the city we live in, the state we live in, the country we live in, the planet we live on, is in motion around this fixed point. And when I move, all of these things react to the movement by repositioning so as to keep up the ‘illusion’ that the second hand is moving when it is really staying in one place. The solar system, the galaxy we inhabit (Milky Way) and all of the galaxies in the known universe all react to the non-movement of this second hand. And why shouldn’t it? I am God’s child and He created all of this for me? Right? Oh, but wait a minute, what about YOUR watch? We may feel all special being God’s people and all, but consider for a moment what we will think and feel IF someday we discover we are not the only race He created. What about their watches?

If you really want to get a glimpse of the scope of The Almighty, consider your size compared to earth, compare that to Jupiter, compare that to the sun, and keep comparing until you get to some of the great giant stars in the universe. Consider the width, depth and length of the entire expanding universe, and then shrink back down and consider existance at the quantum, subatomic level. And it was all created by the Almighty.

The bible is not speaking literally (scientifically) in the passages quoted but poetically (symbolically). Being able to distinguish between the two types of language is beneficial in bible study.

Joshua telling the Sun to stand still isn’t very symbolic… It’s pretty straight forward

Same with Ecclesiastes 1:5, 6

There’s a book titled “And God said What” that helps a person realize what they are reading. It goes through the different styles of writing of the Bible. It’s a very good book to read if one wants to really study the Bible.

There is no doubt that Joshua said the literal words, the question is "did the earth literally stop spinning (which scientifically would have been necessary for the sun to literally stop setting and “stand still”?)

Even today we use of the terms “sunrise”, “sunset” are simply expressions used to reflect how the sun ‘appears’ to move across the sky from the prospective of the earth;
The account of how the sun appeared NOT to move in the sky for Joshua are doing no more than using similar terminology -

Simply put, the sun “appeared” to stop its “path” across the sky (similar to the star that “moved” leading the wise men/astrologers to the young Jesus, stopping initially over Jerusalem), miraclulously god thus provided Joshua with the additional daylight hours he needed in battle

As Galileo wrote to a pupil: “Even though Scripture cannot err, its interpreters and expositors can, in various ways. One of these, very serious and very frequent, would be when* they always want to stop at the purely literal sense*.”

Modern day bible students should not make the same mistakes Galileo’s opponents made so long ago.

Show those to someone who’s ever been through an earthquake. “Shall never be moved?” Yeah, right!


Humans have watched it moving from vantage-points in outer space.


According to general relativity theory, any point in the universe, and so any object, can be taken to be stationary. All motion is relative, so in this theory there is no absolute as to which objects are stationary and which are moving; the movement of one object is only movement relative to other objects.

What happened to the whole ‘the Bible’s is the perfect word of God’ belief? So with science it can err? it doesn’t make sense…

The bible is not a science text, nor is it a history book (at least in the sense that ‘history’ has had since the 17th or 18th century). Trying to squeeze science or history out of it is a mistake.

The bible is not trying to teach science or history. Focusing on those meanings (as they are construed today), means missing, entirely, the point being made by the original authors to their original audience.

The original meaning the author was trying to convey to his original audience is the proper basis for reading and understanding scripture.

So when scripture says God owns the cattle on 1000 hills, don’t bother trying to find His brand to see which ones are His.

The bible does not err in the truth it intends to teach. At no point does it ever intend to teach history or science.

“everything asserted by the inspired authors or sacred writers must be held to be asserted by the Holy Spirit” (Vatican II, Dei Verbum, n. 11)

Whatever is being asserted by the Holy Spirit in any verse is certainly a true assertion. Sometimes the assertion is literal, and sometimes figurative. As for assertions on the topic of history, science, math, all such assertions are true, when properly understood.

[1 Chronicles 16]
{16:30} Commoveatur a facie eius omnis terra: ipse enim fundavit orbem immobilem.
{16:30} Let all the earth be moved before his face. For he founded the globe immoveable.

Notice that the text clearly says ‘let the earth be moved’ as well as ‘immoveable’. So it is obvious that the text is not saying that the earth can never be moved. Rather, the text is saying that God can move the earth, and He can fix it in its place. And its place may well be interpreted to be its orbit.

By the way, even the ancient scholars hundreds of years before Christ knew that the earth was a globe and that the moon revolved around the earth (See Pliny the elder, Natural History).

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