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Genesis 1:9-13 DAY 3
Earth Stretched Out
The Hebrew word uqr, which means "to stamp or spread out," is used to describe the creation of the earth, in Isaiah 42:5 and 44:24. It is parallel to the phrase, "the stretching out of the heavens" (BDB 1980, 956). In Psalm 136:6 it says, "to him who spreads the earth upon the waters." The earth is spread out over the watery deep like in Enuma Elish (Heidel 1942, 43). Psalm 24:2 says, "for he founded it (the earth) upon the seas and established it upon the waters." In Job 26:7 it says that God hung the earth upon nothing or the deep. I think that this is just another way of describing the earth being spread out over the deep. The phrase parallels the stretching out the heavens just before it. The word "nothing" parallels the word "void" in the proceeding phrase. In Job 38:6 it asks, "On what were its foundations sunk? Only God knows." The verb uqr is used in Isaiah 40:19 to describe a goldsmith overlaying something with gold. In Job 37:18 the Hebrew word uqr describes the beating out of the sky like a mirror.
In Psalm 104:5-9 there is a more detailed description of the creation of the earth on day three. In verse 5 there is the summary statement that the earth is founded upon its pillars so that it will not move. Verses 6-9 describe how this happened. Verse 6 describes the beginning condition. The waters of the deep covered over the earth like a blanket. The mountains were submerged under water. In verses 7-8 God rebukes the water and the mountains rise up, and the valleys sink to proper place that God has founded for them. In verse 9 the sea is bound to a certain place so that it will not cover the earth again. Therefore, the heavens and the earth are both described as being spread out at creation.
One must not read modern science back into this verse. This has nothing to do with plate tectonics. Other verses state that the earth is immovable (Psalm 18:6-7, 103:5), therefore some scientists and theologians believe that the earth is not being stretched out by plate tectonic (Henry Morris, Ken Ham), or spinning around its axis or spinning around the sun (Flat Earth Society, Tychonian Society).
In the 17th century there was much debate in the church over Copernicus’ new heliocentric theory, and Galileo’s support of it. There were also problems with the earth’s immobility, centrality, and spherical shape. John of Sacrogosco wrote a treatise called On the Sphere (Grant 1984, 23). He tries to explain Aristotle’s series of concentric spheres of earth, water, air, and fire with Genesis. Although most people believed the earth was a sphere, they saw the ocean as a separate sphere in which the bottom part of the earth was submerged. Sacrogosco said that at creation God raised the sphere of the earth half way above the sphere of the waters. It was not until the 14th century that certain men proclaimed that the earth and the ocean formed one sphere. Copernicus in his book On the Revolutions, explains how the earth forms a single sphere with water (Grant, 22).
Although Christopher Clavius in his book Commentary on the Sphere of Sacrogosco saw the earth and ocean as one sphere, he still believed in the centrality, and the immobility of the earth (Grant, 22). Scriptures like Psalm 103:5, !8:6-7, and Ecclesiastes 1:4-5 showed that the earth did not rotate, but the heavens did. Other passages like Job 26:7 where god hangs the earth upon nothing and Isaiah 40:12 where God weighs the mountains and hills in a balance, were used by Raphael Aversa to support a geocentric world (Grant, 62). He also cited I Chronicles 16:30 where God made the orb immobile to show that the earth does not move. The arguments by Galileo that the Bible deliberately concealed physical truths in order to facilitate the understanding of the common man was "abominable" according to Aversa (Grant, 63) who believed that scriptures were meant to be taken literally. Even Today there is the Flat Earth Society that holds to geocentric view of the universe because of their strict literal view of the Bible.