He has inscribed a circle on the face of the waters at the boundary between light and darkness

-Job 26:10

What sort of imagery does the verse above cause in your mind? For me, it causes me to envision the planet earth from space, mostly blue, circular, surrounded by darkness. Does that image seem familiar to you? It should, I am describing earth as it appears from space. This is one example of the way that language can be interpreted depending on the context of our preexisting notions.

If I believed in a flat earth, for example, I may interpret Job 26:10 more like this:

The image above was the ancient Hebrew interpretation of Job, Genesis, and several other books of the Bible which offer poetic descriptions of earth. Given the information available at the time regarding our universe and how planets behave within it, how else should we have expected someone using a limited language to depict the descriptions given in the Old Testament?

Given the modern understanding of the physical world around us, Job 26:10 seems to paint a different picture than what is drawn above. For me, it looks more like this:

He stretches out the north over the void and hangs the earth on nothing.

-Job 26:7

When I consider Job 26:7 and 10, I definitely get the feeling that we are being given a description of something more akin to the modern observations of Earth in space. So what are we to make of these verses? Does either interpretation of the text render the source text incorrect? Certainly not.

Job is considered the first “poetic” book of the Bible and Genesis is supposed to be the story of creation. Certainly Genesis has to have a more accurate portrayal of our universe, doesn’t it?

In an effort to align Genesis with some of our modern scientific theories, I will be producing a short series of articles that describe how humanity has been given accurate information in Genesis. We simply have to consider how it may have been written when trying to take a set of very complex ideas and force them to fit in a limited language.

Written by James Dusenbery

I am the Founder/Lead Editor at CanonOfReason.com. I do not claim to be an "expert" at anything, although the title is afforded to me quite often. I simply want to spread understanding of different Biblical positions and shine some light on the versatility and brilliance of the Bible. You can follow me on Twitter (@JamesDusenbery) and Instagram (@CanonOfReason).

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