Biblical Cosmology: Foundation of the Earth

In the previous post, we saw how inaccurate is the understanding of the ancient Israelite and how God used them as allegories to deliver His message in a way they understood. In this post, we will explore how God uses His infinite knowledge of the cosmos to give the ancient Israelites a promise with a challenge unbroken even today.

Foundations of the earth according to ancient Israelites.

Who laid the foundations of earth?

He raises the poor from the dust [And] lifts the beggar from the ash heap, To set [them] among princes And make them inherit the throne of glory. “For the pillars of the earth [are] the LORD’s, And He has set the world upon them.

1 Sam 2:8

Before we look into the foundations of the earth, we need to briefly discuss about the pillars of the earth. According to ancient Israelites, the earth is set on pillars with the foundations beneath. It is also mentioned by Job in chapter 9:6 and the ancient Israelites sang praises to God using the pillars of the earth as in Ps 75:3, just as Hannah’s song in the book of Samuel. However, God never mentioned any such pillars to anyone to any of the prophets. It is also worth noting that the Septuagint version of Hannah’s song (1 Sam 2:8) does not have the last part of the verse which speaks about pillars of earth.

[You who] laid the foundations of the earth, So [that] it should not be moved forever

Ps 104:5

The ancient Israelites sang praises to God that He laid the foundations of the earth. This is similar to how we can praise Him today for creating black holes and galaxies.

Indeed My hand has laid the foundation of the earth, And My right hand has stretched out the heavens; [When] I call to them, They stand up together.

Isa 48:13

God confirmed to the ancient Israelites regarding their understand of the foundations of the earth that His hand laid them.

Is there even a foundation for earth?

Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell [Me,] if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone?

Job 38:4-6

God asks Job regarding the foundations of the earth which is to show him that he does not understand them.

Thus says the LORD: “If heaven above can be measured, And the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel For all that they have done, says the LORD.

Jer 31:37

God used the understanding of the ancient Israel regarding the foundations of the earth to use it as a promise that they are not aware of, that is, it cannot be searched out beneath. In other words, it doesn’t exist below as they thought.

How did Jesus use ‘foundation of the word’?

Jesus used the term foundation of the world in several places, e.g, Matt 25:34; Luke 11:50; John 17:24 but always used it to refer the beginning.

  • Matt 13:35 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: “I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world.”
  • Ps 78:2 I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old,
  • Ps 78:2 I will open my mouth in parables: I will utter dark sayings [which have been] from the beginning. (LXXE)

As we can see above, the author of Matthew is quoting an old testament passage which refers to beginning but writes it as ‘from the foundation of the world’. He used the same term, in the same meaning when Jesus used it as well. Hence, when Christ used the term ‘foundation of the word’, the gospel authors understood as ‘the beginning’ since Christ is not explaining any cosmology to them.

Conclusion

The ancient Israelites believed that the earth was set on pillars and it had foundations. God, however, gave them a promise with a challenge that shatters their view on the foundations of the earth. As God said, if they can search and find the foundations of the earth, He too will cast off all the seed of Israel. 2600 years later in this modern scientific era, humans were never able to find any foundations of the earth and God never cast off the seed of Israel as He promised.