1 “Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said,
2 “Who is this that darkens counsel
By words without knowledge?
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?
6 “On what were its bases sunk?
Or who laid its cornerstone,
7 When the morning stars sang together
And all the sons of God shouted for joy?
8 “Or who enclosed the sea with doors
When, bursting forth, it went out from the womb;
9 When I made a cloud its garment
And thick darkness its swaddling band,
10 And I placed boundaries on it
And set a bolt and doors,
11 And I said, ‘Thus far you shall come, but no farther;
And here shall your proud waves stop’?
God’s Mighty Power
12 “Have you ever in your life commanded the morning,
And caused the dawn to know its place,
13 That it might take hold of the ends of the earth,
And the wicked be shaken out of it?
14 “It is changed like clay under the seal;
And they stand forth like a garment.
15 “From the wicked their light is withheld,
And the uplifted arm is broken.”
– Job 38:1-15
The debate about the Flat Earth usually turns to Job 38. We have two types of individuals that read this passage. The inerrant reading and the errant reading. The former maintains the Earth is flat and the latter maintains this is a factual error. These ideas are both wrong. The issue with the errant view is that we must maintain God is not giving off falsehoods. That would reduce us to skepticism. We simply can’t dismiss to God appealing to prescientific man to convey theological truths either because that would do no better. The point of the rhetorical questions is to show only God knows how these things can happen. The Bible may have factual mistakes in it, but the theology is fine. The issue is that the Bible makes historical claims and other types of claims. Is it okay for it to make some mistakes on some of these historical claims? If so, many of these theological themes are based on these historical claims. Why trust the theology of a booked riddled with historical and scientific errors? The other is more consistent and goes to the other logical extreme and faces the situation. The problem is this hermeneutic is surface level. They don’t see the usage of metaphors and analogy. They end up with the same hermeneutic of the open theist. The errancy and inerrancy positions start with the same hermeneutic and go completely different directions. They start off with the idea of the unanimity of Ancient Near Eastern thought and depart from there. I simply reject that starting point. I don’t think we should be deducing cosmologies from a highly poetic text. If we run with that hermeneutic, then we must apply that to the entire chapter and not a single verse. The text also calls God a carpenter, midwife, and a seamstress. Are we going to affirm these as literal? Do clouds have garments? Did the seas come from a womb? I just simply find this a sad attempt to force a false cosmology into the Bible.