Attempts to read scientific paradigms into scriptural passages have given Christianity one black eye after another. More often than not, a serious misunderstanding of the art and science of biblical interpretation is at the root of the problem.

First, churchmen once taught that the earth was stationary on the basis of Psalm 93:1—“The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved.” Clearly, this is not the intent of the passage. A quick look at the context reveals the meaning: the kingdom of the “Lord [who] is robed in majesty” (hardly a comment on his clothing) cannot be shaken by the pseudo-powers of earth.

Furthermore, in an attempt to find concord between science and Scripture, Isaiah likewise has been robbed of meaning and magnificence. Young-earth creationists* argue that Isaiah 40:22 teaches sphericity (“circle of the earth”); progressive creationists allege it points to Big Bang cosmology (“stretches out the heavens”); and anti-creationists assert it supports flat earth mythology (“spreads [the heavens] out like a tent”). One can only imagine theistic evolutionists averring that humans evolved from insects (“people are like grasshoppers”).

Finally, with astronomy texts in hand, leaders in the progressive creationist* movement contend that the book of Job, arguably the oldest in the Bible, contains a stunning reference to the Big Bang: “He alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea” (9:8). In like fashion, skeptics suppose an un-evolved Job thought earth was set on pillars: “He shakes the earth from its place and makes its pillars tremble” (9:6).

While the earth is spherical and Big Bang cosmology does accord well with the opening of Genesis, neither Isaiah’s reference to “the circle of the earth” nor Job’s comment about stretching is a basis for harmonizing modern cosmology with the Genesis account of creation.