By Hank Hanegraaff
Smuggling scientific paradigms into scriptural passages has given Christianity one black eye after another. Misunderstanding hermeneutics (interpretation) is often at the root of the problem.
First, churchmen once swallowed the dangerous contention that the earth was stationary on the basis of Psalm 93:1—“The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved.” This interpretation, however, is obviously misguided. A quick look at context along with some common sense readily unveils the meaning: the kingdom of the Lord who is “robed in majesty” (hardly a comment on His clothing, v. 1) cannot be shaken by the pseudo-powers of earth.
Furthermore, in an attempt to find concord between science and Scripture, Isaiah has been robbed of meaning and magnificence. Some creationists contend that Isaiah teaches sphericity (“circle of the earth,” 40:22); others, that he communicates Big Bang cosmology (“stretches out the heavens,” v. 22). On the other side of the fence, anti-creationists believe that Isaiah was either a flat-earther (“spreads [the heavens] out like a tent,” v. 22) or an evolutionist contending that people evolved from pests (“people are like grasshoppers,” v. 22). The very thought must surely cause Isaiah to turn over in his grave (literalist alert!).
Finally, with astronomy texts in one hand and the Bible in the other, some conclude that, like Isaiah, Job was hip to Big Bang cosmology: “[God] alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea” (Job 9:8). Conversely, anti- supernaturalists contend that an unevolved Job thought that earth was set on pillars: “He shakes the earth from its place and makes its pillars tremble” (v. 6).
While the earth is spherical and Big Bang cosmology does accord well with the first few words of Genesis, the dangers of smuggling scientific paradigms into biblical passages should be evident. Far better that we recommit ourselves to mastering the art and science of biblical interpretation—or, for that matter, of literature in general.
In part adapted from The Creation Answer Book
**Note the preceding text is adapted from a new Revised and Updated version of The Complete Bible Answer Book that is forthcoming. When available we will update this page with corresponding information. Until then you can still purchase or receive for your partnering gift the current version by clicking here for purchase or here for partnering gift. ***