He Hangs the Earth on Nothing — Job 26:7

The ancient Greeks believed that the world was upheld by a Titan called Atlas. Various Native Americans, Hindus, and Chinese believed that the world was carried about by the World Turtle. Still others believed other animals labored tirelessly in carrying about our planet.

We know those beliefs to be mythical, and we have photographic evidence that the earth is free-floating in space, unattached to anything. This is something which we really didn’t understand thoroughly til various discoveries of the past several hundred years built on one another, culminating in the cosmology we know and are awed by today.

Did the Bible contain this scientific truth millennia before the rest of the world would catch on?

He … hangs the earth on nothing.

Job 26:7, ESV

One apologist points out that in mentioning “nothing,” the Book of Job stands apart from ancient beliefs that empty space was filled with a substance called “ether,” and absolutely, “ether” isn’t what fills space. [ref]InPlainSite.org[/ref] Another says that the earth is “held in place by invisible forces,” which I assume means that what the earth “hangs” on are invisible forces. [ref]The Official King James Bible Online[/ref] If we simply state that the forces which control the motion of our planet are invisible, then yes, that is true.

Does any of that represent a prescient understanding of cosmology, centuries before scientists figured it out?

First, Earth doesn’t “hang.” Hanging implies being pulled in the opposite direction of gravity — or held against the influence of gravity to prevent falling. But the earth is falling. Constantly. The sun’s gravity (and to a far lesser extent, the gravity of every planet and rock in our solar system) is pulling the earth toward it, just as the earth causes a ball you’ve thrown to curve downward. We have the earth’s inertia to thank for keeping us from being pulled to a fiery death by the sun’s gravity.

Second, perhaps this verse is vindicated only if we take it to mean basically the exact opposite — “he hangs the earth on nothing”? Of course! All that really means is “God doesn’t hang the earth at all.” Right? No? Yeah, that isn’t how any apologist or preacher I’ve ever heard has interpreted it, so let’s deal with that second part for real. “On nothing.” “Nothing” is tricky subject, and it’s rather hard to describe anything or anyplace in our universe as “nothing.” Let’s write a more accurate version of the verse: “The earth hangs by inertia over the well of the sun’s gravity.”

There isn’t really a God needed for that, as natural cause & effect processes are fully capable of explaining how the earth is where it is today.

So how does Job 26:7 do as a “scientific fact in the Bible”? It oversimplifies the situation Earth exists in, and it ignores one of the two forces acting on the earth and controlling its path (“hanging [via inertia]” is just half of it). Instead of “hangs,” a phrase like “carries about” would have been far more accurate.

Rather than being a piece of scientific foreknowledge, though, it seems like something which anyone looking around and actually paying attention to the skies could say — do you, after all, see any chains supporting the earth? That actually makes the verse a poor contrast to the ancient myths which tell of the earth being carried about by animals or gods; in fact, they could be complementary: “he hangs the earth on nothing, and when Atlas shrugs, the earth trembles,” for example.

4 thoughts on “He Hangs the Earth on Nothing — Job 26:7”

  1. Just one question about a comment in this post: You mentioned that there isn’t a God needed for something that can be explained by “natural cause and effect processes”. My question is, if there’s not a God, how does one account for the establishment of “natural cause and effect processes”? Did the cosmos form itself with a mind to adhere to physical laws? I have no intentions of an argument, I am just genuinely interested to hear some theories related to the idea.



    1. You’re presupposing that “physical laws” are something separate from the universe that the universe is subject to.

      In reality, “physical laws” are merely descriptions we’ve come up with to describe how the universe is. The universe isn’t conforming to anything, it just is. We do our best to understand how it is, and in the cases of things which seem to be a certain way universally, we develop “laws” to describe them.

      1. Rick,
        Earlier even than the time when people were stating that Titan held the Earth up, the writer of Job aptly describes the nothingness of space. Earth is suspended within the forces that keep it as well as the rest of our Solar System in a relative place.

        Patterns, laws, the Uniformity of Nature -it is a big stretch to say there is no cause behind these…

  2. Freebutyetboundtothetruth

    It sounds very much like your talking about God there friend, “it just is” is exactly how God is described in the bible “i am, that I am”. Sorry but logic exists without anyone putting it into practice. Logic didn’t come from “a singularly” that exploded randomly without cause at some point in time. If comes from God.

    firstly that’s what you think logic is then we really need to stopping sending our kids to school because the (information), your giving the children just puts them (in-formation).
    They taught you “what to think” not “how you should think”

    Secondly now you’ve gotta explain where the time came from, where the space came from, and also where matter came from because “the singularity” whatever that may-be, is matter containing all matter!, in space at a point in time!
    Good luck with that!

    These three NEED to existence BEFORE The Big Bang can even bang.

    I’ll help you out a-little . Your theory Based around 3 key points space, time and matter all being in existence at once!

    Ironically this is EXACTLY how God made all of this! space, time and matter all coming into existence at once. Just read the first verse of the bible ‍♂️

    Without time when was it, without matter what was it, without space where was it. Space time and matter are all dependant on eachother! Like I said previously, the FIRST verse of the bible can explain!

    “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” – ‭‭Genesis‬ ‭1:1‬ ‭KJV‬‬

    Let’s start simply, God created it so God therefore is the force, just by observing the world you live in it’s very clear that every action has a force, nothing “just is” bar God! science is literally observation of creation!

    “In the beginning” there’s a start so there’s also an ending this is quite obvious, now we can tick “time” of the list.

    “the heaven”, now we can tick space of the list.

    “the earth” there’s your matter! Three in one just like God!

    I think you should read the book of Romans VERY carefully!! Here’s a sneak peek!

    “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:”

    Matter, space and time can’t be seen but yet they make everything!

    “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”

    Vain imagination, calling out Darwin!

    “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.”

    Evolution ‍♂️

    “Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.”
    Evolution again,! ‍♂️

    God knew you’d depart from Devine creation., And God called your out on it Aswell!

    I’m not saying your foolish because you clearly have much faith in your “theory”, to quote the bible “vain imagination” but it is very much misplaced in Darwin.

    Even he could think past the time, space and matter barrier your limitations are exceeded by Gods unending limitlessness.

    Thats why we summit to a loving God that while having the ultimate power over all, Died and was humbled for our salvation! It’s real just a love story but your problem is simply put by saying “God is the main character”!

    Satan in Greek means rebel! And that’s EXACTLY what your doing!

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