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.

    Thanks,

    -MH

    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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Rick Beckman