WHAT ONLY GOD COULD HAVE KNOWN
The Bible reveals truths that none of the ancient authors would have realized, without revelation, that the Earth is round, hangs on nothing, the hydrological cycle, the microscopic wonder of snowflakes, the fixed grouping of the constellation Pleaides, the expansion of Orion, world oceanic currents, etc. God and the Bible never preached a flat Earth – unbelievers did. God had given ancient man sufficient evidence to know that the Earth is a sphere if they chose to think about it. The ancient Egyptians and Greeks were able to figure it out by clever observation. We shall look at some examples from The Bible & Science (Jeff Harvey (Hammond) and Charles Pallaghy, 1985, Acacia Press Pty Ltd, Blackburn, Australia):
A. The Earth Hangs on Nothing and is Round
Not even in the Middle Ages, did naturalists and astronomers know that the Earth was a revolving ball catapulted through space on a regular circuit around the Sun. Our 'spaceship Earth' is truly an amazing habitat for mankind.
The only 'string' keeping the Earth in its orbit is its forward motion and the forces of gravity. But let's have a look at what God revealed in the collection of Bible scriptures and in His creation. In keeping with principles already established by Moses, the apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 13:1 that 'In the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established' God provided 2 witnesses in the scriptures and one witness in nature. What were they?
1. 'He stretches out the north over the empty place and He hangs the earth on nothing’.
2. ‘It is He who sits on the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. Who (He) stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in’. (Isaiah 40:22). This proclaims that the Earth has a circumference. Thus, whether God is referring to a flat disc or a sphere remains obscure because there is a specific Hebrew word for 'sphere'.
3. God obviously thought these two aforementioned scriptures sufficient to reveal his omniscience, but as Creator, He provided mankind with a third piece of evidence in nature. This is not unreasonable since the evidence revealed through nature will be used to judge the spiritual state of people, 'For the unseen things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being realized by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, for them to be without excuse'. (Romans 1:20). Even without Job 26:7 and Isaiah 40:22, the ancient Egyptians and Greeks could figure out that the Earth was a sphere for the following reasons, but who knows whether they were not spurred on by what they heard from the Hebrews?:
'The shadow of the Earth on the Moon during a lunar eclipse is always a dark circle that moves from one side of the Moon to the other (partially grazing it during a partial eclipse). This could be produced by a flat disc that always faces the Moon head-on during the eclipse, but this is inconsistent with the fact that the Moon is only rarely directly overhead during an eclipse. For each eclipse, the local surface of the Earth is pointed in a somewhat different direction. The shadow of a circular disc held at an angle is an oval, not a circle as is seen during the eclipse..........The only shape that casts a round shadow no matter which direction it is pointed is a sphere, and the ancient Greeks deduced that this must mean the Earth is spherical' (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spherical_Earth). In 600 BC the Greeks recorded their belief in a spherical Earth and in 300 BC, by clever experimentation, calculated the Earth's diameter within 15% of its true value.
However, having been provided with the two scriptures and observing the Moon for a few decades, everyone should be able to deduce that the Earth is a sphere, even if only in hindsight. Therefore, the scriptures are entirely consistent with what we know from modern astronomy but were violated even by Catholic theologians in the dark ages when they began to oppose advances in science and modern astronomy.
B. The Expansion of Orion and the Fixed Grouping of Pleiades
Compare the scriptures with what scientists have to say (in red). The movements are so slow that Ancient astronomers would not have known these facts:
'Can you bind the bands of the Pleiades or loosen the cords of Orion'? (Job 38:31).
‘The stars in Orion are gradually moving apart, but they are located at such great distances from us that the constellation will remain recognizable a long time after most of the other constellations, whose stars are closer to earth, have morphed into new shapes. One event which could cause a dramatic image change, however, would be Betelgeuse (B) going supernova…’
‘……. the Pleiades cluster ……The stars are gravitationally bound and are moving in the direction of Orion’s feet’.
C. The Hydrological Cycle
We take the hydrological cycle for granted because we learn about it at junior school. But how could the ancients without science and weather stations have known about it?
‘For He draws up the drops of water; they distil rain into mist, which the clouds pour down and drop on man plentifully. Also, can any understand the spreading of the clouds, or the crashing of His canopy? Behold, He spreads His light on it and He covers the bottom of the sea'. (Job 36:27-30).
‘The sun also arises and the sun goes down, and hurries to its place where it arose. The wind goes toward the south and it turns around to the north; it whirls around continually and the wind returns on its circuits. All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full, to the place from where the rivers come, there they return again'.
D. World Oceanic Currents
The existence of fixed ocean currents was only discovered in 1860 by M F Maury who was inspired by the Scriptures: ‘the birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea, and all that pass through the paths of the seas'. (Psalms 8:8). ‘Your way is in the sea, and Your path in the great waters, and Your footsteps are not known.’ (Psalms 77:19). The Scriptures are more than just nice poetry!
E. Hidden Treasure in Snow Flakes
‘Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail'?
Job was written in about 1800 BC and may have been alive at the time of Jacob but no one knows for certain. The crystalline beauty of snowflakes was not discovered until the development of polarizing microscopes fitted with cold stages. Each snowflake has its own unique pattern, there are no two alike. Fascinating patterns similar to those of snowflakes can be mimicked in children's kaleidoscopes.
The layered, onion-like translucent concentric rings within sectioned hailstones (not shown here)are not impressive and I doubt whether their geometry can be classed as treasures of God. They are not as marvellous as snowflakes. Instead, God is drawing Job's attention to the sudden fury that God can unleash on His enemies using hailstones. God has threatened that the day will come when He will hurl hailstones, a hundred pounds in weight, at his enemies.
In Job 38:22, God was reprimanding Job for questioning God's methods in dealing with him. In a series of statements, God belittled Job to the size of an ant by contrasting Job against the mighty awesome God. In referring to hail, God's intention was to remind Job of God's power over atmospheric conditions to control sudden cold downdrafts and updrafts in a huge thundercloud and accurately direct missiles upon the Earth as He wished. Consider the verses that follow the photos on snow flakes and hail stones:
Damaging hail stones can reach the size of golf balls, sometimes weighing more than half a kilogram.
These are lethal
'And huge hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, came down from heaven upon men, and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail because its plague was extremely severe'. (Revelation 16:21)
'As they fled from before Israel, while they were at the descent of Beth-horon, the LORD threw large stones from heaven on them as far as Azekah and they died; there were more who died from the hailstones than those whom the sons of Israel killed with the sword'. (Joshua 10:11).
'so tell those who plaster it over with whitewash that it will fall. A flooding rain will come, and you, O hailstones, will fall, and a violent wind will break out. "Behold, when the wall has fallen, will you not be asked, 'Where is the plaster with which you plastered it'? Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD, 'I will make a violent wind break out in My wrath. There will also be, in My anger, a flooding rain and hailstones to consume it in wrath'. (Ezekiel 13:11-13).
This should be comforting to any who might be fearful of a large asteroid destroying the Earth, as disaster movies love to depict. The comfort is that God is sovereign and that the Earth's fortune is exactly as described in the book of Revelation. An end will surely come, but at the appropriate time and not through a randomly wandering asteroid. Although the star called 'Wormwood' falls in the sea (Revelation 8:11) and makes the waters bitter may be a meteorite, its interpretation is more consistent with the fall of a once glorious man of God that will embitter many. In scripture, and especially in the book of Revelation, the sea is symbolic of many peoples such as in the beast that arises out of the sea. (Daniel 7:3; Hosea 4:3; Revelation 13:1).
NOTES ON 'WORMWOOD' - ONLY THE LORD REALLY KNOWS
The world has just witnessed such an event. The reputedly third highest ranking Catholic and potential prospect for papacy has just fallen from grace in 2019 and embittered many for apparently concealing his guilt. The very man expected to protect congregations from child abuse was unable to do so because he had allegedly fallen victim to the same temptations in the past.
However, whether Archbishop George Pell is actually guilty of child abuse as convicted I remain unconvinced. Much like in the 1980's Lindy Chamberlain's 'baby/dingo' case, after much anti-church media hype and jail time, she was eventually proven innocent. Unfortunately, in common with Lindy Chamberlain and her husband, the Archbishop's remarks on child abuse in past interviews seem so distant and almost callous that one can only wonder whether the accusations are true after all. His lack of emotions have not done him any favours. The flippant remarks of his defence lawyer only made matters worse. Only the Lord knows whether George Pell is a case in point illustrating 'Wormwood' or whether he is a subdued scapegoat for a spiteful attack on the Catholic Church whose public reputation is already in tatters. At the time of writing this report in 2019 the evidence that led to conviction is based on that given by one altar boy. The other altar boy, who died of a heroin overdose in 2014, denied to his mother that he had been abused (https://www.kansascity.com/news/nation-world/article226785464.html). It is alleged that both boys were caught drinking altar wine in a restricted area of the cathedral when the Archbishop supposedly took opportunity.
"Which means Pell was found guilty beyond reasonable doubt on the uncorroborated evidence of one witness, without forensic evidence, a pattern of behaviour or a confession. It is a matter of public record that it is rare to run a case on the word of one witness, let alone gain a conviction". The Age newspaper, Melbourne, Australia, March 2, 2019.
Currently allegations abound in the media, but historical events are notoriously difficult to prove based on hearsay. So far there is nothing we can know for certain except for the verbal evidence provided by one person. However, whatever the real truth may be, we can be assured that God will be the final judge.
I can empathize with the priests and nuns who have failed to restrain themselves sexually throughout the history of the Catholic Church because of rare disastrous impulses. I have no sympathy for predators and repeat offenders however. There are prevailing demonic spirits in the Catholic church that forbid priests or nuns to marry which must be excruciatingly frustrating after years of service. The Bible has no such command.
'But the Spirit expressly says that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and teachings of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, being seared in their own conscience, forbidding to marry, saying to abstain from foods which God has created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth'. (1Timothy 4:1-3)