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Errors in Genesis About the Locations of Sun, Stars, Moon

Sun, Stars, Moon in the Firmament

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Genesis, the first book of the Bible, has an error about the locations of the sun, moon and stars. Genesis depicts God as placing the sun, moon, and stars in the "firmament," as if they were inserted into some sort of dome above the earth. Science tells us that they are all different distances from us, with the stars being great distances away. It's a mistake for the Bible to describe the sun, moon, and starts as being "set" in a "firmament" above us.

 

Fourth Day of Creation

Genesis 1:14-19: And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.

And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

 

This error in the Bible is a product of ancient writers' ignorance of the nature and scope of the universe. They didn't know and couldn't have known the size of objects like the sun and stars and they certainly couldn't have known how far away they could be. From a human perspective, it can be natural to assume that they are relatively small and relatively close. So long as the Bible is treated like any other ancient text, then, there is no problem.

As soon as people declare that the Bible has a divine source and is inerrant, however, there is a problem. The Bible isn't inerrant because it contains obvious mistakes such as this. It qualifies as a scientific error because the truth about the sun, moon, and stars has been provided to us by modern science; in the past, people believed the falsehoods written in the Bible and even tried to suppress science to prevent it from contradicting faith.

Is this a legitimate, scientific error in the Bible or can the Genesis description of where the sun, moon, and stars are located be harmonized with the facts of science? If you think you can answer this Bible error, explain how — but your answer cannot add anything new that's not already in the stories and cannot leave out any details that the Bible provides.

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