Psalm 104:5 says that the earth does not move. Isn’t this a contradiction?

Does the Earth Move?

Psalm 104:5 says, You put the earth on it’s foundations, and from there it will never move.

This is a contradiction – or do you believe the earth doesn’t move?

Answer: Mar 26, 2009 at 12:41 PM to Wesley
You asked the question, “Do you believe the Earth moves? Psalms 104:5 You put the earth on it’s foundations, and from there it will never move.”

You cannot be so rigid in language that you cannot use descriptive language to communicate ideas. It is interesting that Bible critics apply rules that they will not allow in their own language and communication. For example, I had a Bible critic point out that the scriptures say ‘the sun rises’ and presented this as proof the Bible has errors. They pointed out that the sun does not rise but the earth rotates. That is an odd form of reasoning for each day we refer to daybreak as sunrise and dusk as sundown. Why do people think that the Bible must use rigid word usage that we are not willing to use? The Bible can and does communicate literal meanings while using figures of speech. To say the sun rises represents a literal daybreak even though we understand that it isn’t the sun moving but the earth.

The same applies to the passage you are looking at as a contradiction. To say the earth is on its foundation is a literal communication but does not mean that there is a physical structure the earth is founded upon. Even your speech testifies to this truth. Even secular science says that the earth turns on its axis. Science books show representative drawings where a rod is going through the earth, but we have many photographs of the earth and I have yet to see one that shows a rod going through the earth to provide an axis. I have also never seen a literal North or South Pole. Are these contradictions, or figures of speech to give a visual word picture of a literal truth? If we allow this in our language we should not be shocked to see this type of language in the Bible. Psalm 18:2 provides a good example of this:
The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

It is foolish to say that this is a false statement because God is not a rock. Do I have to stand in a literal fortress in order to believe this passage? It is clearly figurative speech used to communicate a literal truth. So saying the earth has a foundation is not a contradiction. Nor is it a contradiction to say the earth shall not be moved. We see that same language applied to those who trust in the Lord. Psalm 62 says:
5 My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him.
6 He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved.

Does this mean that I can no longer move? Or does it mean that something in my life is established in God and cannot be moved outside of His control? When I put my trust in the Lord and abide in fellowship with my Creator, no circumstance can move me away from the confidence that He is directing my steps and guiding my life. This is also affirmed in the New Testament from this passage in 2 Timothy 2:
19 Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”

This solid foundation is not a physical description but a description that communicates the truth that our lives are founded upon God when we become a child of God and live apart from iniquity. Let me give one more example from Proverbs 8:
29 When He assigned to the sea its limit, So that the waters would not transgress His command, When He marked out the foundations of the earth,

This is closer in meaning to the passage you questioned. Obviously there is not a physical border that the oceans cannot pass over, but all we must do is look out over the sea to observe the truth that the ocean beats against the shore but never overruns the shore. Even the great tsunami that we saw a few years ago testifies to this. An earthquake forced waves onto the shore and even though they were driven quite a distance inland, they returned to their boundaries. The laws that govern the waters were established by the Lord when the earth was created. Many natural laws testify to the foundations that God has established.

The earth has its foundation as do all the planets. None of the planets drift from the orbits that they were founded upon. If even one planet left its foundation and drifted out of orbit, the result would be catastrophic. In fact, how is it that billions of stars in each galaxy maintain a correct orbit without colliding with other stars? The scriptures state that God not only laid the foundation of the earth, but established the heavens and caused them to stand in their place. The big bang would not establish an orbital foundation for all planets that does not allow them to cross into a collision course with other planets. This is not the act of random chance, but a foundation established for the earth and the heavens that they should not be moved from their place but stand as a testimony to their Creator.

Eddie Snipes
2007

2 thoughts on “Psalm 104:5 says that the earth does not move. Isn’t this a contradiction?

    • Keep in mind that proving people wrong can be a hindrance to outreach. One thing I have learned is that trying to disprove someone’s position creates resistance. However, when we open the scriptures and bring out new perspectives, people will begin to question wrong ideas. That is what has changed nearly all of the misconceptions I have abandoned over the years. As I learn an indisputable truth, I naturally begin to question my misunderstandings that are incompatible with truth. In the same way, we have to let people grow to the point where they are willing to reconsider on their own. Instead of proving people wrong, try to share what is right. Even the Apostle Paul said, “When I was a child, I thought as a child…but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” Spiritual maturity caused him to abandon the things he was outgrowing. The same is true for us, and for those we meet. Build a fellowship that helps the group discuss the Bible without feeling threatened. Then you can build friendships while honestly discussing the scriptures.

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