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I don't exactly agree that "Bible ... writers thought about the universe in much different terms than we do."

Rather, the "interpretations of biblical scholars ... attribute a [false] cosmology to ... Old Testament passages [while] Latter-day Saint scriptures indicate that both biblical and latter-day prophets and seers were shown visions of the heavenly realms to [correctly] orient them to God's dominion and eternal purposes." (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Astronomy.)

I appreciate this post. It clears up some things for me about the Biblical view of the universe. I've never been quite sure what kind of universe schema was being imagined here and that's why I liked this overview.

Thanks for the note, R. Gary. I couldn't find the article you are quoting online, but I found a related Encyclopedia of Mormonism article at the About Mormons site: Scriptural References to Astronomy. It provides some additional LDS scripture references.

Most interesting is this passage from the Book of Mormon, Helaman 12:13-15, which describes a heliocentric solar system:

Yea, and if he say unto the earth—Move—it is moved.
Yea, if he say unto the earth—Thou shalt go back, that it lengthen out the day for many hours—it is done;
And thus, according to his word the earth goeth back, and it appeareth unto man that the sun standeth still; yea, and behold, this is so; for surely it is the earth that moveth and not the sun.

So it would appear the Book of Mormon does not reflect the three-tiered cosmology of the Bible and of the ancient world.

There are plenty of online summaries of the three-tiered cosmology of the Bible. Here are a few:

I can't help but think of the verse in PoGP that says Moses was shown every particle of the earth. I wonder how that and associated verses should influence the way we see this cosmology or if it would have altered how Moses saw cosmology.

I'll need to go look at the passage to see what else it says about the subject.

"This biblical cosmology raises some interesting questions for modern believers."

I just don't see those quesions as that interesting. Again, maybe this is coming from a Mormon point of view where Scripture is not Sola Scriptoria or at least not infallable. Glass ceiling as the Universe or not, there just isn't a problem in those readings.

For instance, every time it states "open up the Heavens" the last thing coming to my mind is an ancient belief in a glass cover. In fact, I would bet even innerant literalists wouldn't even imagine such an image. Even today with our advances in scientific knowledge there is still the idea of the "heavens opening up and . . . " whatever falls out of the sky (notice I said "falls out of" even though it doesn't technically fall out of anything).

For me knowing the ancient ideas of how the Cosmos operated doesn't help with my understanding of scriptures. None of what I imagine the Scriptures talking about has changed in the least. At best it is a trivial fact that helps me appreciate what we are able (and think we are able) to know today. Unless proved otherwise by literalists, the whole discussion is a red herring or straw man. At best it begs the question of what is a literalist and how unliteral can you go before you aren't one?

Jett, I think the question of when a literal versus when a figurative or symbolic understanding of an event or passage of scripture is proper (or when both might apply) is more than just a red herring (a figurative one, not a real herring).

But the bible cosmology actually raises a different question. Everyone agrees this is how the bible writers actually thought about how the world/universe was put together (i.e., everyone agrees this was their literal understanding, not simply a figurative depiction). The question is how our rejection of their model, their actual understanding, affects our understanding of the rest of their message. Are we free to recast the message in the context of our own model of the world/universe? I hope so.

The first two articles in the required-reading Astronomy, Papyrus, and Covenant look at Abraham 3 from the perspective of a geocentric cosmology (John Gee, Bill Hamblin, Dan Peterson) versus an scientifically-accurate cosmology (Michael Rhodes, Ward Moody).

Personally, I think the geocentric view fits better with the text and the Biblical model.

And I disagree with Gary (#1) and Erich Robert Paul's EofM article — the textual evidence is overwhelming that the ancient authors of scripture understood the universe much differently than we do. Although I admit there is room in Mormonism for both viewpoints.

Science has certainly revealed a great deal about the universe. Could someone, anyone, tell me what God, or any of His representatives have revealed about the universe that has been illustrative, or predictive of what we now know to be true. One would certainly assume that God would know some really pertinent things about how things really are out there. Am I missing something here?

He said it was good.

Duff, while I'm sure God knows a lot it doesn't seem like his focus is on teaching correct physics.

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