Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.(Genesis 3:23) KJV
In March we’re examining what the Bible tells us about planet Earth to deduce a model of Earth’s internal structure. This model has to accommodate all of the physical features mentioned in the Bible.
It has to be possible to modify the model over time to reflect the physical changes which transform the Earth as God created it, into the planet that we know: present day Earth.
We all have the same evidence. Our choice of paradigm determines what we think it’s evidence of.– Matty’s Razor
So far we’ve considered features which pertain to the surface of the earth, the ground, including topography and the development of vegetation. In the passage above the ground is a translation of the Hebrew word הָ֣אֲדָמָ֔ה – adamah, from whence Adam gets his name since he was made from the dust of the ground.
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.(Genesis 2:7) KJV
For the rest of the month we are going to go below the surface and consider what the Bible tells us about the other regions: the mantle, the great gulf, and the core. Before we do though we will mention a couple of other things.
Earth or World?
Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.(Proverbs 8:31) KJV
Planet earth is referred to using the Hebrew word אֶ֔רֶץ – erets. It’s modified in many ways and gives a lot of detail about the earth’s structure. Another phrase which occurs quite often is the world. This is a different Hebrew word תֵּבֵֽל – tebel, and it has a different sense. Whereas the earth refers to the planet beneath our feet, the world frequently refers to us – the people of the earth. The world then is the habitable portion of the earth and the people in it.
In the passage above the Hebrew tebel is rendered as habitable. The world is part of the earth, but it’s not all of it. Hence tebel, the world, is context dependent. It’s important to know what the passage you’re looking at is about in order to know what the world refers to in each instance.
- Call upon the name of Jesus Christ,
- believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead,
- confess your sin.
The Grave: שְׁא֣וֹל – sheol
I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.(Hosea 13:14) KJV
A word frequently translated as the grave is the Hebrew שְׁא֣וֹל – sheol, but sheol is far more than just the grave. It’s modified in ways which are very similar to the ways that erets is modified to describe regions of the interior of the earth, so much so that the two are harmonious in describing four regions, or levels, which are synonymous with the zones of the internal structure of the earth.
Levels of Hell
|Earth (erets)||World (tebel)|
|Great Gulf |
|bad sheol||erets beriach|
mayim tachath erets
The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from hell beneath.(Proverbs 15:24) KJV
Starting March 15 we’ll look at Biblical references to features of the mantle, but tomorrow’s a special day: Tomorrow is Π day! In the meantime, here are summary tables showing how we can group the physical features of earth which are mentioned in the Bible according to how the Hebrew words erets, sheol and tebel have been modified. Here’s the mindmap which helped us to get this organized.
Biblical Features of the Crust and Surface
|Coasts of the earth||yerekah erets||Jeremiah 25:32||3/12|
|Corners of the earth||3/12|
|Dry land||yabbashah||Genesis 1:9-10||3/3|
|Earth above the waters||erets||Psalms 136:6||3/6|
|Eden, East of Eden||eden||Genesis 2:8-15; 3:23||3/4|
|Ends of the earth||qatsah erets||Job 28:24||3/12|
|Face of the world||paneh tebel||Isaiah 14:21|
|Farthest parts of the earth||yerekah erets||Jeremiah 25:32||3/12|
|Fountains of the great deep||mayanah||Genesis 7:11||3/6|
|Heads (headwaters)||rosh||Genesis 2:10||3/4|
|Highest part||rosh||Proverbs 8:26||3/4|
|Sides of the earth||yerekah erets||Jeremiah 6:22||3/12|
|Waterspouts (waterfalls)||tsinnuwr||Psalms 42:7||3/4|
|World||tebel||Proverbs 8:26; 31||3/13|
Biblical Features of the Mantle
|Abraham’s Bosom||kolpos||Luke 16:22||16|
|Belly of hell||mibbeten sheol||Jonah 2:2||16|
|Bottoms of the mountains||qetseb har||Jonah 2:6||16|
|Chambers of death||chadrei maveth||Proverbs 7:27|
|Foundations of the hills||mowcadar har||Psalms 18:7||17|
|Foundations of the mountains||mowcadar har||Deut. 32:22||17|
|Foundations of the world||mowcadah tebel||Psalms 18:15||17|
|Lower parts of the Earth||tachti erets||Ezekiel 32:24||18|
|Midst of hell||tavek sheol||Ezekiel 32:21||19|
|Nether parts of the Earth||erets tachti||Ezekiel 26:20||18|
|Sides of the pit||yerekah bowr||Ezekiel 32:21||20|
Biblical Features of the Great Gulf
|Bars of the earth||erets beriach||Jonah 2:6||21|
|Bars of the pit||bad sheol||Job 17:16||21|
|Beams of his chambers||qarah mayim aliyyah||Psalms 104:3||21|
|Great deep, depths||tehom||Proverbs 8:24||22|
|Great gulf||chasma mega||Luke 16:26||21|
|Pillars of the earth||matsuq erets||1 Samuel 2:8||21|
|Waters under the earth||mayim tachath erets||Deuteronomy 5:8||22|
Biblical Features of the Core
|Bottomless pit||phrear tes abyssou||Revelation 9:1-2||3/29|
|Foundations of the earth||mowcadar erets||Jeremiah 31:37||2/10|
|Hell||tartarus||2 Peter 2:4||3/29|
|Hell below||sheol tachath||Isaiah 14:9||3/27|
|Hell fire||gehenna pyros||Matthew 5:22||3/29|
|Lowest hell||sheol tachti||Deuteronomy 32:22||3/27|
|Lowest parts of the earth||tachti erets||Psalms 139:15||6/7|
|Pit||bowr, shachath||Isaiah 38:18||3/26|
|Pit of corruption||missahat beli||Isaiah 38:17||3/26|
Read through the Bible in a year
|Reading plan||March 13|
|Linear||1 Samuel 2-4|
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