When I first began researching how we can know the Bible is true, one proof that kept cropping up was that the Bible teaches that the earth hangs on nothing:
He… hangeth the earth upon nothing.
— Job 26:7
It’s assumed by believers that Job could not have known this, and that God — with his infinite understanding of the Universe — inspired Job’s words.
But is this quote proof of divine inspiration? I have a couple of reasons for doubting this evidence.
Firstly, the odds of just guessing this fact correctly are pretty good, since either the earth hangs on something, or it does not. You have one chance in two of guessing correctly.
And the odds are even better when we consider that Job could observe that:
1) There was nothing visibly tethering the earth to the sky,
2) The sun and moon did not hang on anything, and
3) The sun appeared to go down in the West and rise in the East, and nothing impeded its path (suggesting there was nothing underneath the earth, just as there was nothing under the sun or the moon).
Given this, such a revelation isn’t impossible or even unreasonable.
Secondly, if it turned out the the earth wasn’t floating, but was supported in some way, there are numerous verses could’ve been used to suggest that God always knew that the earth was supported:
He shakes the earth from its place and makes its pillars tremble.
— Job 9:6
Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? … Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened?
— Job 38:4-6
The pillars of the earth are the LORD’s, and he hath set the world upon them.
— 1 Samuel 2:8
“When the earth and all its people quake, it is I who hold its pillars firm.
— Psalm 75:3
Since there are only two possibilities (floating or supported), and both are suggested in the Bible, the Bible has a 100% chance of getting this fact correct (so long as we play down the losing answer).
With the benefit of hindsight (and a little bias), today’s believer can now assert that all the verses about pillars must be metaphorical, while the single verse about hanging on nothing must be interpreted literally.
But imagine what would’ve happened if we’d discovered the exact opposite were true, that the earth was supported in some way. It would be just as easy for believers to say, “God clearly knew the earth was supported! That is why he mentions it multiple times! And it ‘hangs on nothing,’ because it is supported from below!”
Either way, God gets it right.
Does Job 26:7 offer proof of divine inspiration? Even if the Bible made no mention of pillars (which it does), and there existed no clues as to what the truth may be (which there are), the probability of simply guessing this fact would be very good, just one in two — a proverbial coin toss.
But if I asked you to believe that I was God, and the evidence I provided was my ability to accurately predict a coin toss, would you believe me? Probably not. And certainly not if I predicted, “The result will be heads… though I’ve also got a strong feeling about tails.”