Beginnings: Cosmology of the Old Testament
Cosmology is a type of worldview. It is a theory or doctrine describing the natural order of the universe (the cosmos).
We think of the earth as a round planet that is part of a solar system in a larger galaxy. People in Bible times thought the earth was flat. That's two different worldviews.
Ancient Worldview of Near Eastern Peoples
The drawing below is a representation of the cosmology of the people of the Bible during Old Testament times.
The universe is three-tiered:
The world is flat. A canopy holds up with pillars covers the earth. Chaotic waters surround the earth.
The sun travels across the canopy to the underworld then returns to its rising point.
Click here to see a similar image that has labels describing each part of the cosmology you see on the picture on this page.
1. Read Psalm 19:4-6.
Worldviews and the belief of people surrounding them influenced the record of God's people in the Bible. Read some of the following stories.
2. What other stories show the influences and worldviews of Old Testament authors?
3. What other customs and beliefs influenced the writer?
4. Are there similarities in things that affected the world of the Old Testament that continue to affect our lives at the present time?
Next: People in Jesus' day experienced their world different from those who lived in Old Testament times. Learn about New Testament World Views.