What in the World is the World?
A reprint from February 2020:
The word "world" is not synonymous with the word "earth". More and more though I am hearing people make them so. The earth refers to the planet we reside upon and the basic soil from which it is made. And God called the dry land Earth, Genesis 1:10. Hushai the Archite came to meet him with his coat rent, and earth upon his head, II Samuel 15:32. World refers to the system of governance and culture by which man organizes himself.
Just as God made the earth, he made our world. He designed nations, families and laws. He was in the world, the world was made by him and the world knew him not, John 1:10. The world, or should we say, the system of man's culture, government, and interaction one with another is fallen. It is no longer what God made it to be. He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, Jeremiah 10:12.
Anyone who cares to look at our earth can see the power of God throughout all creation. To study the world is to see the corruption of man upon the face of the earth. No one watching an evening news broadcast is tempted to ascribe God's wisdom to the world depicted. Yet anyone reading of what God can do with our culture, government, and interactions one with another is struck by the wisdom.
Sometimes the Word of God shows us the world upon the earth as God would see it. That they may do whatsoever he commandeth them upon the face of the world in the earth, Job 37:12. In such a verse, to look upon the world is to look upon the outspreading of man upon this earth. We are commanded not to love the world, Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him, I John 2:15. When we love the world we besmirch ourselves and become just like it. God could not help but love the world, For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life, John 3:16. When God loved the world, he also became like it, For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him, II Corinthians 5:21. He became sin that we might be made righteous.
The world is an ever shifting untrustworthy conglomeration of the machinations of men. Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions, Ecclesiastes 7:29. There will come a day when God stops the shifting and changing. The world will become unmoving, it will have a form that pleases God once Jesus Christ returns and remakes the world in his chosen form. Say among the heathen that the LORD reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people righteously, Psalm 96:10. Notice, that is a future verse.
We have another verse just 3 psalms later that tells us that the "world moveth not". One psalm tells us that the world will one day not move and the other speaks of it as an accomplished fact. The LORD reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the LORD is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved, Psalms 93:1. What do we do with two verses which supposedly are talking about the same thing, are only three chapters apart, yet can't agree on the timing? We trust in the exact English, that's what we do.
Let's review Paul Scott's entry to this blog where he discusses the difference between the words "established" such as is used in Psalms 96, and the word "stablished" which is used in Psalms 93.
"The word establish is well understood. The synonyms include founded and beginning at. We often see that a business, a community, or church was established, founded, or began at such and such a time, and in certain circumstances. Briefly, it means built upon. Founded and foundation.
Stablish, in its briefest definition, means built up. See the synonyms used in 1 Peter 5:10: perfect, strengthen, settle. James 5:8, 2 Thes. 3:3, and Romans 16:25 use stablish as strengthen. It’s not the founding of anything, but rather the building or strengthening of the already existing person or principle. Edified and strengthened."
Psalms 96 tells us that the world "shall be established." That is prophetic. When it is established, the social order, the government, and our interactions one with another will not be constantly moving and subject to change as they are today. There are many passages of the Bible which foretell of that blessed day. Psalms 93 tells us that the world "is stablished". How can something that has not been founded be built up? Psalms 93 is also obviously prophetic. Many prophecies in the Word of God speak in the present tense even though they are to be fulfilled many years later. The world must be "established" before it can "stablished". What is the use in having a perfect English bible if we don't follow its rules?
Why is that important? It is important because there is an ever increasing segment of the King James crowd that believes that the "earth" doesn't presently move. They often cite Psalms 93:1. Such a belief if stated clearly in the Bible would arrest me and force me to believe it. However, the Bible says no such thing. In fact, it says the opposite. Years before science ever figured it out, the Bible spoke of an earth riding a circuit. I have never wanted to believe something that required me to squelch or ignore part of my intellect. Fortunately, the King James Bible has strengthened my intellect and made me see the natural world more clearly.
For example, that the earth is spheroid in shape is never openly stated, but there are statements in the Bible which would make no sense if the earth was not spheroid in shape. Take the concept of a bottomless pit. The Bible tells us that there is one on the earth, Revelation 20:1, as well as other similar verses. Such a geographical feature could not exist unless gravity was in the center of the earth and the earth was constantly rotating so that a person in a pit in the center of the earth could never get to the bottom. This is just an example of the Bible being a couple of millennia ahead of science.
In the ignorance that pervades modern education it is often taught that the medieval church persecuted Galileo because of what the Bible said. Nonsense, the church persecuted Galileo because Thomas of Aquinas had just been sainted and he had misspent his life trying to harmonize the writings of Aristotle with the Bible. He therefore associated Catholicism with a flat earth at the center of the universe. It was science and religion that stood against Galileo, not the Bible.
As for the earth, it makes a circuit. It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in, Isaiah 40:22. There are many people who try to confound the "circle of the earth" with its shape. There is a difference between a spheroidal and a circular shaped object. The earth is not circular. A circle could not contain a bottomless pit. Even if it was circular God would not sit upon it as Isaiah 40:22 says.
Where does God sit? He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision, Psalms 2:4. Out in the heavens is a circle that God sits on. It is called the circle of the earth. The earth has a circle in the heavens because it has a circuit in the heavens. My Bible tells me that there is a circle of the earth in the heavens and that God sits on it. As usual, the bible had the news long before science did. The Bible said it hundreds of years before the birth of Christ, science figured it out about 500 years ago.
There is simply no verse in the Bible that says that the "earth" does not move. In fact there are many that say that it does move. The earth is moved at the noise of their fall, Jeremiah 49:21. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage, Isaiah 24:20. All the foundations of the earth are out of course, Psalms 82:5. Someone might say that the movement described by these verses is not the planetary movement described in a heliocentric solar system. I would agree. Neither is the movement in Psalms 93:1. That has not stopped them from building an ersatz theology off of Psalms 93:1 that contradicts both the scriptures as written in English and common sense observation. The earth and the world are not the same thing.