God Says Earth Spins like a…. Seal?

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No, not the animal, but a seal to press into clay. Check it out:

Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days; and caused the dayspring to know his place;
That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, that the wicked might be shaken out of it?
It is turned as clay to the seal; and they stand as a garment. Job 38:12-14

If you read these verses in other versions, you’ll read something quite different. They say the earth was changed like clay under a seal. But King James’ translators didn’t worry about whether the original words made sense to them. They just put them into English as best they could and left us to puzzle things out.

Let’s see what we can solve using modern archaeology:

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Sumerian Cylinder Seal (d2a_0637) (Photo credit: swh)

Mesopotamian Cylinder Seals:

the British Museum says: Mesopotamian cylinder seals are small cylinders, generally made of stone and pierced through from end to end so that they could be worn on a string or pin. The surface of the cylinder was carved in intaglio (cut into the stone) with a design, so that when rolled on clay the cylinder would leave a continuous impression of the design, reversed and in relief.

Many ancient clay seal impressions have survived on tablets, envelopes and sealings: small pieces of clay applied to doors and containers, including jars, baskets, sacks, leather bags and wooden boxes.

Cool, huh?

How does this fit our verses? Verses 12 and 13 are easy enough; God is talking about the morning and how bad guys can’t hide once the sun comes up. Then He says, “It is turned as clay to the seal”. What is “it”? Not the earth, but the morning. The morning is compared to clay getting stamped by one of these cylinder seals.

“Morning” isn’t a thing like the sun or moon. It’s the name we have for the time of day when sunlight first starts shining onto us. When we put verse 14 together, it sure looks like God is talking about the atmosphere. “And they stand as a garment makes a lot of sense when you think of how the air wraps around the earth like a skin or clothes.

But what could God be talking about with “it” being turned or pressed like clay in one of those seals? I decided to check around to see if the atmosphere changes shape when morning comes. Here’s what NASA has to say about it:

Since air is gaseous, it is compressible. This means that the air pressure nearer the surface of the Earth is greater than the air pressure in the stratosphere. . . .

The page goes on and on about how temperature affects an airplane’s flying power. Air pressure also messes with the instruments telling pilots how high they are above sea level. Temperature gets higher every morning.

It isn’t easy to find out if the whole atmosphere changes shape; most people just want to talk about its “average height”. But, I kept looking and check out what I found:

Federation of American Scientists: Understanding the Atmosphere: The tropopause is a thin zone of transition between the troposphere [where we live] and the stratosphere. Obviously, the tropopause height varies directly with the troposphere thickness and depends largely on geographical location, season, and other factors.

Could the tropopause change height in the morning? I found a super eye-crossing paper saying, yes it does. About an hour after sunrise, the height starts changing. This study didn’t come out until the end of 2008AD, but God told us it happened 1,000s of years ago.

Once more we see God knows what He’s talking about. Our job is to remember how smart He is and watch for ways to check it out.

300px Cylinder seal lions Louvre MNB1167b God Says Earth Spins like a.... Seal?

Are those really “lions”?

BTW, there’s one cylinder scroll creationists find extra interesting. You can read more about it on Creation Ministries International: Mesopotamian monsters in Paris

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6 thoughts on “God Says Earth Spins like a…. Seal?

  1. oh, I love this! Thank you for visiting my site – Hive Resources – so I can add you as a resource as I teach my own kids! Last week, I posted some books about dinosaurs for kids that were evolution-free. I was surprised by the push-back that I received by evolutionists claiming creationism isn’t “science.” Beyond their incivility, I realize that teaching our children to appreciate God’s creation the way God intended (creationism) must be an intentional act. We have much to loose. Looking forward to following your blog.

    • I saw your review on Master Books facebook page. When someone’s brave enough (yes, brave IS the word!) to publicly announce they believe in the Flood, I know they’re a kindred spirit.
      One of the good things about the darkness of today’s culture is how it forces us as parents to be intentional. We have always been commanded to consciously teach our kids, but it was harder to be motivated when everyone around seemed to be helping out. Now, that isn’t true, even in many churches.

  2. That is interesting. I like reading verses from several translations.

    • My ministry is all about helping kids understand without having to wait until they’re grown so I can’t use the KJV as much as I would.
      There are some places where KJV mangles the original, but hundreds more where they capture something better than any other English version does. This is one of them. :-)

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