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Christian Biblical Studies
MEASURING HEAVENS AND EARTH
Question: Jeremiah 31: 37:
Thus saith the LORD; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD.
What is meant by measuring heaven and earth?
Answer: The implication of this verse, that God would abandon His wayward people, Israel, only if and when the heavens could be measured or earth’s foundations fathomed, suggests that the conditions would not be met. (See also Jeremiah 31: 35, 36.)
Since earth is in view here, it seems that ‘heaven’ is an allusion not to the atmosphere or the solar system, nor to God’s abode, but to the Universe in which earth ‘resides’. ‘Foundations’ seems not to mean planetary dimensions nor the inner workings – the core, the mantle – for these things are already understood to a significant degree and are within man’s domain of knowledge: ‘. . . the earth hath he given to the children of men (Psalm 115: 16).
The inability of Man’s science to gauge the size of the Universe (‘heaven above’, viewed from a human perspective), suggests that the Universe is infinite or practically so. The ‘foundations’ of ‘earth beneath’ seems to refer to the invisible ‘support’ which appears (from the human perspective) to prop up the earth on nothing. In other words, Gravitation, the force which imparts mass and cohesion, maintaining the orbits and spatial relationship of the planets. (Gravitation is today imperfectly understood, like other forces in the GEWS acronym: Gravity, Electromagnetism, Weak and Strong forces, for which scientists seek a unified theory.)
The promise implicit in Jeremiah 31: 37 may be seen in one of two ways: either it means (1) that ‘heaven above’ (the Universe) and the ‘foundations of the earth’ (Gravitation) will eternally never be understood; or, (2) that Man’s science will not fathom these things prior to the conversion of Israel and the inauguration of the New Covenant, to be administered from Jerusalem in the Millennial Age, by which time Israel will no longer be in need of the assurance of God’s fidelity (Isaiah 2: 2, 3; Jeremiah 31: 31-34).
Some elements of knowledge are prohibited only during the age of faith; under future circumstances the prohibition might be lifted, as the Apostle Paul suggested in a different context (1 Corinthians 13: 11, 12): ‘When I was a child . . . I understood as a child . . . but when I became a man, I put away childish things. . . . For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.’
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