Though it has been nearly three years since I last addressed this topic on my blog, the study of biblical depictions of the cosmos has remained a foremost area of study and thought. My discovery in late 2003 and early 2004 that the Bible depicts pre-scientific and incorrect models of the cosmos dealt a death blow to my faith in biblical inerrancy. Prior to this discovery I had always given the Bible the benefit of the doubt, trusting it despite the growing incongruence I was finding between my “biblical” and fundamentalist categories of veracity. I reasoned, “If the Bible depicted a cosmos consisting of an assumed flat earth with a solidly-domed cosmos over which the “waters above” were held at bay (one of the biblical models), and I could disqualify this model in the here-and-now, then why should I try to hammer out other inconsistencies such as internal contradictions and “old-earth” natural history?” The Bible became increasingly human, and my worldview became increasingly orphaned from the assumptions of biblical inspiration.
Really, if I had not been taught to expect an infallible record in the Bible by fundamentalist creationists, this discovery would have been far less likely to bring such a crisis of faith on me. I waivered for the next three to four years between ignoring the evidence and variously accepting its implications. Often in the same day or during the course of a week I would toggle between fundamentalism, atheism, and agnosticism. Again, to the fault of creationists, the thought of liberal models of religion never even crossed my mind. To me, as to the fundamentalist, the Bible was infallible and thus inspired or errant and thus uninspired.
Those who have followed this blog for any amount of time will recognize these posts—I posted them in the spring and summer of 2007, but I never completed the series. You are welcome to visit the originals and read the comments from others who have engaged me on this discussion; however, you will find no replies to the contrary that contribute anything but ad hoc and infertile propositions that detract from human ingenuity and knowledge of the natural world. I will re-post the first in the series tomorrow.