Numerous Bible passages besides Genesis refer to Ancient Near-Eastern Cosmology. Looking at Exodus 20.4, Psalm 93, and Proverbs 8:22-29, what words or phrases fit with Ancient Near-Eastern Cosmology?

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As you probably already know, Ancient Near-Eastern Cosmology, or Biblical cosmology, is the way the writers of the Bible—specifically the Old Testament—viewed the universe, in terms of how it was formed and what it meant. Because the Old Testament was written over a significant period of time, not all the writers shared identical beliefs, but some ideas recur, such as that of the Earth being suspended over water between heaven and the underworld (which was, before concepts of Hell, simply a place where humans went after death).

Let's go through these suggested passages one at a time and look for the elements that connect with Ancient Near Eastern Cosmology.

In Exodus 20:4, we can clearly see this understanding of the structure of earth and its relationship to the rest of the cosmos. In this verse, readers are counseled against making images "in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below." I've used the New International Version here, because it's a clear translation; it helps us understand how earth was viewed as being a flat circle above water, with Heaven over it.

In Psalm 93, we see elements once again of this structure, but we also find the importance of the sea—and of the Lord being more "mighty" than the sea is. In the "agon" or "struggle" model of how God came into his power, he smashes the seas, which represent chaos and are filled with monsters. The "thunder of the great waters" mentioned in this Psalm seems to represent the seas' battle against God, which God has now won—he is "mightier than the breakers of the sea" and has thus established himself as the most powerful thing in Creation.

In Proverbs 8: 22–29, the image of God establishing dominion over the seas recurs again—God "gave the sea its boundary" so that it would not "overstep his command." God has done battle against the sea, and he has also set the "clouds above" and fixed "the fountains of the deep" below the earth. This passage gives clear evidence again of how the earth is viewed as being in between the waters below, which God has wrestled into submission, and the heavens above. The speaker in this Proverb is generally understood to be Wisdom.

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