Joshua should have told the earth to stand still in order to extend daylight.
The Holy Spirit is the spirit of truth. He reveals truth to us. Jesus is not only truthful: he is the truth. He says: “For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth” (John 18:37).
But in some cases, the bible is not truthful. In it, lies, contradictions and myths are presented side-by-side with the truth of God. Admitting this does not in any way diminish our faith. It is the refusal to admit the truth, even in the face of overwhelming evidence, that diminishes faith. It presupposes only the gullible can follow Jesus. But Proverbs says: “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding” (Proverbs 4:7). God, who gave us brains, expects us to use them. He says through Isaiah: “Come now, let us reason together” (Isaiah 1:18).
Is the bible inerrant?
It is said repeatedly in the bible that the earth does not move. “The world also is firmly established, it shall not be moved” (1 Chronicles 16:30; Ps 96:10). “Surely the world is established, so that it cannot be moved” (Psalm 93:1). “You who laid the foundations of the earth, so that it should not be moved forever” (Psalm 104:5).
But this is not true. The earth is always moving. It is moving very fast at 66,622 miles per hour; faster than a typical plane which only flies at 550 mph. The earth completes a full rotation in 24 hours, which makes a day. So the scriptures saying the earth does not move are not of divine inspiration. That is not to deny that much in the bible is inspired. But it shows Paul was not inspired when he said “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Timothy 3:16).
Solomon says: “The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises” (Ecclessiastes 1:5). This is not an inspired statement either. Science has since shown beyond reasonable doubt that the sun does not “hurry back to where it rises.” It is the earth that revolves around the sun and not vice-versa.
So what can we say about the scripture where instead of telling the earth to stand still in order to extend daylight, Joshua ignorantly commanded the sun to stand still? (Joshua 10:12-13). Confronted with such obvious blunder, some Christians become outright liars. We came up with the cock-and-bull story that a computer at NASA actually discovered Joshua’s missing day in the calendar of the universe. NASA itself declared this to be pure fiction. Computers do not have the ability to make such discoveries.
The bible is not inerrant
Around 1500, Nicolaus Copernicus wrote a book claiming the earth revolved around the sun. The Church of Rome banned it for contradicting the bible. Martin Luther called Copernicus “an upstart astrologer.” John Calvin asked: “Who will venture to place the authority of Copernicus above that of the Holy Spirit. The sun runs from one end of the heavens to the other.”
About 100 years later, Giordano Bruno also taught that the earth orbited the sun and that the stars were distant suns with planets orbiting them. He was burned at the stake for heresy by the Catholic Church.
In the 1600’s, Galileo built a telescope and observed the planetary system. He concluded that the earth orbited the sun and not vice-versa as Joshua, Solomon and other biblical writers had implied. Galileo was indicted by the Catholic Church for having the audacity to hold an opinion contrary to Holy Scripture. He was forced to recant of this heresy and sentenced to house arrest for the rest of his life.
But in November 1992, long after the invention of different modern telescopes and after man had gone to space and even walked on the moon, the Catholic Church finally admitted officially that the bible got it wrong. The earth did revolve around the sun after all. Pope John Paul was constrained to vindicate Galileo. He said: “Galileo, who practically invented the experimental method, understood why only the sun could function as the centre of the world, as it was then known, that is to say, as a planetary system. The error of the theologians of the time, when they maintained the centrality of the earth, was to think that our understanding of the physical world’s structure was, in some way, imposed by the literal sense of Sacred Scripture.”
In 2000, the pope issued a formal apology for all the mistakes committed by Catholics in the last 2,000 years of the Church’s history, including the trial of Galileo among others. This was a diplomatic way of admitting the bible is not infallible.