In video games and movies, an easter egg is a message/feature/etc that’s hidden in the main work for geeks to find. Game developers hide their names in the game, things from one franchise mysteriously appear in another, and private jokes hide in the most inaccessible places in the virtual world. There’s at least one easter egg in the Bible.
If there was only one verse like this, it could be merely an interesting coincidence. They’re in poems and prophecies, which make heavy use of rhetoric and symbolism. But at least 17 places in the Bible mention it, so they’re clearly not a coincidence. Here are a few of them:
- It is he [God] who sits above the circle of the earth,
and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers;
who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,
and spreads them like a tent to dwell in
Isaiah 40:22 (context)
- Thus says God, the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it
Isaiah 42:5 (context)
- It is he [God] who made the earth by his power, who established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding stretched out the heavens
Jeremiah 51:15 (context)
- [God…] who alone stretched out the heavens and trampled the waves of the sea
Job 9:8 (context)
- The oracle of the word of the LORD concerning Israel: Thus declares the LORD, who stretched out the heavens and founded the earth and formed the spirit of man within him:
Zechariah 12:1 (context)
Until approximately 100 years ago, theologians probably thought that this was just a weird coincidence. They probably thought that this was just God and others using poetic license. Everyone knows that the heavens are not stretchy!
Everyone, that is, except Einstein.
It seems that the speed of light is a constant (as far as we know). It’s actually the speed of causality – the fastest speed physically possible – and it’s derived from some other physical constants. That’s why it’s “c” in e=mc2.
This leads to a paradox: how can light move at the same speed when I’m moving away from a light source as when I’m moving toward it?
The answer is that space and time ever so slightly stretch or shrink, so that from the perspective of the light, it’s still moving at a constant speed. If you can wrap your head around that, it basically means that space (and time) are stretchy. It is physically possible to “stretch out the heavens”.
Then about a decade after Einstein discovered relativity, an astronomer named Edwin Hubble discovered that almost all galaxies are flying away from us. Astronomers eventually found that the faster they’re moving, the further away they are. They believe that space is stretching out, instead of the galaxies being thrown apart by an explosion.
In short, it looks like the parts of the Bible that say “God streched out the heavens” were meant to be taken literally after all. The god who created the universe understands his own physics. As far as I know, the god of the Jews and Christians is the only one who claims to “stretch out the heavens”.
- Video game easter egg