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While asking this question on music at Christianity Stack Exchange, I had simply assumed that Job 38 described music as more primordial than matter, but then I realized I wasn't sure whether the phrase "foundations of the earth" in Job 38:4 referred only to the earth or not. If so, then I do not know if the Bible supports the idea that music is more primordial than matter. (It may be, but one wouldn't know if the Bible says so.)

Does Job 38 support only the idea that music precedes the creation of our planet, and not suffice to support the idea that it precedes the creation of matter? If only the former, is there any other Biblical justification to support the possibility that music precedes matter?

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    The first half of your question is right on target here. I'm wondering if the second half of this might need a doctrinal focus on Christianity. There is probably something to be pursued along the lines of Satan having one been the choir master of heaven before his fall, which we also believe to be before creation. Combine that with any textual evidence from this question, and maybe... – Caleb Sep 23 '12 at 17:39
  • @Caleb Yes, I think there are two questions here. – Kazark Sep 24 '12 at 1:17
  • I think the Hebrew compound word refers to "founding of the earth" rather than the "foundation of the earth". – Cynthia Avishegnath Oct 3 '12 at 6:16
  • As music is part of the worship prescribed in the original temple, and we know that that worship is a shadow of the things patterned in Heaven (Hebrews 9), it is quite reasonable that our music is quite similar, though obviously not as good, as that in heaven. – stephen Dec 17 '13 at 23:54
  • There is no account in scripture of the creation of a planet, just the making of the sky and land and population thereof. – user10231 Sep 28 '15 at 17:30
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To answer the first part of your question, the foundations and pillars of the earth were thought to be distinct from the earth itself. These were the structure which actually held up the earth. It may be helpful to visualize the Ancient Middle Eastern conception of cosmology to better understand:

enter image description here

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    I basically agree with the diagram though the foundations are a bit more mysterious than that since they exist in a bottomless sea. Hence when they are mentioned it is with awe of their mysteriousness. Some ancients believed they were on the back of an ever-swimming turtle! – user10231 Sep 28 '15 at 16:53
  • I basically agree with the diagram though the foundations are a bit more mysterious than that since they exist in a bottomless sea. Hence when they are mentioned it is with awe of their mysteriousness. Some ancients believed they were on the back of an ever-swimming turtle! – Ruminator May 18 '18 at 13:07
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1 Samuel 2:8

He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the LORD'S, and he hath set the world upon them.

If the 'poor from the dunghill' are later the 'Pillars of the earth' and upon whom 'the world is set', likewise are the 'foundations of earth' in Job 38:4 a figure of rational creatures entrusted with the care of duties for which they are denoted as foundations.

Job 38:4 Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.

The ancients had a 'mechanical interpretation' of most of these concepts in scriptures, but which interpretation simple keen observations of our surroundings defeat.

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The earth is the Lord ’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him. For he laid the earth’s foundation on the seas and built it on the ocean depths. Psalms 24:1‭-‬2 NLT

Then God said, “Let the waters beneath the sky flow together into one place, so dry ground may appear.” And that is what happened. God called the dry ground “land” and the waters “seas.” And God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:9‭-‬10 NLT

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    The question was about music. – Nigel J Oct 20 '20 at 11:55
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Does “foundations of the earth” in Job 38:4 refer to just the earth, or is it a metaphor for more?

It refers just to the earth.

God Speaks Now to Job out of the whirlwind and says, (38:1) Job 38:4-6 (NASB)

4 “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you [a]have understanding, 5 Who set its measurements? Since you know. Or who stretched the line on it? 6 “On what were its bases sunk? Or who laid its cornerstone,

The Creator asks Job: “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? ", where was any of us when the earth came to be? Scientists estimate that the earth is about 4.5 billion years, humans were not then on the scene. The Creator set its measurements (Vs 5), the earth is the right size, if it were larger hydrogen could not escape the atmosphere and life would cease to exist, if it were closer to the sun the temperatures would be much higher making life inhospitable, etc.

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