For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us (Psalm 103:11,12).
Critics of the Bible often claim that it pictures a four-cornered, flat Earth, with a solid firmament high above on which the stars traverse regular pathways along with the sun and moon. But nothing could be further from the truth, as evident from our text.
The heavens extend as high above the earth as the infinite mercy of God, which provides free salvation for lost sinners. This surely fits the modern scientific belief in an infinite universe. Behold the height of the stars, how high they are! (Job 22:12). The same concept is implied in Isaiah 55:9: For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Consider also the implication of the second verse in our text. Our transgressions have been removed from us as far as the east is from the west. And how far is that? One can start traveling east and continue forever without coming to the end of east. The same is true if he tries to find the end of west. The only way this could be true is for the earth to be round. The Bible no more teaches a flat Earth than a finite universe. It is (God) that sitteth upon the circle [or roundness] of the earth (Isaiah 40:22).
But such great scientific truths (revealed in Scripture long before their confirmation in modern science) are given primarily to illustrate the character of our loving Creator and Savior. His mercy is as infinite as the universe, and His forgiveness never ends. We can never judge His infinite thoughts or analyze His inscrutable ways with our finite understanding. But we can always rejoice in His mercy and praise Him for our great and eternal salvation. HMM