What Does the Bible Say About the Shape of the Earth? Part 1

What Does the Bible Say About the Shape of the Earth? Part 1

Image for postsource

Moderate Christian apologists have done an astonishingly good job of sweeping under the rug the fact that the OT does indeed describe a flat, disc shaped Earth covered by a solid dome called the firmament.

So much so that when I attended a Christian private school, we were taught that scientists in ancient times were the ones who thought Earth was flat even though the Bible said it?s round. (Nevermind that science did not exist then.) EDIT: Apparently this needs clarification. I do not mean science as ?general efforts to figure things out?. I mean the scientific method as we know it today, including its naturalistic philosophical framework.

Anyway, what they mean by ?round? is a single verse which says Earth is a circle. But the Hebrew word for circle used in that verse does not mean sphere. There was a different word meaning ball shaped they might?ve used instead, but they didn?t.

Interesting to note: This sleight of hand is similar to the Islamic apologist?s claim that verses in the Qur?an describing Earth using a word for an ostrich spreading out a flat space to lay eggs is, instead, referring to the eggs themselves (though ostrich eggs are prolate in shape, not oblate like the Earth).

Further confounding attempts to interpret ?circle? as ?sphere? is a verse wherein the circle is said to have been inscribed upon the face of the deep as though with a compass. There?s a medieval painting of Jesus doing this (seen below). It is clear from this context that a flat circle was the intended meaning.

Image for postsource

This is to say nothing of the plentiful verses describing the firmament, with stars physically embedded in it, trap doors opened to let the waters above fall through as rain, and a description of the firmament as being shaped like a beaten-out metal bowl:

Can you beat out [raqa] the vault of the skies, as he does, hard as a mirror of cast metal (Job 37:18)

I was never taught about any of that from other Christians. Probably they were not, themselves, aware of those verses because nobody ever taught them about it either.

So it is that in the comments of any article or video about flat earthers, there?s invariably a few moderate Christians laughing at the absurdity of it, then qualifying it with ?but the Bible does not say Earth is flat, that?s a heresy which originated in the middle ages?, another apologist fabrication.

They name people like Erastosthenes (who lived nearly three centuries before Jesus was born) to argue that the sphericity of Earth was well known at the time that the NT was written. However this does not solve their problem, because the flat earth cosmology is found in the OT. Aka the Torah, which was written ~2,000 years before the New Testament. There are casual matter of fact references to aspects of this cosmology throughout the NT however.

You might ask why we should believe that the authors of the New Testament would reference a wrong cosmology from the OT as if it were true when more up to date, accurate knowledge existed. For the answer to that you need only look at modern creationists, who hold to their wrong ideas for the same reason: Religious commitment, resulting in the rejection of evidence which contradicts scripture.

Some argue that the translator William Tyndale (responsible for translating the Bible into English) had the opportunity to correct those mistakes, and would have if they actually were mistakes, in order to make the Bible more defensible. (This assumes that Tyndale would?ve been sufficiently impious to make his own independent edits to the holy book of his own religion, even though scripture emphatically says never to do that.)

Some further argue that Biblical cosmology is a simplified model, meant to communicate at a level ancient man could understand, and/or to express something about God?s nature. A superficially cogent, horoscope style non-explanation which can be applied to any claim.

But the OT does not only describe a flat Earth covered by a solid dome. It also says that the Earth existed before the sun, the sun before all other stars, and birds before land animals. We know this order to be wrong. Planets gravitationally accrete from dust captured in orbit around stars. Our sun is not the oldest star, and birds evolved from land animals, so they could not have predated them.

Nothing about putting these events in the correct order would?ve made it more difficult for ancient man to understand, and what about God?s nature is expressed by putting them in the wrong order? That he is a liar? A trickster? That order is not ?simplified?, nor is Biblical cosmology ?simplified?, just wrong: Earth is not flat, the sky is not a dome, the sun and moon do not move around within it.

Oddly you don?t hear such elaborate excuses for the flat Earth cosmologies of ancient Babylon or Egypt, which neighbored Israel, probably where they got their own cosmological ideas from. Because there are few, if any, remaining practitioners of ancient Egyptian or Babylonian religion. Christian apologists are content for those religions to simply be wrong, their mistakes a product of the relative ignorance of ancient man in cosmological matters.

All in all, moderate Christians have done an incredible job of making sure almost no Christians anywhere (except flat earth YECs) are even aware that ancient Israelite cosmology did in fact include a flat Earth and was geocentric by repeating lies which they may well believe themselves.

Image for postsource

It?s hard to get this information out to the public because anywhere that Christians are in a position to censor it, they do. Even when I posted this info on Steemit, trying to set the record straight often resulted in flagging.

This effect is even more pronounced in the mainstream media where flat earthers are lampooned as kooks with a false, heretical view of what the Bible teaches when in fact they?re among the few Christians who are aware of and accept Biblical cosmology.

Recently I had the good fortune of meeting a clever, extremely thorough Biblical scholar and polemicist whose primary focus is getting the word out that the Bible absolutely does describe a geocentric, flat Earth cosmology in spite of what moderate Christian apologists commonly claim.

I received his permission to repost his videos here so they can be viewed by a larger audience, and will be sharing them with you little by little as my posting schedule permits. Now, without further delay, part 1: ?All the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time?:

EDIT: Many of the replies complain that this article does not furnish a complete argument. That?s true. It isn?t intended to, it?s only part 1 of a 6 part series. Here are the other 5 parts: 2 3 4 5 6

If you are not a Medium subscriber and it won?t let you read them, click here for a good free summary with most of the arguments presented therein.

Parts 2 and onward available to members only!


No Responses

Write a response