Unless a flat Earth is funny

Below is a comment I made to a non-believer who tried to convince me that the Bible teaches that the Earth is flat therefore the Bible is anti-science nonsense.

That belief, while common even among intelligent skeptics, is a weak attempt to undermine the Bible and it’s easily refuted.

The Bible, of course, teaches the correct shape of the Earth. Isaiah 40:22 says God sits above “the circle of the Earth”. The Hebrew word for circle, chuwg can also mean roundabout, sphere, circuit, or something that has circular boundaries.

Also, Luke 17:34-36 depicts Christ’s Second Coming as happening while some are asleep at night and others are working at day-time activities in the field-an indication of a rotating Earth with day and night at the same time, on different sides.

In the Old Testament, Job 26:7 explains that the earth is suspended in space, the obvious comparison being with the spherical sun and moon. A literal translation of Job 26:10 is “He described a circle upon the face of the waters, until the day and night come to an end.” A spherical Earth is also described in Isaiah 40:21-22 – “the circle of the Earth.”

Proverbs 8:27 also suggests a round earth by use of the word circle (e.g., New King James Bible and New American Standard Bible). If you are overlooking the ocean, the horizon appears as a circle. This circle on the horizon is described in Job 26:10. The circle on the face of the waters is one of the proofs that the Greeks used for a spherical earth. Yet here it is recorded in Job, ages before the Greeks discovered it. Job 26:10 indicates that where light terminates, darkness begins. This suggests day and night on a spherical globe.

The reality here is that nearly all medieval scholars believed the world to be spherical.

Even early Christian church leaders saw no need to distance themselves from any understanding of the Earth’s sphericity. The only identifiable flat-earthers were Lactantius (c.265-345), Cosmas Indicopleustes (c.540), Severian of Gabala (c.380), possibly Theodore of Mopsuestia (c.350-430) and possibly Diodore of Tarsus (d.394).

Auguste Compte (1798-1857) developed the philosophy of positivism, with its concept of progress, step by step, from superstition to science. This led to the idea that “religion” (in particular Catholic and Protestant Christianity) was but a step beyond superstition but definitely a step back from real science. Religion had to be swept away if mankind was to progress to truth. This approach led to the metaphor of “warfare” to describe the relationship between science and religion. Such a conflict was first articulated by William Whewell, Vice Chancellor of Cambridge University in 1837. Important developments of the warfare metaphor were by John Draper in “The history of the conflict between religion and science” (1873) and by Andrew Dickson White in his “History of the warfare of science with theology in Christendom” (1896).

All three of these men pointed at Lactantius and Cosmas as influential leaders of the Flat Earth belief even though the Church viewed them as heretics.

Bottom line is that you have soaked up the idea that Christianity is inherently anti-scientific and that it has frequently acted to oppose science. Untrue to be sure but you need to think that way in order to make your lack of belief sound rational.

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Categories: Apologetics, Christianity

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

5 replies

  1. That was great James. I saw the conversation you referred to and had to do some reading on my own. Thanks for putting the data in one easy to read source.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Could be a flat disk too. Of the course the rest of the cosmology of Genesis is wrong: the sky is not a dome, nor does the earth sit on pillars.
    Scripture assumes the cosmologies of the time it was written, there is nothing wrong with that. Only a total ass of the internet sort would think ignorance of modern physics would disqualify an ancient religious text.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It is foolish to use science to prove or disprove religion and vice versa. Faith is not about empiricism. Faith and science are on different planes and do not intersect.

    Liked by 1 person

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