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Does the Bible say the Earth is Flat?

Discussion in 'Creation & Evolution' started by Arikay, Jul 28, 2003.

  1. Arikay

    Arikay HI

    +175
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    Hello,

    As I often found myself writting this out, I thought I would write out a general response to it. I wouldnt mind any comments. :)


    -----

    Does the bible say the earth is Flat?

    The answer to this is Important to creationists, as you would assume it would need to say the earth is round and not flat for them to be able to say they truly take the bible literally, unless they decide to join the Flat Earth Society.
    So does the bible say the earth is round or Flat.

    Verses
    My favorite verse about this is Isaiah 40:22:
    “Isa 40:22** [It is] he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof [are] as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:”

    I will get to why this supports a Flat Earth later, however first I want to explain why its my Favorite.
    It's my favorite because it hasn’t been brushed off like other verses have. Often verses that refer to “the four corners” of the earth are brushed off as being a non literal descriptive way to talk, or another way of saying the Four directions. However, Isa 40:22 is often used in an attempt to support a spherical earth, so we know they are not brushing it off.

    AIG says, “it is clear from such passages as Isaiah 40:22 that the Bible implies it is spherical.”
    http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs/1138.asp
    And
    Christian Answers Says, “A spherical earth is also described in Isaiah 40:21-22 - "the circle of the earth." “
    http://christiananswers.net/q-eden/edn-c015.html

    So as we can see, both groups, which are biblical literalist groups, accept this verse as being literal.

    About Isaiah 40:22
    and why it says the earth is Flat.

    “Isa 40:22** [It is] he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof [are] as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:”

    The Strongs Definition of the Hebrew word used for “circle” is,

    “Chuwg: 1) circle, circuit, compass”
    http://www.blueletterbible.org/cgi-bin/words.pl?word=02329&page=1

    The definition of a Circle is:
    “Circle:
    1. A plane curve everywhere equidistant from a given fixed point, the center.
    2. A planar region bounded by a circle.
    3. Something, such as a ring, shaped like such a plane curve.
    4. A circular course, circuit, or orbit: a satellite's circle around the earth.“

    http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=circle

    So As you can see, a Circle is Not a sphere. Its a bounding region, and it outlines a flat 2D object, a disk. This fits the early Hebrew drawings of a Flat earth with heaven spread out like a dome over it. It would also be of interest to note that the two other words used to define “Chuwg” are very similar to the definition of a "Circle".
    It is also interesting that they used Chuwg instead of Duwr, which has this definition:

    “duwr:
    1) ball, circle
    a) circle
    b) ball”

    http://www.blueletterbible.org/cgi-bin/words.pl?word=01754&page=1

    A Ball often being a sphere like object.


    An interesting Commentary on another verse that uses Chuwg, suggests that the originally belief was that the earth was flat. It also supports many of the drawings of the early hebrew earth:

    Proverb 8:27
    “27. when he set .*.*. depth--marked out the circle, according to the popular idea of the earth, as circular, surrounded by depths on which the visible concave heavens rested.”
    -Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown

    http://blueletterbible.org/Comm/jfb/Pro/Pro008.html

    Matthew 4:8 also supports a flat earth,

    “Mat 4:8** Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;”

    It is impossible to see All the kingdoms of the world from a single mountain, on a spherical earth, however it is possible on a flat earth. So this supports a flat earth.


    Arguments against Isa 40:22
    There are a couple arguments against Isa 40:22 saying the earth is flat.

    1) There is no Hebrew word for Sphere so circle was used instead.

    Response: this defense still falsifies the claim that Isa 40:22 really means sphere. It has been seen from drawings and other verses that when the bible was written, it was believed the earth was flat. Just like my answer to number two, you would assume that if someone wanted to describe something and they didn’t have the words, they would use a word closer to what they meant.


    2) Duwr does not mean sphere because of its different usage in other verses.

    Response: You can see other words in the bible that seem to have different meanings depending on the context. However, a ball like object is still much more sphere like than a circle. Thus I would assume that they would want to use a word that better described the shape of the earth. Especially since it was then believed the earth was a flat circle, if they truly wanted to say different, then it would have been smart to stay away from words that meant Flat Circle, and go with words that meant a 3d object, like a ball.


    Conclusion
    It was not believed the earth was a sphere, as we can see that the verse often used to show the earth as a sphere, does not mean sphere, but circle. We can also conclude that it is more than likely that it was believed that the earth was flat and wrote that belief into the bible.
    What does this mean to christians?, not much. The Earth was believed to be flat, but it being written in the bible doesn’t change the main points. In my opinion, since the bible is not a science book, the earth was called flat to get the message across. We can look back in history and see what happens when people go against the general belief (like Geocentric vs Heliocentric), and I would think that the bible wouldn’t need all of that as well, when it was trying to get its original message across.

    What does this mean to literal biblicalists? It means that they must either start believing the earth is flat, as it literally says in the bible, ignore what it says in the bible and believe the earth is round, or try and interpret the bible to fit their own views.
    An interesting aspect of this is that a Flat earth appears to have more literal scripture than a 6000 year old earth. The belief of a 6000 year old earth has come about from back tracking geneologies and other events in the bible, however there is no scripture that states the earth is 6000 years old. Above I have showed scripture that states the earth is a flat circle, thus providing more scripture than a 6000 year old earth.

    -Ari
     
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  2. Alessandro

    Alessandro Alive In God

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    Read Job :)
     
  3. JohnR7

    JohnR7 Well-Known Member

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  4. TwinCrier

    TwinCrier Double Blessed and spreading the gospel

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    Well, this morning on the news they stated the exact times when the sun would rise and set, so obviously my local news things the Sun revolves around the Earth. Or they may just be using the common language as the bible did. Or have you never used the expression "to the ends of the Earth?"
     
  5. Arikay

    Arikay HI

    +175
    Taoist
    ?

    Notice, I never used the "corners of the Earth" or "ends of the earth" arguments, because they have been brushed asside.

    My argument revolved around a verse that is taken literally by literalists.

    So you might see why im confused that your argueing that "to the ends of the earth" shouldnt be taken literally.

     
  6. JohnR7

    JohnR7 Well-Known Member

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    The system of telling time was first developed by the Chaldeans. Abraham in the Bible was of course a Chaldean from the city of Ur. The Chaldean began to worship the moon god: "sin" and Abraham was called out from among them. But one reason we still have the knowledge in use today, is because it was handed down to us through Abraham.

    Genesis 11:31
    And Terah took his son Abram and his grandson Lot, the son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, his son Abram's wife, and they went out with them from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to the land of Canaan; and they came to Haran and dwelt there.

     
  7. Arikay

    Arikay HI

    +175
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    Also one thing to note is that when looking around I found information that the Book of enoch also supports a flat earth. although I would consider it valid, as it supports the views of the time and I believe Jesus talks about it, I didnt include it, because it had already become too long, and because it was taken out of the bible at some point.
     
  8. TCapp

    TCapp Senior Veteran

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    What does the original Greek/Hebrew say? Did the word or concept of sphere exist at the time of its writing? Was it a common idea, understandable by "regular people"? Was circle the best word they could come up with at the time? Was the language just figurative?

    Inquiring minds want to know. ;)
     
  9. Arikay

    Arikay HI

    +175
    Taoist
    I addressed all of that in my post bellow.

    But quick recap.

    1) The hebrew says the earth is a circle, flat.

    2) some claim the concept of sphere existed but a word for it didnt. However they did have the concept of a ball.

    3) Yes the idea of a ball was probably understandable.

    4) No, circle wasnt the best they could have done (if they wanted to describe the earth as a sphere) they could have used ball, or a small description if no other word existed.

    5) Literalists say that the verse I addressed was Not figurative.

    :)

     
  10. AV1611VET

    AV1611VET SCIENCE CAN TAKE A HIKE Supporter

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    So is the Arctic Circle flat or plano-convex?
    Um ... no.

    As anyone who has ever flown in an airplane before should know, to be able to see all the cities in your field of vision would entail having one doosey of a set of eyes.

    In addition, if you stand on the railroad tracks and look down the way, you'll see that the tracks "converge" at one point in both directions.

    So even if the earth was flat, you can forget seeing all the kingdoms of the earth.
    Ya -- like Arctic Circle.
     
  11. Targ

    Targ Regular Member

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    Hey AV1611VET, I'm not sure what argument you are making here. Could you explain your views better so I know where you are coming from?

    And by the way, I wouldn't expect a response from Arikay as they have not been active on this forum since 2006 and this thread has not been active since 2003. :)
     
  12. Agonaces of Susa

    Agonaces of Susa Evolution is not science: legalize creationism.

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    Everyone knew the Earth is a sphere.

    "The orb of the Earth is seen...." -- Vishnu Purana, Book I, Chapter IV

    "The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits." -- Ecclesiastes 1:6

    "He [God] stretcheth out the north over the empty space, and hangeth the earth upon nothing." -- Job 26:7

    "He hath compassed the waters with bounds, until the day and night come to an end." -- Job 26:10

    "In the first place, the earth, when looked at from above, is like one of those balls which have leather coverings in twelve pieces, and is of divers colors...." -- Plato, philosopher, Phaedo, 360 B.C.

    "Either then the earth is spherical or it is at least naturally spherical. -- Aristotle, philosopher, On The Heavens, Book II, 350 B.C.

    "And Poseidonius also conjectures that migration of the Cimbrians and their kinsfolk from their native country occurred as the result of an inundation of the sea that came on all of a sudden. And he suspects that the length of the inhabited world, being about seventy thousand stadia, is half of the entire circle on which it has been taken, so that, says he, if you sail from the west in a straight course you will reach India within the seventy thousand stadia. " -- Strabo, geographer, 7

    "[Pythagoras was] the first [Greek] who called the earth round; though Theophrastus attributes this to Parmenides, and Zeno to Hesiod." --Diogenes Laertius, historian, 3rd century

    "Alexander also says in his Successions of Philosophers, that he found the following dogmas also set down in the Commentaries of Pythagoras: ... that the world, which is endued with life, and intellect, and which is of a spherical figure, having the earth which is also spherical." -- Diogenes Laertius, philosopher, 3rd century

    "... [Pythagoras said] the earth ... is also spherical. ... and also that there are antipodes, and that what is below, as respects us, is above in respect of them." -- Diogenes Laertius, historian, 3rd century

    It wasn't until after Darwin that people began to believe the Earth is flat: Flat Earth Society - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  13. Targ

    Targ Regular Member

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    LOL, Darwin has nothing to do with it. Evolution is totally irrelevant to the subject of Flat Earthism. Nice negative name drop there though.

    Historically, prior to around the 4th century BC, most people believed that Earth was flat. From the wikipedia article titled 'Flat Earth':

    The belief in a flat Earth is not a new belief invented after Darwin's time, it is a very old belief that pre-dated our current acceptance of a near-spherical earth.
     
  14. Targ

    Targ Regular Member

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    Even the quotes you provided demonstrate that the belief in a flat Earth pre-dated the modern acceptance of a spherical Earth:

     
  15. Bushido216

    Bushido216 Well-Known Member

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    You're new here, so I'm going to help you out.

    Agnonaces is either a troll or a Poe or just REALLY dedicated. We're not sure with, but so far all attempts to communicate with the life-form known as AoS have failed.

    AV is communicable but takes... interesting views on what different words mean.

    Enjoy CF.
     
  16. Targ

    Targ Regular Member

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    Ah, thanks. I was starting to wonder ... :)
     
  17. AV1611VET

    AV1611VET SCIENCE CAN TAKE A HIKE Supporter

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    Sure -- the Bible does not support a flat-earth cosmology -- and never did.
    Nor would I.
    I wasn't PMing Arikay.

    I was responding to Arikay's post and expecting collateral responses; like yours -- ;)
     
  18. Agonaces of Susa

    Agonaces of Susa Evolution is not science: legalize creationism.

    +46
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    Not true.

    Prior to Darwin, Creationists knew the Earth was a sphere.

    "The orb of the Earth is seen...." -- Vishnu Purana, Book I, Chapter IV, 800 B.C.

    After Darwin, Evolutionists started to think the Earth was flat: The Flat Earth Society

    Citation needed.

    I already proved how every Hindu and Greek on Earth in the 4th century B.C. knew the Earth was a sphere.

    "The orb of the Earth is seen...." -- Vishnu Purana, Book I, Chapter IV, 800 B.C.

    Nonsense.

    I already demonstrated this to be false.
     
  19. Mike Elphick

    Mike Elphick Not so new...

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    The Earth is not suspended in space; actually, it is travelling through space at high speed as it orbits the sun. If Job wanted to say that Earth was surrounded by space, why didn't he say so? The Hebrew word for 'upon' can also be translated as 'over' and the JPS Tanakh translates this verse:- "He stretcheth out the north over the empty space, and hangeth the earth over nothing.

    This makes more sense in the light of ancient Hebrew cosmology. Remember the Great Deep? I think Job is describing how the Earth is 'hanging' over the watery abbys, in a multi-tiered view of the cosmos. See Deuteronomy 33:13 (KJV):- "And of Joseph he said, Blessed of the LORD be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath," Incidentally, the 'north' is where God was supposed to sit on a throne (the centre of of the night sky around which the stars appear to revolve).

    The Hebrew word that is translated as 'compassed' is chuwg, which has the meaning 'circle'. This verse is like Proverbs 8:27:- "When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth:" (KJV)

    The English Standard Version translates Job 26:10 so:- "He has inscribed a circle on the face of the waters at the boundary between light and darkness."

    Exactly what the ancient Hebrews believed about the cosmos is not spelled out in the Bible, but by careful inspection of the texts it's possible to piece together a reasonably clear picture. But why does it matter? Ah yes, the YECists have to believe that the Ancient Hebrews were fully conversant with what was only discovered later — even to an expanding universe.

    It is a sad and terrible mistake, YECists, to interpret the Bible in terms of modern scientific knowledge.
     
  20. Agonaces of Susa

    Agonaces of Susa Evolution is not science: legalize creationism.

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    I agree. Space is not a physical material object.

    If you read the Bible you would know that.

    "And he [Methuselah] was moreover with the angels of God these six jubilees of years, and they showed him everything which is on the earth and in the heavens, the rule of the sun, and he wrote down everything." -- Jubilees 4:21

    Because Job knew that space is not a physical material object and therefore does not exist.

    It is an expression.

    Do you claim that the Earth hangs on turtles all the way down?

    Unfortunately, you don't know any ancient Hebrew cosmology.

    Exactly.

    Do you claim the Earth is a square or a cube?

    Exactly. Do you claim the Earth is a square or a cube?

    It's sad that Darwinists have to deny reality.
     
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