Does the Bible teach a flat Earth?

(George Brooks) #1

What did the Bible say about the Victorian era Evangelicals who taught that the Bible teaches a flat earth?

I’m interested in having the scriptural foundation for that …

When should you introduce your child to evolution?
Irreducible complexity is a undeniable fact

The Bible says that the Earth is a globe suspended over nothing

(George Brooks) #3
  1. Where does the Bible say this?


  1. What would you call the Flat Eather’s of the Victorian period for insisting otherwise?



It would be interesting to see an actual reference for your claim that credible evangelicals taught a flat earth, in the early 1900s.


Do you not know? Have you not heard?
Has it not been declared to you from the beginning?
Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
22 It is He who [s]sits above the [t]circle of the earth,
And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers,
Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain
And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.
23 He it is who reduces rulers to nothing,
Who makes the judges of the earth [u]meaningless.
24 [v]Scarcely have they been planted,
[w]Scarcely have they been sown,
[x]Scarcely has their stock taken root in the earth,
But He merely blows on them, and they wither,
And the storm carries them away like stubble.
25 “To whom then will you liken Me
That I would be his equal?” says the Holy One.
26 Lift up your eyes on high
And see who has created these stars,
The One who leads forth their host by number,
He calls them all by name;
Because of the greatness of His might and the [y]strength of His power,
Not one of them is missing…Isaiah 40

(George Brooks) #6

The ancient view was that the earth was a “circle like a table top”.

Later, people said it was round or a circle “like a sphere”.

This is the fellow to read about: Samuel Rowbotham - - British - - started the whole movement … and it kept on running!


very good, brooks! Samuel Rowbotham (row at the bottom…) who in the mid nineteenth century, 300 years after the globe was circumnavigated is going to be your authority on how scripture should be understood? The point is that “circle” does not say “flat”, and contradicts a literal understanding of “four corners of the earth”. Circle is certainly closer to “globe” than to a common square sheet of paper on which one can draw a map.

So then that ancient view does not provide proof that is what scripture actually said. Or meant. It seems if you can only quote a 19th century person, row-at-the-bottom, you are missing all the supposed “flat” conclusions from the previous ten centuries? Thus lacking evidence for your point. And I wonder how one outlier substantiates any general conclusions.

(George Brooks) #8

A much simpler conclusion, John, is that you refuse to read the Old World narrative for what it SEEMS TO SAY … and attempt to provide the correct modern view of the actual nature of the world.

Ironically, this is exactly what BioLogos is attempting. We are attempting to extract the authentic meaning out of what the text SEEMS TO SAY … so that the CORRECT MODERN view of evolution and the age of the Earth can be understood.

And THAT was the point of my bringing up Samuel Bowbotham!!! Your attempt to make allowances for Rowbotham is exactly BioLogos’ role: we are attempting to make the very same kind of allowances for Genesis.

But you, Sir, INSIST on the archaic readings…



Your point, and your analogy, fails. Entirely. If you actually read what I wrote, you will perhaps understand why. This is not about an old world narrative. You are saying that some people thought the world was flat based on scripture, but can come up with no scripture to give validity to their conclusion. Then you come up with a 19th century, relatively modern, outlier perspective on the circle of the earth, which completely contradicts observable data of disappearing horizons, known since antiquity, and validated by Magellan 330 years before rowbottom. You try to compare a phrase to a chapter, or to eleven chapters of scripture. And I make no allowances for Rowbottom whatsoever. And for you to make allowances for scripture is hubris, an attitude of apologizing for scripture, imho. So your analogy fails entirely. It is entirely opposite. In my humble opinion of course.

(George Brooks) #10

They THOUGHT they had the scripture down … just like YEC’s do today…

(Patrick ) #11

Thanks for the drawing. We have to give the people of the ANE credit as this was good science at the time. It was a good hypothesis that fit with the observations. It required a very high degree of intelligence to describe th world this way.


What? Just like evolutionists do today, you mean.

(George Brooks) #13

The parallel more closely applies to Young Earth Creationists. Like the Victorian-era Flat Earthers, YEC’s take words that a plain reading would show is not a realistic description of the universe …

… unlike BioLogos, who takes these inaccurate descriptions and shows how they can be harmonized SPIRITUALLY with reality…



Please show how the weatherman’s prediction of sunrise and sunset times can be harmonized spiritually with reality. You are creating a red herring, a false cannard, a deceptive illusion, an incorrect analogy.


Where is your reference for this picture, and who drew it?

(George Brooks) #16

John, I make no affirmations that God drew that picture. There are not that many images like this out there… so just google

Firmament Flat Earth Dome … and click on IMAGES instead of WEB for filtering.

You’ll find lots of interesting graphics…



Rather not. What I mean is was it drawn as a caricature of someone’s position, or as part of a scientific paper (or quasi scientific). If this had been done before the world was circumnavigated, then I could understand your argument. But since this position seems to be made 330 years later, then I would put it in the same category as those people who deny that man landed on the moon. So it is an argument that simply does not resonate. The question asks whether the bible teaches a flat earth. Obviously the bible nowhere says that the earth is flat…, it only speaks metaphorically of “ends of the earth”, which we still use today as a phrase, and “four corners of the earth”, which was understood similarly to mean in all directions (not just four), as far as one could go. “Circle of the earth” (Isaiah) could be understood in several ways, but certainly does not automatically imply “flat”, nor would this be the primary implication of various possible options. Nor is there some story or allegory about a flat earth anywhere in scripture that might have misled someone. Literally speaking, mountains and valleys would imply a not flat earth, even though obviously not necessarily global. The inference of flat earth comes not from scripture, but from people’s perceptions of what they actually saw, which was limited… then they tried to impose that on scripture. The flat earth argument is misleading, false, deceptive. It should not be used by sincere christians trying to argue in favor of evoluton.

(George Brooks) #18

It was a SERIOUS effort to represent how the ancients viewed the world.

As to what is OBVIOUS about the Bible … if it were SO obvious, I doubt that a well-read English Victorian would have decided to
trash centuries of careful mathematical and geographic analysis and start teaching people that the Earth was flat like a table.

The figurative uses of vocabulary in the Bible are entirely consistent with the Egyptian/Sumerian/Assyrian view of the world…



You have not given the passages that they supposedly used, nor the rationale. There are people quite serious thinking that man never went to the moon; I doubt that a person with a TV in the twentieth century, could think so, but they do. The nineteenth century is not “ancient” in the context. Denying a global earth in the nineteenth century would be like denying a global earth in the twenty-first century. So this is a whole different thing entirely.

(George Brooks) #20

John, if you want the bible proof texts google for them. It is not my job to EXPLAIN why religious zealots believe silly things. These are YOUR people… not mine. You wouldn’t believe ANYTHING I said … but maybe they will make an impression on you.

I’m going to completely ignore what looked like your implication that I’m exaggerating Rowbotham and his Victorian Flat-Earthers…