Does the Bible Teach that the Earth is Flat?


(George Brooks) #21

Do we have a link for Lambert’s NEW conclusions?


(Jon Garvey) #22

George

I’ve been unable to find much of Lambert’s original work online - plenty of citations in others’ articles, some behind Academic subscription walls.

However, you can get hold of Horowitz’s chapter on Mesopotamian cosmic geography, as a useful taster, here. The original PhD dissertation was supervised by Lambert.

Needless to say, it’s very different from the various Egyptian ideas (which, I’ve read, were sometimes held by the same people even when mutually contradictory), and also from the Biblical account.


(George Brooks) #23

The Egyptian view of the cosmos was exceptionally complex… not to mention the Egyptian view of the soul, spirit, personhood, and so on.


(Phil) #24

speaking of interpretation:


#25

“Does the Bible Teach that the Earth is Flat?”

They simply assumed that the ERETZ was basically flat, a disk of land visible to the horizon. (ERETZ was and still is the Hebrew word for “land”, “country”, or even region, as in the names of various wilderness areas. ERETZ was the opposite of “the heavens”/“sky”. ERETZ YISRAEL was and still is “The Land of Israel”, not “Planet Israel.”)

It is anachronistic to assume that they thought in terms of “planet earth” and the average person had no real need to think much beyond “the circle of the ERETZ” concept. I cringe every time I hear a concordist claim that “the circle of the earth” phrase in scripture was an amazing, divinely-revealed awareness of a spherical earth. It wasn’t. It was simply a reference to what anyone can see if they step outside and look to the horizon in all directions.

Everybody lives on a circular disk of land. In reality, it deviates from a perfectly flat plane by a curvature of only a few inches per mile! Yet, that in no way was in the mind of the authors of those scriptures. They didn’t need to have our modern day understanding of planet earth’s shape and God had no reason to plant “science prophecies” in the ancient text of the Bible.

There is a popular “The Bible Got the Science Right Long Before the Scientists” table in circulation that is a total embarrassment to any science-literate Christian. It includes “the circle of the earth” misunderstanding of the above. How much damage has been done by “Christian apologists” working hard to “help out” the Bible?


(RiderOnTheClouds) #26

Some other flat Earth passages:

Zechariah 9:10 seems to indicate a small flat earth, with the river Euphrates near its Center.

Jeremiah 10:13 seems to indicate an ocean encircling the flat earth, widely believed in biblical times, as ‘vapours rise from the ends of the earth’.

There are references to the east being far from the west, and the place where the sun rises being different from the place where it sets. This only makes sense on a flat earth.


(RiderOnTheClouds) #27

Some of the most ignorant ones even use Proverbs 8:27 and Job 26:10 to say the bible mentions a spherical earth, even though they perfectly describes the ancient view of the earth as a flat disc floating on water.


(George Brooks) #28

@Reggie_O_Donoghue

Pro 8:27
When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth…"
[Inscribing a circular pattern to the sea bed that would hold the waters separated from the waters in Heaven.]

Job 26:10
He hath compassed the waters with bounds, until the day and night come to an end.
[Nice find! This suggests that when there is no longer Day and Night, the bounds that hold the waters to within their ocean boundaries, will be allowed to fall… and the waters will again cover the Earth!]

I’m not too impressed with Zech 9:10, but Jer 10:13 seems pretty interesting!
"When he uttereth his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens, and he causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasures [treasuries/storehouses]. "


(RiderOnTheClouds) #29

Interesting. I’ve never seen Job 26:10 in that way before.


(George Brooks) #30

@Reggie_O_Donoghue,

Well, now that you mention it, maybe when the bounds fall, the water will drain away?

I guess it depends on whether the Flood that Noah experienced was produced by “letting down” of the barriers that restrained the excess waters … or produced by “building up” (!) of the bounds that allowed the water to get higher than normal?

Do you think anyone really knows?


(RiderOnTheClouds) #31

I think the numerous references to the Tehom imply a flat earth, it’s very hard to imagine a spherical earth floating on water like a log with channels to allow the waters below to reach the surface.


(RiderOnTheClouds) #32

I find it problematic to use Daniel 4:10 to argue for a flat earth, since it is through the perspective of a pagan King.


(Mervin Bitikofer) #33

Are pagans and non-pagans always supposed to have different cosmological perspectives all through history? And wouldn’t it be exceedingly strange if they did? Sort of like God wanting to make sure that whoever his followers through history were … they would need to have their cosmologies lined up with 21st century understandings. God could have done that, but then all those prophets and leaders would have had different fish to fry than the existing agendas God actually did set before them. For some reason God thought justice and mercy to be more important than knowledge of cosmological constants.


(RiderOnTheClouds) #34

I now think that the only passage in the Bible which describes a flat earth is Psalm 19:4-5, which compares the rising sun to a bridegroom leaving his chamber, which is consistent with Mesopotamian cosmology. There is no ‘chamber’ where the sun goes at night on a spherical earth, for the sun is always in the sky.


(RiderOnTheClouds) #35

Apparently they did:

47 The foam which Tia-mat [ . . .
48 Marduk fashioned [ . . .
49 He gathered it together and made it into clouds.
50 The raging of the winds, violent rainstorms,
51 The billowing of mist—the accumulation of her spittle—


(RiderOnTheClouds) #36

Here is where I have to disagree with you. I agree with you that the Raqia was probably the expanse separating heaven and earth (common in ANE cosmology), But the inhabitants of the ANE clearly believed there were rising and setting places of the sun, and places where the sun went at night, this is only possible on a flat earth, for on an earth with a curved surface, the sun is always rising and setting somewhere, there is no fixed place.

What do we find in the Bible?

In the heavens he has set a tent for the sun,
which comes out like a bridegroom from his wedding canopy,

From the rising (Mizrach, east) of the sun to its setting
the name of the Lord is to be praised.


(RiderOnTheClouds) #37

A blog post I made:

https://wordpress.com/post/riderontheclouds.wordpress.com/154

In short Psalm 19:4-5 and Daniel 4:11 are the only verses of the Bible which describe a flat earth in my opinion.


(George Brooks) #38

@Reggie_O_Donoghue

All the ancients associated clouds with rain … and you have provided texts to show the association.
The Bible itself refers to rain clouds as “bottles” in which celestial water could be stored prior to rain
reaching the desired target coordinates.

But which ancient culture was the first to equate “clouds” as nothing but another form of rain?
That’s a nuance of a difference!


(RiderOnTheClouds) #39

I’m not claiming that they knew that, I see no evidence for that in any text, though it seems at least some of them knew the clouds were made of water.

I’m actually not too dogmatic about what the waters were. I’m not even sure if there’s anything which stops them from being ‘all’ the waters in the heavens; the celestial ocean, the clouds, the winds, the rain etc. All I can really say for sure (as Walton demonstrated) is that they are of some meteorological significance.


#40

“It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is deprived of its warmth.” Psalm 19.6

We know that the Sun rises and sets in the heaven’s and according to scripture makes its “circuit”. The word circuit infers an orbit from one point to the original point. We know that the Sun does not orbit the earth but the reverse of course.

However, the earth rotates or spins toward the east and the East is an important direction in the Bible. The Earth also tilts on its axis which is why the path of the Sun through the sky varies and this is, therefore, why the setting and rising of the sun’s times changes around the world, and on this point, all must acknowledge is accurate. It is also the cause of our seasons due to its tilt on axis and orbital passage.

At different locations on Earth, the rising and setting times of the sun varies because the section of the celestial sphere that is visible to anyone on those different geographical vantage points is not the same. This is key info for us that the earth is a sphere and not therefore flat.