The Biblical Flat Earth: A Response To Christian Answers

"CHRISTIAN ANSWERS is a worldwide evangelism, education and discipleship ministry of Films for Christ. [Their] primary goal is to provide accurate, biblical answers on a wide variety of questions asked by Christians and non-Christians."

Recently, this Christian ministry addressed the issue of the flat earth with an article entitled, "Did Bible writers believe the Earth was flat?" I would like to address it here today.

They begin by answering the question in the title by saying this:

"No, this false idea is not taught in Scripture.

Some Bible critics have claimed that Revelation 7:1 assumes a flat Earth since the verse refers to angels standing at the “four corners” of the Earth. Actually, the reference is to the cardinal directions: north, south, east, and west. Similar terminology is often used today when we speak of the sun's rising and setting, even though the Earth, not the sun, is doing the moving. Bible writers used the “language of appearance,” just as people always have. Without it, the intended message would be awkward at best and probably not understood clearly."

My response:

This is where we begin with the position that the Bible, when describing the earth, was merely using figurative language which MUST accommodate the helio-centric model. This is simply reading INTO the text (isogesis) rather than reading FROM the text (exegesis). Four corners have no ability to work describing the earth from the standpoint of a spinning ball. If one argues that four corners are references to cardinal points (north, south, east, and west) then at what point do they become fixed points upon a ball? Cardinal points NEVER equal four corners.

Four corners make perfect sense if what is being referenced are the "pillars" which the circle of the earth sits upon. 

"He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the LORD'S, and he hath set the world upon them." 1 Samuel 2:8

Also, what is this "language of appearance" regarding the creation in Genesis 1? Are Adam and Eve literal figures which Christ acknowledged or are they figurative representations and products of evolution? Would this same ministry acknowledge that the creation was done in a week as the Bible teaches or was it really over millions of years according to the latest figures used by evolutionists? Was the virgin birth figurative? What about the flood, Noah's ark, and the donkey that spoke? This position of "accommodating language" leads to the path of agnosticism and ultimately to the position of errancy and fallibility regarding God's pure and Holy Word.

The article continues:

"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."

My response:

Wrong. This verse is not teaching that the earth is "suspended in space."

As you can see here this is put as a question, "what does the earth hang upon?" This is simply conveying the idea that the earth is NOT hanging or suspended by anything and NOT that it is suspended in space. Also, the helio-centric position would assert that not only is the earth spinning and revolving around the sun but that the entire milky way galaxy is shooting through space. This verse would not be communicating any thing of that sort. I will also point out the hypocrisy of how one believes that pillars, circle of the earth, and various other verses are "language of appearance" and yet the same ones will pull up Job 26:7 as being literal and supporting the helio-centric position!

The article continues:

"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.'

Note, the Biblical Hebrew word for 'circle' (חוג—chuwg) can also mean 'round' or 'sphere.'

'The Earth a Sphere—Certain astronomical relations were recognized very early. The stars appear as if attached to a globe rotating round the Earth once in 24 hours, and this appearance was clearly familiar to the author of the Book of Job, and indeed long before the time of Abraham, since the formation of the constellations could not have been effected without such recognition. But the spherical form of the heavens almost involves a similar form for the Earth, and their apparent diurnal rotation certainly means that they are not rigidly connected with the Earth, but surround it on all sides at some distance from it. The Earth therefore must be freely suspended in space, and so the Book of Job describes it: ‘He stretcheth out the north over empty space, and hangeth the Earth upon nothing’ (Job 26:7).' (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia)]"

My response:

The Hebrew word for "chuwg" simply means circle and is discussed in-depth in another article response here. The Hebrew for ball is simply "dur" and is not used in Isaiah 40:22.

As far as the constellations, the motion of the stars are, in fact, proof that we are on a flat stationary earth. Considering that the entire galaxy is shooting through the supposed infinite universe at 1.34 million miles per hour but the stars location do not change, demonstrates that the earth is stationary and secondly that it is the stars revolving above us as seen in countless star trail time-lapse photos and videos. The closer you are to a pole the more directly above you the spiral will be.

Samuel Rowbotham speaks of this issue in saying:

"IT has often been urged that the earth must be a globe, because the stars in the southern 'hemisphere' move round a south polar star; in the same way that those of the north revolve round 'Polaris,' or the northern pole star. This is another instance of the sacrifice of truth, and denial of the evidence of our senses for the purpose of supporting a theory which is in every sense false and unnatural. It is known to every observer that the north pole star is the centre of a number of constellations which move over the earth in a circular direction. Those nearest to it, as the 'Great Bear,' are always visible in England during their whole twenty-four hours' revolution. Those further away southwards rise north-north-east, and set south-south-west; still further south they rise east by north, and set west by north. The farthest south visible from England, the rising is more to the east and south-east, and the setting to the west and south-west. But all the stars visible from London rise and set in a way which is not compatible with the doctrine of rotundity. For in-stance, if we stand with our backs to the north, on the high land known as 'Arthur's Seat,' near Edinburgh, and note the stars in the zenith of our position, and watch for several hours, the zenith stars will gradually recede to the north-west. If we do the same on Woodhouse Moor, near Leeds, or on any of the mountain tops in Yorkshire or Derbyshire, the same phenomenon is observed. The same thing may be seen from the top of Primrose Hill, near Regent's Park, London; from Hampstead Heath; or Shooter's Hill, near Woolwich. If we remain all night, we shall observe the same stars rising towards our position from the north-east, showing that the path of all the stars between ourselves and the northern centre move round the north pole-star as a common centre of rotation; just as they must do over a plane such as the earth is proved to be. It is undeniable that upon a globe zenith stars would rise, pass over head, and set in the plane of the observer's position. If now we carefully watch in the same way the zenith stars from the Rock of Gibraltar, the very same phenomenon is observed. The same is also the case from Cape of Good Hope, Sydney and Melbourne in Australia, in New Zealand, in Rio Janeiro, Monte Video, Valparaiso, and other places in the south. If then the zenith stars of all the places on the earth, where special observations have been made, rise from the morning horizon to the zenith of an observer, and descend to the evening horizon, not in a plane of the position of such observer, but in an arc of a circle concentric with the northern centre, the earth is thereby proved to be a plane, and rotundity altogether disproved--shown, indeed, to be impossible." - Earth Not A Globe, Chapter 14 XIV. Examination of the So-Called ''Proofs'' of the Earth's Rotundity, Motion Of Stars North And South pages 285-286

 Continuing from article:

"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."

My response:

Wrong. Proverbs uses the same word used in Isaiah 40:22 which means circle or circuit.

In addition, the Hebrew word "chaqaq" is used in connection to this circle and means to hack or engrave upon. 

The obvious question now follows as, how does one engrave upon a spinning ball?

Also, to say that when one is "overlooking the ocean it appears as a circle" is simply false. What sort of horizon have they been looking at? It is called the horizon because it is HORIZONTAL! In addition, it is called sea level because it is LEVEL, not curved! No matter how high we go, starting at sea level, the horizon is always rising to eyelevel and does not depict a curve. This is some of the strongest observational evidence regarding the flat earth.

They say that "Job 26:10 indicates that where light terminates, darkness begins. This suggests day and night on a spherical globe." How in the world does that "suggest" or "indicate" day and night on a spinning ball, orbiting the sun? Again, I would like to point out the hypocrisy of how this particular verse is somehow supporting the helio-centric model and yet when the Bible speaks about four corners, pillars, or the sun standing still that those references are "language of appearance" or "accommodating languages."

The text uses the word "choq" which means to bound regarding the waters. It literally reads here that God circled the waters with a bound. "Chuq" is the same Hebrew word used in Proverbs 8:29 for the waters not "passing His commandment when He appointed the foundations of the earth."

The text goes on to speak about the completion of the light and darkness which is NO WAY suggests that this is indicating a the helio-centric model for day and night. It literally reads that He has "circled the waters with bounds unto the completion of the day and night (or light and darkness) respectively.

This verse, however, would be supporting the flat earth which has the waters bound and has circuits for the both the sun and moon.

The article continues by saying:

"The Hebrew record is the oldest, because Job is one of the oldest books in the Bible. Historians generally [wrongly] credit the Greeks with being the first to suggest a spherical Earth. In the sixth century B.C., Pythagoras suggested a spherical Earth."

My response:

This is a completely absurd form of argumentation. Yes, the Hebrew record is the oldest certainly regarding the manuscripts extant in history (Dead Sea scrolls contain much of the book Job) but the Hebrew record was not one of ball earth nor was it the Hebrew cosmology.

Pythagoras had a rather cosmological model to begin with. "Pythagoras also developed a rather sophisticated cosmology. He and his followers believed the earth to be perfectly spherical and that heavenly bodies, likewise perfect spheres, moved as the Earth around a central fire invisible to human eyes (this was not the sun for it also circled this central fire) as shown in Fig. 2.8. There were 10 objects circling the central fire which included a counter-earth assumed to be there to account from some eclipses but also because they believed the number 10 to be particularly sacred. This is the first coherent system in which celestial bodies move in circles, an idea that was to survive for two thousand years."

Figure 2.8

Also consider this clip from a newspaper in San Francisco Call, Volume 74, Number 81, 20 August 1893.

This argument starts with the helio-centric presupposition and then attempts to argue that the Bible really taught a ball earth and is therefore the earliest and the most credible witness of this position which predates Pythagoras. This is not how we study nor read God's Word. This makes the Bible a mere footnote of commentary within the religious cult of "scientism." Here is good video which discusses the history and the "Cult of Pythagoras."

The article continues:

"Eratosthenes of Alexandria (circa 276 to 194 or 192 B.C.) calcuated the circumference of the Earth 'within 50 miles of the present estimate.' [Encyclopedia Brittanica]

The Greeks also drew meridians and parallels. They identified such areas as the poles, equator, and tropics. This spherical Earth concept did not prevail; the Romans drew the Earth as a flat disk with oceans around it."

My response:

Eratosthenes, like Christian Answers here, first assumed the earth was round when he went to measure the angles between two cities, Alexandria and Syene. He had two assumptions when doing this: first he assumed that the earth was a sphere and secondly that the rays of the sun are parallel. 

Here is a short 3d model video which shows that we have similar effects if one takes into consideration that the sun is smaller and closer to us. 

Obviously starting from the assumption that the earth is a sphere is problematic when your go on to prove what you have already assumed. Secondly, we observe  crepuscular rays which are "rays of sunlight that appear to radiate from the point in the sky where the sun is located."

In addition, the earth's rays being "parrael" do not explain the polar ice regions nor the equator given the axial tilt of the earth.

Fourthly, we have observed clouds in front and behind the sun which would argue against the idea of the sun being 92.95 million millions of miles away.

Samuel Rowbotham describes an experiment in determining the distance of the sun from the earth by saying:

"The distance from London Bridge to the sea-coast at Brighton, in a straight line, is 50 statute miles. On a given day, at 12 o'clock, the altitude of the sun, from near the water at London Bridge, was found to be 61 degrees of an arc; and at the same moment of time the altitude from the sea-coast at Brighton was observed to be 64 degrees of an arc, as shown in fig. 58. The base-line from L to B, 50 measured statute miles; the angle at L, 61 degrees; and the angle at B, 64 degrees. In addition to the method by calculation, the distance of the under edge of the sun may be ascertained from these elements by the method called "construction." 

Figure 58

"The diagram, fig. 58, is the above case 'constructed;' that is, the base-line from L to B represents 50 statute miles; and the line L, S, is drawn at an angle of 61 degrees, and the line B, S, at an angle of 64 degrees. Both lines are produced until they bisect or cross each other at the point S. Then, with a pair of compasses, measure the length of the base-line B, L, and see how many times the same length may be found in the line L, S, or B, S. It will be found to be sixteen times, or sixteen times 50 miles, equal to 800 statute miles. Then measure in the same way the vertical line D, S, and it will be found to be 700 miles. Hence it is demonstrable that the distance of the sun over that part of the earth to which it is vertical is only 700 statute miles. By the same mode it may be ascertained that the distance from London of that part of the earth where the sun was vertical at the time (July 13th, 1870) the above observations were taken, was only 400 statute miles, as shown by dividing the base-line L, D, by the distance B, L. If any allowance is to be made for refraction--which, no doubt, exists where the sun's rays have to pass through a medium, the atmosphere, which gradually increases in density as it approaches the earth's surface--it will considerably diminish the above-named distance of the sun; so that it is perfectly safe to affirm that the under edge of the sun is considerably less than 700 statute miles above the earth." - Earth Not A Globe, Chapter 5, The True Distance Of The Sun

The article continues:

"The round shape of our planet was a conclusion easily drawn by watching ships disappear over the horizon and also by observing eclipse shadows, and we can assume that such information was well known to New Testament writers. Earth's spherical shape was, of course, also understood by Christopher Columbus."

My response:

Ships disappear over the horizon due to our limited line of site and due to convergence. There have been many experiments which involved binoculars which when used these same ships reappear. Therefore this is not evidence for a ball and rather easily debunked.

The eclipsing shadows do not mean that, first, the shadows are being cast by the earth especially seeing as how "the lunar eclipses of July 17th, 1590; November 3rd, 1648; June 16th, 1666; and May 26th, 1668; [where] the moon rose eclipsed whilst the sun was still apparently above the horizon. Those horizontal eclipses were noticed as early as the time of Pliny." Also, a half moon would now mean that earth is half round which is absurd.

The article continues:

"The implication of a round Earth is seen in the book of Luke, where Jesus described his return, Luke 17:31. Jesus said, 'In that day,' then in verse 34, 'In that night.' This is an allusion to light on one side of the globe and darkness on the other simultaneously."

My response:

Day and night work perfectly on the flat earth as seen from the GIF image above and this is a spurious argument and no where supports a spinning ball. In addition how would they explain that the sun stood still in Joshua 10:13 or that sun moved backwards regarding Hezekiah's sun dial that went back ten steps in Isaiah 38:8?

The article continues:

"It is also interesting to note that there are 16 scriptures which refer to God stretching out the heavens. These are remarkable confirmations that the Bible is true, as we know today that the heavens are rapidly expanding."

My response:

Here again the assumption is read into the text rather than the text determining the truth on the matter. This "stretching out of the heavens" supports the flat earth under the dome rather than an "expanding universe with no bounds based upon the helio-centric model. I wrote an article discussing this issue entitled "The Biblical Flat Earth: The Dome Of The Earth" where I say:

"In Job 37:18 it reads, 'Can you, like him, spread out the skies, hard as a cast metal mirror?' The Hebrew word for “spread out” is from the Hebrew word 'raqa.' Does that look familiar? 'Raqa' is the Hebrew root for “raqiya” that was used in Genesis 1:6. It literally means to 'pound the earth,' by analogy to expand (by hammering), by implication it means to overlay (with thin sheets of metal). Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary says it means a 'molten looking glass—image of the bright smiling sky. Mirrors were then formed of molten polished metal, not glass.'"

In addition, Isaiah 40:22 speaks about God spreading out the heavens like a tent. How does one spread out tent on a ball? The canopy theory has been offered by other ministries and is filled with discrepancies and is up for revision even today. In an article entitled "The Collapse Of The Canopy Theory" by Answers In Genesis they even admit this saying:

"I understand your concerns regarding the traditional canopy model, and when it comes to all the variables you are absolutely right. The canopy models had some problems......."

I would agree it has some problems. This is the sort of reasoning that has brought upon a plethora of problems in the first place. The Bible isn't correcting these men or ministries but rather the men, ministries, or the latest assumptions of "scientism" are now attempting to correct the plain meaning of the Scriptures which are teaching completely incompatible ideas.

The article finishes by saying:

"When the Bible touches on scientific subjects, it is entirely accurate."

My response:

I certainly agree with that, however. That the Bible teaches a helio-centric model is completely false and disagrees with what is being called "science" today. One cannot go into the Bible and find any notion of a spinning ball shooting through an expanding universe. The same ones that wish to deny the flat earth Scripture references will also go and argue for the helio-centric model from other verses which are clearly NOT teaching what they wish to impose upon them through an isogetical hermeneutic.

May God be true and every man a liar.

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