vBlog Post #003
In the third episode the Science Pastor talks about the accusation that Christianity hinders science. Using a humanist web page as the source of specific accusations about Christianity hindering science, the Science Pastor looks at the claim that the Bible teaches the earth is flat.
Let's take a look at a couple of examples of the scripture used in claims the Bible describes a flat earth:
A common claim is that many verses in the Bible refer to the "face of the earth." An example is Genesis 1:29 - "which is upon the face of all the earth." The problem with this is that it takes a 1611 translation of the Bible and imposes 21st century definitions on the words. In today's English, and applying a geometrical definition, "face" means a flat surface. However, that is not what "face" meant in the past. I pulled out my 1840 Websters. The first definition of "face" is "surface." It simply refers to the surface of the earth, such as in the NSAB translation of Genesis 1:29 - "that is on the surface of all the earth." If you are going to use the King James, you MUST learn the definitions of words as they were used in the 17th century.
Job 38:4-5 -- the claim is that this verse is stating the earth is measured with a line, not a curve. The place is to start by looking at the verses, in context:
Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind and said,
“Who is this who darkens the divine plan
By words without knowledge?
Now tighten the belt on your waist like a man,
And I shall ask you, and you inform Me!
Verse 4: Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell Me, if you have understanding,
Verse 5: Who set its measurements? Since you know.
Or who stretched the measuring line over it?
On what were its bases sunk?
Or who laid its cornerstone,
When the morning stars sang together
And all the sons of God shouted for joy?
“Or who enclosed the sea with doors
When it went out from the womb, bursting forth;
In Job chapter 38 God begins to question Job, silencing Job's presumptive questioning of God. God does not give reasons for Job's losses, pain and suffering. What God does is put Job in his place by asking, "Who are you to question me?" He is asking Job if he was as great, eternal, wise, powerful and perfect as God. If not, it would be better for Job to be quiet and trust God. That is the point God is making. He makes this point using the analogy of constructing a building, asking Job if he participated in creation (construction). There is nothing here talking about the shape of the earth. God's words are those of someone constructing a building. We cannot take an analogy such as this, and read into it a meaning that is not there.
Just one more: flat earth proponents say that when the Bible talks about paths being straight, that means the earth must be flat. Otherwise, the paths would follow the curvature of the earth. 1 Samuel 6:12 is given as an example:
And the kine took the straight way to the way of Bethshemesh... (KJV)
Now the cows went straight in the direction of Beth-shemesh... (NASB)
It is obvious scripture is not referring to the earth being flat. What it is saying is that the cows went directly toward Beth-shemesh, instead of wandering about. They stayed on the road, which was not necessarily perfectly straight, and did not leave the road that went to Beth-shemesh.
To claim the Bible describes a flat earth is an absurd claim, with no basis in scripture.
For more information see the following Science Pastor pages:
Does the Bible teach that the earth is flat?
Did the church fathers teach that the earth is flat?
For addition information:
Does the Bible teach that the earth is flat? (GotQuestions.org)
Does the Bible teach that the earth is flat? (AIG)
Question: Bible... Round Earth vs. Flat Earth
I just saw your video on the shape of the earth. First, you gave no biblical evidence for your answer besides Job 26:7 which says, "He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing."
My first question is, how do you define stretcheth? When I stretch something out, I usually do it in a horizontal formation, starting from the center (North) and expanding out to the left or right. Stretching is almost never done in a circular or spherical shape. Like Psalms 104:2 ...who stretch out the heavens like a curtain.
Secondly, the same scientific institutions that say evolution is the truth and not a theory, also say "creation science" is pseudo-science. These are also the people who say the earth is round. They also say that the moon receives its light from the sun and that is not what Gen 1:16 states. I also believe the earth is the center of the universe (geocentric model) and oppose the theory that the Sun is the center of the universe (heliocentric model).
Lastly, there are a few examples of the word circle "of the earth...on the face of the deep...of heaven." There are several other verses that support a flat plane and not too many that point to the earth being round/sphere. I would appreciate it if you could send me the verses that you have read in the Bible that support your position. I am open to being wrong and more importantly, open for the truth.
Bible... Round Earth vs. Flat Earth: Response
Thank you for taking the time to write, and for your three point question.
#1 - How I define "stretcheth" (King James) is not what is important. What is important is, what does scripture mean?
You seem to be using a very limited definition of "stretcheth". What happens when you inflate or balloon or basketball? The material stretches. Stretching, or extending (I stretched my arms), or expanding (the fabric of the balloon stretched as it filled), does not imply a flat surface. In addition, when understanding scripture we must read it in the context in which it was written. The Hebrew word translated as "stretched" is "natah." It is a word that is translated into English using 50 different English words, ranging from stretched, to extend, bowed, and bend down. Overall it has the meaning of expanding or pulling taunt. The analogy used in Job and Psalm 104 is that of stretching an animal skin tent when setting it up. The skins shrank when not in use, and needed to be pulled taunt to make a sturdy, durable tent. God is not saying anything about the shape of the earth or the universe. What scripture is talking about is simply pulling taunt so as to properly build or assemble.
#2 - I'm sorry, but I have to say, "So what?" That evolutionists call some scientific facts "pseudo-science," AND that they believe the earth is round, are not related to each other. They are wrong about the first and right about the second. Evolutionists do get some things right. The president of the Flat Earth Society, Daniel Shenton, is an ardent evolutionist. Based on the logic you presented, I should then conclude that I need to reject a belief in a flat earth simply because its leading proponent is an evolution evangelist. That is very poor logic. We reject a flat earth because it does not reflect reality. It is not true, and Christians value truth.
#3 - Why did God give us the Bible? It was not to describe the shape of the earth. There is nothing in the Bible stating the earth is a sphere, nor anything at all indicating the earth is flat. Taking scriptures, such as Genesis 1:29 (see above), and reading a description of a flat earth into them, distorts those scriptures and may even turn the reader away from the actual meaning of scripture. That's a problem. For example, the meaning of "face" in the 17th century King James was "surface," which is how the NASB translates Genesis 1:29 today. Did you watch the video? It addresses some of these issues of language, such as the four corners of the earth.
One final point: Are you aware of the origin of the belief in a flat earth? People in the Middle Ages believed the earth was a sphere. Columbus knew the earth was a sphere. His problem was that he miscalculated the size of the sphere. Aristotle, in the third century BC, knew the earth was a sphere, and his understanding of the world ruled science for nearly 2000 years. The myth of a flat earth originated in 1828 in Washington Irving’s biography of Columbus, A History of the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus. It was promoted into a popular "meme" of its time by Andrew White and John Draper as a part of their efforts to destroy Christianity. So if we follow the logic of your second point, since the myth of a flat earth was created as a means to destroy Christianity, Christians should reject it... which would be good because it is a lie that rejects Biblical truth... a tool of the father of lies.
So I urge you, be very careful about what you are promoting. Please get a full understanding. For example, having a reference such as a John MacArthur study Bible can be very helpful:
Thank you for writing.