Five Reasons Why the Bible Does Not Teach a Flat Earth
Jordan Cooper | 6.IV.2017
- 1:45 First reason is not the best.
While the Bible is the text book for no human science at all, it can definitely correct each of them. Like thou shalt not murder can correct abortion promoting "medicine". Or the prophecy about forbidding to marry and to eat meat to correct "medicine" promoting eugenics.
Some pseudo-science can very well be damning and therefore it can be that the Bible warns against that pseudo-science.
And not in a secret way, since the pseudo-science is in that case actually much more secretive than the true scientific understanding which has Bible backing.
2:04 "I'm not saying that the Bible is scientifically inaccurate"
- 3:13 While the Bible does use figures of speech, and while this can be an approach against Flat Earth, I don't think it is the correct one.
3:43 I'd like to underline a thing. Poetic and figure of speech do not cover each other.
On the one hand, "flat earthers affect me as a pain in the arse" involves a figure of speech, but it is not poetic.
On the other hand, when Homer sung "menin aeide thea" while it is definitely poetic and while Christian readers can take it as a figure of speech, Homer was arguably actually invoking what he considered a goddess, a muse, for real. Not sure whether the nine appearing to Hesiod were witches or demons, but Hesiod also clearly believed muses to be persons, not personifications of his mind's diverse aspects or talents. Or other minds' etc.
3:59 God has a literal right hand, since 2019 / 2020 years ago. Not sure when in pregnancy right hands and left hands are formed.
And about God having body parts already in OT, that is prophetic, not purely poetic.
"God is a bird" - you mean "under the shadow of thy wings", right?
When a boy stretches out his arms and runs and says "look, I'm a bird, I am flying", referring to his wings refers to his arms.
In Latin, wing and shoulder pit come from the same root.
Wing ala with a long first a from axla [not sure if attested in very old texts or only inferred], and shoulder pit with an extra diminutive, axilla.
OK, so that passage really was literally fulfulled on Calvary. I suspect Christ when 12 or even some earlier visit to Jerusalem for Easter had played that game all boys play. So, Adam and Eve looked up from Sheol and knew exactly what King David had meant and how that would be fulfilled about 20 years later at the Crucifixion.
No, saying "God is a bird" or "God has feathers" does not follow from refusing to take that passage non-literally.
4:44 As for Revelation, I suspect we may be spared seeing a hydra like monster in this world, but St John could have (potential mood) been taken from Patmos physically to another world God created so that in it Antichrist may appear physically with what moral characteristics he has - like the Pevensies could have (modus irrealis) been taken to a world where Christ appeared as a lion.
In that way, yes, prophecy is sometimes using figures of speech.
However, I think we should be on the lookout literally for a gematria in 666, and not just for a Nero Caesar bis. I mean, in so far as we should have lookouts about what comes before the second coming.
4:52 Psalms may be poetic, but using figures of speech not literally true (some are, as parallelism is a figure of speach and it does not take away literal truth and it is paramount in psalms) is not really part of their poetic appeal.
Poetic and not literal are not coterminous.
5:07 I think every phrase the Scripture does use about Earth or Heaven can safely (if not must obligatorily) be taken as literal. I think we may come back to this later? Or are you treating four corners already here?
5:15 I was wrong.
When I talk about the four corners of the Earth, I wonder whether the NE one is Japan or Sakhalin and whether the SE one is Singapore or Sydney, I also wonder whether Atlantic counts as an inland sea or Americas as islands, and hence whether the SW one is Cape of Good Hope or Cape Horn, while the NW could be Belgium, Jutland, Scandinavia, British Isles. Or, with Americas not counted as islands, Alaska.
Btw, this is a very good point against Flat Earth, since with "South Rim" as periphery and North Pole as centre of a flat circle, you kind of tend to get three corners rather than four.
Promoting, with Illustration of Four Corners on Round Earth
[see lines between corners for angularity of them]
5:27 "it goes out everywhere"?
There is one precise Bible verse I think does not fit this interpretation.
"After these things, I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that they should not blow upon the earth, nor upon the sea, nor on any tree."
[Apocalypse (Revelation) 7:1]
Unlike men or kingdoms physically looking like hydras, angels do exist literally in our world and do control the weather, under God's guidance, as well as factors other than physical weather which could be meant.
So, I think there are exactly four different angels meant and they are engaged on this exact mission (or were or will be).
Which means, they are standing in four different places.
- 5:32 The cosmology of the Bible is not defined by that of other ancient cultures
No quotation marks, since I endorse this to the full and co-say it.
5:55 "When the Bible was written"
Between Babylonians, Egyptians and Phoenicians.
"it must have assumed"
That the Earth was round, bc Phoenicians knew that? Or that it was flat bc Egyptians certainly and Babylonians probably thought so?
Which one is it, it must have assumed?
A good thing to remind both Flat Earther and Flat Earth derailing atheists.
6:35 If all Israelites were in fact Flat Earthers, Flat Earth must have been at least anachronistically a truth believed after ceasing to be such.
If for instance Book of Henoch is teaching Flat Earth (though what I saw of it when I looked carefully at a passage actually doesn't) and Book of Henoch is genuine (though not canonic, due to doubts about genuinity), then Flat Earth would have been correct cosmology up to the Flood of Noah. You read Akallabêth, a very fine meditation on Apocalypse? Well, the scenario of Earth changing shape could account for that.
Also, while the Church at any time may not have known x (OT was before plenitude of truth), it cannot have all of it believed non-x, if x is true.
But chances are they didn't, for one thing priests and kings can have received a tradition about not taking earth as flat due to one verse and other verse seeming to give the supposed disc very different contours. Circles don't have four corners.
Living a long time ago and not having discovered x does not mean actively believing non-x.
If on the other hand a non-x was from the first of man's history available to "discover", and only recently x could be "discovered", than likely the non-x discovered first with less means is likelier to be true.
7 billions of pairs of eyes can watch the skies moving around earth, and the stars along with them.
11 pairs of eyes only could watch earth turn from the moon and not too many more from MIR.
The view of the 7 billions of pairs of eyes is likelier to be true. And it was available earlier.
6:51 But we do hold our faith in what all the ancient Israelites believed, just as we do hold our faith in what at any given century all Catholics believed, in the cases where a consensus is available.
This follows from infallibility of Church, as per this verse:
"But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
[1 Timothy 3:15]
Here St Paul is not talking just of a purely metaphysical or invisible body, he is talking of a visible body having a magisterium which can be consulted.
- 7:19 Thank you very much.
Catholics have not always believed Earth was Flat. However, let's not overdo it the other way since it seems St Basil didn't care one way or the other, while Lactantius (if that was the guy) actually was Flat Earth, there is not a complete consensus against Flat Earth, meaning that Flat Earth while erroneous is not heretical. It's an adiaphoron.
7:50 As you mentioned Aristotle.
His reasons for Earth being round include shadow of Earth on Moon, and this asks the question (some Hindoos answer in the negative, as a mountain at the centre of the Earth's circle would also be a Hindoo / Jainist / Buddhist position) is that shadow Earth's?
They include ships disappearing and appearing at horizons of the sea and they include Eratosthenes (after his day, but E had less exacting precursors) measuring the curvature through sun's shadow on midday, midsummer. But this doesn't prove a full globe, though that is likelier.
The one argument he thought strongest is, past India, you have a sea strait or very broad river to which Alexander came and on the other shore, there are the pillars of Hercules.
In fact, his best argument was a pseudo-Magellan. Now between his day and Magellan's day, Eratosthenes proved that Ganges and Pillars of Hercules aren't far enough apart, others discovered beyond Pillars of Hercules you have a broad sea called the Atlantic, and beyond Ganges you have land.
Hence, Cosmas Indicopleustes was not a fool in considering Earth Flat. And when Photius in Vivliothiki cosidered him such, he also dumpted what was St Thomas' explanation of celestial bodies moving, other than that movement which turns the skies around the Earth each day. So Photius arguably was a cultural snob.
Before Magellan, we had good reasons to believe, but no exact uncontrovertible knowledge that Earth was a full globe rather than for instance a Chapati pan shape.
8:10 Yes, it would matter. What everyone in the Church has always (or always up to a point of controversy) believed, is part of the truth God has revealed or of the truths God has so to speak "co-revealed" with it.
You cannot have one day with the Church believing a lie, all of it. It is against Matthew 28:20 and against 1 Timothy 3:15.
8:36 No, there is no such thing as "people believed things because they lived a long time ago".
You can have lack of belief in a certain discovery before it is discovered, you cannot have uniform belief in its opposite everywhere up to then. The one example I suppose you would cite is Heliocentrism. And you are wrong on Heliocentrism not being taught by the Bible. I suppose like Lita Cosner and the "don't take the psalms literally" crew, you use "under the shadow of thy wings" to prove "the earth shall not be moved" must be taken non-literally. You are also wrong on Heliocentrism having been literally discovered since. It's no more a discovered truth than Big Bang is. Or cosmos beginning 13.5 billion years ago is.
Indeed, they are related issues, since so much of the cosmological distance scale depends on Heliocentrism in interpreting the 0.76 arc seconds alpha Centauri are different in December from June in relation to surrounding background of stars. And therefore so does the Distant Starlight paradox.
Owen Barfield, while he was part of a forbidden society and involved in erroneous doctrines, had an excellent view of what you just said.
A phrase like "people believed things because they lived a long time ago" is in his terms "chronological snobbery".
- 9:17 I believe in a Round Earth and while Church Fathers mostly agreeing certainly helps, so do the literal four corners.
Again, see where the corners are four:
Promoting, with Illustration of Four Corners on Round Earth
[illustration taken from there, see above]
Btw, there is no statement on Earth literally being a disc.
There are four corner's and if you step outside them you need a boat. Then there is a circle, from whichever angle God, angels and holy souls in Heaven look at Earth and it doesn't narrow down via ellipse to thin line, that circle is the contour of a globe and to get off that contour, you need a rocket.
As to disc, no literal such description in all of the Bible. (Btw, in case someone would cite Nebuchadnezzar's dream, it was a dream).
9:49 It's precisely by taking the phrases literally that Round Earth is, not indeed certainly discovered, we'll thank Magellan for that, nor probably discovered, we'll thank Eratosthenes and Aristotle for that, but confirmed.
- 9:56 "imagine if you were having a conversation with somebody and every time they used a figurative phrase you'd point it out and say, well, you mean that literally"
I think this could be very useful in debates, when opponents argue in loose figures of speech instead of in correctly thought out categories.
Like you just did when saying "they believed that because they lived a long time ago". Do you literally believe everyone (not just the medical establishment, who were a minority anyway and had definitely less control over education of masses than now) believed there was air rather than blood in the veins?
Even the peasant who had never been in town? Even the Esquimeaux? Even the Aboriginees of Australia?
More precise than guessing : even the Viking? Snorre's detailing of how philosophy started to arise among Swedes just before Odin came along arguably reflects some philosophemes he got hold of even via Odinism, of which he was knowledgeable though no adherent. And in it, the parallel of veins to streams of water (not to winds) is noted. OK, was Snorre living after Harvey? No. Were pre-Odinist or Odinist Swedes or Norwegians (not including Neo-Odinist ones) living after Harvey? No.
They were not knowledgeable of Harvey's discovery precisely as they were not knowledgeable of the pre-Harvey consensus in Western medicine. BUT what they did believe coincided with what Western medicine teaches post-Harvey to this day.
Also, the intended argument on your side is that we know, that everyone knows, that four corners are a figure of speech. In many verses it could be, but in that verse from Apocalypse, translating "four quarters" as in four directions from any place you stand won't quite do the work. That is why it is the one place where Douay Rheims actually has "corners" (last time I verified, numeric edition could have changed) and not "quarters".
10:06 You are not accounting for how language works either.
With ancient languages, we must look under every nook and cranny to find out what a word actually means. That is why a hapax legomenon is a problem to the Lutheran exegete. He doesn't rely on tradition, hence he needs to rely on very erudite exegesis. With a hapax, that is difficult - unless it's only hapax within the Bible rather than overall. For certain words in LXX version and NT we actually do have lots of Classic Greek literature elucidating the word's general meaning.
That "we must look under every nook and cranny" is a figure of speach not involving physical turning of objects (other than pages in old books) we both know as living now and as sharing a present day English language culture. We cannot presume on same familiarity with ancient Hebrew meaning of "four corners of the Earth".
As to pillars, I'd take that as a schematic representation of tectonic plates being held up over magma and in place by going down deeper into the magma in the middle than at the edges. When it says "pillars of the Earth". As to "pillars of Heaven" I think those places might also translate as "lintels" and can be taken as poles. The axis of heaven turning around earth. The one that crosses the surface of the globe at N and S Poles.
The point is, if you take this as literal about Flat Earth, this will contradict, but if you take it as literal about Round Earth, it will stick together. Pillars are about tectonic plates holding up the surface we live on over interior, while hangeth the Earth on nothing in Job refers to the globe as a whole in space.
- 10:46 "and I'm not going to get into the scientific evidence"
I have nothing against going into it.
The scientific evidence for a Round Earth and not just a curved one that is safest is a seafarer from Portugal. Checking wiki, yes, he was from Portugal:
Fernão de Magalhães, bom dia ...
11:27 I'd clearly like to know why NASA is a better authority for Round Earth than Magellan.
You know people giving them observed informations, fine, as they probably live in US, those would probably be real informations in US.
If they were conspirators and needed less information from "South Rim" as Rob Skiba et al. would have it, what is to stop NASA from sending billions of dollars to boomerang accounts, making up the information, and taking the money for their own wallet?
That other people are doing real observations near the South Pole independently? Well, that presupposes there is one (I believe there is) and this then needs to be taken from some surer source than potentially corrupt NASA. I'm taking Magellan.
No, while I think the accusation is at least in this case unfounded, it is not impossible. Or only becomes so through evidence prior to and exterior to NASA.
(Btw, Rob Skiba, like you, doesn't believe 1 Tim 3:15 means that much, he has taken it to extremes where he rejects Nicaea).
Sending money to people who will not do the work they are nominally paid for is alas NOT an absurd amount of secrecy.
Tax payers do that to medicine, when in many countries some doctors will nominally be paid to save lives and in actual fact abort babies. Not to mention what psychiatry is supposed to take care of and what it actually does to people.
- 12:12 No, the Flat Earth issue gives us occasion to show we are not stupid.
As I did, showing literal Scripture working better for Round than for Flat Earth.
12:17 "every Reputable Christian" ... you mean like canonised saints?
You mean like a Catholic hierarchy (not meaning the Vatican II pseudo-one)?
Oh, "organization" ... you know, I am not into World Council of Churches, and it would have been better for the Catholic apparent hierarchs post-Vatican II not to have approached it.
Besides, who says Rob Skibas Seed isn't a reputable Christian organisation about end times prophecy?
The Magisterium of Rome? What Rome? Your neighbour in Kansas (and the probable real pope, if he drops some Spurgeon type manners in pastoral)? Or the guy from Buenos Aires? Or the guy IN Buenos Aires ("Alexander IX")?
12:38 "all agree this idea has no merit"
So, Biologos and Reasons to Believe are in your view reputable despite flouting Biblical history?
And CMI and AiG are reputable in Astronomy, even when also rejecting Geocentrism, even when this means they bend themselves into pretzels over Distant Starlight (including arguing light travelled millions of years to arrive when Earth had day IV ... which on normal interpretations of "simultaneous" and of "before" and of "after" means that stars were created diverse numbers of millennia or megayears or gigayears before day I)?
Like Photius rejecting Indicopleustes, this is an appeal to social prestige. I think baptismal vows (even if your godfather pronounced them for you) would oblige you to a somewhat different view on the world.
Abrenuntio Satanam, et opera eius et praestigia eius.
Same with appeal to people with scientific degrees.
- Excursus on Magellan
- While he planned the expedition, he didn't complete it, but was killed "on the road." There is some dispute on who first completed it, since Magellan's slave Enrique from Sumatra could have been home soon after running away, which would be well before the Spaniards returned home, but there is no dispute we got the news from the Spaniards who were acting in Magellan's name (except on the item of freeing Enrique, as Magellan had written in his testament). For details on that other dispute, see here:
Who Really Was First to Travel Around the World?
Today I Found Out | 7.IX.2015
- Excursus on God as Bird
- Deuteronomy 32: As the eagle enticing her young to fly, and hovering over them, he spread his wings, and hath taken him and carried him on his shoulders.
Here we have a figure of speech indeed, but one clearly detailed out as a simile, not the metaphor, where the signalling of "figure of speech on comparables" is omitted.
Also, we find in this verse literal prophetic reference to King David's carrying lambs (which is a prophetic metaphor for the Good Shepherd) and again, to Christ on the Cross.
In order for this one to imply God is taken to be a bird if this is taken literally, one would have to have a text omitting first part of the verse. Or something. Also, spreading wings and carrying of shoulders is, taken literally, quite a feat for a bird. Glimfeather?