Jump to content


Photo

Shape Of The World? Flat Or Spherical?


  • Please log in to reply
6 replies to this topic

#1 Cassiterides

Cassiterides

    Banned

  • Banned
  • PipPipPip
  • 631 posts
  • Age: 20
  • Christian
  • Young Earth Creationist
  • uk

Posted 17 August 2010 - 09:39 AM

Thread to discuss what the Bible actually says about the shape of the world. This has been a topic i have well researched for many years.

Mostly atheists or Bible skeptics claim the Bible states the world is flat, they construct the Biblical cosmography as a flat or rectangular disc.

In contrast, the vast majority of Christians believe the Bible says the world is spherical or a globe (like a 'ball') but there are a very small minority of Christians who believe the earth is flat. There are a few modern flat-earth believing Christians on the FES (Flat Earth Society) forum.

Anyway here is recent table i compiled (took me quite a while collecting all the sources) for a research book i am in the process of writing.

The table shows what notable early Christians, including numerous Church Fathers believed the shape of the world was. From what i know, no one else has done a table like this on the web, and it took me quite a while to make, but i wont copyright it, so anyone feel free to use it.

Posted Image

As you can see from the above table, very few Christians believed the world was flat. The majority believed the world was a sphere.

It is interesting to note that most of the minority flat world believing Christians were converts to Christianity from paganism (i.e Theophilis of Antioch, Lactantius). Their views on cosmology therefore were distinct to the majority of Church Fathers and early Christians. Diodorus of Tarsus is listed as a flat world believer, but this only stems from a commentary written by Photius on him - long after his death, so there could have been an error. Severian was a another minority flat world believer, but it is known he may have only believed so to oppose John Chrysostom, his enemy.

The last flat world believer of this period was Cosmas Indicopleustes (550AD). His work was not popular amongst Christians of his period, and most of it was just taken from Severian. Flat world beliefs after Cosmas, were virtually non-existant and only became again popular in the 19th century by Zezetic astronomers under Samuel Rowbotham (1816–1884) who published Zetetic Astronomy: Earth Not a Globe .

In conclusion, i think it is fairly obvious that Christianity has little to do with flat world cosmography, while there have and still are flat world believers, within Christianity they have always been the minority. The earliest Christians, including most of the Church Fathers believed the world was a sphere.

More research on what the Bible says about the shape of the world to follow.

#2 GerryT

GerryT

    Junior Member

  • Banned
  • PipPip
  • 30 posts
  • Age: 21
  • Christian
  • Theistic Evolutionist
  • Regina

Posted 17 August 2010 - 01:26 PM

I am not taking the side that the Bible does teach a flat earth, but I do want to question the validity if the chart in the opening post. Its been my experience before that these charts are based on out of context quote mines, so I decided to check some of the sources, and the few sources I looked at which it cites don’t seem to work well with its claims.

For starters, Clement didn’t write Hexameron, it was Basil, and it was in the fourth century. There is also nothing in 4.4 that I can see which connotates a spherical earth. http://www.newadvent...thers/32014.htm

The source for Justin Martyr doesn’t reflect his view of the world either. I’m assuming the line that its referring to is,

"Then let him from the throne he has usurped
Put forth his power and form another globe"

This, indeed implies a spherical earth, but it is Justin quoting Pythagerous. And it cannot be that Justin is quoting him for his view of the shape of the earth, because in the previous quote he gives by Orpheus, there is a flat earth view.
http://www.newadvent...athers/0130.htm

Chrysostom’s Homilies on first Corithians (homily 12) gives no mention of the shape of the earth that I can find. It’s a little longer than the other ones though, so I may have missed it when reading through. http://www.newadvent...hers/220112.htm

The other sources I checked were Augustine’s.
In the first one, City of God 16.9, he states that his belief in a spherical earth is not because of history, but because of science. He doesn’t get this view from the Bible, but the scientific contemporaries of his day.

In his exposition of Psalm 93, his constant use of round earth is not based on the Biblical text at all, nor does he use it to express a spherical or globe like earth. He could have been using a manuscript that contained round, but I can’t find one (even in the alternate septuigant texts). It seems rather that he is using "round" to replace “established”. His reason for translating establish/set as round isn’t clear, but nor does it demand a spherical view of the earth according to this work.
http://www.newadvent...hers/120116.htm
http://www.newadvent...ers/1801093.htm

#3 Cassiterides

Cassiterides

    Banned

  • Banned
  • PipPipPip
  • 631 posts
  • Age: 20
  • Christian
  • Young Earth Creationist
  • uk

Posted 17 August 2010 - 04:11 PM

For starters, Clement didn’t write Hexameron, it was Basil, and it was in the fourth century.  There is also nothing in 4.4 that I can see which connotates a spherical earth.


Yes that is an error i made, looks like i need to edit that. The quote from Clement on the shape of the earth is as follows from his Paedagogus:

''And how the Earth and sea their place should keep; And when the seasons, in their circling course, winter and summer, spring and autumn, each should come, according to wellordered plan; out of a confused heap who didst create this ordered sphere, and from the shapeless mass''

The reason i made this error, is because i found some of these references these from the following:
http://www.scribd.co...Spherical-Earth

Basil's Hexaemeron is quoted directly under the Paedagogus. The Hexaemeron contains relevant quotes to the shape of the world, here is the relevant quote in Hexaemeron Homily 4. 4 to a sphere:

''...in the same way that air, in spite of a like minute division, has occupied the region round the earth''

In the same Homily it is also said (which the above link quotes):

''These are lakes, and there is only one sea, as those affirm who have traveled round the Earth.”

This is talking about circumnavigation round the World Ocean, this is only compatible with a globe or sphere not a flat world cosmography. Though in Homily 9, Basil states the shape of the world is theologically not important:

''If it be spherical or cylindrical, if it resemble a disc and is equally rounded in all parts, or if it has the forth of a winnowing basket and is hollow in the middle; all
these conjectures have been suggested by cosmographers, each one upsetting
that of his predecessor. It will not lead me to give less importance to the
creation of the universe, that the servant of God, Moses, is silent as to
shapes''

The source for Justin Martyr doesn’t reflect his view of the world either.  I’m assuming the line that its referring to is,

"Then let him from the throne he has usurped
Put forth his power and form another globe"

This, indeed implies a spherical earth, but it is Justin quoting Pythagerous.  And it cannot be that Justin is quoting him for his view of the shape of the earth, because in the previous quote he gives by Orpheus, there is a flat earth view.


Justin quotes from Pythagoras, but if you read just before he did this:

''He speaks indeed as if he had been an eyewitness of God's greatness. And Pythagoras agrees with him when he writes.''

Justin used sources from the pagans to confirm God and His creation. This is what most Church Fathers did through literary examination of the early pagan writers to confirm a monotheistic presence, it links to the ''theft of the Greeks'', that being an ancient claim by the early Christians that the ancient Greeks just stole everything from the ancient Hebrews. Therefore when Justin in this passage quoted from Pythagoras to justify ''God's greatness'' he was confirming his belief that the earth was a sphere. This is found throughout his works, since Justin was a Christian with a background in Platonism. Plato believed the earth was a sphere.

Chrysostom’s Homilies on first Corithians (homily 12) gives no mention of the shape of the earth that I can find.  It’s a little longer than the other ones though, so I may have missed it when reading through.


'Globe' and 'sphere' are found throughout his Homilies. I will find the exact quote i referenced and get back to you, my computer is a mess with so many documents however i found another i had and could have cited, from Homily 18 on Romans:

''...but in land, and in sea, and in every quarter of the globe''

The other sources I checked were Augustine’s.
In the first one, City of God 16.9, he states that his belief in a spherical earth is not because of history, but because of science.  He doesn’t get this view from the Bible, but the scientific contemporaries of his day.

In his exposition of Psalm 93, his constant use of round earth is not based on the Biblical text at all, nor does he use it to express a spherical or globe like earth.  He could have been using a manuscript that contained round, but I can’t find one (even in the alternate septuigant texts).  It seems rather that he is using "round" to replace “established”.  His reason for translating establish/set as round isn’t clear, but nor does it demand a spherical view of the earth according to this work.


Globe and sphere are found thoughout his writings:

''But as to your saying that the whole world that rejoices in Christian communion is the party of Macarius, who with any remnant of sanity in his brain could make such a statement? But because we say that you are of the party of Donatus, you therefore seek for a man of whose party you may say we are; and, being in a great strait, you mention the name of some obscure person, who, if he is known in Africa, is certainly unknown in any other quarter of the globe.''

http://www.ccel.org/...globe#highlight

The references i gave were only two, there are hundreds more. Augustine was certainly a spherical world believer.

#4 ikester7579

ikester7579

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 12500 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Florida
  • Interests:God, creation, etc...
  • Age: 48
  • Christian
  • Young Earth Creationist
  • I'm non-denominational

Posted 17 August 2010 - 06:21 PM

One also needs to know that the story about Columbus and flat earth was not true.

In 1828, American writer Washington Irving (author of Rip Van Winkle) published a book entitled The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus. It was a mixture of fact and fiction, with Irving himself admitting he was “apt to indulge in the imagination.”

Its theme was the victory of a lone believer in a spherical Earth over a united front of Bible-quoting, superstitious ignoramuses, convinced the Earth was flat. In fact, the well-known argument at the Council of Salamanca was about the dubious distance between Europe and Japan which Columbus presented—it had nothing to do with the shape of the Earth

In 1834, the anti-Christian Letronne falsely claimed that most of the Church Fathers, including Augustine, Ambrose and Basil, held to a flat Earth. His work has been repeatedly cited as “reputable” ever since.

In the late nineteenth century, the writings of John William Draper and Andrew Dickson White were responsible for promoting the myth that the church taught a flat Earth. Both had Christian backgrounds, but rejected these early in life.

Englishman Draper convinced himself that with the downfall of the Roman Empire the 'affairs of men fell into the hands of ignorant and infuriated ecclesiastics, parasites, eunuchs and slaves' these were the 'Dark Ages'. Draper's work, History of the Conflict between Religion and Science (1874), was directed particularly against the Roman Church, and was a best seller.

Meanwhile White (who founded Cornell University as the first explicitly secular university in the United States), published the two-volume scholarly work History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom, in 1896.

Both men incorrectly portrayed a continuing battle through the Christian era between the defenders of ignorance and the enlightened rationalists. In fact, not only did the church not promote the flat Earth, it is clear from such passages as Isaiah 40:22 that the Bible implies it is spherical. (Non-literal figures of speech such as the “four corners of the Earth” are still used today.)

While many will have lost their faith through the writing of such men as Irving, Draper and White, it is gratifying to know that the following encyclopedias now present the correct account of the Columbus affair: The New Encyclopaedia Britannica (1985), Colliers Encyclopaedia (1984), The Encyclopedia Americana (1987) and The World Book for Children (1989).

There is still a long way to go before the average student will know that Christianity did not invent or promote the myth of the flat Earth.

The idea that the earth is flat is a modern concoction that reached its peak only after Darwinists tried to discredit the Bible, an American history professor says.

Jeffrey Burton Russell is a professor of history at the University of California in Santa Barbara. He says in his book Inventing the Flat Earth (written for the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's journey to America in 1492) that through antiquity and up to the time of Columbus, “nearly unanimous scholarly opinion pronounced the earth spherical.”

Russell says there is nothing in the documents from the time of Columbus or in early accounts of his life that suggests any debate about the roundness of the earth. He believes a major source of the myth came from the creator of the Rip Van Winkle story-Washington Irving-who wrote a fictitious account of Columbus's defending a round earth against misinformed clerics and university professors.

But Russell says the flat earth mythology flourished most between 1870 and 1920, and had to do with the ideological setting created by struggles over evolution. He says the flat-earth myth was an ideal way to dismiss the ideas of a religious past in the name of modern science.

Reference: http://www.christian...g/aig-c034.html

**********************

To make it look like that the Christians started this Flat Earth myth. The atheists of that time actually look for verses in the Bible to help their cause of deception. What they found is this:

rev 7:1 And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.

So we have four angels, standing on the four corners of the earth. Holding the four winds. To have the four angels control the four winds. Where would they have to stand? At the places where the four winds come from. North, south, east, and west. So the four corners are a reference to four directions of the earth not a description of how the earth is shaped as atheist-evolutionists will try and convince you that it is.

Posted Image

And here is some other verses they will use:

acts 13:47 For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.

rom 10:18 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.

Their question will be: How does a sphere have an end? Simple. If you face a ball, which is spherical, and grab it. Where is it that you are grabbing it? On it's ends. So the earth has ends according to where you are looking at it from.

Posted Image

Reference: http://www.yecheadqu...at_earth.1.html
http://www.yecheadqu...at_earth.2.html

#5 GerryT

GerryT

    Junior Member

  • Banned
  • PipPip
  • 30 posts
  • Age: 21
  • Christian
  • Theistic Evolutionist
  • Regina

Posted 17 August 2010 - 06:23 PM

Yes that is an error i made, looks like i need to edit that. The quote from Clement on the shape of the earth is as follows from his Paedagogus:

''And how the Earth and sea their place should keep; And when the seasons, in their circling course, winter and summer, spring and autumn, each should come, according to wellordered plan; out of a confused heap who didst create this ordered sphere, and from the shapeless mass''

The reason i made this error, is because i found some of these references these from the following:
http://www.scribd.co...Spherical-Earth

Basil's Hexaemeron is quoted directly under the Paedagogus. The Hexaemeron contains relevant quotes to the shape of the world, here is the relevant quote in Hexaemeron Homily 4. 4 to a sphere:

''...in the same way that air, in spite of a like minute division, has occupied the region round the earth''

In the same Homily it is also said (which the above link quotes):

''These are lakes, and there is only one sea, as those affirm who have traveled round the Earth.”

This is talking about circumnavigation round the World Ocean, this is only compatible with a globe or sphere not a flat world cosmography. Though in Homily 9, Basil states the shape of the world is theologically not important:

''If it be spherical or cylindrical, if it resemble a disc and is equally rounded in all parts, or if it has the forth of a winnowing basket and is hollow in the middle;  all
these conjectures have been suggested by cosmographers, each one upsetting
that of his predecessor. It will not lead me to give less importance to the
creation of the universe, that the servant of God, Moses, is silent as to
shapes''
Justin quotes from Pythagoras, but if you read just before he did this:

''He speaks indeed as if he had been an eyewitness of God's greatness. And Pythagoras agrees with him when he writes.''

Justin used sources from the pagans to confirm God and His creation. This is what most Church Fathers did through literary examination of the early pagan writers to confirm a monotheistic presence, it links to the ''theft of the Greeks'', that being an ancient claim by the early Christians that the ancient Greeks just stole everything from the ancient Hebrews. Therefore when Justin in this passage quoted from Pythagoras to justify ''God's greatness'' he was confirming his belief that the earth was a sphere. This is found throughout his works, since Justin was a Christian with a background in Platonism. Plato believed the earth was a sphere.
'Globe' and 'sphere' are found throughout his Homilies. I will find the exact quote i referenced and get back to you, my computer is a mess with so many documents however i found another i had and could have cited, from Homily 18 on Romans:

''...but in land, and in sea, and in every quarter of the globe''
Globe and sphere are found thoughout his writings:

''But as to your saying that the whole world that rejoices in Christian communion is the party of Macarius, who with any remnant of sanity in his brain could make such a statement?  But because we say that you are of the party of Donatus, you therefore seek for a man of whose party you may say we are; and, being in a great strait, you mention the name of some obscure person, who, if he is known in Africa, is certainly unknown in any other quarter of the globe.''

http://www.ccel.org/...globe#highlight

The references i gave were only two, there are hundreds more. Augustine was certainly a spherical world believer.

View Post

I think there is a jump from using quotes that talk about "round" and make them mean spherical or a globe. This can be illustrated in Augustine's Psalm 93 commentary where he uses the word round as a replacement for established. I would be curious to see the greek word the fathers are using and see how it is used elsewhere. Also, the quote from Basil you gave, "''...in the same way that air, in spite of a like minute division, has occupied the region [b]round the earth" is in reference to the round dome above the world in the ancient cosmological view, which many of these quotes can account for.

I'm not denying that many of these father's believed in a globe/spherical earth, but none of these references imply at all that they got this view from scripture. In Augustine's City of God reference he explicitly states that his view of a globe earth comes from science, not history.

The Bible seems to not care either way. I think both views (flat and sphere) can be read into the text while neither is explicit nor intended to be taught.

#6 Cassiterides

Cassiterides

    Banned

  • Banned
  • PipPipPip
  • 631 posts
  • Age: 20
  • Christian
  • Young Earth Creationist
  • uk

Posted 18 August 2010 - 06:33 AM

Also, the quote from Basil you gave, "''...in the same way that air, in spite of a like minute division, has occupied the region [b]round the earth" is in reference to the round dome above the world in the ancient cosmological view, which many of these quotes can account for.

This came about because of a misidentification of the firmament (Hebrew: raqiya). Firmament originally did not mean sky or atmopshere but the crust of the earth. Creation scientist Dr. Walt Brown has written about this. Obviously the misidentification is a monumental error since it is why many Christians believe waters existed in the sky, and that the firmament was a metallic 'dome' which covered the earth. In the Dead Sea Scrolls, raqiya actually means the earth's crust, so the waters seperated from above and below (Genesis 1: 6-7) were actually the waters of the underground watery deep (Tehom) and the above waters i.e the ocean and seas. Thomas Burnet picked up on this in his 17th century book Sacred Theory of the Earth.

Since this misidentification persisted, this is why many Bible skeptics of the ''historicist'' school equate Genesis to ANE. It has also lead to many creationists developing theories like the ''canopy theory'' because they believe the firmament is the sky and so they think waters once existed up there. I don't have a problem with these theories, however i have different creationist beliefs on this issue. Dr. Walt Brown seems to be the only modern prominent creationist who had identified the firmament of Genesis 1: 6 with the earth's crust and not the sky.

#7 Cassiterides

Cassiterides

    Banned

  • Banned
  • PipPipPip
  • 631 posts
  • Age: 20
  • Christian
  • Young Earth Creationist
  • uk

Posted 18 August 2010 - 06:44 AM

To make it look like that the Christians started this Flat Earth myth. The atheists of that time actually look for verses in the Bible to help their cause of deception. What they found is this:

rev 7:1 And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.

So we have four angels, standing on the four corners of the earth. Holding the four winds. To have the four angels control the four winds. Where would they have to stand? At the places where the four winds come from. North, south, east, and west. So the four corners are a reference to four directions of the earth not a description of how the earth is shaped as atheist-evolutionists will try and convince you that it is.


Good point you made. My taking on this though is that the earth (Hebrew: eretz) is not the entire world but only the dry land (note Genesis 1: 10). The earth capitalized ''Earth'' i.e meaning the entire world only came about as a concept in the 14th century AD. This means the references to 'corners', 'edges' or 'ends' of the earth are just the extremities of the dry land which touch the World Ocean. The Bible says the world is surrounded by water, most atheists claim that this means the world then must be a flat disc. However on a sphere there is still a World encircling ocean:

Posted Image

The term World Ocean was coined by Russian oceanographer Shokalsky in 1917. As you can see with the above animation, all the oceans link together to form one main encircling ocean which covers practically all the dry land.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users