>”The Bible does not teach that the world is flat.”

Yes it does, the article establishes that exhaustively, so far we only disagree about *why* it teaches that. You take the Watsonian position that it was a decision made in order to avoid shocking or confusing the intended audience whose understanding of nature was comparatively limited.

I take the Doylist position that it was an error made by authors pretending to have divinely revealed information about nature which they thought would never be possible to investigate, but which did eventually become possible to as improving technology expanded the scope of science.

>”The Bible speaks to the Israelites in the world view that they would understand. That was their cosmology, so God spoke to them using their worldview, rather than teaching them new science.”

There are a few problems with this. First, if we believe the Bible is the only valid manual for salvation, and Yahweh knowingly permits it to contain flagrantly false information which was thought to be true at the time of publication, then future readers could not reasonably be punished with hell for reading the Bible, seeing those errors, and concluding it’s fraudulent.

The second problem is that if we allow the Bible contains false information about the natural world in order to not blow the minds of the authors/ancient readers, what does this do to Genesis? Can we conclude Yahweh did not really create life, the Earth, the universe?

Is that wrong too? The order of events certainly is, at least. The Earth did not actually exist before the sun, the sun did not exist before all other stars, birds did not really exist before all other land animals as in the dual Genesis accounts, etc. which is strange because they are written as things Yahweh personally did, events he was present for and revealed to the authors of the OT. Which brings us to problem 3:

Many of the verses I referenced in this article are similar to Genesis in that they reference things Yahweh personally did, sometimes in the first person, sometimes things Jesus recalls, claiming to have been there with Yahweh to see it happen, as in Proverbs 8:23–31:

>23 I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.

>24 When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water.

>25 Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth:

>26 While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.

>27 When he prepared the heavens, I was there: **when he set a compass upon the face of the depth**:

>28 When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep:

>29 When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth:

>30 Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him;

>31 Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.

Emphasis mine, notice the wording. “When he set a compass upon the face of the depth”. Worded in other versions of the Bible as “marking out a circle”, as a compass is a tool used to mark 2d circles on flat surfaces. This and the “fountains of the deep”, the raqiya (original Hebrew wording used wherever we see clouds above, sky, etc. in English translations) are both accepted features of the flat Earth cosmology understood by historians to have been believed in by ancient Hebrews, influenced by the cosmologies of neighboring Egypt and Babylon at that time.

These verses are significant in that they are not simply the supposition of ancient man, at least not from a Christian perspective. This is “straight from the horse’s mouth” as it were, coming directly from Jesus who is describing what he witnessed at the dawn of time.

>”Can you imagine what on earth it would have looked like if God had tried to change their worldview completely and taught them science? It probably wouldn’t have gone down too well.”

Why not? Is dictating modern cosmology, word by word, to ancient authors beyond the abilities of an omnipotent cosmic being?

>”Instead he taught them theology using language that they already knew. He worked within an society to set them apart from the people around them.”

I’ll give you marks for cleverness, apologetics really prepares one to be a politician with an efficacy unmatched by any other scholarly discipline. But this is basically a blank check for errors. The Bible could say 2+2=5 (or that pi is exactly 3) and you could excuse it as something left in scripture so as not to rattle the primitive worldview of the intended audience.

Even though the Bible contains a great many things which would’ve had that effect, from it’s subversive moral philosophies, severe criticisms of other religions of the time, and the horrific visions of Earth and humanity’s annihilation in the book of Revelation.

I predict you won’t throw Revelation under the bus so easily as, together with Genesis, they book-end the Judeo-Christian narrative serving as accounts of how the world came into being and how it will end. If we get into “well it’s accurate but in a metaphorical way” then we have to return to discussing why the events in Genesis are out of order and what exactly is metaphorically communicated by that, which could not have been better communicated by putting them in the right order, avoiding future confusion and rejection of scripture by skeptics that would result from the order that actually made it in.

But really, there is a simpler test: If I, personally, presented you with information I said had been revealed by the supreme being and over the years, new scientific findings showed that information to contain errors, would you accept it as a plausible explanation that those errors were included so as to maintain compatibility with your understanding of the universe? Does that sound convincing to you, or like a transparent attempt to rationalize away the existence of mistakes in a text supposedly revealed by a being who cannot make them?




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Alex Beyman

Alex Beyman

I post text here, often accompanied by images and sometimes video. People then clap or don't depending on whether they enjoy what I posted.

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