What Does the Bible Say About the Shape of the Earth? Part 6

Other parts: 1 2 3 4 5 6

In this final installment of the series, we’ll be looking at the cosmologies of other cultures at the time the Old Testament, aka Torah, was written. Neighboring Egypt assumed a flat Earth covered by some sort of canopy, within which the stars were fixed or suspended:

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Babylon also had a cosmology featuring a flat, disc shaped Earth covered by a dome which held out water. This dome and abyssal ocean outside of it would be adopted by the ancient Israelites for their own cosmological model.

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The Norse religion of Asatru also included a flat Earth, though held up by the world tree “Yggdrasil” and encircled by a huge snake (presumably to explain why nobody had been to the edge).

The Israelites absorbed their ideas about cosmology from their neighbors, Egypt and Babylon, not the Scandinavians. But it shows how common the assumption of a flat Earth was when the Torah was being written.

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So, are all of these other cosmologies “metaphorically correct”, as Christian apologists argue of the ancient Hebrew cosmology? Are they all in fact describing a spherical Earth? No, none of the Christian apologists defend these other flat Earth cosmologies because they are part of religions other than Christianity.

They make their elaborate, convoluted excuses only for the Hebrew model of cosmology found in scripture. Is that reasonable? When the Biblical model bears such a close resemblance to Egyptian, Babylonian and Norse cosmology, is it realistic to suppose that only the Biblical version was metaphorically describing what science has since discovered about the shape of the Earth and structure of the solar system?

All of the arguments apologists use in defense of Biblical cosmology could also be used just as easily in defense of Egyptian, Babylonian or Norse cosmology. They just don’t care to because they aren’t invested in those religions.

The simpler explanation is that ancient Hebrew cosmology as described in the Old Testament was assumed to be true because it’s what every other civilization thought at the time, so the authors included it believing it was true. This is why it’s so similar to the cosmologies of Egypt and Babylon.

It is a huge, ridiculous and indefensible stretch to say that despite being nearly identical to those cosmologies, only the Biblical model is actually an allegorical description of a spherical Earth with a gaseous atmosphere, orbiting the sun rather than vice versa.

More info on this can be found in the video below:

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