What Does the Bible Say About the Shape of the Earth? Part 5

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Other parts: 1 2 3 4 5 6

When I wrote about this topic on Steemit, I expressed the heartfelt hope that I wouldn’t have to re-address the same arguments over and over, but I guesswas asking for too much. It wasn’t long before I received a comment from a sincerely believing Christian fellow who was clever enough to recognize the Earth is not flat, but nevertheless was a creationist who believes Noah’s ark really happened.

Starting from the bottom, he’s at either the second or third position on this chart, depending on how old he believes the Earth to be:

Creationists who accept a spherical Earth are anxious to distance themselves from flat earthers, even though every flat earther is also a creationist, basing their belief in a flat earth on the same fundamentalist Biblical perspective as creationists. The ICR (Institute for Creation Research) has several well known flat Earthers on their membership rolls, though they do not acknowledge it if asked by email.

It must frustrate conventional creationists seeking to deny any shared ideological DNA between their worldview and flat earth creationism, that the same arguments they use against evolution can also be used just as readily against a spherical Earth.

For example, that science is a conspiracy to hide Yahweh from the public, that science has been wrong before, Yahweh could make something appear one way despite the reality being different, “teach the controversy” and so on.

Here’s the set of arguments copied and pasted to me most recently, from this apologetics ministry:

Though the Bible is not a science book, when it touches on scientific matters it is either completely accurate or non-contradictory, and often demonstrates remarkable fore-knowledge. There are many scientific facts mentioned in the Bible that were not understood by man until centuries after the Bible was written. Following are a few examples of the overwhelming scientific evidence for the Bible:

The Earth and Space

God-CreationThe earth’s shape is perhaps the most important to deal with first since many critics claim that the Bible portrays the earth as flat. This couldn’t be farther from the truth and in my opinion is one of the most vaporous arguments used by skeptics against the Bible. There is not a single passage that plainly states that the earth is flat1. The groundswell of this criticism gets its roots from the inaccurate but common belief among many that the ancients on up through the middle ages believed that the earth was flat. The truth is, virtually all learned people have known for the last 2500 years that the earth is spherical [please see footnote 2].

Before the learned ancients surmised that the earth was spherical, the divinely inspired Isaiah wrote “It is He who sits above the circle of the earth…(Isaiah 40:22)”. In addition, from the Book of Job we have “He stretches out the north over empty space; he hangs the earth on nothing (Job 26:7)”. It should be noted that just last century scientists believed space consisted of a hypothetical substance called Ether (not the chemical), which was the medium between the celestial bodies. Also, the pagans of that time believed in such things as a mythical Atlas character who supported the pillars that held heaven and earth apart, and later carried the earth around on his shoulders. Another interesting tidbit that illuminates the divine nature of Job 26:7 is the recent discovery of a huge hole in space in the direction of the northern hemisphere3.

Vast number of stars in the Universe

God said to Abraham ‘Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.’ And He said to him, ‘So shall your descendants be.’(Gen 15:5)”. And through the prophet Jeremiah,‘As the host of heaven (stars) cannot be numbered, nor the sand of the sea measured, so will I multiply the descendants of David My servant (Jeremiah 33:22). And finally, in the New Testament“Therefore from one man, …were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude– innumerable as the sand which is by the
seashore. (Hebrews 11:12)”

Before the invention of the telescope in 1608, scientists throughout history, including the famous astronomer Ptolemy (150 AD), taught that the total number of stars in the heavens was under 3000. On a clear night the naked eye can only count about 1000 stars. However, because of telescopes such as the Hubble, we now know there are countless billions upon billions of stars in the universe — just as God had revealed to us several thousand years ago through the Bible.

Precise dimensions of Noah’s Ark

The dimensions of Noah’s Ark as described in the Bible are ideal for stability. In fact, South Korean architects who examined the dimensions found that the boat was virtually impossible to capsize! Their modeling and analysis found that the ark could survive waves higher than 30 meters! (note that a typical tsunami is only 10 meters high) 7. Many other cultures have flood legends similar to the account in the Bible, but their ark descriptions were never palatable. For example, the Babylonian Gilgamesh Flood legend described an ark that was shaped like a cube, which would be disastrous for stability. 8

Note that the author of these arguments believes the Noah’s ark story really happened. I could dedicate an entire article to just the problems with that story, and probably will at some point in the near future. But for now, it will suffice to address (re-address, actually) the arguments presented here.

“There is not a single passage that plainly states that the earth is flat1.”

Nor do most modern books explicitly state Earth is spherical unless that’s the main topic of the book.

“The truth is, virtually all learned people have known for the last 2500 years that the earth is spherical”

The OT, where most references to Hebrew cosmology can be found, is ~3,300 years old.

“the divinely inspired Isaiah wrote “It is He who sits above the circle of the earth…(Isaiah 40:22)”.”

A circle is not a sphere. We know the authors meant a flat circle because of Proverbs 8:27:

“When he established the heavens, I was there; when he drew a circle on the face of the deep,”

KJV is even more specific:

“When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth”

A compass is a tool used to draw flat circles.

“Before the invention of the telescope in 1608, scientists throughout history, including the famous astronomer Ptolemy (150 AD), taught that the total number of stars in the heavens was under 3000. On a clear night the naked eye can only count about 1000 stars. However, because of telescopes such as the Hubble, we now know there are countless billions upon billions of stars in the universe — just as God had revealed to us several thousand years ago through the Bible.”

The argument implies the Bible says there are billions of stars, but it doesn’t say that anywhere. It only indicates that to the authors of scripture, the thousands of visible stars appeared uncountably numerous. Stuff like that is not impressive, or impossible for them to have guessed. What would actually be evidence for divine foreknowledge would be mentions of electricity, computers, penicillin, etc.

“It should be noted that just last century scientists believed space consisted of a hypothetical substance called Ether (not the chemical), which was the medium between the celestial bodies.”

This does not prove the Bible wasn’t also wrong.

“Also, the pagans of that time believed in such things as a mythical Atlas character who supported the pillars that held heaven and earth apart, and later carried the earth around on his shoulders.”

Again, this doesn’t prove the Bible wasn’t wrong as well.

“The dimensions of Noah’s Ark as described in the Bible are ideal for stability. In fact, South Korean architects who examined the dimensions found that the boat was virtually impossible to capsize!”

Let me guess, they were Christians. How come Ken Ham’s replica ark isn’t even seaworthy, then? If Ken Ham couldn’t build a seaworthy ark with a construction crew and a budget of millions, how did Noah do it with his sons in a matter of weeks, with a budget of $0?

“Their modeling and analysis found that the ark could survive waves higher than 30 meters! (note that a typical tsunami is only 10 meters high) 7. Many other cultures have flood legends similar to the account in the Bible, but their ark descriptions were never palatable. For example, the Babylonian Gilgamesh Flood legend described an ark that was shaped like a cube, which would be disastrous for stability. 8”

The fact that the ark as described in the Bible is better designed from a boat making perspective does nothing to make a global flood any more credible. How did trees, grass and so on survive 40 days immersed in salt water?

How did one old man and his sons quickly build a boat large enough for two of every species on Earth? How did penguins and polar bears make it from the north and south poles in time? How did kangaroos make it from Australia in time? Why didn’t they leave any fossils behind on the way, from the ones that didn’t make it?

Noah’s ark, like Hebrew cosmology, is an element of scripture even many creationists deny and attempt to distance themselves from. It’s a trip when you run into Christians at different points along the spectrum of belief I posted earlier. I wish I could put them in a room to argue with one another, so I wouldn’t have to.

Anyway, here’s the video for today:

Stay Tuned for Part 6!

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