Some Questions For Flat-Earth Biblical Literalists
You seem to make a great deal of this flat earth model you propose, based on your “science” (which, is in fact, not science at all; because you propose many theories which are easily disproven, but when you are shown proofs, the typical response is that those who offer these proofs are liars and conspiracists).
Look. I understand the thrill of a good conspiracy theory – the feeling of being part of the “in the know” crowd and of being privy to inside information.
Look. I do believe in some conspiracies.
For instance, I’m with you (probably) on the whole one-world government thing.
I really am. And I understand that we can’t, in fact, trust everybody. It’s wise to look into things yourself and see if you have actual facts to back up your claims.
I understand that most of you do not trust NASA, even though the globe model isn’t owned by them. In fact, it wasn’t even invented by them. It’s been around for many centuries now.
Does The Bible Teach A Flat Earth?
Flat-Earthers Are Usually Bible Believers. I respect that. I am one, too.
And my observation is that typically, it is bible-believers who are the drivers of this theory perpetuating the flat earth with a dome over top of it. You get this concept from looking at the scriptures. And because you believe the bible to be the word of God, you value it highly and believe what it says.
Although I am a bible believer, I interpret these passages differently than you do; but I do believe the bible to be God’s word. And because I believe it is God’s word, I can understand its power and authority as a religious text.
Like you, there are many things that you and I believe in common that the world considers crazy. But we believe it because God said it. So I’m with you on the idea that if God says it, I believe it.
But like you (I HOPE like you) I also recognize there is room for literary context, genre, the original audience and all kinds of other considerations.
We both accept the bible. We differ on interpretation.
In this area of whether the earth is flat or spherical, it seems we differ on interpretation. We look at the same passages of scripture; you take them literally, and I take them figuratively.
Now, I will grant you that I tend to take these passages that speak of the physical features of the earth as figurative. And I will also grant you that, like you, I was brought up on the spherical earth model.
So now, when I interpret these passages as poetic speech, you make the charge that I’m just twisting these passages that should be taken literally and making them figurative. I’m told I do not actually believe what the bible says. I’m adjusting my understanding to suit what I believe are the scientific facts, but which you say are NASA lies and propaganda.
But here is my charge about you. You guys ignore a lot of passages that seem to contradict each other.
You jump through hoops to deal with these passages in a way that supports the ones you see as pointing to a flat earth. But you consistently seem to ignore others or quickly take as figurative when they say something that doesn’t fit your world view; and you don’t even seem to see that you’re doing it.
If you’re going to charge that these passages which point to a flat earth with a dome need to be “taken literally,” then let’s take this literal approach to the scriptures consistently. And let’s see where this goes….
Is the earth fixed and immovable? Unshakeable?
You say the earth is fixed and immovable. The bible does too.
- “He has fixed the earth firm, immovable” (1 Chr 16:30).
- “Thou hast fixed the earth immovable and firm …” (Ps. 93:1).
- “He has fixed the earth firm, immovable …” (Ps. 96:10).
- “…who made the earth and fashioned it, and himself fixed it fast…” (Isaiah 45:18).
- “Thou didst fix the earth on its foundation so that it never can be shaken.” (Psalm 104:5).
Oh. Ok. But the bible also says it is moveable and shakeable.
- “who shakes the earth out of its place, and its pillars tremble” (Job 9:6)
Then the earth reeled and rocked; the foundations also of the mountains trembled and quaked, because he was angry. (Ps 18:7)
The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts.(Ps. 46;60)
Is it fixed? Is it immovable? Then how does God shake the earth out of its place, if he has made it immovable? You cling to these passages that say the earth is fixed and immovable to prove that it is – well…. “fixed and immovable.” The scriptures say the earth is unshakeable, but also that it is shaken. “He has fixed the earth, firm.” “So that it can never be shaken.” “He shakes the earth out of its place, and it’s pillars tremble.” Hmmmm…. which is it? Do you admit you have a problem here if your method of interpretation is correct?
Is the earth set on pillars?
You say the earth is set on pillars. The bible does too.
- For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and He has set the world upon them. (1 Samuel 2:8)
- Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone[?] (Job 38:4–6)
The bible also says the earth is suspended on nothing.
- He stretches out the north over empty space; He hangs the earth on nothing. (Job 26:7)
Now, I know I’ve had conversations with many of you who immediately ask me which translation from hell I’m using, or that I’m twisting these passages beyond their meaning to make them contradict each other. A classic and rather humerous answer I’ve gotten more than once is, “that’s right. It isn’t ‘hung’ on anything. It’s suspended on pillars.” And I guess you could go there if you want to. You could make the argument that the biblical writer was making the point that the earth isn’t hung from a hook above but suspended on pillars from underneath. But let’s be honest. Isn’t that a stretch?
Where is the cornerstone of the earth? Perhaps it’s in Antarctica somewhere where we can’t see it because the conspiracists aren’t allowing us in there to explore it for ourselves?
Aren’t you groping for something here to not have to recognize that these passages seem to contradict each other?
As “Answers In Genesis” says, “The supposed contradiction quickly disappears when we examine the context of each passage and recognize it as figurative language.”
You guys float conveniently in and out between literal and figurative interpretation on other things, too, and don’t even see it.
Does God see us or does He not see us?
- Is not God high in the heavens? See the highest stars, how lofty they are! But you say, ‘What does God know? Can he judge through the deep darkness? Thick clouds veil him, so that he does not see, and he walks on the vault of heaven.’ (Job 22:12-14)
Now before you crucify me for saying this, Eliphaz here is criticizing Job, not for his cosmology, but for his ungratefulness. He doesn’t challenge the concept here that God cannot see because of the thick clouds. He is merely calling Job out on his ungrateful attitude. Eliphaz never questions Job’s cosmology.
The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts.(Ps. 46:60)
Sooooooo…., how often does this happen that the earth melts? The psalmist is speaking here in the present tense. You guys are claiming the literal stuff here. Help me out. Please don’t be irresponsible and dodge this one and say it is referring to the last day. It doesn’t say “He WILL make the earth melt.” It SAYS, “He MAKES the earth melt.” Present tense. Do you admit you have a problem here if your method of interpretation is correct?
What about them deer, huh?
The voice of the LORD makes the deer give birth and strips the forests bare. (Ps 29:9)
Forgive me if I’m sounding a little irreverent here. But you guys are the hopeless literalists. Do tell me. How often does that happen? That God speaks to put a deer into premature labor? Or is it when she is due? So people go into labor; dogs, cats, horses, all go into labor by themselves but deer need a special word from the Lord?
Is this a one-time event? An occasional event? Do the deer go into labor specifically and only because God speaks to them? Or is the psalmist’s point that God is involved in all the workings of the earth. Jesus said, “a sparrow does not fall to the ground but that your heavenly father knows it.” Isn’t the point that God is everywhere? Now, we could maybe even agree that every time any animal goes into labor, it is because God, in His sovereign care, ordains the timing of everything. I don’t take issue with you that it could mean that.
But let’s pursue this line of reasoning a little further. And let’s see how much you guys really still believe some things from your science class. Or maybe, now some of you think that it is all God and science is all CRAP.
Does God’s voice really make the water freeze?
Here is more from the book of Job. Now, remember: you guys are the ones who started this. The book of Job is one of your favorites. You often refer to it for the dome overhead, the pillars of the earth and the like. So what does this book of Job tell us about the freezing point of water?
By the breath of God ice is given, and the broad waters are frozen fast. He loads the thick cloud with moisture; the clouds scatter his lightning. They turn around and around by his guidance, to accomplish all that he commands them on the face of the habitable world. (Job 37:10-12)
So, let me ask. Do you guys believe water freezes because it drops in temperature below 32 fahrenheit? Or does water freeze because God breathes on it? Does God kind of hang out close by at that temperature and literally breathe on the water? Is THAT why it freezes? What about when it melts? Does God have to pop in again at temperatures above 32F and unfreeze it? What if he doesn’t? Will it stay frozen at boiling point?
Have you given any thought to the question? You all learned in school that water freezes at 32 degrees. You’ve just accepted it. Is it true? I can just see all you guys backpedaling to your war positions, doubling down and saying, “of course He does. Don’t you believe God causes water to freeze?” Yes. I do. By the principals he has built into the fine-tuning of the universe. I don’t think he is required to be present as each snowflake is commanded to freeze and each lake and river to freeze over. He could be. But I don’t think it is required to believe that to make sense of the text: the point of the passage is that God has set the earth in place; it is his design. it is his handiwork. It happens because God has determined that it be so.
There is a fine-tuning to the universe that has certain characteristics locked in place. I don’t believe the psalmist was intending this to be taken as a science lesson, but a theological one – about the greatness of God.
Is the moon doing a bad job of ruling the night?
You guys are quick to jump on this one. I’ve heard all kinds of crap about the moon not reflecting the light of the sun because it is its own light source. Because the bible says so.
I’ve even been told by some of you that the sun emits its own “cooling blue light.” And you went and tested it yourself and now, when you step into the moonlight, you feel cooler in this “cooling moonlight” than in the shade at night. But let us look at this verse from where this comes and then take your literalism to its logical conclusion to see how ridiculous your position really is. From Genesis 1, verses 14-19...
- And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons,f and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.
Can we take an honest look at this whole literal thing here? Remember, you guys started it. The moon is given to be a light upon the earth. And you all know that sometimes there are places where the moon is not visible at night, right? Because, sometimes, it’s visible somewhere else at 3:00 in the afternoon on another part of your flat-earth disk. And it can only be seen for so far. We all know there are times where the moon is not visible at night.
And after all, if, as you say, the sun is above the face of the earth all the time, and it can’t be seen at night because it’s too far away, then SURELY the moon won’t be visible where it is supposed to be lighting the night sky because it’s somewhere else instead.
So. Is the moon out of order? Did God screw up on this one? Sometimes, during the full moon, there is LOTS of moon light and we see really well. Sometimes, though, during a crescent moon, there is very little light.
This moon that was given to rule the night sometimes is sticking it’s nose into the sun’s business, no? Is the moon a failed light for the night time? After all, sometimes it works well, sometimes it’s barely doing any lighting at all. And sometimes – sometimes – its NOT EVEN OUT at night because it’s somewhere else during the day. It is very literal that God gave the moon to rule the NIGHT. Not the day, not part of the day and part of the night. Isn’t that your position?
So did God screw up because he didn’t exactly make the moon to rule the night? Or is the moon out of order? Or is it figurative language, speaking of the creation of God and his hand in it? Is it intended to be the science book you guys are trying to turn it into? Or is it poetic speech?
Perhaps the moon is generally “ruling the night” because it is seen at night when the sun is not out. But you have to admit that it sure doesn’t rule the night the way the sun rules the day. The sun is out everyday like clockwork. Not so the moon. The sun’s rule is fixed. The moon’s rule is so…. arbitrary. Maybe the sun is like a dog-friend and the moon is more like a cat-friend. Why do you give the moon a pass and just roll over and accept this? Why do you give God a pass for not spelling out clearly what He meant in His word? Why does the bible so irresponsibly treat the sun and the moon as ruling the same when one is very faithful and the other is so very arbitrary?
Do you feel threatened?
Look. I just think you guys should stop trying to be so hopelessly literal with these passages of scripture that don’t need to be taken literally for the bible to be taken seriously. Ironically, here is an interview between a flat-earther and an open-minded atheist who basically makes mincemeat of the flat-earther and his unwillingness to recognize his biases and his prejudices. Please give this an honest listen and ask yourself: do you ignore what science says because it threatens your view of scripture? It doesn’t have to.
The question the caller (Stephen) asks is, “have you examined the world in which you live? Do you believe you live on a spinning sphere because someone told you? Or do you know from personal experience?” By the time they are done, this poor flat-earther looks “not too smart.” Not trying to be mean. Just being honest.
Look, flat-earth friends. I really do love your hearts and your passion for truth. But as I’ve written before, I think you’re hurting your own cause if you’re trying to lead people to Jesus. You need to focus on the gospel and be willing to put this stuff aside and realize that if you focus on the “conspiracy” rather than the gospel, you’re doing more harm than good. (Especially when it is obvious to those with a firm grasp of science that you really don’t have a good understanding of this spherical model you’re knocking.)
Please be a little more careful about dismissing science you obviously don’t understand because you’ve only heard and understood one side of the argument. Most people think you are fruit-loops.
I don’t. I just think you’re misguided. But you need to take an honest look at how selectively you slide back and forth between literalism and figurative interpretation and don’t even seem to see how you’re doing it. Quit rearranging your prejudices and start to honestly think about this one. God is not any less real and his word, the Bible, is not any less reliable because these passages are figurative rather than literal.
You don’t have less of a Bible if you give up the flat-earth nonsense. You just have a more relevant one.
The Cognitive Man