Do Christians believe the earth is flat?

It is commonly stated that because of ignorance, Christians at one time did not believe that the earth was round until the scientific evidence was so overwhelming that they changed their beliefs. Because of this, Christians are often called ‘flat earthers” as a derogatory term to indicate their stupidity and to belittle their beliefs. Unfortunately, those who make these comments are ignorant of the facts of history and what the Bible says concerning the same.

First, history is full of examples of many civilizations and respected individuals that believed the earth was flat. For the record, early Egyptians and Mesopotamians believed the earth was a flat disc floating on the sea. Likewise, poets such as Homer and Hesiod believed the same.

Well respected philosophers such as Thales, Leucippus, Democritus, and others believed the earth was flat until about the 5th century B.C. Even the Jain and Buddhist religious traditions also taught a flat earth belief. Ancient Norse, German, Japaneses, Chinese believed in a flat earth as well.

Even in the days of Christopher Columbus, it was a common belief that the earth was flat and that if one sailed too far from shore they would fall off the edge of the earth. Columbus noted that as ships sailed away from a point of observation, they slowly disappeared from view starting with the hull until the only thing that was left to see was the tops of the masts. To sailors, this suggested a hill or curvature of water between the observer and the ship.

So why pick on Christians for believing in a flat earth? Well, a lot of the criticism is based on the persecution by the Catholic Church in Rome of those such as Galileo for his belief that the universe did not rotate around the earth, but the the earth rotated around the sun. The Catholic Church reports on this “Galileo Controversy” by essentially saying that scientists of the day claim the Galileo did not prove his case scientifically.

The claim that there was persecution of those who didn’t believe the earth was flat, is a myth as documented by Creation Ministries International. While there were many, including the sailors in Christopher Columbus’ day, that still believed in the superstition of a flat earth and sea monsters that would attack ships that went too far from land, the science affirming the earth was round had been around nearly 2000 years.

Greek philosophers Pythagoras in the 6th century B.C. and Parmenides in the 5th century B.C. wrote that the earth was round. This was because of the invention of the Geometry required to prove the same was just beginning to be discovered. In fact, Euclid (330-260 B.C.), known as the Father of Modern Geometry, is alleged to have learned mathematics from students of Plato.

Despite Euclid’s relatively late arrival on the scene, if we were to presume that the math necessary to prove the earth was round existed in the 6th century B.C. according to Pythagoras, it does not explain the fact that the prophet Isaiah knew nearly 200 years before the invention of Geometry that the earth was round.

In the 8th century B.C. the prophet Isaiah wrote in Isaiah 40:22 (KJV) that the earth is a circle:

(Isaiah 40:22 KJV)  “It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:” (Emphasis mine)

These words, written by Isaiah clearly refer to the earth being a circle. How did Isaiah know this before Geometry was invented? Better yet, how did he know that the heavens or atmosphere were like a curtain that covered the earth? He knew the same way that Job knew that the earth hung in space on nothing: because God had told him so.

Job knew that the earth was hung upon nothing in space in as stated in Job 26:7

(Job 26:7 KJV)  “He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.” (Emphasis mine)

Job is considered by most scholars to be the earliest book written in the Bible. It is amazing that a book written long before “respected scientists” came on the scene reports of the earth hanging in space.

When answering this question about if Christians believe the earth was flat we come to three conclusions. First, that the idea that this was a common belief among Christians has virtually little if any credible supporting evidence. Second, if anything, believers knew BEFORE non-believers that the earth was round and hung in space because the Word of God said so. Finally, no matter what a church, movement, or individual says about it, the fact is that God said otherwise in the Scriptures.

So, if anything, when Christians are called flat earthers, ask those who are making the remark to explain how is it that the prophet Isaiah knew the earth was round before geometry was invented by the Greeks. Then be prepared to see who has the lack of knowledge.

At the heart of this issue, is that Biblical illiteracy or ignoring Biblical truth leads to false teaching. God’s Word says in 2 Timothy 2:15-16:

(2 Timothy 2:15-16 KJV)  “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. {16} But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.”

Finally, my motto concerning Biblical application is: “If you know the normal, the abnormal stands out.” Only by knowing the normal according to what God says is normal, can we successfully sort out the facts from fiction. So then, to answer the question using the facts, the answer to the question if Christians believe the earth is flat is no.




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