As Messianic Evangelicals we are fully committed to all emet (truth), both spiritual (invisible) and scientific (visible), for which Elohim (God) has given us two records - the Bible and the Universe, respectively.
To do good theology and good science (as opposed to the modern politicised version which we shall call 'scientism') requires sound rules of scriptural exegesis and a universally agreed scientific methodology, respectively. When these rules are diligently followed, no disagreement is found between spirituality and science, as should be expected of an internally consistent creation.
The questions this website is asking are as follows:
We shall answer the first two questions in the articles below. To answer the last question immediately, yes, it can be a matter of salvation - to the person you are witnessing to even if it may not be to you, the Christian/Messianic 'Flat-earther'. If you have successfully witnessed of Messiah to someone and then insist the earth is flat, there is a strong chance they will reject your testimony because they are better scientists than you are. If your ignorance causes them to walk away from Messiah, then their blood is on your hands. You will, in addition, be contributing to the bad reputation of fellow believers and of Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) Himself. Worse, lies tend to attract more lies and cause spiritual distortion so there is a reason why we actively minister to flat-earthers who are Bible-believers. We don't want them walking in darkness. This, then, is the reason we have devoted so much effort to this flat earth website.
- 1. Is the modern teaching that the earth is flat and not a globe true or are the claims being made simply based on bad Bible exegesis and bad science?
- 2. Is there a conspiracy going on to fool the whole world or just Christians and Messianics? and
- 3. Is this controversy a matter of salvation?
In a scientific age, where science is taught at school everywhere, there is no longer any excuse for believers to be scientifically illiterate. True Science (as opposed to 'Scientism') is a branch of emet (truth) in the observable, material dimension, because true (classical) science deals with objective reality. Elohim's (God's) name, Yahweh, may be translated 'The Ultimate Reality'. So reality is vitally important.
Furthermore, the human mind was designed by the Creator to compehend the external world that presents itself to us, upon which the scientific method rests. The totality of our sense experiences can therefore be ordered. Thus emet (truth) itself is revealed in some of the propositions of science but also in the representations of ordinary experience. Thus many of the representations of our experience are true once we have excluded errors, illusions, hallucinations and outright lies. The elimination of all lies ought to be a passion of true believers.
The purest form of emet (truth) is also the simplest. For example, an eclipse of the sun is caused by the moon passing in front of it. Since this is impossible in the Flat Earth model, its proponents are forced to invent an 'extra', 'invisible' moon which has never been observed (and never can be) to explain the phenomenon. The fact that an invisible object cannot cast a shadow aside, the simpler explanation turns out to be the true one. 'Occam's razor', or the Law of Parsimony, states that among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected, as it is almost always the emet (truth). Flat-Earthism is attrociously top-heavy with assumptions.
Flat-Earthers are expert cherry-pickers of facts and have, as yet, no purely scientific system. They ignore the three critical and essential elements in any kind of scientific reporting:
If these three are in agreement relative to one another, then the narrative is true of the facts reported. To be true, all that is necessary is that the facts deliver all the narrative claims, and that the narrative claims nothing not delivered by, or contained in, the material facts. Thus each element contains, and is contained, by the others such that if one of the elements is fully known, the other two are fully known also.
- 1. Material facts;
- 2. Faithful and competent observations (linking acts); and
- 3. Accurately used words (representations) to report events.
On this website you will find numerous experiments that anybody can do and properly verify. Whatever 'evidence' flat-earthers may provide in support of their model, to be truly scientific, they must incorporate the findings of these scientifically repeatable experiments in their world view. This they almost always refuse to do because it contradicts their world view. Rarely do you find scientifically honest flat-earthers. There are one or two exceptions who, whilst still rejecting the global earth, have also understood, correctly using the scientific method, that the current flat-earth models are scientific nonsense. They don't know what the earth is yet - eventually they will do the proper science and rediscover what man has known for three millennia. In the meantime they have been ostracised by most pizza-disc flat-earthers who view them much in the same way as evolutionists view scientific creationists.
Because nearly all flat-earthers are not scientists or have only a very basic level of scientific knowledge, they refuse to follow any kind of overall scientific method. They have no system, with data selected in an ad hoc manner which they use to bolster their claims. As they are not really interested in science as emet (truth) for itself (i.e. they are not passionate scientists), but are trying to use it to defend a pre-conceived view based either on poor Scripture exegesis or the claims of charatans and their dupes, it may with some justification be claimed that they are not always really in pursuit of emet (truth) for its own sake. A true scientist follows the data wherever it may lead him, and whilst (alas) this is becoming increasingly rare in the modern scientific community, there is ever a huge body of rigorously tested (and proven) data which has established beyond all reasonable doubt that the earth is a globe orbiting the sun and is itself orbited by the moon.
(Sadly, in the 21st century at least, the government hires scientists to support its policies, industry hires them to support its business, and universities hire them to bring in grants that are handed out to support government policies and industry practice. This is the origin of modern Scientism).
Unlike this author, who is an Oxford University-trained Biochemist with a Masters Degree in Science as well as being a trained Systems Analyst, most flat-earthers are not scientists and understand little of science's methodolgy, through no fault of their own. They uncritically accept factoids churned out by the flat-earth community without attempting to do the science of reconciling it with the vast corpus of authentic scientific knowledge amassed over the last 3,000 years. Accordingly, flat-earthism is easily dismissed as a non-scientific superstition. It's a quasi-religion with fundamentalist undertones.
If you are willing to invest the time to examine all the data, you will be in no doubt as to reality and be in a strong position to remove all the fictions and errors that swamp flat-earth 'thinking'. Science, fortunately, thrives on the biblical principle of non-contradiction and seeks emet (truth) in every aspect and part of the universe. It aims to test hypotheses to see which ones can stand up under scrutiny. It requires publication of results so that they may be examined critically, not by literary types who boast of their own inconsistencies, but by persons of integrity seeking to know which representations (which hypotheses and theories) are consistent with observable facts and which are not.
Finally, let us dispose of three items:
- 1. The evolution red-herring as used by many Christian/Messianic flat-earthers in an attempt to discredit true science. The Darwinian evolutionary hypothesis is not science but unsubstantiated (and unstubstantiatable) philosophy that cannot be subjeced to the classical scientific method, the claims of modern scientism not withstanding. It is a part of the religion of atheism. This particular webpage is not, in any case, about origins or cosmology (which you can learn more about here) but about astronomy and mathematics;
- 2. NASA Conspiracies, falsified Moon and Mars Landing, etc.. The jury is out as to whether NASA and other space agencies have falsified information concerning their various space missions, along with their reasons for doing so. Whatever NASA may, or may not, have done does not invalidate the scientifically proven and repeatable observations about the spherical nature of our world. There is no doubt that some of the material released by NASA has been falsified. The thesis that man may never have been to the moon because of inadequate technology, in order to beat the Soviets in the 'space race' for political and propaganda purposes, is, if true, a monumental deception but is separate from the question about the earth's sphericity or flatness. It is important that these issues be kept apart so as not to confuse matters. The truth of the earth's sphericity was established before NASA came into being and can be established without recourse to NASA materials; and
- 3. UFOs, aliens, etc.. The fact that extra-terrestrial life and alien spacecraft are almost certainly a pure fiction but rather an inter-dimensional phenomenon linked to the demonic realm (secret human technology notwithstanding), does not mean that those believers still caught up in this delusion are simultaneously delusional about the reality of this earth (to flat-earthers, its non-spherical form). Flat-earthers have been known to lump all three of these issues together with a round earth and assume they are in some way one-and-the-same thing. They are not. One proven conspiracy does not validate all others so it is highly dishonest of flat-earthers when they insist that they are all inseparably connected, even if they are in their own minds.
Finally, the retort made by flat-earth believers that the earth is flat 'because the Bible says so' reflects a common failure to understand the nature of ancient literature and literary genres. The Bible also says that the world has "four corners" (Rev.7:1; 20:8) which ought to force literalist flat-earthers to insist the world is square. A few do, incorporating the references to the earth being a "circle" (Is.40:22), and have proposed the earth consists of a flattened cube with a concave area:
To be logically consistent, flat-earthers ought to insist on this model. They do not, obviously, because such a model is even more preposterous scientifically than a purely disc-shaped earth. And yet they insist on using the same faulty exegetical tools as square flat-earthers, a reason why good theology is also essential. That the earth is represented as 'square' is a well known expression that is used both of literal four-cornered items like cloaks (Dt.22:12) and buildings (Job 1:19) as well as in a figurative sense as of a nation (Ezek.7:2). And as all geographers know, Israel never had four literal 'corners' even though Isaiah says that Yahweh will "gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth" (Isa 11:12, NKJV). The expression simply means the full geographical extent of the nation or planet.
Most Bible students are not even aware that 'corners' can also be translated 'quarters' or 'quadrants' (Heb. kanaf, Gk. gonia), which is the more precise meaning and is scientifically accurate too. Scripture even says that a man's head has four corners, or more accurately, four quadrants (Lev.19:27). No flat-earther has ever claimed that humans were flat-heads. The division of all geography into four quadrants (northeast, northwest, southwest and southeast), with the 'origin of coordinates' at the location of the observer, is standard practice in all surveying and navigation. In fact, the Greek word gonia literally means angle and provides the suffix in English words like polygon, hexagon, etc.. The "four angles" of the earth means simply the four directions. To take this obvious meaning out of the phrase and distort it into meaning a square earth is inexcusable special pleading.
But if you really want to be pedantic and insist the Bible be literal at this point, you can actually (in this case) have your way (sort of), even though this has nothing to do with the meaning of the 'four corners' verses in the Bible. The earth does, in fact, have four protuberances that disrupt the normal curvilinear shape of the geoid (the actual 'figure of the earth' is not precisely spherical, but is what is called an oblate spheroid, slightly bulging at the equator and flattened at the poles, responding to the centrifugal forces of the earth's rotation). These four protruberances on the geoid have been located at 55°N, 10°W (near Ireland), 50°S, 48°E (near South Africa), 15°N, 140°E (near the Philippines) and 18°S, 80°W (near Peru). So, yes, the earth does literally have 'four corners' (for what it's worth).
The clear meaning of the biblical expression 'four corners' is that of all parts of the earth - the four directions, the four quadrants, four angles or four quarters. Today we still use the picturesque expression, 'to the four corners of the earth' to mean 'to the uttermost parts of the earth', the way it was intended to be understood by the Bible.
If we are going to be literal as flat-earthers insist, then we must also maintain that the square earth rests on four literal pillars too or on foundations supporting the four edges (1 Sam.2:8; Job 9:6; Ps.75:3). Again, this is a figurative analogy, common in ancient Middle Eastern literature, and refers to the moral support or spiritual foundation of a doctrine or an institution. We use the same kind of expression still when we refer to an upright person as a 'pillar of society'. In such passages using this expression, it is to be clearly understood that Yahweh sets His created world upon "pillars" (literally 'firm summits') belonging to Himself, and thus impregnable, so in the same way He will give the same sure strength to His coming King Messiah (1 Sam.2:8-10). Thus the "pillars of the earth" refer exclusively to the divine strength of Elohim (God) Himself as He is "upholding all things by the word of His power" (Heb.1:3, KJV).
If you want to insist on a literal meaning, however, you would be justified in claiming that the earth's continental surfaces are supported by great mountainous roots extending deep below the surface. In this sense - as well as in the figurative sense - the term is essentially synonymous with "foundations of the earth" (2 Sam.22:16; Job 38:4,6; Ps.18:15; 82:5; 102:25; 104:5; Prov.8:29; Is.24:18; 40:21; 51:13,16; Jer.31:37; Mic.6:2; Zech.12:1; Heb.1:10 with the parallel "foundation of the world" in Mt.13:35; 25:34; Lk.11:50; Jn.17:24; Eph.1:4; Heb.4:3; 9:26; 1 Pet.1:20; Rev.13:8; 17:8, which are purely figurative).
The question of the earth's "circle" (Is.40:22; also Prov.8:27) is addressed fully in the article, Flat-Earth: Problems of Perception. In brief, the Hebrew chuwg may be rendered as either 'circle' or 'sphere' since this was the only word in Hebrew available for both (closely related) concepts in much the same way we, in English, have a limited number of nouns to describe frozen preciptation (snow, sleet, etc.) whereas in Finnish there are 58 different words (40, if you exclude dialects). Sometimes words double up to have multiple meanings in languages (e.g. in Norwegian, gift can either mean 'married' or 'poison') and this is certainly true in Hebrew which has a limited vocabulary. A sphere is simply the figure formed by a circle turning about its diameter. So there is a 50:50 chance that the Christian flat-earther's key passage could be either 'circle' or 'sphere'.
Please begin with the Flat-Earth Articles and then move on and do the science. The Three Simple Proofs for Amateur Scientists with a Basic High School Education below ought to be enough to convince scientifically literate and honest flat-earthers willing to let the facts guide them and not a pre-conceived doctrine. If your science is a little rusty and you would like to polish it up, then we also recommend the book by Dr. Henry M. Morris, The Biblical Basis of Modern Science (Master Books, Green Forest, AR: 2010 edition).
In my experience working with flat-earthers, there is much denial of the facts - scientific and theological - which do not 'fit' with their world-view. Such inevitably leads to cognitive dissonance or a denial of reality in spite of the facts. This is a destabilising force that no believer needs and, as mentioned, will both impair his gospel witness and cumulatively undermine his own mental, emotional and spiritual stability... and therefore credibility.
So if you are a flat-earther, undecided or have been confused by the flat-earth propaganda in the media, you are invited to carefully study this website.
(31 October 2017)
"Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity" (Martin Luther King, Jr.)