The Flat-Earth Bible

I made an offhand crack in an earlier article that implied that creationists must believe in a flat Earth. I didn’t think that was really true. I knew the Bible had some misinformation about the Earth in it, but I wasn’t aware that the book is so thoroughly flat Earth. It is, through and through! If you believe in Biblical inerrancy, then by definition, you must also believe in a flat Earth.

The cosmos as described in the book of Enoch.

The cosmos as described in the book of Enoch.
Picture © 1992 by Robert Schadewald.

Somehow I came across a website containing an article by the late great debunker Robert Schadewald. The article is entitled “The Flat-Earth Bible”. Let’s look at it.

Schadewald first tells us that some people believe that the Earth is immovable, because the Bible clearly says so. These folks are called geocentrists. But a subset of those wackos actually believes the Earth is flat:

Suffice to say that the earth envisioned by flat-earthers is as immovable as any geocentrist could desire. Most (perhaps all) scriptures commonly cited by geocentrists have also been cited by flat-earthers. The flat-earth view is geocentricity with further restrictions.

And if there’s anything a fundie loves, it’s restrictions! Can’t have folks running around doing anything they want!

The Bible is a composite work, so there is no a priori reason why the cosmology assumed by its various writers should be relatively consistent, but it is. The Bible is, from Genesis to Revelation, a flat-earth book.

This is hardly surprising. As neighbors, the ancient Hebrews had the Egyptians to the southwest and the Babylonians to the northeast. Both civilizations had flat-earth cosmologies. The Biblical cosmology closely parallels the Sumero-Babylonian cosmology, and it may also draw upon Egyptian cosmology.

So that explains how the flat-Earthism got into the Bible. Schadewald then goes into detail, giving numerous examples of how descriptions in both the Old and New Testaments make sense if you think about it in terms of a flat Earth with a dome of a sky over it.

He then discusses the attempts by modern apologists to convince everyone that, no, the Bible clearly is talking about a spherical Earth. He shows how those arguments aren’t convincing. He concludes this section with:

In my view, all arguments to prove the Bible teaches a spherical earth are weak if not wrong-headed. On the other hand, the flat-earth cosmology previously described is historically consistent and requires none of the special pleading apparently necessary to harmonize the Bible with sphericity.

For additional support of the idea that the Bible is describing a flat Earth, Schadewald turns to another ancient Hebrew manuscript, the Book of Enoch. He says that Enoch was greatly influential upon the New Testament in other areas, so it stands to reason that its cosmology would also have influenced the NT. Enoch clearly describes a flat Earth with a dome over it (see the illustration above). He concludes this section with this:

First Enoch is important for another reason. Unlike the canonical books of the Bible, which (in my view) were never meant to teach science, sections of 1 Enoch were intended to describe the natural world. The narrator sometimes sounds like a 2nd century B.C. Carl Sagan explaining the heavens and earth to the admiring masses. The Enochian cosmology is precisely the flat-earth cosmology previously derived from the canonical books.

There’s much more detail in Schadewald’s original article. If you’re into deep analysis of dusty old books, by all means go check it out. If you just want the short-attention-span version, I’ll leave you with this part of his overall conclusion:

Thus, students with remarkably disparate points of view independently concluded that the ancient Hebrews had a flat-earth cosmology, often deriving this view from scripture alone. Their conclusions were dramatically confirmed by the rediscovery of 1 Enoch.

The next time you encounter Biblical literalists, remind them that the Bible describes a flat Earth. If they say otherwise, they are rejecting God’s holy word.

11 Responses to “The Flat-Earth Bible”

  1. Lepht Says:

    well, who the fuck would’ve expected that… i joke, but truth be i’m just even more astounded that the moderates on my campus still argue that science and the Bible are compatible. i feel like waving a copy of the book of Enoch in their faces and yelling, “helloooooooo?” like some sort of irritating Californian sophomore girl.

    Lepht

  2. ericsan Says:

    Hey, don’t diss the Flat Earth Society.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Flat_Earth

  3. Henry Percy Says:

    When is it last time a bible thumper lighted the faggots??? 300 years?
    By the way, most of them, 99 out of each hundred heretics where toasted
    by YOU PROTESTANTS…check it out!

    So why you dhimmi weasel leftist ratbastards obscure the fact that your muslim
    allies are sawing off the neck of dozens AS WE SPEAK???

  4. Ron Britton Says:

    Henry! You disappointed me. Where’s the rant against communism? Just when I was beginning to think you were a McCarthy-bot.

    I was hoping that the comments people leave on here would have something to do with the article they’re attached to. I mean, I could roam the web, too, and post incoherent babblings about Preparation H, but where’s the pleasure in that?

  5. ericsan Says:

    I mean, I could roam the web, too, and post incoherent babblings about Preparation H, but where’s the pleasure in that?

    Instant relief?

  6. sb Says:

    Maybe you should read it for youself before you pass judgement.

    http://www.sacred-texts.com/bib/boe/index.htm

    http://www.sacred-texts.com/bib/fbe/fbe108.htm

  7. Ron Britton Says:

    SB:

    As my article says, the evidence for the Bible’s flat-Earth view goes beyond merely the book of Enoch.

  8. pandora Says:

    Most Protestant fundamentalists will not consider the book of 1 Enoch to be canonical or at all authoritative. I believe the Roman Catholic Church accepts it as canon (I could be wrong). Just a trivial point that may get brought up in discussion. Someone is bound to split hairs over it.

  9. Sue Blue Says:

    Oh Henry, thou hast breathed too deeply of the retardogenic vapors of Bronze Age tribal idiocy. Open some windows, turn on a fan or two, grab an oxygen mask, or just call 911.

  10. John Devon Says:

    David Presutta’s book, The Biblical Cosmos Versus Modern Cosmology: Why the Bible is Not the Word of God, provides an extremely detailed analysis of the Biblical Cosmos. It goes into much more than just the flat earth aspect, and I think you will find it well worth the read.

  11. Ron Britton Says:

    John:

    That looks good. Thanks for the tip!