“He… hangeth the earth upon nothing.”
“It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth…”
Order of Contents
The Issue in History
For a Flat Earth in History
Faulkner, Danny R.
‘Is the Earth Flat?’ (2016)
Dr. Faulkner is the resident astronomer for Answers in Genesis.
‘Does the Bible Teach that the Earth is Flat?’ (2017)
Holding, James P. – ‘Is the ’Erets (Earth) Flat? Equivocal Language in the Geography of Genesis 1 and the Old Testament: A Response to Paul H. Seely’ (2000)
Answers in Genesis – ‘They Think the Earth is Flat?’ (2008)
Looy, Mark – ‘Getting To Be as Flat as the “Flat Earth” Argument’ (2005)
Faulkner, Danny R.
‘A Flat-Earth Prediction Falls Flat’ (2016)
Dr. Faulkner is the resident astronomer for Answers in Genesis.
‘Flat-Earth Proof–Just a Mirage’ (2017)
Flat earthers sometimes ‘prove’ that the earth is flat because they can see a small boat travelling miles away, and yet if the earth is round, the boat should have sunken below the level of sight. The mathematics is valid, but they do not account for atmospheric refraction, which Dr. Faulkner explains in this article.
‘Falling for a Flat Earth’ (2018)
‘The Book of Enoch & a Flat Earth’ (2018)
‘January 2019’s Total Lunar Eclipse and the Flat Earth’ (2019)
‘Reflections on the Flat-Earth Movement’ (2019)
‘Testing a Flat-Earth Prediction: is the Moon’s Light Cooling?’ (2019)
‘The Scientific Method & the Flat Earth’, pt. 1 & 2 (2020)
‘Changes in the Flat-Earth Movement: Has the Growth in the Flat-Earth Movement Flattened?’ (2021)
‘Flat-Earth Fails in Solstice Predictions’ (2021)
‘The Black Swan: Evidence the Earth is Flat?’ (2021)
In 2019 Flat-earthers rallied around a photo of two platforms numerous miles out on water, which could be seen as if there was no curvature of the earth. They called it ‘The Black Swan’, because they believed finding this ‘black swan’ shows that not all swans are white; and this photo disproves that the earth is round. The phenomenon of the photo is due to atmospheric refraction, which Dr. Faulkner explains.
Answers in Genesis – ‘Doubting Evolution Is like Believing the Earth Is Flat.’ (2018)
de Waal, Kayle B. – ‘Does the Bible Teach that the Earth is Flat?’ 2019 Biblical Research Institute, ‘Reflections’
Dr. de Waal works at Avondale University College in Australia. BRI is an arm of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, but nonetheless the article is very helpful on the topic and is well sourced.
Faulkner, Danny R. – Falling Flat: A Refutation of Flat Earth Claims Buy (Master Books, 2019)
Peterson, Derrick – Flat Earths & Fake Footnotes: The Strange Tale of How the Conflict of Science and Christianity Was Written Into History Buy (Cascade Books, 2021)
Summa, pt. 1, q. 1,, article 1, reply 2
“Sciences are differentiated according to the various means through which knowledge is obtained. For the astronomer and the physicist both may prove the same conclusion: that the earth, for instance, is round: the astronomer by means of mathematics (i.e. abstracting from matter), but the physicist by means of matter itself.”
The Wonderful Workmanship of the World, wherien is Contained an Excellent Discourse of Christian Natural Philosophy… (London, 1578), ch. 13, ‘Whether this World be Spherical & Round?’
…some will have it to be spherical or round, as Aristotle: othersome of the fashion and likeness of the figure Icosaidron round compassing with a great many of angles or corners here and there in the top, as Plato: Others, plane and flat, like a skin stretched forth abroad, as St. Basil: others give it other forms, and those also diverse, as the Greek writer Cleomides reports in his title of the contemplation of circles.
Is there any of those opinions true?
God he knows. We, who in no place of his Word do read these matters plainly determined (unless parhaps some man will allege that which is written in Job, the 22nd chapter and 14th verse: and there is mention also made of the sphere of the earth in Isaiah the 40th chapter and 22nd verse: and in St. James the 3rd chapter and 6th verse[?] to the end, he might prove that this world, and also the outmost heaven are round like a circle or a wheel, do oftentimes fall and are drawn into contrary opinions.
Verily, that the world is round, it seems unto me much the more probable by that which is written, as I have said in Job the 20th chapter and 14th verse: and in Eccl. the 24th chapter, and 8th verse: both for that it is the most beutiful and widest form of all other, by which it was needful that a compass which should contain in the bosom thereof so many things should be framed: also for that the principal, and as it were the parts of the whole in respect of this world as are heaven, water, and earth, are by our senses themselves perceived to be spherical and round, unto which it is credible that the compass of the whole world is semblable.
How be it, I can affirm nothing certainly thereof, since although we admit that this part which is nearest unto us and the lowermost of the circumference of the high heaven which we behold, and which environs all thing[s], be bending, hollow and round notwithstanding it may be imagined that the farthermost and highermost part of the same circumference is of some other form: and I know there be some that have said that the uttermost and farthermost part of heaven is shaped like a bell.”
Commentary on Amos, ch. 9, verse 6
“And hath founded his troop (or bundle) in the earth] That is, the other three elements, say some: the sea, which, together with the earth, makes one globe, say others: the universe (saith Mr. Diodati), which is like the fabric of a building; of which the earth, being the lower part, and only unmoveable, hath some resemblance of a foundation.”
Dr. Danny R. Faulkner
‘Geocentrism & Creation’ Technical Journal (now Journal of Creation) 15, no. 2 (August 2001): 110–121
“…the Bible does not teach that the Earth is flat, and virtually no one in the history of the church taught this. In fact, the belief in a flat Earth is a 19th century myth that was concocted to discredit critics of Darwinism….”
Timpler, Clemens – Problem 6, ‘Whether the Magnitude of the Earthly Globe of Man is Measurable, & in what Way?’ in Physics, or a Methodical System of Natural Philosophy Distributed into Three Parts… 3 vols. (Hanover: Wilhelm Antonius, 1605), vol. 2, pp. 282–84
Timpler (1563-1624) was a German reformed professor of philosophy.
Witsius, Herman – An Inaugural Philosophical Disputation on the Earth (Utrecht, 1698)
The Issue in History
In the Whole of History
White, Andrew Dickson – A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom 2 vols. in 1 (NY: 1898)
Ch. 2, ‘Geography’
Section 1, ‘The Form of the Earth’
Section 3, ‘The Inhabitants of the Earth’
White (1832–1918) was a state senator, U.S. diplomat, a bibliophile, a professor of history and the first president of Cornell University (an Ivy League school in New York).
He was one of the founders of the conflict thesis, which states that science and religion have historically been in conflict with each other. White was on the side of science in that ‘conflict’. This theory is widely rejected among contemporary historians of science.
“This vast web of falsehood [about medieval Christians believing in a flat earth] was invented and propagated by the influential historian John Draper (1811-1882) and many prestigious followers, such as Andrew Dickson White (1832-1918), the president of Cornell University, who made sure that the false account was perpetrated in texts, encyclopedias, and even allegedly serious scholarship, down to the present day.” – J.B. Russell
Russell, J.B. – ‘The Myth of the Flat Earth’ (1997) at The American Scientific Affiliation
This article summarizes Russel’s book below. Russell is Professor of History, Emeritus, at the University of California, and is evidently a Christian.
“It must first be reiterated that with extraordinary few exceptions no educated person in the history of Western Civilization from the third century B.C. onward believed that the earth was flat. A round earth appears at least as early as the sixth century BC with Pythagoras, who was followed by Aristotle, Euclid, and Aristarchus, among others in observing that the earth was a sphere. Although there were a few dissenters–Leukippos and Demokritos for example–by the time of Eratosthenes (3 c. BC), followed by Crates(2 c. BC), Strabo (3 c. BC), and Ptolemy (first c. AD), the sphericity of the earth was accepted by all educated Greeks and Romans.
Nor did this situation change with the advent of Christianity. A fewóat least two and at most five–early Christian fathers denied the spherically of earth by mistakenly taking passages such as Ps. 104:2-3 as geographical rather than metaphorical statements. On the other side tens of thousands of Christian theologians, poets, artists, and scientists took the spherical view throughout the early, medieval, and modern church…
No one before the 1830s believed that medieval people thought that the earth was flat… But now, why did the false accounts of Letronne and Irving become melded and then, as early as the 1860s, begin to be served up in schools and in schoolbooks as the solemn truth? The answer is that the falsehood about the spherical earth became a colorful and unforgettable part of a larger falsehood: the falsehood of the eternal war between science (good) and religion (bad) throughout Western history…
The reason for promoting both the specific lie about the sphericity of the earth and the general lie that religion and science are in natural and eternal conflict in Western society, is to defend Darwinism. The answer is really only slightly more complicated than that bald statement. The flat-earth lie was ammunition against the creationists. The argument was simple and powerful, if not elegant: “Look how stupid these Christians are. They are always getting in the way of science and progress.”
Answers in Genesis – ‘Who Invented the Flat Earth?’ in Creation 16, no 2 (March 1994), pp. 48-49
“Christianity has often been held responsible for promoting the flat Earth theory. Yet it was only a handful of so-called intellectual scholars throughout the centuries, claiming to represent the Church, who held to a flat Earth. Most of these were ignored by the Church…
The earliest of these flat-Earth promoters was the African Lactantius (AD 245–325), a professional rhetorician who converted to Christianity mid-life. He rejected all the Greek philosophers, and in doing so also rejected a spherical Earth. His views were considered heresy by the Church Fathers and his work was ignored until the Renaissance (at which time some humanists revived his writings as a model of good Latin, and of course, his flat Earth view also was revived).”
Wikipedia – ‘Myth of the Flat Earth’
“The myth of the flat Earth… is a modern historical misconception that European scholars and educated people during the Middle Ages believed the Earth to be flat rather than spherical.”
Russell, J.B. – Inventing the Flat Earth: Columbus & Modern Historians (Praeger Paperbacks, Westport, 1997)
Russell is Professor of History, Emeritus, at the University of California, and is evidently a Christian.
This book “… shows how nineteenth-century anti-Christians invented and spread the falsehood that educated people in the Middle Ages believed that the earth was flat.” – Russel, ‘The Myth of the Flat Earth’
For a Flat Earth in History
The select persons in Church history who did tend to hold to a flat earth position often described the shape of the earth as like a plate or a bullet, as they could not deny (from observations from sailors if nothing else) that the earth was somewhat rounded.
Theophilus of Antioch (d. c. 183-5)
Theophilus to Autolycus, bk. 2 in ed. Robertson, Donaldson & Coxe, The Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 2, Fathers of the Second Century (NY: Cosimo, 2007)
“The heaven, therefore, being like a dome-shaped covering, comprehended matter which was like a clod. And so another prophet, Isaiah by name, spoke in these words: ‘It is God who made the heavens as a vault, and stretched them as a tent to dwell in.'”
“Since then the occupation of the world by men was at first in three divisions — in the east, and south, and west: afterwards, the remaining parts of the earth were inhabited, when men became very numerous. And the writers, not knowing these things, are forward to maintain that the world is shaped like a sphere, and to compare it to a cube. But how can they say what is true regarding these things, when they do not know about the creation of the world and its population? Men gradually increasing in number and multiplying on the earth, as we have already said, the islands also of the sea and the rest of the countries were inhabited.”
Basil of Caesarea (330-379)
on Genesis 1:1 at CatenaBible.com This excerpt is questionable, as Basil may olny be arguing that though the visible universe involves circling bodies, yet the visible universe has a beginning. If the passage has reference to the earth, it may very well be assuming that the earth is circular.
“3. Do not then imagine, O man! That the visible world is without a beginning; and because the celestial bodies move in a circular course, and it is difficult for our senses to define the point where the circle begins, do not believe that bodies impelled by a circular movement are, from their nature, without a beginning. Without doubt the circle (I mean the plane figure described by a single line) is beyond our perception, and it is impossible for us to find out where it begins or where it ends; but we ought not on this account to believe it to be without a beginning. Although we are not sensible of it, it really begins at some point where the draughtsman has begun to draw it at a certain radius from the center.
Thus seeing that figures which move in a circle always return upon themselves, without for a single instant interrupting the regularity of their course, do not vainly imagine to yourselves that the world has neither beginning nor end.”
‘The Literal Meaning of Genesis’, pp. 202-203 in ed. Hill & Rotelle, On Genesis: On Genesis: a Refuation of the Manichees, Unfinished Literal Commentary on Genesis, The Literal Meaning of Genesis in The Works of St. Augustine : a Translation for the 21st Century (NY: New City Press, 2002)
“But, says, somebody, how are these people, who attribute to the sky the shape of a sphere or globe, not contradicted by what is written in our literature: ‘who stretched out the sky like a skin’ (Psalm 104:2)? Certainly let it be contradicted by that, if what they say is false; this after all, is true which has divine authority behind it, rather than that which is the guesswork of human weakness. But if it should happen that they can prove their case with evidence and arguments beyond any possibility of doubt, then it has to be demonstrated that what is said here among us about a skin is not contrary to those explanations of theirs. Otherwise, in any case (if you are going to be crassly literal-minded) it will also be contrary to another place in these very scriptures of ours where the sky is said to be like a suspended dome. What, I ask you, could be so different and opposed to each other as a skin stretched out flat, and the hollow curve of a dome?
But if we are obliged, as indeed we are, to understand these two expressions in such a way that they are found to agree with each other and not to be in the least contradictory, then we are also and equally obliged to demonstrate that neither of them is opposed to those explanations, should they happen to be shown by rational arguments to be true, which inform us that the sky has the shape of a hollow globe all round us—provided, once again, it can be proved. And even if that comparison on our side with a dome is taken literally, it will make no difficulty for those who say the sky is a globe; it is reasonable to assume that Scripture wished to talk about the shape of the sky with reference to that part of it which is above us.
So if the sky is not a globe, it is in one part—the part which covers the Earth—a dome, while if it is a globe, then it is a dome all round. But as for the text about a skin, that is rather more serious, because it may seem to be opposed, not to the globe, which may just be a human fabrication, but to our own dome. My treatment of this in terms of allegory may be found in the thirteenth book of my Confessions. So whether the sky being stretched out like a skin is to be understood allegorically in the way I suggested there, or in some other way, still to satisfy the tiresome people who persist in demanding a literal explanation I will say what in my opinion should be obvious to anyone of sense.
Each term, no doubt, that is both ‘skin’ and ‘dome’ can be understood figuratively; but what we have to see is how each can be explained literally. Well, if is it not only curved but also a flat ceiling that can be called a dome, then assuredly a skin for its part can be stretched out round a curve as well as on a flat plane, After all, both wine containers and footballs are skins.”
On the Flat Earth Position in Church History
Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy (1645), 2nd Partition, Section 2, Member 3, ‘Air Rectified…’, p. 320
“Virgil [c.700-784] sometimes bishop of Mentz was therefore called in question because he held antipodes [persons who walk on the other side of the earth], and so by that means took away the seat of Hell, or so contracted it that it could bear no proportion to Heaven, and contradicted that opinion of Austin, Basil, Lactantius that held the earth round as a trencher [a rounded plate], but not as a ball.”