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Columbus Day Image for Inerrantist Bible Believers October 11, 2011

Posted by Mary W. Matthews in Religion & Theology.
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Yesterday, October 10, was “Columbus Day observed,” so that everyone can have the holiday off. Tomorrow, October 12, is the “real” Columbus Day. This seems like a good day to talk about the simple fact that “Bible believers,” folks who delude themselves that the Bible is an encyclopedia of absolute factuality, are required by their beliefs to insist that the Earth is flat.

The Bible is a collection of ancient animal skins (“parchment”) from the Bronze Age, plus a comparatively few sets of decayed mashed river reeds (“papyrus”) from the Iron Age. But Bible believers insist that the Bible is NOT Bronze- and Iron-Age theology, written between two and three THOUSAND years ao for a different audience, in Hebrew, Aramaic, and koine Greek, for different purposes than anything most people today could comprehend.

No; these “Bible believers” insist that the Bible is history written according to our 21st-century definition of “history,” and that every word of the Bible is as literally, historically true as if it were part of the Encyclopedia Britannica. The Earth was created on October 23, 4004 BCE, at 9:30 a.m., and every fossil, every artifact found by paleontologists and archeologists is an elaborate fiction devised by God to deceive non-Bible believers.

A very simple, very obvious question has been raised by more than one observer: If God decided for some ungodlike reason to deliberately deceive billions of past, living, and future human beings, and God therefore created and “planted” hundreds of thousands of absolutely convincing fossils and millions of pieces of absolutely convincing evidence of the remains of humanity before 4004 BCE (up to about two million years before!) . . . then maybe this absolutely convincing “deception” is what God WANTS humanity to believe.

I doubt the above is good enough to persuade a True Believer that he/she has been deluded by other literal-minded, simplistic, ignorant, modernity-terrified True Believers. But I’ve spent some time in the last few days devising an image portraying the Bible’s cosmology. The image appears next; below it is my explanation, complete with citations from the Bible.

image portraying Hebrew cosmology

First after light came water

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. But the earth became chaos and emptiness, and darkness came over the face of the Deep — yet the spirit of God was brooding over the surface of the waters. . . . Then God said, ‘Now, make an expanse between the waters! Separate water [above heaven] from water [below the earth]! So it was.’ ” — Gen. 1:1-6 There are many similar citations in the Hebrew Scriptures to the idea that the chaos waters remain, both below Sheol and above heaven — occasionally, when God “opens the windows [Gen. 7:11],” becoming rain.

The Earth is a flat disk, shaped like a dinner plate

  • “It is [God] who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to live in.” — Isa. 40:22
  • “God has [created the Earth as] a circle on the face of the [chaos] waters [between the Earth and outer space], at the boundary between light and darkness.” — Job 26:10
  • “I [Lady Wisdom] was brought forth when [God] had not yet made earth and fields, or the world’s first bits of soil. When [God] established the heavens, I was there, when [God] drew a circle on the face of the deep.” — Prov. 8:26-27
  • “The devil took [Jesus] to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor” — Matthew 4:8 (Even from the top of Mt. Everest, it is impossible to see the “kingdom” of Greenland, to cite just one example.)

The “dinner plate” Earth rests upon gigantic pillars

  • “God shakes the earth out of its place, and its pillars tremble.” — Job 9:6
  • “The pillars of heaven tremble, and are aghast at [God’s] rebuke.” — Job 26:11
  • “The pillars of the earth belong to YHWH, and YHWH sets the world upon them.” — 1 Samuel 2:8
  • “When the earth totters, with all its inhabitants, it is I [God] who keep its pillars steady.” — Psalm 75:3

The Earth is covered by a metal dome, the “firmament”

  • “And God said, ‘Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters [of Earth] from the [chaos] waters [of outer space]. So it was: God made the dome and separated the water above the dome from the water below it.’” — Genesis 1:6-7
  • “[God] walks to and fro on the dome of heaven.” — Job 22:14
  • “Can you help God spread the dome over the heavens, or temper the steel-gray skies?” — Job 37:18 (Temper here is used in its metalworking sense, a treatment with heat that strengthens the metal.)
  • “Who [but God] built the high dwelling places in the heavens, and a vaulted dome over the earth?” — Amos 9:6 (“It is the sovereign YHWH omnipotent!” 9:5)
  • “Again, on the second day, you created the spirit of the firmament, and commanded it to divide and separate the [chaos] waters, so that one part might move upward and the other part remain beneath.” — 2 Esdras 6:41

The dome is made of hammered metal, although several citations indicate that it is transparent, like glass. (And here we are amused to remind you that Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home tells us that transparent aluminum was invented in 1986.) Rain enters the world through sluice-gates in the hammered-metal dome, as for example in Malachi 3:10: “See if I do not open windows in the sky, and pour so much blessing on you that you cannot contain it!” The sluice gates are indicated in the illustration by the random gaps. In essence, the dome that separates the heavens and the earth is a gigantic, upside-down colander!

Sheol, “the grave,” is below us

The word “Sheol” appears more than 60 times in the Hebrew Bible; its equivalent in the Christian Testament is “Hades,” the Greek equivalent for Sheol. (“Hades” is the word that is usually translated “Hell” in the Nicene Creed.) It meant “grave, pit, destruction, abyss.” With one or two rare exceptions, like Elijah and Jesus, everyone went to Sheol/Hades. Here are a few examples:

  • “Just as a cloud dissipates and vanishes, those who go down to Sheol will not come back.” — Job 7:9
  • “Turn, O YHWH, deliver my life; save me for the sake of your steadfast love. For in death there is no remembrance of you; in Sheol who will give you praise?” — Psalm 6:4-5
  • “Your love for me is great; you have rescued me from the depths of Sheol.” — Psalm 86:13
  • “If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.” — Psalm 139:8
  • “Ask for a sign from YHWH your God; let it be as deep as Sheol, or high as the sky.” — Isaiah 7:11
  • “Out of the belly of Sheol I cried, And You heard my voice.” — Jonah 2:2

“I have touched the sky”

  • “Then they said, ‘Let us build ourselves a city and a tower whose top can reach to heaven.’ ” — Gen. 11:4 Evidence that it was possible to touch the sky: God became so alarmed that the tower was destroyed and languages were confused to prevent any second attempt from being made.
  • “The tree grew until it reached heaven and touched the sky; it could be seen from everywhere on earth.” — Daniel 4:10-11

God lives ABOVE the dome

As with Sheol, there are far too many citations to list them all. Here are a few representative samples:

  • “YHWH came down [from heaven] to see the city and the tower [of Babel] these mortals had built. ‘They are a single people with a single language,’ YHWH said [to God’s heavenly courtiers]. . . . ‘Come, let us go down and baffle their language.’ ” — Gen. 11:5-7
  • “It is [God] who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to live in.” — Isa. 40:22
  • “[God] walks to and fro on the dome of heaven.” — Job 22:14
  • “O YHWH of our ancestors, are you not the God in heaven?” — 2 Chron. 20:6
  • “So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.” — Mark 16:19

Which image do YOU find more believable?

image portraying Hebrew cosmology

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Comments»

1. woody - October 12, 2011

As a university biology teacher, now retired, in the Bible belt I have often had the discussion with bible believers on the age, shape etc of the earth and the origins of life. Of course evolution was always included in these discussions somewhere. I had a student show up in a general biology with a well-thumbed bible who didn’t buy the text because “The Bible is the only text I need”. He failed due to his own narrow vision and total lack of learning content. I wish I had your wonderful essay to make required reading. Thanks for your clear thinking and willingness to take on the Believers of the fundamentalist caste.

2. Gabby - February 13, 2012

rather than saying that the earth is flat, as many believed in the past, the Bible says that God “is dwelling above the circle of the earth.” (Isaiah 40:22)

(and “khoog” was the ONLY Hebrew word for “sphere” back then, NOT “duwr” The word “duwr” meant “pile on” or “surrounding” as in a fort. NOT “ball”. ……..and “khoog” DOES NOT mean “flat disk”……which was another word “takleet”) The Bible and the “ancient Hebrews” did NOT think or say or teach that the earth was a “flat disk”. That’s just another typical Darwinist or Atheist talking point, and mis-notion.

What the drones need to understand is that “khoog” could be easily translated in English as “sphere”, NOT JUST “circle”. Also the point is that a “sphere” IS a circle. Atheists WRONGLY think that “circle” has to mean only a “flat disk”. No. If you look in the night sky, and see a full moon, in the sky, the shape you’re seeing is a round circle. Spheres are CIRCULAR. The Hebrew word for “flat disk” is not used for the earth. The Atheist drones fail.

When Atheists laughably and desperately bring up the case in Matthew where the Devil showed Jesus “all the kingdoms of the world”, they stupidly think that that was a geographical statement in the Bible. Could they be more desperate and sloppy? They don’t understand that it was a MIRACULOUS VISION, by Satan, and NOT a geographical thing. It says in Luke that it was all shown in an “instant of time”. Obviously it was saying it was a VISION…that only Satan could miraculously show in that sense. Not something that could be views by just anyone from a mountain. Atheist idiots need to grow up. With their desperate quote-mining of the Bible. The Bible NOWHERE calls or even implies that the earth is flat. But just the opposite. But biased robots, who can’t depart from their Atheist script, see things how they only WANT to idiotically see them. “All the kingdoms of the world”??. That example is so pathetic, that it’s almost unbelievable.

And also desperately jumping on things like “four corners”. Or “sun rising”. Or maybe uh “pillars of the earth”? In Job, they quote-mine no less. Job, the very place that it says the earth “hangs on nothing.” So obviously when it says “pillars” or “foundations” IT’S SPEAKING METAPHORICALLY. Things that are said EVEN TODAY. Even by weatherman. Do Atheists call up the news stations to complain when weather journalists say “sun rise”? Or do they whine when they hear expressions like “four corners of the earth” said by every day people? These were just idiomatic expressions of the day (and even used today), and were NOT scientific dissertations. The ancient Hebrews knew that the earth was a globe, NOT a flat disk. The Bible does not teach a flat earth. Not in any scientific dissertation or technical sense. So Flat Earthers need to grow a brain, and so do soap-box Atheist drone-tards.

Isaiah and Job indicate a spherical earth that hangs on nothing. Only pagans believed that the earth was supported by literal objects or huge animals.

The Apostle Paul wrote that all of creation is in bondage to DECAY. Isaiah wrote that the stars and planets “disperse” and “wear out like a garment”. At a time when the pagans around worshipped the stars and planets as gods who lived forever. Isaiah knew better. That stars wear out and run down. This scientific fact was documented in 1850, and then on was referred to as the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

Bible vindicated…

woody - February 13, 2012

Gabby indeed. Typical of the ilk to attack with terms like “drone-tards”.
I love the reliance on science when it suits such as quoting the second law of thermo, but ignoring it when it inconveniently gets in the way of a narrow and misguided attempt to squeeze the world and all in it into a biblical box.
I hope Mary has the time and interest to take on Gabby point for point.
Mary still earns a “well done”.

3. Gabby - February 13, 2012

rather than saying that the earth is flat, as many believed in the past, the Bible says that God “is dwelling above the circle of the earth.” (Isaiah 40:22)

(and “khoog” was the ONLY Hebrew word for “sphere” back then, NOT “duwr” The word “duwr” meant “pile on” or “surrounding” as in a fort. NOT “ball”. ……..and “khoog” DOES NOT mean “flat disk”……which was another word “takleet”) The Bible and the “ancient Hebrews” did NOT think or say or teach that the earth was a “flat disk”. That’s just another typical Darwinist or Atheist talking point, and mis-notion.

What the drones need to understand is that “khoog” could be easily translated in English as “sphere”, NOT JUST “circle”. Also the point is that a “sphere” IS a circle. Atheists WRONGLY think that “circle” has to mean only a “flat disk”. No. If you look in the night sky, and see a full moon, in the sky, the shape you’re seeing is a round circle. Spheres are CIRCULAR. The Hebrew word for “flat disk” is not used for the earth. The Atheist drones fail.

When Atheists laughably and desperately bring up the case in Matthew where the Devil showed Jesus “all the kingdoms of the world”, they stupidly think that that was a geographical statement in the Bible. Could they be more desperate and sloppy? They don’t understand that it was a MIRACULOUS VISION, by Satan, and NOT a geographical thing. It says in Luke that it was all shown in an “instant of time”. Obviously it was saying it was a VISION…that only Satan could miraculously show in that sense. Not something that could be viewed by just anyone from a mountain. Atheist idiots need to grow up. With their desperate quote-mining of the Bible. The Bible NOWHERE calls or even implies that the earth is flat. But just the opposite. But biased robots, who can’t depart from their Atheist script, see things how they only WANT to idiotically see them. “All the kingdoms of the world”??. That example is so pathetic, that it’s almost unbelievable.

And also desperately jumping on things like “four corners”. Or “sun rising”. Or maybe uh “pillars of the earth”? In Job, they quote-mine no less. Job, the very place that it says the earth “hangs on nothing.” So obviously when it says “pillars” or “foundations” IT’S SPEAKING METAPHORICALLY. Things that are said EVEN TODAY. Even by weatherman. Do Atheists call up the news stations to complain when weather journalists say “sun rise”? Or do they whine when they hear expressions like “four corners of the earth” said by every day people? These were just idiomatic expressions of the day (and even used today), and were NOT scientific dissertations. The ancient Hebrews knew that the earth was a globe, NOT a flat disk. The Bible does not teach a flat earth. Not in any scientific dissertation or technical sense. So Flat Earthers need to grow a brain, and so do soap-box Atheist drone-tards.

Isaiah and Job indicate a spherical earth that hangs on nothing. Only pagans believed that the earth was supported by literal objects or huge animals.

The Apostle Paul wrote that all of creation is in bondage to DECAY. Isaiah wrote that the stars and planets “disperse” and “wear out like a garment”. At a time when the pagans around worshipped the stars and planets as gods who lived forever. Isaiah knew better. That stars wear out and run down. This scientific fact was documented in 1850, and then on was referred to as the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

Bible vindicated…

4. HAWHAWHAW - May 20, 2014

Atheists are blind morons. They can’t predict what will happen next week, but Isaiah predicted Cyrus by name 150 years before he was even born,


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