Does a round earth conflict with biblical texts?

I know the central sun was a problem for Galileo,
but what about the shape of the earth?

And if the earth is flat, what about the backside (the western hemisphere)?
Can fundamentalists live there?

I assume you mean “spherical”, as opposed to round. Something can be both flat and round at the same time. And I’m sure someone will nitpick that shortly to note that the earth isn’t quite spherical either…

Here is it straight from the prophet’s mouth:

I can’t remember the location but it seem to recall one where a human (Jesus?) is taken to the highest mountian were he can behold “the four corners of the world.” A little help someone?

Og, I hate it when an atheist has to answer these questions, but the quote said Kingdoms, not corners.

Matthew 4:8-10

SSG Schwartz

I remember that Isaac Asimov, in Asimov’s Guide to the Bible, included a section that referred to the several places in which it is implied, as in the Isaiah quote, that the heavens are spread out like a tent, implying that the earth is flat. His argument was indeed that this was a contradiction to the modern view.

Unfortunately, it’s not in the Isaiah chapter and his index mainly covers names, not concepts. Perhaps if more people post apposite quotes I can find the right chapter.

Sorry. I too am an atheist and couldn’t remember it exactly enough for this place. It suggests a Flat-Earth mindset as a high place would not be able to see all the kingdoms on a sphere.

The Jews who wrote the New Testament were literate members of the Greco-Roman culture. They were aware that the world was a sphere.

But the Old Testament was not written by “literate members of the Greco-Roman culture.” And most of the anti-scientific notions that literal believers insist upon come from the Old Testament, but remained within mainstream Catholic thinking for centuries and within christain sects for much longer. The notion that the earth is flat and not spherical was adhered to by many until its untruth finally became too obvious.

And earlier:

That page also addresses some Catholic interpretations of the implications of the OP’s question, “Can fundamentalists live there?” St. Augustine argued no.

The topic certainly relates to modern fundamentalist, or at least literalist, claims about Biblical authority on other issues pertaining to science. If this long-held belief could be toppled by overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary, why not other beliefs?

The Earth is a sphere, not a circle. An area or realm surrounding a centralized perspective can be portrayed as a circle, even in a flat-earth model. You can erect a canopy or tent above a circle, but not a sphere, where there is no up.

It appears that all the Catholic and Christian philosophers mentioned in that article came to their conclusion based on interpretations of the bible and their own theological and philiosophical ideas though, not because any verse of the Old Testament explicitly says that the Earth is flat. Looking at the bible verses mentioned in that wiki, none come anywhere close to saying or even implying the Earth is flat.

So I’d say that the answer to the threads title is: no.

I hate to break it to you, but every belief of every Christian denomination is based on interpretations of what the Bible says, rather than explicit statements. That includes major tenets like heaven, Satan, the afterlife, morality, and behavior. Why should the image of the earth be any different?

Umm…ok, but the title of the thread was “Does a round earth conflict with biblical texts?”, not does it conflict with the interpretation given those texts by a small minority of Roman era theologians. I’d say the answer then is: no.
This as opposed to the case of the Earth going around the Sun, which the bible does explicitly contradict, both by saying that the Earth cannot move, and that the sun moves around the Earth.

Also as an aside, even amongst Roman era Christians, note that the wiki article that you quoted states that the view of the Earth being flat was held by a “small minority”.

There is no contradiction between the Bible and the fact of a spherical earth. References to “the four corners of the earth” or “spreading out the sky like a tent” and the like are poetic idioms with no intent to be construed as a factual statement of geomorphology.

Shrug. You may say that but literalists do not. No two people share the same interpretation of every verse of the Bible. Nor do the interpretations hold constant over time. Today’s minority may be tomorrow’s majority.

Yea ,but the tent quote in Isaiah is explicitly a simile. “He stretches out the heavens **like **a canopy, and spreads them out **like **a tent to live in.” So even a biblical literalist is saved from having to believe that the heavens are literally a cloth tent.

So far as I can tell, there isn’t any quote in the bible that would indicate a flat Earth, even to a strict literalist.

Is is possible to even construct such a quote? - as far as I can tell, even the strictest of literalists will find a way to weasel around quotes that flatly and obviously contradict readily-observable reality.

You try telling that to the guy who started the Flat Earth Society.

Seriously, this notion has hundreds of years of history and thousands of adherents plus the backing of leading theologians of their era and you’re saying that your interpretation of the Bible says that it’s impossible? Belief doesn’t work that way.

Exapno Mapcase:

I AM a literalist. However, there is no place in the text that makes a declarative statement that, for example, “the world has four corners.” Such phrases are either used in books like Psalms, which even the most literal-minded must admit is meant as poetry and not descriptive reality, or in the mouths of human speakers, where idiom can be easily construed (or at worst, ignorance on the part of the speaker, not necessarily the understanding of the Bible’s writer).

In The Atlas of Middle-Earth, the shape of Arda as being both “Globed within the Void” and flat as per the Ainulindale are solved by having the top be a flat circle, but the bottom be hemispherical. So perhaps this is the solution to competing quotes :slight_smile: