Contend Earnestly: When the World Was Flat

Saturday, May 20, 2006

When the World Was Flat

When the World Was Flat
Science and the Bible

It’s hard to imagine a time when we didn’t know the world was a sphere or that there was an America. In 1492 when Columbus set sail for America the world thought that the earth was flat and that he would fall over the side.

As difficult as it might be try to understand that man was much more limited in his understanding of science than what we know today. Automobiles, space travel, and the computer are so common that we don’t think twice that it wasn’t until the 1900’s that these things or events took place.

But there was a book that was speaking about science long before man was able to discover scientific truths. Although books and theories in science have changed over the years one source has remained true and has not been changed or found false. The Bible has stood the test of time geographically, historically, archaeologically, and scientifically.

Round Earth

Isaiah 40:21-22 Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been declared to you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is He who sits above the vault of the earth…

The vault of the earth is an arch or a circle (King James), not a flat surface. About 2,000 years before Columbus the bible was speaking of the earth’s shape being circular not flat. The science of the day was wrong and the bible was right.

Job 26:7 He stretches out the north over empty space, And hangs the earth on nothing.

As crazy as it might seem Greek mythology taught that the earth was suspended on the shoulders of a Greek god. Atlas was a Titan condemned by Zeus to support the heavens upon his shoulders. This was the science of the time.

It wasn’t until 1957 when the Soviet Union successfully launched Sputnik I. The world's first artificial satellite was about the size of a basketball, weighed only 183 pounds, and took about 98 minutes to orbit the Earth. This marked the first time that God’s word once again was proven right. The earth hangs on nothing in empty space.


Jeremiah 33:22 The host of heaven cannot be counted.

In the year 85 Greek astronomer Ptolemy was born and using the instruments of the time he counted 1056 stars. In 1546 Dutch born Tycho Brahe was born and he would later count 777 stars. And in 1571 German born Johannes Kepler counted 1,005 stars.

Today with the invention of the Hubble Telescope we know that the numbers of stars in the sky is at a hundred million, billion, billion and counting. Again the bible shinned as true.

1 Cor 15:41 there is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.

Not only are there an infinite amount of stars but they are all unique as we now know. Just like the bible stated.


Isaiah 55:10 for as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth, And making it bear and sprout.

Job 14:11 As water evaporates from the sea

Job 36:27 For He draws up the drops of water, They distill rain from the mist, which the clouds pour down, they drip upon man abundantly, Can anyone understand the spreading of the clouds

Ecc 1:6-7 The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the the wind returneth again according to his circuits. All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.

The “science of water” or hydrology is an amazing example of how the bible gave us answers before it was humanly possible to use science to reveal it’s truth. The water cycle which is when water vapor is condensed and precipitated as rain or snow, then drained off through the groundwater and river system into the ocean, from which it is raised into the skies by evaporation and carried back over the continents by great atmospheric wind circulations. It’s amazing how Solomon gives us a clear example of the water cycle in Ecclesiastes. Once again there are no conflicts with the bible and modern hydrologic science.


Lev 17:11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood

In 1616 William Harvey uncovered the circulation of the blood. Continuance of life is now known to depend upon the continued supply of oxygen, water, and food to the cells of the body. This essential function is accomplished in a marvelous manner by the blood as it circulates constantly throughout the body. The role of blood in combating disease producing organisms and in repairing injured tissues is one of the most significant discoveries of medical science. The use of blood transfusions as one of the most beneficial treatments for many medical needs testifies to the ultimate importance of the blood in the life of the flesh.

Blood is the lifeline of the human body and the bible spoke of this truth long before science understood it.

Basic Laws of Science

Hebrews 4:3 The works were finished from the foundation of the world.

Gen 2:1-2 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he made.

The law of energy conservation states that in a closed system, in any transformation of energy from one form of energy into another, the total amount of energy in the system remains unchanged. No energy is either created or destroyed. Although matter may be changed in state, density, or form, its total mass is unchanged. In other words, no creation or destruction of matter or energy in now being accomplished anywhere in the physical universe. So everything that happens involves energy transformations. This law is also known as the first law of thermodynamics and is generally recognized as the most important and basic law of science. And in Genesis we see that God completed the creation of matter just as the first law states.

The second law of thermodynamics states the corollary principle of mss/energy deterioration. The law of entropy states that the physical universe is growing old and running down. (This “LAW” directly contradicts the “theory” of evolution which claims that we are in a constant state of getting better through survival of the fittest) The bible speaks about the wearing down of the earth like a piece of clothing.

Psalm 26:25-26 Of old Thou dist found the earth; And the heavens are the work of Thy hands. Even they will perish, but Thou dost endure; And all of them will wear out like a garment; Like clothing Thou wilt change them, they will be changed.

Romans 8:20-22 For the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.

Scripture not only details the deterioration of the earth but also a future hope for a new earth (Rev 21:1, Isa 65:17, 66:22, 2 Pt 3:13).

Jonah’s Whale

Although Jonah is a great example of God’s redemptive plan for more nations than just Israel we also see some great scientific truths revealed in this little book.

Jonah 1:17 And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights.

There have been many skeptics that claim Jonah could not have been swallowed and survived as the bible claims. It is now known that the sperm whale and a whale shark, which does inhabit the Mediterranean Sea, are capable of swallowing an object much larger than a man. As a matter of fact there have been in recent times a number of verified instances of whales and sharks swallowing men alive and some have survived these incidents.
According to a persistent story, exactly one hundred years ago a sailor named James Bartley was swallowed by a sperm whale off the Falkland Islands. About thirty-six hours later his fellow sailors found him, unconscious but alive, inside the belly of the animal.

The Ann Arbor Museum of Natural History has the skull of the largest dunkleosteus skull which stands four feet high. This great sea monster would easily be able to swallow a man whole. Once again the bible’s claim holds up to scientific discovery.

Jonah 2:3,6 For Thou hadst cast me into the deep, Into the heart of the seas, And the current engulfed me. All Thy breakers and billows passed over me. I descended to the roots of the mountains. The earth with its bars was around me forever.

Another great jewel hidden in the book of Jonah is what he sees in the oceans water. Did you catch it? Jonah sees mountains in the ocean. Now how did Jonah know there were mountains in the great depths of the sea? What is common to us today with sonar and submarines was impossible to know for certain in Jonah’s time.

Job’s Dinosaurs

Job lived in the land of Uz, which was in or near the land of Edom. This area extended both southwest and southeast of the Dead Sea, in an area that is now mostly a desert today. Job gave us some great insight 2,000 years before the birth of Christ about dinosaurs. The term dinosaur was not invented until the mid 1800’s so don’t expect to see the word “dinosaur” in the bible.

Job 40:15 Behold now, Behemoth, which I made as well as you He eats grass like an Ox. Behold now, his strength in his loins, And his power in the muscles of his belly. He bends his tail like cedar; The sinews of his thighs are knit together. His bones are tubes of bronze; His limbs are like bars of iron.

The word "Behemoth" means "Giant, kingly beast". It is important to note that his tail is like a tree, not a thin stick like that of a modern day hippo or elephant, as some have tried to argue. Dinosaurs such as Diplodocus and Apatosaurus have tails like a cedar tree! The physical traits attributed to the Behemoth indicate it was reptilian, not mammalian. So whatever the Behemoth was, he was not a mammal. So he could not be an elephant or a hippo. This would also exclude any other animal such as the Rhino or giant sloth.

Job 41:1-34 paraphrased. Can you draw out Leviathan with a fishhook? Can you fill his skin with harpoons? Lay your hand on him; remember the battle; you will not do it again! No one is so fierce that he dares to arouse him; Who can strip off his outer armor? His strong scales are his pride. Out of his mouth go burning torches; sparks of fire leap forth. The sword that reaches him cannot avail; not the spear, the dart or the javelin. He regards iron as straw, Bronze as rotten wood. Arrow cannot make him flee. Nothing on earth is like him.

The leviathan is an aquatic reptile (similar to dinosaurs). No living animal fits the physical description of the Leviathan. The Leviathan was a large sea creature that had the amazing ability to breathe fire. This does not sound like any sea creature we have living today. Because the book of Job refers to the Leviathan as a literal living breathing creature, it must be one that is now extinct but in any case the bible gives clear reference to different types of dinosaurs.

As a side note God destroys Leviathan as punishment (Ps 74:14, Isa 27:1).

Jeremiah 51:37 - "And Babylon shall become heaps, a dwelling place for dragons, astonishment and a hissing without an in habitant".

Dragon was the name given to the most terrible monsters of the ancient world. Dragons did not really exist, but most people believed in them. They “… were huge fire-breathing serpents with wings like those of a great bat, and they could swallow ships and men at one gulp. Maps of early times represent unknown parts of the world as being the homes of these mythical creatures. The dragons of legend are strangely like actual creatures that have lived in the past .They are much like the great reptiles which inhabited the earth long before man is supposed to have appeared on earth. This verse tells us of the habitation of dinosaurs. Often living deep in the woods, rarely seen by man. Such is the case with the allusive Apatosaurus Mokele-Mbembe often seen in Africa. Dragons are also mentioned in Job 40:15, Psalm 91:13, Jeremiah 51:34, Lam 4:3, Psalm 74:14, Isaiah 27:1.

Isaiah 30:6 The oracle concerning the beasts of the Negev. Through a land of distress and anguish, from where come lioness and lion, viper and flying serpent

This passage tells of a flying reptile like the pteranodon or Rhamphorhynchus (Sauropods and Plesiosaurs). What is a flying serpent? - The only known reptiles with the ability to fly are the Pterosaurs. In this verse we see them described as living alongside the other “real” animals. The flying serpents are used in the text with other animals we readily recognize. They are not set apart in any way as to conclude they are fictitious. In fact, the verse continues and speaks of men carrying their riches "upon the bunches of camels". This makes it clear that these flying dinosaurs lived alongside mammals, and man.

Biblical Record

Gen1-2 Creation

Gen 6-8 The Flood

There are two very notable exclusions from this list, which are the six-day creation and worldwide flood. We will discuss these two at a later time but it is important to state that the fossil record is totally supported by the biblical account of the flood and the order of the creation account does not contradict what we know about the scientific biological record. In both cases most secular scientist claims that neither event happened.


Job 38:4 Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?

While the world was believing in a flat world and confused about where rain came from God had already declared His glory through His creation. He gave us the scientific answers so that we could come to have confidence in His spiritual claims. God tells us that we are without excuse because He has proclaimed His invisible attributes through creation (Rm 1:20), but so many are still skeptical. They profess to be wise yet they are fools (Rm 1:22). They exchange the truth of God for a lie (evolution, modern science) (Rm 1:25). The bible has clearly been the most accurate book ever written prior to the advantages of modern day technology.

Romans 1:18 The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.


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